Perhaps you have heard recently that people make money on the internet. That’s right, the cavernous picture/video/network is actually a business tool and not just a place to view foreign animals and people falling over. This is the world of croudsourcing or e-lancing (electronic freelancing) where employers post up jobs they need completing that can be done through the internet. This may initially sound like a limited range of choices, however the list is more expansive than you may think. A lot of the work is simple tasks that need greater than computer intelligence to complete such as categorising and cataloguing product ranges or completing bulk tweaks to images or webpages. You can find manufacturing work, cleaning, media gigs, all sorts of areas of industry relate back to the internet in some way these days as it is a global labour market.
Croudsourcing as a term refers to turning to the croud (i.e. the internet) to source your labour force and this article will be discussing how you can access this job market and make those hours spent at a computer begin to pay in real terms. Take a browse through the sites discussed later in this article and see if the world of e-lancing is a world for you. Working through the internet is a viable option if you have a few hours a day you wish to turn over to making a little money on the side, it is a very good option for students or house parents who need to make a little cash to help see them through. There are a few things to bear in mind however.
Rates of Pay/Rates of Work
If you are thinking that you can run your entire life through croudsourcing then be prepared to put a lot of time into it and be sure that you have a skill that people will want or be willing to learn new skills. Initially the rates of pay may be low if you are doing batch work such as image processing or data entry but these jobs act as a good trickle fund, do the work over time and then cash out your account when you need the money. These are the sort of strings you must create and maintain prior to being broke however as they take some time to build any appreciable return. If you upgrade the skillset you are offering to people then this can certainly help, it widens the amount of jobs you may get contacted for or can apply for and, crucially, can bring an increase in wages.
Simple tasks such as proofreading may only yield a few dollars a go but approach it right and you can be charging £10phr plus for your services. The croudsourcing movement has been the biggest boon to the creative industries which has traditionally suffered from a lack of exposure to the market and confusion about services on offer by companies. Turning the multimedia realm away from a company based approach to an individual designer approach has demystified the market hugely and allowed it to flourish as clients can detail what they want for how much and designers can display exactly what it is that they can achieve; as opposed to arranging for prospective meetings or lists of mysterious skillsets that clients do not understand.
The key to going independent from your job and switching to online based work is to have lots of fingers in lots of pies if you know what I mean. You cannot expect to easily find a job which will pay enough or last long enough to mean that it is feasible to quit your day job straight away, develop a wide network of options online that you can turn to in case one area of your online income falls away. You must be able to think fluidly and be able to jump on opportunities as and when they arise, even if they do not pay especially well it all counts to your portfolio of work which will be key to upgrading your payrate or job type. Remember that just because it’s done through the internet does not mean that it isn’t work, the same applies with croudsourcing as does any job; you may have to do things you don’t enjoy, you may work longer hours than you expected and at the end of it the client may not pay on time or at all (though there is recourse for this in many cases) just the same as in any job, freelance or otherwise.
The benefits of croudsourcing are obvious; it is work you can do from home in most cases which allows you to work on other projects or fulfil commitments and responsibilities without being stranded at an office for a significant portion of the day, just think; no more traffic jams in the morning or “Let’s talk about your TPS reports” conversations with your boss. It is work that does not require you to make substantial time commitments if you are using it as a little earner on the side to save for something you want. The work can be highly varied too which is obviously a major attraction as a job option; you will be surprised when you start looking just how expansive the market is, initially skills you thought of as not being profitable may just be worth something to someone and you’ll never know if you don’t make your skillset available to people who need your abilities.
So just where are these online jobs to be found?
There are an increasing number of places that allow you and clients to post their skills and requirements online, we shall discuss three croudsourcing sites that can be used to kickstart your career below;
Fiverr is a site which allows anyone to spin a few dollars on the side by doing, well just about anything! The idea behind Fiverr is that you post what you are willing to do for $5 which is as wide reaching a margin as creating voiceovers for product reviews to drinking shots of hot sauce. You may think that only earning $5 a go wouldn’t lead to much return financially ($4 as Fivver takes their $1 cut), however; once you have completed ten or more sales and have a good track record of happy clients then you can charge much more for your gigs and can charge multiple gigs per job. Self promotion will go a long way on Fiverr, if you can add a personal video to your gig then it will majorly increase the attention on your gig. Once you start looking on Fiverr you may be surprised at just how people are making money using their esoteric or mundane skills. Fiverr is a good site to start your croudsourcing experience, highly approachable and has a lot of potential client attention on the site.
Elance is a more professional approach to croudsourcing with tests to prove your claimed skillsets (not mandatory though it looks good for your profile) and comes with an upgrading of the potential pay bracket. It is more client focussed; you scroll through jobs in certain areas to see what you can find and then apply for one that suits you. Then you must write a proposal detailing just why you are the best person for that job and then quote them a figure for the work (of which Elance has a share). It helps if you write clearly and concisely, stick to the point, refer to your portfolio and then state how much you are willing to do the work for. Consider how long it is likely to take you and that though they are willing to spend a certain amount they may really want to spend less or make you work more (just as with any client). A good site to upgrade to after exploring Fiverr’s options.
Just as the name suggests, PeoplePerHour allows people to by hired by the hour. It is of similar style to Elance though a little more approachable. You can post your ‘Hourlies’; what you are willing to do, quoted by the price per hour or you can scroll through other peoples requests for workers. It has a pretty good level of client attention on it and if your Hourlie is a success then it may get featured on the front page which is a big boost in exposure as a worker. Building a good track record with PeoplePerHour can lead to some very well paid jobs depending on what skills you are offering to the world as with any career enhancing opportunities. A good site to use in conjunction with Elance and other croudsourcing sites.
All in All…
There are a wide range of options available to you if you think that you can make it online or just want to save for a holiday; it is certainly now a feasible option to generate a good portion of your income online, if not enough to quit your full time job then maybe enough to go part time. Use the above sites and explore more options in conjunction with each other to begin your croudsourcing career, as stated above: Lots of Fingers, Lots of Pies. Be prepared for some low dividends at first and be willing to reskill in new areas to make the most out of the internet job market. Return to TechWench to find out just what skills clients want out of their online workers so you can start your career by looking in the right directions.