Freelance Side-Gigs

With the state of our economy, many are considering alternative ways of earning an income, while maintaining their industry expertise and credibility. Freelancing seems like a viable option, but I wonder if its really “all that” and is it for everyone?

I’ve heard a lot about freelancing lately, so I asked several people about their freelancing experience on various sites (,,,,, & other sites).

Bob Kalsey
Writer, Director; Owner, Bravura Films, Inc.; Communications Consultant shares his experience:

” I’ve been registered at since March of 2003 and have not won a single contract from that site. Is it me? Perhaps. In the last two years I’ve responded to bid requests 34 times; 28 of those times the posting expired with no award. Only 6 of the projects were awarded to any bidder. Few of my responses to bid requests were actual bids. Most were requests for further information about the project (not one of which were answered), and some were advice to the requester. I receive a couple of bid requests a day from and rarely is there one I can take seriously. does not have a “writer” category, but lumps writers in with translators. So about half the requests I receive are for translation services. This is a real fault of the system, but the company has ignored my suggestions that they make a change. Most of the other requests are from people who have a “great blockbuster idea” for a movie — and want someone to write it for them in exchange for a small percentage of the mega-bucks they expect to make by selling the screenplay to a producer. Others are from people who want a writer to collaborate (for free) on their life-story for a sure-fire best-seller. Some of my responses to these “employers” have been to suggest that their notion of how the film and publishing industry work is seriously flawed.

Maybe I’m unkind. But it’s this kind of ridiculous freelance opportunity that results in so many of the bid requests expiring without award. The bid awards I’ve read about at this site have all been ridiculously low, likewise the budgets specified in the rfps. One recent job posting was for a series of twenty 2-minute video scripts for some on-line movies. The total budget was “under $250.” Doesn’t seem worth the effort even to respond to that posting. I had some hopes for, but now I view their Project Notifications only for amusement.



Ramesh Kumar
CTO chimes in with his experience on the topic:

“I experimented with elance, guru and Rentacoder was very user friendly and could bid successfully for some projects, in personal front. ”

(were you reasonably compensated?) “No. The rates are far below the realistic prices. The people quote prices that are not feasible for any genuine person. They may be offering as this is extra and not main income. Whatever comes extra may be fine. ”

(Would you freelance again?) “If prices are reasonable and if the buyers see the merit of the coder and their experience, it would be better. Most of the buyers seem to be interested in the lowest bids. And there are some fraud buyers, who take the work and dispute saying that they are not happy and the site even supports the buyers. ”

(Which freelancing jobs/sites would you recommend to others?) “None”

“Ramesh The Human Search Engine”


Megan Lynch
Creative Consultant at Audio Messaging Solutions, LLC has used Elance…

“I use Elance for side work. I’ve made some extra money there, and the overall experience has not been too bad. It is a lot of work to search through projects to find serious buyers and then formulate winning bids, but I think I’m doing pretty well so far.

“I have had some buyers balk at my bids, but a couple of times I’ve convinced them that they’re better off paying a higher price for better quality. There are a LOT of low bids and many come from outside the U.S. where the dollar is worth much more. The rates are also very dependent on the type of project. I always take time to explain to the buyer exactly why I’m bidding what I’m bidding. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they’re looking for the cheap way out.”

“The best thing about using the web for freelance work is that I can work when I have time. My least favorite thing is that I can’t rely on any kind of steady income from it. I suspect that if I were to make a concerted daily effort I would be able to generate a more steady workload, but since I have a regular 9-5 that’s not really feasible.”

“I would recommend Elance to others if they have enough time to figure out the best methods of the site. There is money to be earned but you really need to be able to spot the buyers who look for quality over price/quantity.


I’ll share more Freelancing Experiences in my next post!

Your Comments are Always Welcome!

Happy Networking!


Job Spot Seattle Founder
“Seattle’s Exclusive Online Job Network Since 2006”

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