Feb 12, 2010

Freelance work through Elance.com

In the Filipino working mom's never-ending quest for extra income and work-at-home opportunities, I've come across Elance.com, a clearinghouse for work-at-home providers and employers.

Here, Filipino moms can find people looking for freelancers who can work at home writing articles and sales letters, editing text or videos, proofreading, transcribing, designing web pages, creating illustrations, fixing program bugs, doing bookeeping, etc.

And I've done my first job: a 750-word article on bilingualism in the Philippines from a Filipino mom's point of view. Extra income: $18, or approximately one peso per word.  (Note: This is a sad article on how Filipinos value foreign languages more than their own. It is painfully honest. Expect to have violent reactions if you choose to read it.)

How does it work?

To find work at Elance.com, first you have to build your profile -- pretty much like filling out the resume form in Jobstreet.com.

Make sure that you have a working phone, landline or mobile, that they can call, because they have a machine that will call you to confirm your phone number.

Finally, there must be a way for them to pay you. You'll need to have a PayPal account. Go to PayPal.com and open one. Yes, in case you haven't heard yet, PayPal is now available and completely functional in the Philippines!

That's basically it. Now you can start searching for work-at-home jobs and applying to them. There are hourly jobs, where you are paid by the number of hours you spend on the project, and fixed price jobs, where you are paid per output. You choose which kinds of jobs you prefer.

Elance or Odesk?

Incidentally, there are other extra-income and work-at-home sites out there, like Odesk.com. I've tried it but got turned off by the lack of escrow services for fixed-price work, so there is a huge risk that you won't get paid at all. Not the case at Elance.

Also, Odesk.com requires you to install software on your computer, which periodically takes screenshots to ensure your employer that you are not gold-bricking during paid time. I don't mind the screenshots, but I mind having to install software.

I have an Odesk account but I've never used it. Thanks to its escrow service, I strongly recommend Elance.

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