Type in the words "freelance copy editors" on Google, and you'll end up with 2,210, 000 results.
Daunting for clients, even more for a relatively new freelancer like myself! I recently came across a website that offers freelancers a go at nearly every job imaginable. This international site even offers jobs for freelance erotica writers. Now, I would've jumped at the job, working on a work = money basis, but gladly (or sadly, perhaps) my skills don't include writing steamy stories for adult websites. Not surprisingly, these jobs pay very well. I suppose you'd have to work hard for your money. Fair enough.
What bothered me was the concept of bidding on jobs. It appears the site works pretty much like ebay. A client posts a job and potential freelancers bid on it. But instead of picking the highest bidder, the client picks the person who bids next to nothing. I understand the concept of a competitive market and so forth, but the idea of bidding on a job seems weird to me.
Nevertheless, I signed up to see what all the hype is about. Around midnight I get an email from an American client asking me to write a 500 word article on the cost of plastic surgery in Texas. If he's happy with my article, he'll send me more work. Hold on. So I write a 500 word article on something that is fairly easy to research (if you're in Texas) - don't get paid for it - and if you like my work, you'll send me another 100 articles to do? Anyone smell fish?
I politely declined the offer. There is no way I'll be able to successfully track Mr Plastic Surgery if I don't get paid. And even if Mr Plastic Surgery pays me, how will I get my money? Ebay fans will know that there is virtually no way for South Africans to receive money from overseas. PayPal South Africa does not accept money come in to South Africa, and wire transfers are quite costly. So, there goes my dream of being an international freelancer of mystery...
Back on terra Africa, I'm optimistic about the freelance job opportunities. I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing clients, some of whom even pay on time!