Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pros and Cons of Online Work

Anybody who has earned money online will tell you that freelancing gives you a sense of independence and also strengthens your people skills. With each new job, you will find yourself interacting via email and/or Skype with project managers and possibly team members from around the world. I've been working online since December of 2011 and have gone through my share of highs and lows. These days, I'm busy working on making my own business, a success while pointing freelancers like myself to success of their own.

The first thing you need to realize is that Business to Business (B2B) relations online can be just as tumultuous as any of the real world relationships one may have with friends and family. It's up to you to value your abilities, even if you're inexperienced. As a freelancer, courage is a must. In my case, I gained my confidence from seeing every instance of getting hired as a gift from God, though there were times I had to relinquish some jobs on the principal of 'All or nothing'. If I couldn't give a client my best, I would end the contract; mentally prepared to absorb any potential hit to reputation I may incur. Why? Because, when I'm hired by a company, its best interest is front and center in my mind and heart. It just doesn't make sense to me that any of my clients should pay for my discrepancies in self discipline.

Yet, our task, as freelancers -with each new job- also involves not getting caught off guard. You must be keen to slight changes in behavior that may precede a complete 180 degree change in your project manager's personality. Such events typically take place if 1) your manager is shady and 2) you like to ask a lot of questions. Despite the fact that you may be getting paid at the lower end of the scale, which is expected for newbies in this competitive field, you still have rights and must make it clear: My conscience is not for sale. It is important to have a strong sense of self-worth prior to entering this work-from-home market. I'm sure some well intentioned individuals, unquestionably followed orders and became 'black hat' or infamous in the eyes of major search engines, in the process. But it's not too late if you can admit to your mistakes and are more wearisome of doing business, in the future, with project managers who expect the following:
  1. work completed although their payment method has yet to be verified
  2. extra work completed despite the fact that it wasn't posted in the job description
  3. employees are to work without questioning any given instruction
  4. cut corners and break rules to complete tasks
  5. work indefinitely, without pay, until a certain arbitrary milestone is achieved
Be aware of these types of opportunist, especially if you are writing articles or building citations[1]. In terms of article writing, find out from the very beginning if you will receive credit for your work; don't get surprised or work naively. Ask lots of questions during the interview stage. Finally, be willing to end a contract if you feel you cannot meet your project manager's expectation. Remember, your dignity is more important than a few dollars.

[1] These are online references to a business, mainly done by submitting a company's business information to local directories for the sole purpose of increasing its rank in search engines.

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