(Page 1 of 2)
I probably won’t have to do much to convince you of the importance of this next freelancing site criterion: project quality. Everyone wants quality work, right? That’s part of why we become freelancers: so we can choose the type of work we want to do, focusing on our strengths and what interests us. We want to spend time on marketplaces that provide the opportunity to find these appealing projects.
There are a few related issues here, some of which related to the quality of the actual work in a project, and some of which are more about the quality of the project listings themselves.
Saying you value quality is a bit like saying that you like Mom and apple pie. It’s not like there’s anything controversial about it. The problem is that, unlike assessing the quantity of the projects on a marketplace site, determining their quality is very difficult.
There are two main reasons for this.
First, it’s impossible to come up with a description for what constitutes “quality” that everyone will agree with. This, in turn, is because what determines the quality of a project depends a great deal on your likes, wants and needs as a freelancer. A project that seems very attractive to one type of freelancer could seem like a dud to another; the first would call it a “quality project” while the other would say it’s a waste of time. Quality is a value judgment, not something that can be objectively defined.
Second, it is often difficult to assess whether a project is of high quality or not simply by looking at its description on one of these sites. Many sites give very little information at all about a project, leaving you completely in the dark. Others require that clients provide more details, but even here, you often must read between the lines to figure out if it is really a good project or not. This is something that comes with experience, but even that is not always enough to make the right decision about every project.
Faced with these challenges, I could just throw my hands in the air and say “it can’t be done”, but that’s not going to help you very much. Project quality is too important to not at least make a good faith effort at assessing. And despite the difficulties associated with this task, it is undisputable that some sites are much better than others at overall project quality. I figure that if I was able to decide for myself which sites to bother with and which to ignore, I should be able to provide that information to you as well!
The way I deal with the first issue—the many definitions of quality—is to keep in my mind the target audience of what you are reading right now. I envision that most of the freelancers who are interested in this Guide are what I call professional freelancers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are freelancing full time, but it does mean that they are doing this sort of work as an important part of their career. They aren’t just people who opened an account one day to try to make a little spending money. They are serious people who are looking for serious projects.
I have had a lot of experience with professional freelancers, since I was one for quite a while myself, and I’ve communicated with many others. These folks tend to be well-educated, hard workers, who are often quite experienced in their chosen field of endeavor, and who are looking to online freelancing as a new way of advancing their careers. They generally favor projects that require expertise and experience, and that allow them to do projects they are good at but that are still challenging enough to be interesting. They prefer to deal with intelligent, considerate clients who value their professionalism and skill, who are willing to pay them what they are worth, and are interested in long-term relationships. When I assess the quality of projects on a site, this is what I am looking for.
Given a typical professional freelancer profile, I must then tackle the second issue: figuring out which sites have the sorts of projects that will appeal to them? Later in the Guide, I provide a great deal of information on how you can do the “reading between the lines” that is so important in this process. This includes full sections describing factors you can use to assess the quality of individual clients and project listings. For the purposes of evaluating sites, I again rely on my personal experience, along with that of many others I have communicated with, which spans thousands of completed projects, proposals and listings.
Of course, all of this is still more of an art than a science. Not everyone is going to fit into a tidy mold, and it is entirely possible that a site that I think offers high quality for the average professional freelancer won’t apply to you. I’ve done the best I can, and I think the results are as close to accurate as is possible under the circumstances. You’ll have to “take it under advisement”, as those TV judges like to say. :)
Home - Table Of Contents - Contact Us
The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
© Copyright 2001-2011 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.