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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  The Online Freelancing Guide - Introduction and "Guide To The Guide"

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Structure and Organization of the Online Freelancing Guide

The Online Freelancing Guide contains as much information as a good-sized book, but is organized in a very different way. It has been designed from the ground up for electronic viewing, and so dispenses with traditional print-oriented structures in favor of a system that is more suited to online reading.

One problem with traditional books is that they use a “flat” structure: a set of chapters, each covering one topic or area of interest. These are usually just piled into the book one after the other, with the reader having to figure out how they relate to each other. Publishers also don’t like chapters that get too big, so in lengthier works, authors split up big chapters into smaller ones—even if the larger chapter would make more logical sense. This often compounds the issue, making it more difficult to get a good handle on the subject matter.

The Online Freelancing Guide uses a different approach: a hierarchical structure that allows the Guide’s information to be presented to you in a way that I hope you’ll find easier to understand. At the top level are seven chapters, each of which contains any number of sections. Each section can in turn contain one or more topics, which are generally where the bulk of the actual content is found. Topics are selected so that each thoroughly covers a particular subject; in those cases where topics become very lengthy, they are broken up into multiple numbered pages.

The seven chapters of the Online Freelancing Guide are each dedicated to a high-level subject area. For those of you who are familiar with my earlier writing, I have broken with my past tradition of writing up a guide in its entirety before putting it online. The initial launch of the site contains two of the seven chapters; the remaining five will be published serially as they are completed.

Here’s a brief description of each of the chapters, with links:

  • Introduction - Online Freelancing Overview, Options, Opportunities and Challenges: This chapter introduces and describes online freelancing; it will be especially useful for those new to the subject. I define online freelancing and compare it to traditional employment and conventional freelancing. I look at what disciplines make the most sense for online freelancing, and help you understand whether this is a good fit for your line of work. I outline some of the challenges associated with being a successful freelancer, examine alternatives for establishing a freelance career, and present important trade-offs for you to consider.

  • An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites: A very big part of being an online freelancer is understanding how to select and effectively use online freelancing marketplace sites. Accordingly, this large chapter contains the most thorough analysis and review of popular online freelancing sites ever published. Each of the “Big Five” sites—Elance, Freelancer.com, Guru, oDesk and vWorker—is analyzed in extensive detail using a set of thirteen standard criteria. I also grade the sites in each of the thirteen areas, and analyze how much each site costs to use in a variety of freelancing scenarios. Shorter reviews are also provided of several other sites.

  • Planning and Managing Your Online Freelancing Business: This chapter will tell you everything you need to know about setting up and running a typical online freelancing business. This includes deciding what work categories to focus on, setting up an office or workspace, finding and scheduling time for work, helping your family adjust to your new career, and much more.

  • Finding and Evaluating Online Freelancing Projects: As a freelancer you must find your own work, and as an online freelancer you’ll be doing this mainly via online freelance marketplace sites. This chapter is devoted to providing information on this process, helping you to define a search strategy, learn how to assess clients and projects, identify danger signals in project listings, and handle special situations.

  • Writing and Pricing Internet Freelancing Proposals: This important chapter will contain dozens of topics devoted to helping you write effective proposals that get you selected by clients. Subjects include general information on writing effective proposals, under­standing client requirements, using templates, understanding factors that influence project value, and optimal pricing strategies.

  • Managing Online Freelancing Projects and Clients: This chapter is devoted to the practical aspects of managing projects and clients once you have been chosen for a job. You’ll learn how to schedule and prioritize tasks, deal with clients, handle change requests, manage problem situations as they arise, finish a project, and ensure that you get paid.

  • Developing Your Freelancing Career: Last but certainly not least, a successful online freelancing career is more than just a series of projects. In this concluding chapter, I will look at important elements in building a freelancing career, with topics such as how to manage your profile and feedback ratings, the importance of client follow-up, how to develop your skills and expand your offerings, and ways to build both your business and your relationships with the greater freelancing community.

Previous Topic/Section
The Online Freelancing Guide - Introduction and History
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Tips For Navigating the Online Freelancing Guide
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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011

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