Can't get my first client in Odesk.

29 replies
Hi Warriors,

Anyone can help me on finding clients in Odesk?
I have the VA skills partnered with some web design skill so I take is my advantage. But, I still can't find client in Odesk.

Anyone can advise me on what to put on my cover letter?

A sample cover letter from you might help me.

Thanks,
Jeff
#client #odesk
  • Profile picture of the author TravisO
    Hi Jeff,

    Seems like you can't find your very first client in Odesk.
    I will message you a sample cover letter.

    And also, please work on your portfolios.

    Lastly, just apply and apply and don't be discouraged.
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  • Profile picture of the author motley
    Hi Jeff,

    I would recommend you to apply to ANY job if you are qualified well for it, no matter how much you get paid. Accept a few contracts even if they are low priced. Your goal is to get feedback and portfolio.

    I'm not an oDesk worker, but I often hire people in oDesk and sometimes I'm lucky to get a great contractor for cheep just because he or she don't have any feedback or oDesk hours. I see that these contractors have much higher hourly rate in their profiles than they are agree to work for me and I realize that they do it just to get their first job. If the job is completed successfully and IN TIME (it's very important for me), I tend to leave a great feedback and recommendations. This, I believe, helps my contractors to find more jobs which are good paid. I think there are other employers who have same approach as me, so use this info to design your own strategy on marketing your service on oDesk.

    Hope it helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author TravisO
      Originally Posted by motley View Post

      Hi Jeff,

      I would recommend you to apply to ANY job if you are qualified well for it, no matter how much you get paid. Accept a few contracts even if they are low priced. Your goal is to get feedback and portfolio.

      I'm not an oDesk worker, but I often hire people in oDesk and sometimes I'm lucky to get a great contractor for cheep just because he or she don't have any feedback or oDesk hours. I see that these contractors have much higher hourly rate in their profiles than they are agree to work for me and I realize that they do it just to get their first job. If the job is completed successfully and IN TIME (it's very important for me), I tend to leave a great feedback and recommendations. This, I believe, helps my contractors to find more jobs which are good paid. I think there are other employers who have same approach as me, so use this info to design your own strategy on marketing your service on oDesk.

      Hope it helps.
      Yes you're right. I've done private messaging the cover letter for Jeff. If you have one example kindly give this guy a little help.

      Please be reminded Jeff that it takes time but it's worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Jeff,

    Remember you're competing with a LOT of other people all vying for the same jobs and many are probably happy to take less money than you too.
    Check out other sites instead of only focusing on one site. It will increase your odds of getting work.
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  • Profile picture of the author MelanieandMiles
    Simply stated: You are asking for too much money!

    Lowball yourself for your first 3-5 clients to build up your reputation there... Give $20/hr service for $5/hr and you will have no problem landing your first clients. Then, go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure you get 5 star ratings and positive reviews.

    Those ratings and reviews will help you land $8/hr clients for $20/hr work and then $10 and then $15... By the time you hit your target price per hour, you should have 100+ hours logged and 4.90 rating or higher... Then you will stand out in the crowd!

    An analogy for you here would be in the real estate world. No matter what people say, there is only one reason that a house will ever not sell and remain on the market... Because it is overpriced.

    Keep it simple and remember that your simply paying it forward to yourself... We spend tens of thousands of dollars on oDesk as an employer each year, so we are speaking from experience here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gambino
    I've hired quite a few providers on oDesk so I'll give you a quick rundown of what I look for.

    1. Applications that respond to my posting. I usually post information to give an overview of what I need done. Then look for qualified applicants that don't submit a clearly generic application. Those applications automatically get ignored.
    2. Positive reviews. Rarely have I hired anyone that didn't have a few positive reviews. Only when it's a very simple task do I even consider it.
    3. Decent portfolio. Always prefer someone who has done something similar to what I want done.

    Really, that's all I look for.
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  • Profile picture of the author Social App Zone
    I look for:

    1. Good rep
    2. Good English
    3. Good understanding of the service I am after
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by motley View Post

      I would recommend you to apply to ANY job if you are qualified well for it, no matter how much you get paid.
      Why on earth would you give such terrible advice????

      You should be charging inline with industry standards, or what you're worth. Not haggling to offer your services for peanuts.

      Originally Posted by MelanieandMiles View Post

      Simply stated: You are asking for too much money!

      Lowball yourself for your first 3-5 clients to build up your reputation there... Give $20/hr service for $5/hr and you will have no problem landing your first clients. Then, go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure you get 5 star ratings and positive reviews.

      Those ratings and reviews will help you land $8/hr clients for $20/hr work and then $10 and then $15... By the time you hit your target price per hour, you should have 100+ hours logged and 4.90 rating or higher... Then you will stand out in the crowd!

      An analogy for you here would be in the real estate world. No matter what people say, there is only one reason that a house will ever not sell and remain on the market... Because it is overpriced.

      Keep it simple and remember that your simply paying it forward to yourself... We spend tens of thousands of dollars on oDesk as an employer each year, so we are speaking from experience here.
      Terrible advice.

      Why is it always a race to the bottom???????

      Forget about the BS on Odesk. Hit up local businesses and start making some proper money.
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      • Profile picture of the author paulie
        I'll tell you why it's NOT wise to charge according to "industry standards" when working online (especially when you don't have stacks of experience under your belt). Competition. People will rarely pay what we think (or know) we're worth with our online services no matter how good you are UNLESS it's something very specialized.

        Although we might be very experienced and KNOW what we're worth per hour unfortunately other people don't. Most people want things done as cheaply as possible.

        An example: Most will skoff at the prospect of having to pay up to $37 for an ebook design which will most probably take a professional designer hours to produce. Although the service will no doubt be worth it - people generally just don't want to pay. They do not understand the sheer effort involved - even though the result would be far superior to what you get in the average Fiverr gig.

        If you're working in an advertising company you might expect to get $50 an hour. Not so when working online. Think more like $5 for most people.

        That's why I suggest Fiverr for a start. Sure it's not much money but you can easily add upsells and deliver work with an attached text file detailing your other services (more upsells) that can really add up. Get your confidence up and build a portfolio first. That will put you in a better bargaining position for your services.

        Then focus on getting bigger jobs and quit doing the small stuff. Seek working offline too to nett much bigger $$$. It's worked well for me anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author eClicker
    Perhaps start on Fiverr, build your reputation then move up in price. You could trade work for testimonials and build your portfolio.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Lower your price. Establish a track record. Increase your price accordingly.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      Lower your price.
      Yeh, lower your price and work at $2 an hour.

      Awesome.
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      • Profile picture of the author writeaway
        Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

        Yeh, lower your price and work at $2 an hour.

        Awesome.
        Don't be afraid to put in the work needed to achieve success. It may be a blow to the ego but there is nothing like hard work to mold the character and mindset needed for success.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
          Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

          Don't be afraid to put in the work needed to achieve success. It may be a blow to the ego but there is nothing like hard work to mold the character and mindset needed for success.
          Im trying really hard not to respond in the manner of which you rightfully deserve, but I will say this.....

          This is the problem here on WF for a LOT of members. They have this two dollar mindset. $4 WSO, $3 articles, $50 websites...infact, the services you're promoting in your signature links are evidence of this.

          Wake up and smell the coffee. I've been freelancing for almost 13 years, and If I followed your advice, I would've been back in my day job within a month.
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          • Profile picture of the author writeaway
            Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

            Im trying really hard not to respond in the manner of which you rightfully deserve, but I will say this.....

            This is the problem here on WF for a LOT of members. They have this two dollar mindset. $4 WSO, $3 articles, $50 websites...infact, the services you're promoting in your signature links are evidence of this.

            Wake up and smell the coffee. I've been freelancing for almost 13 years, and If I followed your advice, I would've been back in my day job within a month.
            A sense of entitlement never made anybody rich.

            The OP asked for practical advice. Apparently, the price point he is offering isn't going anywhere. Instead of expecting and WISHING to get paid a certain level and waiting for a long time, I offered something practical. People have to prove themselves and then move their price up once they have established a track record. The world rewards hard work. It doesn't care about what you THINK you are are worth or where you are from. It rewards only action and RESULTS. We can cry over this and wish it wasn't the case or we can take action. Our choice, right? I am just telling the OP to choose to build a track record (as recommended by other posters above) using low prices and then scaling up.
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            • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
              Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

              A sense of entitlement never made anybody rich.
              You would know would you?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rennell Garrett
    I have been working on Odesk for a while now and my experience tells me that you have to do your first few jobs at dirt cheap rate in order to get feedback. After couple of feedback, you can go back to your normal rate. Offer your services in such a cheap rate that the buyer cannot ignore your bid.

    ~ Worked for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author onlineworkers
    Oh.. Good to see a lot of information, I wanted to start with O'desk, I got good client from dp, fiverr and some others. Will try out in O'desk soon and will try to give a good service...
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrick
    1. Do not create a "over-hyped" portfolio with lot of things in there. The clients are not stupid. The moment they see your portfolio has a lot of good stuff, they will wonder if you are so good, then how come you have no work ?

    2. The cover letter is VERY important. Do NOT use copy paste generic cover letters explaining your life history and boasting about your skills. Keep it short and to the point. They want to see whether you have understood the work or not. And since you are starting out as new, you shouldn't boast of your service also.

    3. Make sure you specify to the client what the client wants you to do. Read the job posting carefully, some clients ask for "phrases" to include in cover letters just to check whether you have read the whole description or not. Also specify the time you will take to finish the work.

    4. Try to keep the time frame within 24 hours. But this doesn't mean you rush and give him crap work. You are starting out a new career in a way. Make sure you give enough time to it.

    5. Do NOT fake yourself. Be yourself. Be honest ! If you can't do anything, let the client know. Don't just take the work and then think that you will somehow "manage" to get it done.

    6. Price: Don't keep it too high, don't keep it too low.

    7. Communication is very important. Sometimes a client might reply to you immediately. Make sure you are there in front of your computer to answer them. If a client replies to you and you reply him back after 2-3 hours, consider that you will not get the job.

    8. Subscribe to their RSS feeds, so that you get updates about the latest job postings. 60-70% clients prefer people who post their offer first. Go to Find Work, enter a keyword in the search form, keep that page open, keep refreshing it after 5 minutes or 2 minutes, since RSS feeds come a little later than than the original time of job posting.

    9. Keep bidding, it might take time to get your first job. But if you follow the above points, then you will get it fast. The first time I started freelancing almost 5 years ago, I got a job in the first day itself.

    10. Make sure you take work which you really can do. Good Luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author mark587905
    It can be hard on oDesk especially if you are asking to high a price.
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    • Profile picture of the author Patrick
      Originally Posted by Portlandrocks View Post

      First, you're going to need some type of proof for your perspective clients to trust that hiring you would be beneficial. One of the things that you could do, is go to the Warriors looking to hire section of this forum and offer an hour or two of VA service for free in exchange for a well written review.

      Once you get the review, paste it into your profile on the site and every time you send out job applications make sure you say something like this:

      "here are what people say about my services:

      (Insert the reviews here)"

      That would be the first thing I would do.
      Odesk is not a sales page or squeeze page where people will read the reviews posted by you. They will read the reviews posted by past employers who worked with that employee through Odesk.

      Also Odesk is very strict about what you put in your profile. If they see any links or any suspicious thing such as what you mentioned above, which would misguide the employers, they will simply ban you or suspend your profile till you remove that stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Clark
    Perhaps this short tutorial might help????

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    Make $5 every 10 minutes
    non-affiliate site
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Clark
    Odesk Tips For Applying For Work
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    Make $5 every 10 minutes
    non-affiliate site
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  • Profile picture of the author msharmjia
    These freelancing sites takes a lot of time to get you a new or first client. These aren't easy these days to get clients that easy. You should offer some free services or kind of thing so that you can acquire some reviews over them. Never mind if they come for no money, but they are going to attract new clients easily.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Ning Lo
    There's really no secret formula..

    Apply for a lot of jobs and work for cheap until you get some rep..

    Then increase your price.

    Cheers,

    Gary
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  • Profile picture of the author boriska
    "I prefer the WTT section on SEOClerk instead of Odesk. Great place to get many clients!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sgt Kraut
    Write an unique application and don't copy & paste the same to every job. It's so annoying because you have no idea if the applicant actually read and understood your job description. A good trick for showing this is to repeat some information from the job description in your own words.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    I don't get why people are pricing their work so low. I hire people to create things for me all the time and the low bids I stay away from completely.

    Though I must say from a business stand point it is great because I can hire someone that is charging these low ball gutter prices and offer them say $200 instead of the $50 they were charging and get decent work and still make money on the deal. I love the built-in self loathing and self-esteem killing atmosphere these places put on people and the peer pressure to charge $5 for what normally one would pay $150 to $300 for, it is great business for buyers. Please, please PLEASE keep that atmosphere up it is greatly saving my pocket book.

    As someone who also has done freelancing I have had ZERO problems getting clients but I do NOT ever work through these type of sites and get involved in the gutter slinging of who can offer the lowest price for the best feed back game.

    My rates are typical among those that can produce high quality and customers flock, they absolutely FLOCK to me especially after dealing with all you that low ball themselves through the freelance sites.

    I was critical and gave my personal experience of dealing with these sites in another thread and it got deleted so I am guessing any type of critical against these type of sites will be moderated out now since Freelancer owns the joint.

    I am just sharing my own personal experience as a Buyer of hiring outsource labor.

    If I shared with you what I make when I freelance you would not believe it and think I am a delusional american with a "sense of entitlement." Thing is, I have no problems charging high fees and getting clients to pay whatever that fee is. Only problems I ever get both on the labor and the client end is when paying or charging too little so I have learned by necessity to stay out of the low ball realm.

    How do I do this? I expect to make what I am worth and I market to those that expect to get the results of what they would receive from paying me. None of that will work in the outsourcing sites though so I don't know what I can say to help you there.

    To get clients you would actually want to deal with and earn a decent living from, learn to market yourself and target the level of client you want to have.
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