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Marketing Yourself Online: Freelancing 101

By Merle
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004

How to find projects when you're self employed.

Before the widespread use of the Internet, working for yourself was a much tougher undertaking than it is today. With over 13 million people claiming the status of "self employed," sites have sprung up online to fill this niche and offer help through a variety of services. From helping you find work projects to offering advice, these sites can be a real asset to anyone striking out on their own.

Job categories range from writing, management, legal, Information Technology, marketing, and more. The primary focus of these "Business to Business" (B2B) sites is to match your skills with companies who have projects for someone with your talents. Some charge for membership, some are free, and some take a percentage of each job that is awarded (usually from the employer).

In the beginning, you'll need to fill out an online profile that specifies your experience, skill level, and sometimes allows you to list examples of your work.

Let's take a closer look at a few of the bigger freelance sites:

1) Guru: (

This is probably the most popular, likely due to their large advertising budget. You'll find their ads on all of the more popular PC Mags and pasted every- where online.

Like most of these services, you must first create a profile that details who you are and what you do. The site currently claims over 320,00 members with over 7,000 job listings. They also offer a variety of backend services such as articles, and an ezine and other goodies that will help you run your business more efficiently.

2) eLance: (

This site is set up in an auction setting where you bid on projects that interest you. Use of an online rating system allows buyers and sellers to make comments about each other which are than publicly shared. eLance covers all business categories you can possibly think of

3) Ants: (

Another auction-like site where you bid on projects that interest you. Categories of jobs are more limited but you can make money telling all your friends about this great service.

4) eWork Exchange: (

Part of registration involves building your online resume which can be added to by creating a skill profile to go with it. Searching for projects is simple. When you see something you like you can e-mail the project owner with your comments through the use of a private profile number. You won't receive any direct contact information until you accept the project. eWork boasts they have over 170,000 members

5) Free Agent: (

Claiming over 100,000 members, this is another one getting a lot of press. Upon registering you have to fill out a lengthy form detailing your skills and qualifications. They don't use open bidding, but you can search for projects by category. Free Agent uses a skill-matching engine that matches your skills with possible employers. Your name is then sent to them so they can contact you and work out the money details.

So next time your business is slow and you're not quite sure where your next paycheck is coming from, browse through these sites and you'll have a "gig" in no time at all!

About the Author
Merle is an internet marketer, promotion consultant and ezine publisher. Visit her sites at (, ( and (


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