For me at least, hourly contracts are much easier to work with. Besides, hourly pay can be subsidized with fixed price payments via the oDesk bonus system.
With how things are now, I'm equally wary of hourly and fixed-rate contracts. Because of my very good record, all my hourly contracts from December 2013 has the MBG thing....and I've encountered bad clients because of that 😞 It's like being punished for doing a great job. With the new faulty escrow system, it seems that no matter which way we go, we're screwed. The mod basically said that if a client is bad, it is the freelancer's fault (it's on the reviews and suspensions thread).
I'm actually not so active in oDesk these days. My company only works with 1 freelancer from here now (we used to have ongoing contracts with upwards of 5 freelancers per month) and I stopped applying to jobs...because I seldom see anything worth applying to. Most of my clients are old ones and I'm currently focusing on other avenues.
I'm staying for the forum and my old clients and from now on, I won't be entertaining clients who are new to the site. It is indeed not worth my time and effort. My bad for going against my client criteria.
Have you noticed how the site seems to be awash with bad clients these days? Even the ones with 5 star ratings and plenty of oDesk experience can turn out to be a client from h3ll. I don't get why that is. The site really needs to trim down bad clients.
I don't get it. This is the only site where the more I get experience and good ratings, the more things seem to work against me. It's a bummer.
Well-stated DM. Much of what you wrote (e.g., "With how things are now....") goes for me as well. I do dislike the added record keeping needed when working off-site vs. on-site. However, finding good jobs and good clients off-site is much easier these days. I am certain good jobs and good clients are still here...somewhere... Finding them is just too time consuming.
Same here Ron, I really liked how oDesk was during my first 6 months as a member of the site. I still can't fathom how things went from that time (July-December 2013) to what's going on now.
Some of my clients says and feels the same. It looks like they feel intruded upon by the new features/updates. I also have several clients who are active users of the site previously but won't go anywhere near the site now. When I got to know them via my website (they never contacted or dealt with me via oDesk), no amount of convincing made them hire me here. They really don't want to come back, despite my oDesk rates being almost 50% cheaper than my rate outside the site. I don't know why but maybe they got burned here.
As for MS charging for proposals..her .suggestion does have a lot of merit. In the B&M world, I charge for everything, including meeting for coffee 😛
It seems clients value you more if they have to pay for everything. My BMW (brick and mortar world) clients have to schedule a meeting with me and I almost never move other stuff just to accommodate them. They almost always have to make their schedule work with mine and meet where I want to meet. Of course all tabs are on them too.
Yep, call me a primadonna out of oDesk but hey, I get paid really well and clients respect me...very different as to how oDesk clients often are. Perhaps being nice and being too accommodating makes a freelancer seem less professional so the clients think they run everything and hence, them acting like they can simply bark orders and it will be done.
I really should start behaving like a high-end reservation-only restaurant and stop being like a 24/7 fastfood service as far as freelancing goes ahaha! Afterall, people are always much more grateful if the high-end restaurant's chef comes to their table for a quick hi and hello but no one feels special when a McDonald's burger flipper personally hands over a burger 😛
Hopefully you'll be ok, but I suggest you to take screenshots/copies of your conversations anyway: they may come in handy, just in case... (but I'm pretty sure you already know that). You just made the best choice, imho.
Great suggestion Mattia, thank you so much!
I don't usually take screenshots of oDesk PMs because they stay in the inbox anyway but yes, I'll save the skype conversations.
The problem is that we've spoken on skype call twice (both at 3-5am on my timezone, yep, I am VERY accomodating) and of course what transpires during a call is difficult to prove/record. If things go bad it will be my word against hers and what stuff can be gleamed from our PMs.
I hope oDesk hears my side if things go really bad as I've been here for 1.5 years and made them a few thousands in profits alone whereas this is a new member who obviously didn't even make the effort to learn how to use the site.
"I hope oDesk hears my side if things go really bad as I've been here for 1.5 years and made them a few thousands in profits alone whereas this is a new member who obviously didn't even make the effort to learn how to use the site."
I hope it too. In such a worst-case-scenario oDesk should listen and see your point. You're a good person and a talented freelancer. No doubts about that. You really should be ok
Hmmm.... I think this could have been prevented in the first place if everything's in black and white - like coming up with your own proposal prior to working, even if it's a trial job. This way, you can set expectations clear without having to go through all of these. Whenever I accept new projects - trial, short or long term - I have another set of project initiation proposal where every tiny detail is set - from the scope of work, schedule of deliverables, review/revision phase, change of job terms to limitations. Never had a problem since
I used to be in your shoes before and got a nice advise that if I want to be treated professionally - I have to present as such. I even charge for drafting these proposals now when it used to be free and clients value it like something set in stone.
Just to be clear, everything was in black and white.
Like you, I always set all my projects' expectations, deliverables, time frame, scope, revisions, copyright, tone, etc etc from the very start/interview phase.
For this one, I did come up with my own proposal before the trial job started. Things just went sour about a week after the trial job when the client sent the xmas milestone and failing to close the contract despite me giving detailed instructions and links on how to do so. I've mentioned this twice or thrice in this thread.
On that initial proposal, everything was laid out, in FULL details - yep, it includes everything that you mentioned. Unfortunately, the client just can't seem to understand how oDesk works, example, ending a contract, leaving feedback and creating a new one (I talked aboit this in the OP). She was very professional during the interview and the trial phase, and just to be clear, the job is simply about ghostwriting her blogs.
After the trial job, she went crazay with a new task/job without asking me first if those stuff she wants to be done are amongst the services I offer. I mentioned this twice before but saying it again because it seems that you've missed it - she failed to honour the terms of the proposal (closing the trial fixed rate job and starting anew with an hourly one). Why do you think I feel so disrespected?
Anyway at first I thought she was simply new to the site, but after the xmas fiasco and her barking orders thinking I must be some kind of superhero (again, without even asking how much I charge for such or if I even do those stuff and setting a new hourly contract), it just looks like her true colours came out shining bright.
Great suggestion on charging for proposals. Perhaps I do need to charge for every single thing, even for the interview 😛
Kudos MS! I wish I could give you 10 Kudos for the advice you gave DM and others.
I don't recall if I mentioned this before or not. Back in the day when good jobs and good clients were plentiful here on oDesk, when a prospective client was ready to hire me, I used to draft an entirely new job description for them to post and hire me via invite-only.
Why that practice? Most job descriptions written by prospective clients are not well-written and do not serve as meaningful business agreements let alone an agreed to scope of work. In addition, during my earlier days here on oDesk, both clients and freelancers were stalking my account -- sending me proposals, solicitations, and other unwanted intrusions. They would even show up on Skype requesting to "chat." Most if not all were from a specific region.
Hey, wait a minute.... You charge for proposals? lol.... I don't even charge for Skype consultations during the course of a contract, and you charge for proposals...lol.... OK, I get it. It's the "time is money thing." Don't take offence, Everyone has their own business practices that work best for them.
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