The Way We Work
November 19, 2009 by Guest Blogger

From building a portfolio to moving onward on oDesk towards a profitable freelancing career, Sara Haley shares some perspective from the provider’s view in her eBook series, How to Make Money on oDesk. Here, she shares what she has learned during her time in the oDesk oConomy.

It’s a vicious cycle in the beginning—in order to get a job on oDesk, you need some positive feedback, but in order to get that positive feedback, you need to get a job on oDesk. It may seem, at first, that there’s no way to actually get your foot in the door and get started, but with a few strategies, you can build up strong feedback quickly and easily.

In the beginning, in order to quickly establish an oDesk profile, you’re going to want to look for small jobs with quick turnaround times (like same day jobs) that can provide you with instant feedback and get your oDesk profile developed with some work history and logged oDesk hours.

When it comes to your very first job, you’ll want to work above and beyond the expectations of the buyer. This will not only surprise and delight your client, but up the chances of being hired for future projects they may need outsourced work for. Not only this, but it encourages the buyers to leave you a glowing feedback for all to see—and the best thing you want on your feedback is a line like, “I’d hire them again in a heartbeat for all my freelance writing needs!” The line says it all and will stand out in a sea of sub-par providers.

Avoid getting a bad rating and work hard. And I mean, hard. Especially those first few jobs—you want to get some great feedback going so that you can show prospective buyers that you’re the person for the job, that you have past satisfied customers and that you completed everything as agreed and in time.

When the job has been closed out, both the buyer and provider are offered the opportunity to leave feedback. Be sure to leave feedback for the buyer immediately to remind them that feedback means a lot to you, and chances are, they will reciprocate with positive feedback as well. If, for some reason, you go a few days without feedback or additional contact from the buyer, it’s not considered rude if you send a polite email message to the buyer just reminding them that you’re getting your start on oDesk and feedback means a lot to you. Just in case they forget. Again, make sure its polite and not pushy, and just let them know that getting good feedback at the beginning of your oDesk career will help you gain the trust and work for other exceptional buyers like them.

There is, however, a limitation as to when feedback can be posted, so if you haven’t received feedback from the buyer after the job and you’ve already left them feedback, be sure to contact them soon or your window of opportunity will be gone.

One mistake I see all too often is a new, frustrated provider posting on the forums that they’ve been signed up for months and have yet to get a job. Most times, the major mistake I notice is that their hourly wage is extremely high.

Of course, by having an outrageously high hourly wage on oDesk and a new member profile with no ratings or feedback, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Just like on eBay, you’re more likely to purchase goods from a reputable, long-time seller with great feedback than you are from a newly registered seller without any feedback at all. Same goes for oDesk—you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is generally on the more inexpensive side. But don’t fret—once you have a few jobs with glaringly positive feedbacks under your belt, raising your rates will go unnoticed to those looking to hire someone for quality work. I’m a firm believer in the phrase, “you get what you pay for.” You are what you’re worth, and make sure your resume, feedback and portfolio reflects work that corresponds with the hourly wage you are asking. (My eBook series, How to Make Money on oDesk, gives you the steps, the knowledge, and the confidence to get you working for the hourly wage you deserve!)

Just like word of mouth, positive feedback can be priceless. If a buyer sees that you’ve knocked the socks off of your previous clients, it will put you closer to the top of their list of prospective hires.


Sara Haley is a happily married stay-at-home mom to her two children and spends her free time working on oDesk and freelance writing her own eBooks. She is the writer for and, as well as the author of numerous eBooks, including her How To Make Money on oDesk series and The Ultimate Transcription Job eBook. She also writes for companies like eHow and Bukisa in addition to the freelance writing and online work she does for her ever-growing list of satisfied oDesk clients. A link to all of her online ventures can be found at