Online Work Tips & Best Practices

On Tip Tuesdays, we ask the oDesk Facebook community about their experiences with freelancing.

In response, freelancers share their advice for those just getting started, handling disagreements, creating a good profile photo and preventing loneliness when working remotely. Here is the latest collection of our favorite Tip Tuesday answers.

Editor’s note: Responses may be edited for clarity and length.

Now that my oDesk profile is complete, how do I start working and get good feedback?

Now that my oDesk profile is complete, how do I start working and get good feedback?

Apply to jobs that fit with your skills. Don’t apply to jobs where you don’t have sufficient skills. Send a quality cover letter. Don’t send the same cover letter when applying to different jobs. Always try to send your cover letter fast, make it unique and answer any questions accurately. When you get an invitation to interview, talk with the client with modesty and answer the questions truly. You can ask for test jobs to justify your skills. Always be honest.
Shakoat Hossain

Do your best on each task. Under promise, but over deliver. Always leave your clients in awe. The quality of your work will speak for itself. Clients won’t hesitate to give you stellar feedback and will keep coming back for your services.
Jonnifer Cadorna

What is the best way to handle a disagreement or dispute with a client or freelancer?

Good and consistent communication is the key to every relationship. It is always best to keep an open mind when dealing with any situation. Think positively and try not to take things personally. This way, we get to have a good understanding of the issue or situation. If we no longer know what to do, then we can seek the help of the oDesk Helpdesk. This way, they can intervene on our behalf to get things settled.
Genie Dela Cruz Guimong


Sincerely communicate about the problem with the client (or freelancer). Start an open discussion with the other party. Often disputes/disagreements happen due to lack of ‘clear communication’.

Do not insist on what you believe to be correct; take a look at the issue(s) from your client’s (other party’s) perspective. Never, ever use harsh words in your communications with the other party. Value his/her views and ideas. Let them know you understand and respect their concerns. Let them feel you really want to help sort out issues.

IF the other party is not responsive or doesn’t like to agree on a win-win solution, go to your last option, contact the oDesk support team and get assistance to resolve the issue.
Sampath Sri Warnakula

What are the elements of a good profile photo?
What are the elements of a good profile photo?

Keep it simple: A clear photo of you with a pleasant smile in casual or business-casual attire.
Car Infante

Look like someone YOU would hire for a job.
Falcon Sound Company

What’s your strategy to prevent loneliness when working remotely?

Regardless of the workflow, take a break every hour for at least 5 minutes and take a walk outside (weather permitting) for at least 30 minutes on your lunch break. I also open the blinds to let the sunshine in.
Amanda Cherry Coke

What's your strategy to prevent loneliness when working remotely?

Here are some easy-to-do tips, which can be applied anywhere, in any country, that are workable for anyone.

Let’s create a scenario first: we are working from home where we have an Internet connection, computer and cellphone. We don’t have any people around us; our friends and close relatives are busy in their offices doing other activities and we don’t have any pets.

In this scenario we can do the following things to prevent loneliness:

  1. Listen to uplifting and pleasant music.
  2. Once or twice a week change your environment.
  3. Make calls to your loved ones including your close relations and just ask about their lives, activities and health.
  4. Spend some time on social networks and surf the internet for news. Keep yourself updated about the world.
  5. Watch entertaining videos.
  6. Try to do DIY stuff twice a week like gardening, repairing or cooking.
  7. Try to prevent other people’s loneliness through social networks, SMS and calls.
  8. Keep yourself busy.
  9. Do not work continuously for more than 2 hours. Leave your seat and go outside for at least 30 minutes, keep walking and observe the natural environment, places, people, and try to observe any kind of difference.
  10. Try to help others even if you don’t know them.

M.i. Khan

Quick video chats have made a huge difference for me in how much I enjoy every day. I feel more connected to my colleagues and clients, and the biggest reward is that together our work is even better! And we have cut back on email considerably. It was definitely a bigger adjustment than I anticipated yet I love it and appreciate all the tools available today!
Ried Elenich

What advice would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Melanie Feltham

Contributing Author

As the Social Media Community Manager at Upwork, Melanie Feltham works closely with the social team to engage Upwork's active social audience. Her spare time is spent walking the lakeshore near her home office in Toronto, drawing and painting wildlife, and working on passion projects–the latest, a book about misconceptions spread by popular media. Connect with her on Twitter @MelanieFeltham to find out more about… read more