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10 Red Flags to Watch Out for when Applying for Jobs Online

11/16/2016

Earn dollars.
Work from home.
Spend more time with family.

Sounds inviting, right?

Inspired to live a more lucrative lifestyle, you have finally decided to join the work from home bandwagon. Welcome aboard! What a great time to dive into the freelancing world. It's a growing market and there are lots of opportunities available online.

BUT, don't put your hopes up too high. I must warn you that freelancing is NOT GOING TO BE EASY and job opportunities in the freelance marketplace are not always what they seem to be. For every legitimate job posted online, there are also jobs that are fake! Scammers are getting more creative nowadays. And they prey on newbie freelancers with little to no knowledge about the freelance industry.

Having been in the freelancing industry for over 5 years, spotting dubious clients has become a no-brainer to me. I have experienced working with a variety of clients. And I've learned how to be selective and be wary of projects that are just not worth the hassle and waste of time.

If you're a newbie freelancer, you may want to be careful when applying for jobs online. I am sharing with you the most common RED FLAGS to watch out for when looking for jobs online, specifically on Upwork.

10 Red Flags to Watch Out for when Applying for Jobs Online

1. PHISHING guise as SHORTENED URLS/LINKS


You have a job invitation and you're excited! The client is asking you to click an obscured link and download something. DO NOT DO IT.

Be wary of job posts that contain obscured/shortened URLs and ask you to download a fishy software or document. This may redirect you to a login page that looks like a legit (Upwork, Gmail, Paypal etc) account but is actually NOT. It's probably just a copy of a login screen that aims to steal your username & password. So be careful on clicking obscure links like these:

http://ow.ly/(randomletters&numbers)
http://x.co/(randomletters&numbers)

Legit clients post actual URLs and not the covered ones like the above links.

So don't click unknown and suspicious links. And don't enter your login credentials on unfamiliar sites.


2. PAYMENT FOR SOMETHING (REGISTRATION FEE/SOFTWARE TO USE)


A company offers you a job but you need to pay for a software or registration fee to get started. This DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. Whatever reasons they may tell you, you should never ever send money to a prospective employer.

Legitimate companies don’t ask for money. If you’re asked to pay for something, beware.


3. EASY CAPTCHA WORK


SKIP it. It's not real work. It's actually used to automate SPAMMING.


4. FREE SAMPLES


Don't do samples unless paid.


5. TO MANY PEOPLE BEING INTERVIEWED BUT ZERO HIRE


Don't trust employers who send out too many invites, accept a lot of interviewees but hire no one.

They are just probably marketing something or just splits a project up into smaller ones and gives it as test projects to all applicants, thus gets the output for free.

So, check the number of people being interviewed against the number of people hired. If it doesn't add up then just move on to the next one.

10 Red Flags to Watch Out for when Applying for Jobs Online


6. PAYMENT METHOD NOT VERIFIED


Clients with an unverified payment method are either first-time Upwork users or scammers. You can give first-time users a chance but be very careful. Never start working until the client's payment method is settled.

Personally, I don't apply to jobs with no verified payment method. Freelancing is already a gamble, don't make it more difficult by working with clients who have no capacity to pay. Not worth the hassle.


7. VAGUE JOB DESCRIPTION


Good clients can clearly state what they want, what qualification they require, their payment policy and the project duration upfront. If a client just beats around the bush and doesn't clearly state the above things, don't bother applying.


8. LARGE QUALIFICATIONS, DEMANDING JOB but RIDICULOUSLY TINY BUDGET


These are job postings from clients with unrealistic expectations that pay PEANUTS. They will give you too many responsibilities, require too many skills but will pay you for a few bucks only. Not worth it.

You should know your worth.


9. SEND IDs


Don't send IDs or other personal documents. These can be used to empty your account and steal your identity.

Only verify your Upwork profile directly through the platform. Never send out personal IDs/documents directly to a prospective employer.


10. SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE


Job listings that require no skills, give easy work and promise to pay a ridiculously big sum of money. No business in their right mind would actually provide that. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. STAY AWAY.


KEY TAKEAWAY


Before diving into something, READ & RESEARCH first. Before applying for a job post online, read the job description in its entirety and check the client's history. You will easily notice if something is not right.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCT and use your COMMON SENSE. If you feel that something is off then SKIP and move on to the next one. It will save you a lot of time and from a lot of stress.

Remember, you have skills to offer. The competition may seem fierce but it is possible to make money from freelancing, you just need to learn how freelancing works and filter the bad apples. Be vigilant and think twice when red flags show up. Freelancing is rewarding but can be scary if you don't know what you're getting yourself into. Good luck and be careful out there!

5 Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork

11/04/2016
Acing quality projects on Upwork, one of the top freelancing platforms in the world, is a pain in the ass. Particularly if you're a beginner. With over a thousand of registered freelancers on the site, expect your applications to get rejected multiple times. And this is frustrating and disheartening most of the time. I know the feeling because I started out as a newbie freelancer as well. Competition for projects on Upwork can be tough and you can just easily back down if you're not determined enough. But do not give up. If you could just invest time to MASTER how the PLATFORM WORKS, winning projects on Upwork shouldn't be that rough.

Armed with 5 years of freelance experience, I have developed effective ways to winning contracts and retaining repeat clients online. These are SIMPLE and STRAIGHTFORWARD strategies that if done right, can work wonders in landing your future Upwork projects. You never know, you may be the next freelancer to receive project offers from Upwork enterprise clients.

Upwork Tips Effective Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork

1. FIRST THINGS FIRST, COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE


No client is impressed with an incomplete or mysterious profile. Clients are searching for trustworthy freelancers to work with, so complete your profile and make it look LEGIT. Make sure that it is 100% complete and authentic. Make it certain that the information you enter is true. Publish your true identity and be proud. How can a client trust you if you don't even have a decent photo? Upload your high-quality profile photo. Write a SIMPLE and PRECISE JOB TITLE, keep it to less than 10 words and make sure that it highlights your NICHE. Take Upwork tests and aim to be in the TOP 10% of people who passed. Also, add a portfolio that is related to your niche. Improve your profile and ensure that it showcases your skills and expertise in the best way possible.

An impressive profile is important to landing jobs on Upwork. Having a 100% complete and well-written profile is critical as it represents YOU, your SKILLS, and what you can OFFER to prospective clients.

2. APPLY TO RECENTLY POSTED JOBS


Refresh your job feed and apply to the newest job postings. When clients post jobs on Upwork, they will most likely see and notice the first few applicants. So try to be one of the first few people to apply. Jobs that have been posted for hours or days will most likely have 100+ applicants in it and the chance of getting your proposal read is weak.

You can still apply for jobs that have been posted for a while but check if it has a few number of applicants so your chance of getting seen is still high.



3. GRAB ATTENTION BY STARTING YOUR PROPOSAL WITH THE CLIENT'S NAME


You only have a few moments to stand out from a pool of applicants so maximize it. 

Include the client’s name in your cover letter and you will have the client wondering how in the world had you known his name.

This attests that you paid attention to READ their JOB DESCRIPTION and researched even further. Also, addressing them by their name makes the proposal more PERSONAL.

So how do you get the client’s name?

Check the client’s Upwork history and read the reviews written about them. Other freelancers may have addressed them by their first name or company name in the feedback section. Use that. Sometimes the client's account will be used by multiple hiring managers. Still use a name that you can find. It will CATCH the reader’s ATTENTION.

I have gotten a lot of responses to my proposals due to this method. It's effective, use it.

Here's a sample of a client's work history and feedback which can be found at the bottom part of a job post.

5 Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork


4. KEEP YOUR COVER LETTERS SHORT & TAILORED


Keep your proposals SHORT, on point and conversational.

Read and take advantage of detailed job descriptions and customize your cover letter accordingly. You can prepare a template cover letter and use it to save time, but make sure to TAILOR it to suit the client's job posting. Most clients will give you clear information on what they're looking for so let them know that you have the required SKILLS and AVAILABILITY to do the job. Echo the client's needs and let them know how you can help.

Also, look for filters. Some clients set specific request to be fulfilled during the application to help them FILTER "copy pasted" applications. If you’re asked to include a keyword or answer specific questions in your cover letter, make sure to include it, else your application will be ignored.

Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork


5. DO GREAT WORK & TURN 1-TIME CLIENTS INTO REPEAT CLIENTS


For me, getting the job is just the start. The final goal is to deliver quality results and offer a good customer experience so they can use your services again.

Once you land a job, make sure that you don't just work, but DELIVER A GREAT WORKING EXPERIENCE. Communicate, ask questions and adhere to the set deadlines. Be pro-active and responsive. This way, you can turn your clients into repeat customers who will keep coming back because you are so DAMN GREAT TO WORK WITH.

Once you've established yourself as someone who knows what he's doing, dependable, competent and easy to work with, clients will want to work with you more. They will likewise recommend you to others. Thus, CUTS the JOB HUNTING TIME TO HALF. You don't need to search for jobs over and over again.

upwork top rated
Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork
Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork
Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork
Proven Ways to Winning Jobs on Upwork

Winning jobs on Upwork can be a STRUGGLE. But DON'T LOSE HOPE. Keep UPDATING YOUR SKILLS, keep IMPROVING YOUR PROFILE and keep applying to jobs. Try these strategies, mix it with your own methodologies and find what works for you. It is not going to be easy, but eventually, you will get better at landing jobs on Upwork.

Turning Passion into Profitable Blogging

10/30/2016
5 years ago, blogging was just a hobby, an online journal for my musings and travel escapades. But a lot has changed in the past few years. From having a personal blog way back in 2011, I am now managing two additional promotional websites. This provided me extra income alongside my full time freelance work online. It's been an exciting and challenging journey but it's all worth it. Blogging and freelancing have gifted me what I needed most, a somewhat balanced lifestyle. I get to work from home, spend more time with family and share my creative skills online.

BUT CAN ONE REALLY EARN FROM BLOGGING? 


It’s POSSIBLE to make money from blogging, but it’s important to have realistic expectations. It's NOT EASY and it doesn’t happen overnight. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick kind of work. Making a decent income from blogging takes a lot of TIME, PASSION, and HARDWORK. Truth is, I haven't earned anything from my own blog until after approximately 3 years.

When I started blogging, I didn't intend to make money from it. Blogging was just an outlet for my ideas. My sole focus was on my freelance projects on Upwork (formerly oDesk). I was already happy juggling 4-5 contracts on oDesk. But you know, life is unpredictable most of the time and shit happens. And one thing I learned in freelancing is to never be complacent. There is no such thing as STABILITY online, in your regular office job, or in LIFE. Clients, companies come and go. Contracts end, and sometimes, clients fail to pay, so never depend on a single source of income. I once experienced drought in freelancing and it's definitely not pretty. From having long term contracts that ended abruptly to receiving 30+ declined job proposals online, it was a very trying phase for me. But I didn't stop. I used my downtime to learn new skills. These include Google Adsense, Graphic Design, SEO, Social Media Marketing, a bit of Web Development, and Stocks Trading. I've used my time to upgrade my skills. I may not have come out as an expert but I've learned fundamental skills that helped me upped my game in the freelancing and blogging world. I continued applying online, created new websites and started monetizing them. And before I knew it, I was already back on track. New contracts have started and I've generated profitable websites on the side.

It is important to have an alternative source of income. And how does one actually do that? Easy, INVEST IN YOURSELF. Update your skills and learn new ones. Read, research and take skill-building courses. Don't just wait for companies to pick you, create your own platform and put yourself out there. There are so many ways to create an alternative source of income. Fortunately, blogging worked for me.


Here's what I've been earning on a daily basis since I've started to really work on monetizing my websites. This is from Google Adsense alone.



Today, I am sharing my 4-STEP GUIDE TO BUILDING A PROFITABLE BLOG. I am not a guru but I do know how to CREATE, LAUNCH, DRIVE TRAFFIC, and MONETIZE A BLOG. If you're seriously planning to start a blog, read on.

A BEGINNERS'S GUIDE TO BUILDING A PROFITABLE BLOG


STEP 1: FIND YOUR BLOG NICHE


PASSION & MARKET: 2 Important Things to Consider in Finding Your Blog Niche

STEP 2: CHOOSE A BLOGGING PLATFORM


BLOGGER vs WORDPRESS: Choosing the Best Blogging Platform

STEP 3: MARKET & GENERATE TRAFFIC 



STEP 4: MONETIZE YOUR BLOG


5 BEST WAYS TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG

PASSION & MARKET: 2 Important Things to Consider in Finding Your Blog Niche

What is the importance of having a niche? Choosing a niche gives your blog a CLEAR PURPOSE. It allows you to create content that is coherent to a theme or a set of ideas and target the right audience accordingly.

To find your niche, consider these 2 important factors: PASSION and MARKET.

how to find your niche: passion and market

PASSION: WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO WRITE ABOUT?


Find something you love and start from there. Think of something you're passionate about, something that drives you, something that you enjoy doing.

Because if you choose a topic that you don't enjoy, it will reflect in your writing. You need to be naturally curious and invested in your topic, else you’ll run out of ideas to write about. So pick something that you enjoy or at least have some interest in.


MARKET: ARE THERE PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE TOPIC YOU WANT TO WRITE?


A successful blog is not built on passion alone. And blogging doesn't need to revolve around yourself. It is important that your content gives value to other people. A good topic is something that appeals to you and to other people as well. Once you have a topic in mind, check if there is a demand for it.

There's no point in writing for a topic that has no market. People won't click or read a content if they aren't interested in it or cannot get any value from it. 

So how does one create a valuable content? Create useful content that answers people’s problems. You don't need to save the world or do heroic things to be able to create value. Think of things that you are good at and become a resource person for others interested in that area. Match your expertise to things that people are searching for then create a blog about it. Develop something that is helpful to people.

TIP: You can use Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner‎ to see what people are searching for.

PS. Don't get stuck trying to find the perfect niche or topic. There isn't a perfect niche. Generate ideas, pick one topic, check the demand for it and get started. The most important thing is for you to GET STARTED.

SEO BASICS FOR BLOGGERS: Traffic Generation Strategies for Your Blog

What is SEO and why is it important? SEO is the process of getting web traffic from the search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo & Bing. In simple terms, it is how people find your site via web search.

It is important for any blogger or website owner to have knowledge about SEO because the majority of web traffic is driven by the search engines. So, to boost your online presence, you may want your blog to be search-engine friendly.

Here are some good starting points for making your website or blog search-engine friendly:


1. Write a Good Title


Whenever you write a post title, think about what you would search for in Google if you were looking for an article about the topic. Think about how other people might phrase the same search term and try to create your title from that. Also, it should include your main keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.

2. Write Valuable Content


A search engine's purpose is to provide people with relevant and useful search results. So your content has to have some value. It is important that your content should give value to your audience.


3. Mention Keywords but Don't Overdo it


Include your keyword in such a way that it naturally flows within your content. Place it in your page title and headline, in the URL, in the body of your article. Keep it minimal and don't just stuff keywords all over your post.

4. Optimize Your Images


Optimized images can get your website a good amount of traffic too. Google actually sees your images so name them properly. Rename it to match the topic of your post. Rename it to include your keywords in the alt text, and description.

5. Build Links


Links are essential to growing your search rank. Link out to other helpful articles and get other people to link to you. Also, link back to some of your past posts that is relevant to your new posts. Whenever you have a link on a page, a search engine will crawl through it. The greater visibility you can gain for your site, the better.

6. Get Social


Share your post on social networking sites and get people to check it out.


7. Update your Blog & Write Regularly


Posting regularly teaches search engines to come back and check your website more frequently , which will cause your pages to rank more highly over time.


BOTTOMLINE: SEO really starts with thinking of what users would be searching for and creating a content in a way that search engine can easily find it. There is no quick and easy way to get more traffic to your website, but the above tips are good ways to start.

BLOGGER vs WORDPRESS: Choosing the Best Blogging Platform

Blogging is much more than just writing or posting photos. So choosing the best platform is important. A good blogging platform should be easy to use and flexible. Currently, I use Blogger for my personal blog and Wordpress for my two other websites.

The following is a comparison between Blogger and WordPress. These are the two of the major blogging platforms today.

BLOGGER FEATURES


  • It is straightforward and easy to use.
  • Easy Integration with Google Adsense.
  • URL ends with .blogspot.com, but you can transfer your own domain name
  • It has a template designer that is used to change simple things such as background, column width, fonts, and colors
  • Allows you to make HTML changes to your template through a browser interface
  • Easy Integration with Google+
  • Limited choice of design templates means it’s hard to make your site look different and unique
  • No plugins, but there is a decent number of simple gadgets that you can use to improve your sidebar and footer

WORDPRESS FEATURES


  • Enables you to have full control, flexibility, and ownership of your site
  • It has a wide range of design templates to help you create a pretty looking site without a need of design skills
  • Has a lot's of useful plugins. 
  • It allows you to make changes and add features without doing any coding 
  • It allows you to export and import your content to and from other platforms. 
  • It allows you to manage your blog and publish content through the browser-based dashboard, desktop clients for Mac and Windows, and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

SO WHAT TO CHOOSE? IT DEPENDS ON YOUR NEEDS


BLOGGER vs WORDPRESS: Choosing the Best Blogging Platform

Blogger’s most attractive feature is its cost. It is FREE and easy to use. Beginners can use the Blogger platform as a starting point. But if you plan to create a more advanced website for your business or something then WordPress is a better option.

WordPress is more flexible in terms of customization. It offers an easy-to-use interface with simple features for new users that can upgraded for advanced users. A self-hosted WordPress blog will give you a lot more control over the look, feel and content you publish on your blog. You just have to invest in purchasing a domain name and blog hosting.

Both Blogger and WordPress are good options for beginners. Choosing your blogging platform really depends on your blogging experience and the type of blog you want to start.

5 BEST WAYS TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG

So you've finally built a blog, something that is useful and appeals to your market. You've come up with a potentially profitable niche and have been pulling in a great amount of traffic for some time now. So what's next? Blogging is the product of your passion and hard work, but there’s no rule that says you can’t do something you love and still get paid for it. You may want to think of ways to make it profitable. The trick here is figuring out how. Building a blog that generates a decent income not easy. But through creativity and a lot of hard work, making money through a blog is possible.

The following list is a compilation of different methods to monetize a blog. Use a method depending on what your blog is about. Don’t get discouraged if one method doesn’t work, just try another one and build upon that. I have personally tried incorporating Google Adsense on my 3 websites and succeeded making money from it. Try a few methods and map out a monetization strategy that works for your blog.


1. Google Adsense


Google Adsense is a free, simple way to earn money by placing ads on your website. You sign up for approval and once accepted, they'll give you a code for you to place on your site. Google Adsense pays you for every ad click a visitor makes on your website.


2. Create & Sell Your Own Product


If you have a product that might be helpful to other people, launch it on your blog. May it be a digital good or a physical good, as long as it is related to your niche, sell it.


3. Sell What You Do Best


Take your skills and package them into a unique service that offers your audience help in a certain area. For example, sell your writing services, logo services, SEO services, marketing services, theme creation or plugin generation services on your blog for a fee.


4. Affiliate Marketing (sell someone else’s product)


If you don’t have a product to sell, one of the best ways to earn money from your blog is to sell products other people's. You get a commission from promoting and selling items as an affiliate. The products you choose to promote must align well with the type of content you produce to make the most impact. Only promote products you have used and believe in personally.


5. Teaching & Consultancy Program


Once you’ve built trust and have consistently shared your expertise on a subject with your audience, try looking into providing education products to earn some cash. These include creating ebooks, online courses, books, seminars, and coaching programs related to your niche. Use your skills and expertise in a certain area to teach and share to people what you know, for a fee.

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