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Marketing Yourself Online: Freelancing 101
by: Merle
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

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!

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