How to get an online job? – Freelancing for newbies

So, I want to punch myself in the face when I repeat the word ‘easy’ all the time (call it the copywriters’ dilemma). Let’s put it this way: ‘it’s easier than you think to get started as a freelancer online, but it will require a lot of work’. It is still worth all the effort, as you can substitute a full-time office job with freelancing from anywhere.

You can build your online career up gradually. I had been of afraid of establishing an online business, but I thought I could cope with freelancing. And I still think that the first step to build yourself up online is to get a couple of freelancing jobs.

This way you can understand the trends, values, mechanisms, and get an insight into how the online labor market works, before you’d invest in something big. Consider it as an internship, if you want.

Getting started

Online work has been around for a while, so it’s not a big deal anymore to find a job on the internet. There are GREAT platforms to register at, and start searching for jobs. Go ahead and register TODAY, so you can start looking for gigs immediately.

In this blog post I am focusing on kickstarting. I suppose that you are just planning to start your online career, but you are unsure what should be the first step.I will go through exactly how I started; It’s a rather common way of setting something up online.

1. Decide​

First of all, make up your mind. It doesn’t take too much to find something on the internet as a part-time job - you can actually start something on the side while you are having a normal job. This way you can set up an online job CV, collect testimonials and referrals. These will help you getting better and better gigs. On Upwork, for example, clients and freelancers both leave feedback for each other. At first, focus on getting the best feedbacks.

2.​ Find your magical skill

This one was tough for me - I graduated at university as a Sport Manager, a profession highly in demand on the internet. Not. I was very frustrated. However, earlier I went to an English-Hungarian bilingual high school, where I learned English on a pretty high level. So, I thought I could finally take advantage of that. With this in my mind I registered as a content writer and translator. I didn’t know much about the writing style the internet required, but I believed I could come up with something if I ever get a job.

Actually, a lot of newbies start as content creators, and gradually specialize in something else. There's nothing wrong with this approach.

3. Register and build Profile

Registering is easy, it takes approximately 23.5 seconds. For me the hard part was to set up an appealing profile. Heck, what on earth could I write? I never did anything like that before!

So I used my best friend, Google: “tips for writing the best profile for Upwork”. And guess what. After a distressful couple of hours and some minor lies, my profile was ready.

Warning! - I tried to help many of my friends at the beginning: they all failed to go through the profess of setting up their profiles. How badly do you want it? 

4. Apply, apply, apply...

My profile was ready, so I started to apply for the easiest and simplest jobs that I could find. However, now I think you can immediately try to apply for more complex ones, you might get lucky; everything depends on your profile and the cover letter you submit (now, that I have some experience with hiring I have an idea what employers seek).

I remember, one of my first jobs was to write scam news. Very bad, It’s not listed on my CV. But, heck, for 100 words I got $15! Whaaaaaat? I was happy.


When I got my first writing job, I was anxious. Didn’t know how to start. Thanks to numerous articles on the internet about ‘how to create SEO content for the web’, I soon got the hang of it. My client wasn’t the most helpful or talkative one, but I asked for feedback anyway after the first couple of articles to see what I could do better. And my client was happy to help as he also benefited from me writing better copies.​

At the time, I think, these copies were published on crappy PBN sites which don’t really work well anymore for Google ranking. But back then, it was a great way for me to start dealing with writing and emit content about basically anything: second marriages, heaven, medication, cats, etc.​

6. Repeat​

Repeat until you hate writing​...


The beautiful thing about writing is that it’s closely belongs to online marketing. When you have dealt with writing a lot, you start to understand the marketing processes a little bit better. Later on, you can further specialize, and start looking for other job opportunities, or building up a SEO business, or whatever you want.

Platforms to start at

Today, there are so, so many freelancing platforms, I can’t list all of them in this tiny blog post. Here’s the best 2 that helped me kickstart my career.

Now this one! This one is the ultimate one for me. It’s totally free for jobseekers - clients bear the costs.

As the founder and CEO Neil Napier explains, it was difficult for entrepreneurs to find cheap and good work force from India or the Philippines (these countries have the cheapest qualified workforce online). Although they were cheap, they failed to do the job in some cases. So, as they were looking for highly skilled employees, they came to the realization that Eastern Europe has many skillful experts at ‘low’ prices as well, and the working moral is more reliable too. So they created an unique platform where entrepreneurs can meet these job seekers from EE.

The lineup on Jobrack is pretty strong from the clients’ side and from the jobseekers’ side as well. I really recommend to get started here. Mind though, that as this page is based on geoarbitrage, you might now find a well-paying job if you are from, say, the USA. You can read one of the pillar ideas of the site: 

"Reduce your cost:
Typically, American and European hires cost between $75,000 and $150,000 a year. In comparison, our jobseekers' average stated salary requirement is $15,000 a year."

​This actually makes me want to cry - but then I remember the differences in living costs. Actually, as a Hungarian, I can easily get a nice job here, that pays more than most of the entry level corporate jobs. So it’s a win-win situation! Thanks guys for making this happen! 🙂

The two most popular freelancing platforms, Odesk and Elance, merged into Upwork a couple of years ago. Up until today it counts the most amount of freelancers and clients, at a generally good quality - however, it does contain a number of misfits (so don’t worry, haha). It’s totally free to register, so you should definitely check it out.

I started out on the fresh and crispy Upwork in 2015. As I remember I had to pay 5% of all my earnings, which is awesome considering it was the best and most diverse freelancing platform. However, recently they have risen their prices, and now new freelancers pay 20% of their income and clients also charged a 2.75% processing fee. The exact pricing for freelancers is:

  • 20% for the first $500 you bill a client across all contracts with them
  • 10% for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000

Plus, of course, taxes. So the start is rather pricey now, however, there are pretty good examples of people earning a fortune on Upwork. It has also helped me kickstart my career big time.

These are just two freelancing platforms, but there are way more out there. (I’ll write about those too). No matter which one you choose, the important thing is to keep on working on your profile and quality. Eventually, you’ll replace your good old 9-5 office job with something location independent 🙂

Which one would you chose and why? Do you like other freelancing sites as well?

About the Author Andrea Papp

  • Isak uzun says:

    Nice, cool, sincere information.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Much appreciated.

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