Bidding or Begging sites? (Elance, Freelancer, etc)

I’m going to write a quick post here to express how I feel about certain types of “make money online” sites. Namely, the sites like oDesk, Elance, Freelancer, and other such sites.

Bid in red letters with mouse cable attached

Let me first just say that on this blog I deal with money generation, money making, not so much with hiring people. So I won’t be talking at all about the hiring people using these sites aspect of it, just purely my thoughts and experience with these sites from the angle of somebody who once upon a time thought of them as a good place to make some money.


The Beginning

When I was starting out online about 5 years ago these were one of the first sites I thought about generating an income through. Not out of choice really, they were just the only sites I had heard about where you could supposedly get work and make some money. After a few attempts at these sites I realized that what you have to do here is “Bid” for work… and that to me quickly became “Beg” for work… hence the title of this article – “Bidding or Begging Sites?


Why Begging?

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re somebody who wants or is making money using these sites, more power to you. I wish you all the best and I hope you’re killing it over there. But it just wasn’t for me. I much prefer the model where I create an offer, and promote the offer (or not), and people land on the offer and buy it if they like it/want it/need it.

The problem I have with these Bidding/Begging sites is that an employer, someone who wants to hire someone for a job, will make an offer, and then a ton of people will all bid and beg and compete over who’s gonna get the job. So ultimately you’re gonna have to probably sell yourself short, especially if you live in a first-world country, and you’re also going to have to beg for it (in my judgment). I didn’t like the model, I didn’t like the idea, and I quickly gave up on these sites entirely.


Could it still work to get work and make money?

I assume that if you have some special skills, and a good portfolio and great feedback from previous buyers and people that hired you to work for them, then you can probably charge “normal” rates (I guess normal would depend on which country in the world you live in) and still get people to hire you. Personally I didn’t have any great skills at all. I didn’t have any monetizable skills, other than the fact that I spoke 3 languages fluently (though not academically).

I’m sure that people are making money working on these sites, and would claim they’re great for getting work. Personally I don’t see it. And even if you were to manage to be successful on these sites, you’d still probably have to work for peanuts starting out in order to get some good ratings and feedback from clients, and only then would you be able to start charging normal rates.



All things considered, I quickly gave up on these sites after finding out about them and trying them out a bit. So I can’t go into great detail about any of these sites. To me, making offers and having people buy those offers from me is the best way to make money online. And any promotion you do then is not you going to be “please sir hire me to do your work,” rather it will be “here’s a great article about xyz,” and in the article you’ll promote wherever offer you’re selling, and through sharing information on the topic, you will acquire customers.

But as I always say, try out everything, and see what works best for you. We’re all different people, and what works for one might not work for another, and 2 people might try the same thing and come out the other end having completely different stories and experiences to tell.

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