Those sites where you can bid on copywriting projects seem like a great deal. You get to just through listings and submit a quick proposal and quote. Great right? Wrong. Find out why bidding sites are a waste of a good copywriter’s time. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Evan L. who asks, “What’s your take on job bidding sites like elance or odesk? Are they a good idea for finding work and building my portfolio?”
So, to make sure we’re on the same page, let’s recap exactly how these sites work for copywriters. Say Client X wants some copy written for his website. He writes up a brief description of the work, possibly mentions how much he’s willing to spend, and then posts the job listing to the website.
From there, the copywriters on the site read the listing, write their own proposal of why they’re best for the job, and submit that along with a quote for the work.
At first blush, this can seem like a great deal for copywriters. After all, why go out and prospect for work when you can just troll these sites and pick up jobs that people are already looking to fill?
But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. After all, if it were that easy, why would anyone ever leave the house? Ad agencies and in-house agencies would be scrounging for copywriters, desperately trying to compete with these bidding sites. And…that hasn’t happened.
Why? Because it’s not nearly as easy as it seems. First, for every copywriting job that gets posted, you’re competing with dozens of other writers for that job.
And how do you compete for it? You spend some of your own (unpaid) time to write up a proposal for work that you may not get.
Then, on top of that, Client X is on this site because he’s looking for the best copywriting he can get for the cheapest he can get it. If you really want to get that work, you have to spend the time to write up a great proposal and slash your rates to undercut all of the other copywriters.
So, worst-case scenario, you waste time writing proposals for work you don’t even get. (Time that could be spent prospecting for other work.) Or, best-case scenario, you get work—for much less than your standard rates. You end up working for cheap instead of working for the rates you should be commanding.
Sites like these have a bevy of copywriters signed up to try to win work because it seems like the “easy” way to do it. (And most people really like easy.)
But if you really want to get work, get paid well, and build your portfolio, the exact worst route to go is the (so-called) easy route. You’ll have much more success by reaching out and prospecting for clients. You’ll face less competition, you’ll get far more clients who are looking for quality copy instead of cheap copy, and you won’t have to slash your rates to get work.
Now, it’s your career. If you really want to give these kinds of sites a try, that’s up to you. But if you really want to build your portfolio and make good money, “easy” and—ahem—lazy—sites like these aren’t where you’re going to find your success. Start prospecting and start truly building your career.
Your turn! Have you tried any of these bidding sites? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!