I can’t remember how I found Odesk (now Upwork). But this is where I started working for foreign clients.
On 2010, I started working online. Upwork was free to use 100% during that time. I signed-up for an account, built profile, uploaded my portfolio and started searching for jobs.
There were 2 major problems I encountered. First is I need to verify my account. And secondly, how will I get hired. Before, PayPal can be used to verify Odesk account – I am not sure today.
I am using PayPal to get paid online until today. But it took me couple of months before I got verified by PayPal. I opened BDO savings account. Unfortunately it did not worked with PayPal. Another problem is the bank teller does not know PayPal so it was hard for me to explain.
But then the bank manager got an idea to open a “BDO Kabayan Savings account”. Only an initial deposit of 50 pesos was required but since I need to verify my PayPal and I needed to transfer 250 pesos from bank account to PayPal, I deposited 500pesos.
It took me more than a month before I was able to use PayPal. But the patience was worth. Until now, I am using the same PayPal account.
How did I get my First Online Job?
I was so excited after I got my Odesk account verified. I can search a lot of jobs. I kept on searching for jobs. But three months had passed, I did not get any job. I started to doubt Odesk platform. I asked myself, are the online workers in Upwork real? How come there are so many people getting hired while I am not?
But instead of giving up in the platform, I tried to find a way. It was once a great challenge for me. How to get hired in Odesk (now Upwork). So I reviewed some of the candidates profile. I found lots of candidates from India, Europe, and found Filipinos too.
Just like the problem of many job seekers in the corporate world, work experience is required. If you need a job, you need to get a good portfolio or an excellent experience. But how can I have experience if I don’t find a job?
Well, if you have the guts, Fake It! Hahaha.
But in my case, I thought I needed a better rating and an excellent review in my Odesk Profile. I needed to get a job, perform well and get an excellent feedback. It took me 3 months before I figured this out.
What I did?
I set my hourly rate at 1USD per hour. Yes it was possible before. The rate was way too low to cover up expenses, but I told myself I should try this. I thought of this as an investment. I thought of this as part of the learning curve.
And YES! It did worked. I got my first online job at Odesk. After the job was completed, I got perfect star rating and a good feedback.
I did this for several months so I collect a good and positive rating. And luckily, I never encountered bogus client.
Then I raised my hourly rate to 1.5USD, then 3USD, 5USD, 7USD and so. I even had a project of 20USD per hour.
It is really possible to get an online job with hourly rate of 20-50USD. You just need to continue searching.