My name is David Vecchio, and I am a 3D Artist from Argentina. My dream was always working independently, not having to answer to anybody, to be able to manage my own schedule, and taking vacations whenever I felt I needed them. I wasn't born to have an office job. I tried that for about a year and a half when I was in college and it certainly didn't work out for me. What do you get from an office job? You wake up at 7 AM, you go from one end of the city to the opposite, putting up with the daily chaos of a metropolis, you waste 8 hours of your life with stuff you don't even care about, making money for someone else, and then you get back home late and too tired to do the things you really enjoy.
I like travelling a lot, and the only way I can afford this is by working as a freelance. It doesn't matter if I'm at home, or at a hostel in New Delhi, I can always work as long as I have my notebook, an internet connection, and a comfortable place to work.
I took me a while to establish myself as a freelance 3D Artist, but it was all worth it. This is not just a secondary job to make extra cash. I can now actually make a living out of this.
How did I achieve this? Well first, I did have to get an office job, because when you're working as a freelancer, you might not have a fixed monthly income. But after a couple of years of working on an average of one project a month, I began to build myself a list of clients that are constantly hiring me for different assignments. Having a list of semi-regular clients, and working on several other small projects per month can be enough to make a living out of freelance work.
I started this blog to save you all from the frustration of signing up to a freelance work site and never getting hired. I mean, it CAN be frustrating at first, but once you get your first job, it will all be a lot easier, believe me!I won't give you obvious generic tips that will apply to any site. I have an established profile with 400 logged hours of work on Odesk (plus several fixed price jobs) and several completed jobs on Elance, and I will guide you through the process of getting hired on these two sites, which, from personal experience, are the best places to start working as a freelancer (considering they're highly trustworthy, and have a wide variety of ways to get your money out).

Getting Started

So, you can start now by reading a little bit about the two platforms that I use the most to get freelance work: Odesk.com and Elance.com. Please note that these sites are not just for design jobs. They have a wide variety of categories like Web design, programming, engineering, writing and translation, etc.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Multiply your savings with online investments!

Ever since I started working as a freelancer I received my payments through Paypal and Payoneer. For a while, everything was just ok because freelancing was not my first source of income, so I always ended up spending all of the money that I earned from online work quite fast. As time passed my income started to grow, up until the moment I decided I was going to take the leap and become a "full time" freelancer. Not literally, since the point of becoming a freelancer is not having to work all the time, I've had enough of that when I had an office job. So I decided to make freelance work become my only source of income. I now have clients who provide me regular work, plus I always get new clients for quick jobs. I managed to earn enough to live the life the way I love, and luckily I can also save some money every month. But then I thought about this money that I was saving, and that was sitting there doing nothing! I thought of opening a savings account in a bank, but the rates were too low, and I never really liked banks anyway...
After doing some research I found some interesting ways of investing my money online and multiply my savings. The one that really caught my attention was online trading. Basically, it's dealing with stocks, commodities, indices and currencies (I'm quite sure you've watched "Wall Street", "Margin Call" or "The Wolf of Wall Street", haven't you??). I found many platforms and I decided to try eToro, a social trading network.

My profile at eToro

One of the most interesting features of this platform is that it allows you to copy other traders. You can access the profile of the most succesful traders, see their portfolio, their statistics (earnings, losses, performance, etc.) and copy all their trades. This is how it works: You assign a certain amount of money to copy a trader, and you get a percentage of his earnings (proportional to the amount of money that you invested in him/her), but you can start copying anyone with just U$50. There are plenty of excellent traders to choose from that will guarantee you quite decent monthly earnings (A LOT more than you could expect from a bank, that's for sure). For instance, I have part of my savings invested in stocks from Apple and Google, two companies that show a solid graphic of constant growing (Google's shares have grown 900% in a 5 year period!). You can buy Google shares starting from as little as U$20!

Trading can be VERY risky, so I believe eToro makes it easier for begginers. You can either start copying succesful traders and learn from them, or you can just rely on their skills and let them work their magic to multiply your savings, leaving you with nothing to worry about.
I try to learn and do my own trades, but I still copy other traders and keep stocks from Google and Apple in my portfolio, since the price of their shares will continue to increase without a doubt. In this case, the risk is very low. Skilled traders do a lot of research so they usually know what they're doing. But of course, there's a lot of market volatility, so you have to beware of who you're copying. Truth is, trading is a little bit like gambling, in a certain way.

Apple's shares almost duplicated their value in less than 6 months.
Another important that eToro provides is the "Practice mode". It's great for begginers who feel they're not ready to risk their money on trading. You can start with a practice account, which allows you to start trading with virtual money. So they will give you a certain amount of money (I don't remember exactly but I think they give you U$2000) and you can try all the features of the platform until you feel comfortable to start using real money. This is a great tool to decide which traders you can copy, since you can first start copying them with your practice account.
If you're interested in joining eToro and multiply your savings, register for free using this link http://etoro.tw/1ieiGsu 
You'll get a U$20 gift card to use as you wish (I recommend using it to buy stocks from Apple or Google!). You will also be able to redeem a U$50 gift card to start copying a trader that you choose (You can write me and I'll recommend you some of the traders I'm copying, which will give you at least 10 to 15% monthly earnings).
But! Remember that trading is risky, so be sure to start with a Practice account.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Withdrawing your money through Payoneer

What's Payoneer? Basically, it's a prepaid Mastercard debit card that works just as any other Mastercard. This is how it works: You may transfer money from a list of companies directly to your card (including Odesk, Elance, Freelancer.com, Google, etc.), and, as long as it's loaded, you can use it to buy stuff or
even withdraw money from ATMs. You can use it anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted. I succesfully used it in many different countries.
I found this is the best way of getting your money out of freelancer sites like Odesk and Elance (you can even use it with your earnings from Amazon and Google adsense).
The costs for this card are very low, there's a monthly fee of U$ 3 (which lowers to U$ 1 if you use it more than three times a month). Transferring your funds from Elance is free of charge, and of course, you don't have to pay a commision whenever you use it to buy stuff. But you do have to pay a small fee when you withdraw money from an ATM.
But there's more! This is not only to receive payments from a limited number of companies, you can also receive payments from any credit card holder (it doesn't have to be from Payoneer). So, if you work for someone that's not using Odesk or Elance, you can still get paid directly to your Payoneer Mastercard (there's a comission though, about 7%).
After you've used the card for a few months, you can also apply for the US Payment service, which broadens the list of companies you can receive money from (including Paypal!).
So, if you work a lot with freelance sites, and you prefer this to a bank account (specially if you're not from the US, since the fees for international bank transfers are limited to a number of countries, and are VERY expensive), go ahead and try it!
I invite you to join to Payoneer and give it a try. If you join using my referral link, you and I will receive a U$ 25 bonus after you've received your first U$100!
So here's the link: JOIN! http://tracking.payoneer.com/aff_c?offer_id=350&aff_id=11099

Good luck, and write me if you have any questions!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Verify your identity

Both Odesk and Elance have a feature called "Identity verification". Even though it takes some time to complete this process, this is very useful to ensure potential employers that you are a real person and that you are seriously commited to working on the site.

Odesk ID Verification
In Odesk, the process is actually quite simple. Look for this little box on the "Find Jobs" section:

All you have to do is apply for identity verification and send a copy of a government issued document, displaying your full name, address, and picture (needless to say, it has to match the picture on your profile, and that's why it's so important to put a picture of your face, and not a logo or an avatar).
You are also required to scan a utility bill or a bank statement, displaying only your full name and address. Don't worry about sending this online, they have a secure network and they won't make all of this information public.
A member of the staff will check all these documents, comparing the information with the one you supplied on your profile, and will approve the ID verification within 7 to 10 business days.
Here's the full guide to this process, right from Odesk's help center 

"How and why should I become oDesk ID Verified?".

Elance ID Verification
On Elance, the process is slightly more complicated. Less documents are required, but you're required to have a video interview through Skype. Look for this little box on your profile:
Once you apply, you're required to send a copy of your government issued document (an international passport is the best option). Just like on Odesk, the picture on your profile must match the one on your passport, and the same goes for your personal information (full name, ID number and home address). Once you've done that, you have to schedule a Skype interview with a member of the ID verification staff (you have to add the skype user that they'll supply to you to your contact list). Don't worry if you miss your interview, just let them know and you can re-schedule it. The interview is really short, all they have to do is see you through skype and match your face with the pictures on your profile and ID (just in case, you need to have them at hand during the interview).
Here's the full guide to this process (on Elance help desk): 

"ID Verification for Freelancers".

Don't hesitate to do this, it will highly increase your chances of getting hired!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Getting Paid (Elance)

Be sure you have read these previous posts first!:
1- Getting started with Elance;
2- Applying for your first job (Elance).

You got your first job, you completed it, and got paid!! So now what?
When it comes to hourly jobs, you get paid only after the employer has reviewed your work sheet and checked all the screenshots from the time tracking software. This system works on a weekly basis, like this: you log your work hours during a one week period, meanwhile all the screenshots are uploaded to your worksheet, which you can constantly check from your Elance user panel. If you accidentaly logged hours that you were not supposed to log, you can go there and erase them. Once the one week period is over, the employer has one week to review the screenshots. If he approves them, then you will get the money transferred to your Elance account the following week.
If you completed a fixed price job, then you have to make the arrengements yourself with your employer. You can ask for an advance payment, you can establish milestones, or simply get paid upon completion of the job (this is what I usually do, and I never had problems getting paid).
After you had your money transferred to your Elance account, you have several withdrawal options:
1- Paypal (no fee);
2- Skrill (no fee);
3- Bank transfer (Free for US banks);
4- Wire transfer (expensive fees, which depend on which country you're transferring to);
5- Payoneer (no fee);
6- Bank Check (no fee, only for US and Canada).

I use Payoneer, because it's the most convenient method for my country (Argentina).
You can even use the same Payoneer account and card to withdraw money from most freelance work sites like Elance, Odesk and Freelancer.com.

So, this is basically how Elance works for a freelancer. I hope this works out for you! Feel free to ask me any questions!
Good Luck!!