Thursday, June 12, 2014

WAHM-BAM: A Work At Home Series - oDesk

There was never any real choice for me of whether or not I wanted to stay home with my son, I'm disabled, and cannot go out into the workforce and acquire a regular job. It was never in the cards for me, since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia as a teenager. Even school had become a burden on my body. So naturally, when the time came that I got married and had a child, I was bound to feel like I wasn't providing or even contributing to the family. I have to admit, for a few years there, I did kind of wallow. Then, I picked myself up by the bootstraps and decided that I was going to do something about it. Hey, other people make money online, I was pretty certain that I could do it too. But, with no real experience to speak of, I had no idea where to start. I wanted to share with others my experience in being a WAHM. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I'll share with you everything. 

Except, I had no point of reference of where to start. I was so confused. With no idea of what websites to visit or what to do, I was essentially heading into this whole new adventure completely blind. Initially, I had gotten involved with one of the local newspapers in northern New Jersey. It was alright for a time, but honestly, it got incredibly boring, as I was just covering local government and town hall meetings. It wasn't really an exciting job, and after awhile, they just decided to stop paying me altogether, so I was essentially handing over my articles to them and never seeing any money for them, even though they were published, sometimes even on the front page of the newspaper.

That's when I decided that I wanted to get into online journalism. I've been in love with writing since I was a child, and I find it relaxing. The only problem I had was...what do I know about? I wasn't really a journalist with a degree, which would make it hard to try and land a job with an online news website. But one night, as I was perusing a job board, I had come across a classified looking for news writers who were parents, who could cover subjects on that same topic. I at least had that under my belt, I was indeed a parent. So, I figured 'why not?' I put in my application, sent in the sample articles, and they hired me. So began my journey into the writing world. I actually decided to hold off on blogging for awhile until I was able to provide for my family and make some semblance of a living off of my writing. To be honest, I didn't think I would. But, I did. It took a few years, but I think I'm really doing it. My first book is being published this winter, so things are looking up!

Nonetheless, I wanted to share some of my very favorite writing resources to poke around in. These are websites and job boards where I have found some of my favorite writing jobs. Obviously, as always, use your best judgment when it comes to taking a job. I have been scammed in the past, and my writing has been stolen. Always be cautious.

There have been a great many articles out there on the internet slamming oDesk as one of the worst websites for writers. For beginners, just jumping into the website, looking to make some fast coin, yes, yes it can be a rather harrowing experience. Like I stated above, I have been scammed in the past. But I was just starting out. I didn't know any better. I thought earning one cent a word was a wonderful rate. I was blinded by the promise of making money for my family. 

With oDesk, it certainly takes some perseverance and time in order to really get on your feet. Before you can even apply to any jobs via their website, they have all of their new signups take a readiness test, to make certain that you know how to navigate and use their site correctly. I found that very helpful when I first started. So, after I finished that test, I began searching for jobs, and I quickly got hired for many. But as I soon learned, I was writing content for another writer who had been hired by another writer. It was some sort of strange freelancing vicious cycle. I'd earn $3 at best. Those who hired me were from other countries, and were never able to communicate with me due to time differences. 

But trust me, if you have an idea of what you want going into oDesk, it is well worth it. It doesn't cost anything to join, and the fees that oDesk charges come from the company hiring you, and not the other way around. I've landed some of the best writing jobs via the oDesk website. For example, I am a contributing writer to Life As Mama, Mom's Shopping Engine, and Rewards 4 Mom, all of which I had been hired through oDesk. At my best, I earn $10 an hour to write an article. If I have to write five articles, that's a quick fifty dollars. That can buy a tank of gas, a weeks worth of dinners, etc. 

My point with oDesk is that when you work with it, it will work with you. To reiterate, if you know what you want to do going into their website, it will be a lot easier to navigate their website. They even offer you a wonderful hourly timer to track your work. Anything that is tracked through that software is guaranteed. That means that your employer will pay you no matter what, otherwise oDesk will pay you those funds if the employer stiffs you. Pretty sweet deal. 

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