People Per Hour: An Online Marketplace For Freelancers

Being a freelancer means doing a bit of everything. Accounts before breakfast, emails in the morning, quotes in the afternoon and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have time left in the evening to do the actual work that you get paid for! As your wear all of these different hats, it’s surprisingly difficult to find time to source new work. Cold calling businesses, sending out mailers and attending networking events take up crucial time that most freelancers simply can’t afford to lose!

People Per Hour offers a solution that makes it quick and easy to get in touch with new clients who are actively seeking your services. Describing itself as a ‘global marketplace’, the website has played a vital role in my success as a freelance copywriter, and – by following a few guidelines – could do the same for you.

What Is People Per Hour?

In 2006, graduate Xenios Thrasyvoulou had a great idea for a website that connected skilled individuals with the business that needed their services. Then PA-Per-Hour.com, the website allowed companies to list job descriptions that virtual assistants could ‘bid’ on. In just six months, PA-Per-Hour.com was rebranded People Per Hour, covering 30 different services from accountancy to administration.

Since its launch, People Per Hour has grown to become one of the most popular places on the web for freelancers to find new work. According to the People Per Hour Economy page, there are more than 200,000 freelancers and 79,390 clients on the site. The jobs posted to date are worth an estimated £52,922,681 – a figure that is growing all the time.

In part, People Per Hour is so successful because it’s easy to use for freelancers and clients alike.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Clients list projects along with estimated budgets.
  2. Freelancers ‘bid’ on the project, detailing their skills and fee.
  3. The client selects an applicant and awards the job.
  4. Once the job is done, People Per Hour sends an automated invoice to the client, taking a small fee from the freelancer’s overall pay.

People Per Hour & Me

My own experience with People Per Hour started in 2010, once the website was already well established. As an English graduate and part-time writer for magazines and websites, it was only natural to bolster my income by getting involved in copywriting. Of course, I faced the same problem as every other freelancer – getting that all-important first job.

There was no editor here, nobody to turn around and tell me that the work was rubbish. Being freelance meant that the responsibility was all mine. Clients needed absolute confidence that I could deliver what they wanted and, as yet, I had no evidence that I could supply.

So how did I overcome that rather inconvenient obstacle? I found People Per Hour and, with a bit of hard work, got some of my earliest clients as a freelance copywriter.

3 Ways To Win Work On People Per Hour

When I first visited People Per Hour, it all seemed so easy. Place a bid, win the work and get paid! Of course, there are thousands of other freelancers with the same idea, vying for the same work. As a novice young copywriter, how did I make myself the chosen candidate for those first few positions?

I built a good profile, carefully selected the bids that I placed, and spent time writing bids that were tailored to the client in question.

1. Create An Attractive Profile

I was once asked to appear on a local radio station as part of an interview about People Per Hour and why more and more people are choosing to go freelance. As part of this interview, I was asked what the most useful feature of the website was. After some thought, I decided that the profile page is where it all happens.

People Per Hour profile pages allow you to summarise the work that you do, complete skills tests and upload samples of work. Make sure that you have all of these things in place before you start bidding for work. Most clients look at this profile page as the first measure of how suitable you are for the position, and gaps on your profile are the equivalent of gaps in your employment history – a bad sign for any employer!

2. Find Jobs That Are Right For Your Skills

Since the website was founded, People Per Hour has worked on a free model where freelancers receive a certain number of ‘bid credits’ per month. Once these bids have been used up, you can purchase more for a small fee, or wait until they are refreshed.

More recently, People Per Hour introduced the ability to see which other freelancers have placed bids on a certain job. Out of professional curiosity, I often check through these to get a feel for other people’s skills and profiles. More than anything else, I find people bidding for work that simply doesn’t suit their skills. If the number of bids per month is limited, why would a self-proclaimed accounting expert place a bid for a copywriter job? Doesn’t this mean that he is struggling to win bids in his chosen field?

You will have the best chances of winning work if you aim to be selective with the bids that you place. Consider the nature of the work and how it fits with your skills and experience and how relevant your profile page is to the task at hand.

3. Write A Great Bid

Once you’ve found the right job, it’s time to write a bid! This is the part that comes with practice, but there are few things you should consider as you start writing.

Despite the nature of the word ‘bid’, People Per Hour isn’t really about offering the lowest possible price. Most educated clients understand that if you pay peanuts, you get inexperienced freelancers! According to People Per Hour, around 89% of winning bids are in the middle price range.

I once placed a bid for some work where the client’s maximum budget was £200. I explained, politely but clearly, how I could do it for £300 and do it ten times better. I won that job, reassuring me that People Per Hour isn’t all about bargain basement work.

Instead of going for a low bid, focus your attention on who you are and what you do. Whether you are an IT developer, an administrative assistant or a writer, bid with your skills, not your fee. Most people find it difficult to sing their own praises, but the reality is that your competing freelancers will work hard to sound great.

If you are fairly inexperienced, honesty can sometimes be the best policy. Explain that you can do the job for less money as an opportunity to get started, or would be happy to go the extra mile to convince the client of your talent. The bigger a freelancer gets, the longer things take. Why not compete on speed if you can’t compete on experience?

4. Win The Work, Do The Work

At a time when my existing clients keep me largely away from People Per Hour, it’s been interesting to look back on those early days and how crucial the website was in getting my business off the ground. In preparation for this article, I was asked if there was one piece of advice that I would give to a new freelancer just getting started with a website like People Per Hour.

My answer was ‘Win The Work, Do The Work’. But don’t just do the work. Do it better. Do it on time. Do it early. Do it with such diligence, such enthusiasm and such commitment that once you have your first project, they quite simply never stop.

Home Based Business Ideas For Retired People

For a variety of reasons, retirement may not be an attractive option once you have entered that world. With medical advances, most people live longer and healthier lives. As a result, many retirees have too much energy and passion for life to simply do nothing. If you have spent the majority of your life in the work place, retirement can result in boredom, loss of enthusiasm or loneliness. You may find yourself missing that job you dreaded. Other retired people immediately realize their retirement savings just won’t be enough, especially with an uncertain world economy. So, what next?

Have you ever dreamed of having your own business? Believe it or not, there are definite advantages for retirees that want to start a home based business. In fact, home based businesses in general are increasing and proving to be very successful. If you structure the business correctly and remain in compliance with the Internal Revenue Service guidelines, you will qualify for numerous tax benefits.

As you think about ideas for a home based business, consider your options and do your research. There are, unfortunately, numerous scams and dishonest people that prey on senior citizens. Exercise caution but do not let the fear of a scam keep you from launching your own business.

Start by making a list of your hobbies, your work experience, special skills, talents and passions. Often hobbies can be easily converted to a profitable home based business. A few ideas to get your brainstorming started: photography, accounting, handyman service, crafts, pet grooming, cake design and decoration, web design, selling products on eBay, online tutoring. Once you start brainstorming and as you review your list of specific talents and skills, your list of possibilities will expand.

After you have selected two or three home based business ideas, do your research. Research can be done at the public library, online and discussing your ideas with trusted friends or family. Make a list of your goals before your start researching. Do you want to or need to supplement your income? Are you simply interested in staying active, feeling useful and maintaining contact with the world outside your home? Will you need help with the business? If you have a partner, this may influence your final selection.

What about startup money? You may already have the equipment needed to get started. For example, if you select photography, you may own the necessary equipment. A word of caution at this point is necessary. Be sure you possess the skills and talents required for the business; owning an expensive digital camera and being the family photographer is probably not enough. On the other hand, if you have a passion for photography, consider taking a class at the local community college and learn the skills and techniques needed. Or, find a part time job with a local photographer and learn from a professional. This word of caution applies to any business idea you may choose.

Keep in mind that the Small Business Administration can be very helpful. The SBA funds loans for home based businesses as well as brick and mortar businesses. As long as you meet the established requirements, you may qualify for a loan.

Another huge advantage for retired people starting a home based business is your maturity and years of experience. Our current economy has often been compared to the Great Depression; it is interesting to note that many profitable businesses were started during the Great Depression. Do your brainstorming, complete your research and get started!