04 December 2007

Creative freelance opportunities

Are you looking for work online? There are many freelance opportunities. Some are informal, some are structured, and some pay better than others. In general, look for free services that take a percentage only if the work sells. Never pay anyone for leads. Here are a few services that are popular right now:

Constant Content sells writing, photos, illustrations and videos for use on websites. You can offer one-time rights (and you can sell that same work over & over) or full rights. You set the prices. (Several friends and I earn small but steady income there.)

iStockPhoto.com sells photos, illustrations and videos for online and offline use. Their standards are higher, but once your work is accepted, you can build a career with services like this. (If you're new to freelancing, you may want to start with a more accessible site such as Constant Comment.)

You can also get gigs through eLance.com, iFreelance.com, Guru.com, and so on. Just search on "freelance work" and whatever field you're interested in. Sites such as Hot Gigs tend to focus on actual employment, but sometimes feature freelance work as well. (If you are new to this, Freelance Switch offers some helpful generic freelancing tips in a free report at http://notbythehour.com/ )

There are also more formal representation websites such as Illustration Ltd. if you're an experienced professional.

Also, people often ask me about other, unrelated opportunities such as being a "secret shopper." I've worked for many companies. Shop'n Chek is probably my favorite. (The same rules apply: Never pay anyone for leads to this kind of work. Legitimate "secret shopper" jobs are easy to find.) It's possible to be a full-time shopper, but I like the work for a little extra cash when I'm running errands anyway.

My point is, even if you live in the middle of nowhere and/or can't work at a more structured job, there are creative freelancing opportunities online. With a steadily expanding market, there's something for anyone who wants to be self-employed.