Minus One, Plus One…or Even More

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Since the early months of my freelancing, I have always maintained at least 6 contracts.  When one ends or gets inactive, I try to apply to new job posts and get hired after a few tries. I guess the reason I get rejected sometimes is that prospective Employers get the impression that I don’t have enough time to work on their project when they see my profile with  many “job in progress“, even if some of those are actually worked on as needed basis only.

Recently, I requested one of my employers to end the contract since I have not been doing any tasks for him for more than a month.  The Employer agreed, and ended my contract.  I was glad to have received again another good feedback with this comment:

After that, I applied to a newly posted job for Accounting/Bookkeeping.  I was number 13 in the list of 37 applicants, but I had a strong feeling that I will be able to get this job even if I placed a bid more than the rate indicated by the Employer.  The next day when I checked my email, I was happy to have received an invitation for interview, and the Employer wanted some questions answered.

I did not waste time so I replied to his interview invitation, giving my answers to each of the questions.  I also included my skype name just in case he would want to chat to finally discuss the job.  I got his message at skype the following day, and we had a chat, discussing further his requirements.  Right after that, I was hired for the job!!!  Who says the number 13 means bad luck? Not for me, I guess…..

Here’s a portion of the chat interview:

[2/18/2010 12:15:00 AM] Aaron: Hi Verena, this is Aaron from ODesk
[2/18/2010 12:15:29 AM] avhdh5962: Hello Sir, how are you?
[2/18/2010 12:15:51 AM] Aaron: I’m good, and you?
[2/18/2010 12:16:09 AM] avhdh5962: likewise
[2/18/2010 12:16:15 AM] Aaron: glad to hear it.  And you can just call me Aaron
[2/18/2010 12:16:28 AM] avhdh5962: thanks
[2/18/2010 12:16:38 AM] Aaron: Thank you for your very thoughtful response
[2/18/2010 12:16:58 AM] avhdh5962: i hope i answered them well?
[2/18/2010 12:17:07 AM] Aaron: yes, you did
[2/18/2010 12:17:22 AM] Aaron: I wanted to get back to you to answer your questions and tell you a little more about my business
[2/18/2010 12:17:47 AM] avhdh5962: sure, if you have time we can talk about it..

The Employer went on explaining about his business and the present set up.  I also asked some questions, did initial assessment of the present accounting set up and offered some recommendations which he gladly accepted.  Did he also accept my bid rate which is above his offer?  Let’s see….

[2/18/2010 12:40:02 AM] Aaron: Verena, I’m very impressed with your application
[2/18/2010 12:40:12 AM] avhdh5962: thank you…it would be great to be of help
[2/18/2010 12:41:32 AM] Aaron: I do have some other qualified candidates that I think would also do a good job
[2/18/2010 12:41:58 AM] Aaron: But your proactive attitude really makes you stand out
[2/18/2010 12:42:27 AM] Aaron: Here’s where I’m still struggling with my decision…
[2/18/2010 12:43:21 AM] Aaron: Everyone else I’m considering is about half your hourly rate
[2/18/2010 12:43:37 AM] avhdh5962: i noticed…
[2/18/2010 12:45:03 AM] Aaron: Is there any adjustment you would be able to make to your rate to make it a little more competetive with the others?   If you’re able to bring down your rate a little, I may also be able to use you for a number of other virtual assistant type tasks, giving you more hours
[2/18/2010 12:47:57 AM] Aaron: Don’t feel like you have to say yes…  I respect your right to do what you feel is in your best interest
[2/18/2010 12:48:56 AM] Aaron: To be honest, I’m looking for someone who can pretty much run my ecommerce business, including expanding into new niches and even new geographical markets
[2/18/2010 12:50:26 AM] Aaron: I would provide quite a bit on guidance on that at the beginning, but eventually I need someone who can take the initiative to drive that with with only some occasional guidance from me.
[2/18/2010 12:53:10 AM] Aaron: Initially, it would be things like processing transactions, re-ordering inventory, web research on new products we could carry
[2/18/2010 12:54:49 AM] Aaron: Then, if you’re doing well, I may have you manage an odesk team of experts to help put up an additional niche site
[2/18/2010 12:55:01 AM] Aaron: I would guide you through doing that the first time or two
[2/18/2010 12:55:40 AM] Aaron: And if you ever feel something is outside your realm of expertise, or that you don’t have time for it, that’s okay
[2/18/2010 12:55:50 AM] Aaron: The most important thing is your family
[2/18/2010 12:56:33 AM] Aaron: If I hire you, I don’t want my requests to ever get in the way of your family life
[2/18/2010 12:57:04 AM] avhdh5962: that will be great, thank you..
[2/18/2010 12:57:06 AM] Aaron: And if you ever need time off for a family event, just let me know
[2/18/2010 12:57:19 AM] Aaron: There’s nothing more important in this world than your family
[2/18/2010 12:57:43 AM] avhdh5962: you have your own family? spouse and kids?
[2/18/2010 12:58:01 AM] Aaron: Yes,  My wife and two kids…and one more due in april

[2/18/2010 12:58:32 AM] avhdh5962: ok, so we’re in the same plane…..i got 3 kids, too….

[2/18/2010 12:58:43 AM] Aaron: that’s great
[2/18/2010 1:00:25 AM] Aaron: Anyways, if you’re able to bring down your rate a little, I would be happy to bring it back up once the ecommerce business really starts generating a profit.
[2/18/2010 1:01:34 AM] avhdh5962: ok….so, what about if you give me 7/hr now (if you hire me), then after 2 months we adjust to my original bid rate…..will that be ok with you?
[2/18/2010 1:04:55 AM] Aaron: Could we do after 3 months?  I just started consulting for ******, but I don’t get my first check from them for 75 days after I start working…. And I haven’t had many hours these first few weeks since they’re still working on product specifications
[2/18/2010 1:05:20 AM] avhdh5962: thats okay with me…after 3months then…
[2/18/2010 1:06:07 AM] Aaron: This wouldn’t be an issue, except I had another client last year who declared bankruptcy owing me $50,000

[2/18/2010 1:07:30 AM] Aaron: After 3 months should be fine
[2/18/2010 1:07:38 AM] avhdh5962: great
[2/18/2010 1:07:59 AM] Aaron: Verena, I’m looking forward to working with you
[2/18/2010 1:08:27 AM] Aaron: I had some really great candidates, but you really distinguished yourself
[2/18/2010 1:08:39 AM] avhdh5962: does that mean I’m considered for the job?
[2/18/2010 1:08:47 AM] Aaron: yes
[2/18/2010 1:09:05 AM] avhdh5962: thank you Aaron…
[2/18/2010 1:09:15 AM] Aaron: thank you
[2/18/2010 1:09:19 AM] avhdh5962: don’t worry, I’m here to prove my worth
[2/18/2010 1:09:47 AM] Aaron: Okay, if you can adjust the rate of your bid, I’ll hire you
[2/18/2010 1:09:52 AM] avhdh5962: if ever you don’t get satisfied with my performance, you can always notify me….or end my assignment…but i hope with prior notice 🙂
[2/18/2010 1:11:24 AM] Aaron: I don’t anticipate having an issue with that.
[2/18/2010 1:12:08 AM] Aaron: The most important thing for me is that you maintain good communication…  Ask questions…  Send me status updates…I think you’ll do just fine
[2/18/2010 1:12:29 AM] avhdh5962: sure, I’ll do that…

Did you learn anything from this interview, aside from negotiating on the hourly rate?

I did…… I learned that it is not bad to be bidding more than what is stated in the Buyer’s preference (he placed above $3 below $7), as long as your skills and expertise, including work ethic and attitude match your bid rate.  There is always that risk to be rejected due to “rate bid too high” reason, though.  But, I think if the Employer senses that you are there to really provide the solution they seek, the parties can always negotiate, just like we did.  What could have prompted the Employer to invite me despite my higher bid rate?  I guess its due to the contents of my profile – completeness, matching skills, earned feedback.

Since I started this particular assignment about a month ago, I am happy of the outcome because I was able to really prove my worth.  It proved very challenging because I had to straighten out a lot of miscategorized transactions and deleted many double entries to be able to reconcile all bank, paypal and credit card accounts.  I’m glad that the Employer was happy with the outcome.  Why do I say that?  Because he recommended me to a friend of his who also need bookkeeping services.  I’m crossing my fingers on this at the moment.

Wow! Its great when you have proven your worth because satisfied clients will pave the way for more business.  One assignment may end, but for sure another will come.  Its like  minus one-plus one…or even more…..

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6 thoughts on “Minus One, Plus One…or Even More

  1. hello! i am new at oDesk … i am inspired by this post, and very, very amazed by your interview. you must be uber qualified!!! hats off, and i wish i will also have an interview like that!

    anyway, the real reason for this comment is, i wanna ask a question… i’m already near the end of my first assignment. i just checked my profile as others see it, but it doesn’t record my current assignment to be in progress:'( i can see all the screenshots snapped by the oDesk app in my work diary. but time log is empty. it’s been a week since i was first hired… i wonder what i should do for the job to show up in my profile??

  2. Hello macky123,
    Thanks for your comment. As to your question, I am inclined to believe that you were hired on a fixed price job. Am I right? In that case, you will not be seeing the number of hours worked in your profile even if you logged into the team all the hours you worked on the task, unlike in hourly jobs that every minute is monitored for billing purposes. If you were hired for an hourly job then there is something wrong. You need to contact oDesk Support for that.

    Again, welcome to freelancing on oDesk!

  3. thanks for the response! yup, it is a fixed-price job. oh, so there’s nothing wrong with my profile then. whew! thanks!:))

    again, i wanna commend you for doing a very wonderful job at oDesk. Pinays are so the best! hehe… maraming salamat Mommy!

    • Hi Jhen! Nice of you to have dropped by. There is not much since my last post because I’ve been preoccupied with my current contracts. Whew! Anyway, you’re free to visit anytime. You may also share your odesk experience here. Good luck!

  4. Pingback: Hello! Anybody home? « The Neophyte Freelancer

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