A Guide to People Per Hour

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I’ve recently started working as a freelance writer. By recently I mean that I’ve been doing it for some time but have only just started to get consistent work. There are plenty of qualifying statements to make actually. I’m getting work but it’s requiring a lot of time, effort, and most importantly writing for little reward.

I believe that writers (and creatives in general) should be paid well for the work that they do. Often it’s specialised work, often it requires a specific skillset, and unfortunately often the work is expected for very little in the way of pay. But that’s par for the course, that’s just how it is, and if you want to forge ahead as a freelance writer you have to work hard.

I’ve been using People Per Hour and I’ve noticed that there is a distinct lack of information regarding the site and how it functions. I figured that I would be as good a person as any to write up my experiences and hopefully illuminate how People Per Hour works for anyone thinking of using the service.

A freelance network

People Per Hour is a website that connects clients with freelancers. It’s not just for writers; you can be a web designer, illustrator, or marketer – the site aims to connect those trying to get a job done with those who can do it.

Effectively you set up a profile on the site and then you start bidding for jobs. You’ll struggle at first to find the best price point for your services but you’ll get there eventually. The first thing however that you should know is that it’s not easy to get work. In fact I put in close to two months work before I got any sort of pay from the site – and the pay was pretty minimal.

That’s not to say that the clients that I’ve worked for have paid badly. They haven’t, actually I’ve been pretty happy with the pay for the jobs I’ve done. However the way that People Per Hour functions means that you’re never going to be the only one bidding on a given job so your chances are slim at first.

Slowly however you’ll find bits of work to help boost your ratings on the site. This has a sort of snowball effect and eventually you’ll start to get more consistent work. Really what I’m trying to say is that you can’t give up. I read that you need to send 14 proposals (on average) to get one job. I can attest to this. I sent 27 proposals before I got a job and on the 28th I got my second client.

Don’t give up

I would recommend working hard, sending off a lot of proposals, and really targeting the people that you approach. Don’t just copy and paste a generic proposal form. Instead write something bespoke and highlight to the potential client why you are uniquely suited to the work in question.

It’s an unforgiving job and it can get you down. Just remember though that someone will eventually pay you for your work. Keep slogging away and you’ll find yourself rewarded. Don’t expect to become rich overnight though and make sure that you keep your bids competitive.

Some thoughts:

  • Don’t ever work for free. Value your work and you’ll find the clients that value it too
  • Allow your pricing to fluctuate. Your initial pricing is likely far too high for a site like People Per Hour
  • Be obsessive. Check your emails consistently. You never know when a job is going to be posted
  • Aim for four to five clients as your basic income. It’s not impossible although I’m certainly not there yet
  • Don’t give up. There is work on the site and it does pay
  • Check that the client is verified. This is as simple as clicking on their profile
  • Make sure that you have a good profile page, use the portfolio feature

People Per Hour is hard work. It’s not fair and the odds are not in your favour but if you want to start out as a freelancer it does provide you with that opportunity. There’s not that much written about the site but I can reassure you that it’s not a scam. Yes there are unscrupulous people on there but those people exist in the real world too. Make sure that you value yourself and don’t work for free – I can’t emphasise this enough.

We writers seem to put ourselves through difficult times to better our craft. On the face of it writing through a site like People Per Hour is a painful proposition. It’s hard work, the hours are long, and the pay is pretty much non-existent. But hard work can pay off and when it does you become someone who is paid to do what they love doing – writing.

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