30 Days as Geek For Hire – Day 5: Job Listing Jeopardy

Today was a red letter day in my quest for freelance work. It was finally time to start applying for actual gigs. So armed with my espresso and a fierce determination, I logged on to my account at Elance.


My morning went from great to Adele pretty damn fast

Now, an individual membership with Elance costs USD10 per month and includes 60 *connects* (whatever the heck they are) and one jobs category. This means that you can’t apply for jobs outside your chosen category, unless you pay more. So I had to start by choosing a category. Given that most of the gigs I’m after relate to search marketing, I chose the Sales and Marketing category and began my search.

According to Elance, there were over 2,600 jobs available in the Sales and Marketing category. Brilliant! The caffeine began to kick in and my hopes were high. I narrowed my search to Search Engine Optimization and hit enter. A promising 433 SEO jobs were available. So far, so good. I clicked on the most recent job listed.

A company in New York was seeking an advanced SEO expert to get their websites (and I quote) “Guaranteed page 1 Google rankings in the USA & Canada for a list of 40 to 50 keywords”. Um, besides the fact that it isn’t actually possible to guarantee final ranking positions (as that is determined by Google’s own algorithm), it’s kind of difficult to pitch my ability to help without knowing:

a) What type of sites these are

b) What industry this is

c) What keywords you are targeting and;

d) How much competition you face.

Hmmm. My hopes were falling faster by the minute. So exactly how much was the company offering to compensate this expert SEO in exchange for achieving such an impossible task?

I checked the hourly rate they had advertised with the job. $3 – $3.30 per hour. Wait. WHAT? I checked it again. Not $300-$330 per hour as is closer to my usual rate. Not even $30-$33 per hour. No. This company wanted to pay a grand total of $3 per hour. Or perhaps even step it up to $3.30 per hour for the right person.

I practically choked on my coffee. Surely this was a typo? But then I noticed that they had 11 proposals already from freelancers willing to take on this gig. What the actual firetruck? But yes – apparently several freelancers based in Bangladesh and the Philippines were more than happy to work for pennies.

Ok, I thought. This is just an anomaly and there are 432 other SEO job opportunities that I can apply for. So I clicked on the next gig in the list. A UK based software development company was seeking a remote SEO specialist for a 2 week project. This sounded promising so I clicked for more detail. Uh Oh. The advertised hourly rate was $10-$15 and they would prefer to hire Ukraine-based freelancers. With site-scraping experience. And the availability to Skype 24/7. Oh FFS.

With my hopes plummeting towards the ground like a skydiver with a ripped parachute, I thought perhaps I should take a different tack. So I ran a search for Google AdWords projects and a list of nearly 200 popped up. An ad agency in Australia was looking for someone to manage 35 AdWords accounts on behalf of their clients, including bid-tweaking, keyword research, video ad creation and 300 page report generation (with the agency logo of course) for a flat fee of $500 per month. Seriously?

Or perhaps this one – a company in Malaysia wanted help to create an AdWords campaign for a new erectile dysfunction product. Oh HELL no. The keyword research alone would make me shudder.

It was about this time that I began playing Adele on repeat and consuming an entire tray of peanut butter cookies. Oh well, perhaps tomorrow I will find a freelance project that has realistic potential to actually cover my rent?

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