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oDesk: Turn a Project into an Ongoing Job

posted May 18, 2011, 1:07 AM by Wildan Maulana

Success Story

Clemen Canaria

Clemen Canaria is a NetSuite programmer in the Philippines who went from working for NetSuite directly to freelancing on oDesk, where he says he finds more challenges, uncovers more opportunities, and makes more money. Since joining oDesk in 2008, he has picked up several long-term clients. We asked him how he creates a long-term relationship with a remote employer, and most of his answers were variations on one word: "Trust."

"If a task will need a skill that is not my forte, and I have only a little background on it, I tell the client that it may be best to have someone else do that specific task, as it would take less time and less money," he says. "It's my way of earning my clients' trust, thus earning a long-term working relationship with them."

Lastly, he says, he makes the client's outcome a priority. "I also make sure that they are happy with my work by following up or checking up on them once I've submitted the output."

Building Relationships for the Long Term

Making a one-time client an ongoing employer is about more than doing good work.

oDesk's marketplace makes it easier for you to get hired and paid, but even easier than finding a new job is extending your relationship with a satisfied employer. Building that relationship is about more than "doing a good job." Doing good work, on time and within budget, is only the starting point. Here are some ways to really shine, and foster a longer-term collaboration:

  • Contribute ideas. Go beyond the call of duty. When you can suggest improvements, either for the immediate task at hand or to complement the employer's efforts in general, you show that you brings ideas and initiative, as well as technical skill.
  • Beat deadlines. The employer wants to feel like he's getting more than he's paying for, so you want to surpass expectations whenever possible. Coming in ahead of schedule is a no-cost way to impress.
  • Be responsive and available. You're not there in the same office, but do your best to prove that distance is no challenge. This can mean checking your emails outside local "business hours," and finding other ways to minimize the impact of time zones on your relationship.
  • Earn trust. If you don't know how to do something, admit it. If you're eager to tackle a challenge, but lack the experience, tell the employer — he may give you the go-ahead, but being honest upfront will keep expectations realistic and help him make a smart decision about assigning the work.
  • Communicate smoothly. Sometimes emails between you and your employer may be unclear, or seem negative. Work to fix communication issues early on. You want your employer to view communicating with you as a pleasure, not a chore.
  • Be "low maintenance." The employer gives you work to make his life easier, to get it off his plate. Try to get all the information you need early on in the assignment phase. Never hesitate to ask followup questions, and give progress reports at the expected intervals. But try to get everything you need up front to make the employer feel like working with you is an easy choice.

For more, including an oDesk employer's perspective, read our blog post.

Source : http://email.odesk.com/t/ViewEmail/r/F2423C33C03A2BE1/405DED436A1F77252A1BF84ACBDD178B