When we first arrived in Turkey we never imagined that we would be having to eat just to put food on our table.
Our search for work was unusual since we couldn’t speak Turkish and had no idea how long we were going to stay. But after a while we learnt that you can work from virtually anywhere and still make a successful living with that in mind here are the ingredients to our freelancing success (and a ratatouille recipe to follow)
While looking online for a “real job” we stumbled across oDesk a freelancing website, which help to link people with skills with people who need those skills and are willing to pay to get them.
We were unsure if we would find any work because between us we have two design degrees Amy’s in Photographic Design and mine in Industrial Design not two things that we thought we could freelance out very easily from Turkey.
Surprisingly you can freelance anything and everything.
Their are still some Industrial design jobs going and lots of CAD work I have been lucky to find 2 clients needing my Industrial design skills on an on going basis. We were lucky to team up with our first client Leon and early on he provided our first feedback and most importantly our first Potato soup recipe, since then he has been great and we have continued to work for him and are now on our 3rd recipe site, Smoothies. We have even got a second photography client through oDesk working for wikihow.com which has also been a blast.
Our 4 tips to Freelancing
Create a portfolio
Weather you are a writer, designer, web tester, photographer or do something entirely different like data entry or translation. You need a portfolio to show off your work. Most freelance sites will allow you to upload images to show off your work for potential employers to view – make the most of this.
Apply for lots of jobs
Apply over different websites, and on many many different jobs, this will lead you to find where you can and where (at the moment)you cant find work.
Don’t give up
It wont be your first application that offers you work, you will be lucky to find work in the first week. But as long as you continue to apply for jobs and improve your portfolio you will be hired eventually. The learning curve is step but you will soon find out what the client is looking for and you will be able to tailor your unique skills to fill a gap in the market.
Having feedback is important – very important. So important you may (unfortunately) have to under sell your self in the beginning. There is a catch 22 situation here in that you need to get feedback in order to be taken seriously as a freelancer but in order to get feedback you need your first client (or two). The majority of clients will not want to work with someone who has no history, so initially you may need to compete on price to get your first few jobs but remember if the client doesn’t see the value in paying you what you are worth you need to move on. Work hard and keep your clients happy and make sure to get your 5 star rating.
It is important to manage your time well, if you work from home (as we do) you need to have two modes and be able to distinguish between work time and personal time. It becomes very easy to let the two bleed together and before you know it you are working at all hours of the day 7 days a week – this is not ideal for you or your client as you will not be able to sustain this forever and eventually you will burn out – affecting the quality of your work and the quality of your life. What we have found useful is to set a schedule with regular office hours. We are very clear with our clients that we are only available at set times and if they contact us outside of those hours we will not respond until the next working day unless it is an absolute emergency in which case we will charge them extra for the overtime we have to do. This seems to work well and clients will understand perfectly well that you need personal time in order to function well during the hours you are working for them.
In the spirit of using what you have available to get the job done here is our recipe for ratatouille with ingredients freshly sourced from our local market:Simple Ratatouille
- 2 Green Peppers
- 2 Eggplants
- 1 Zucchini
- 3 Tomatoes
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Onion
- Water (if needed)
- Salt and Pepper
- Cut the green peppers, egg plant and zucchini in to similar sized pieces.
- Fry each vegetable separately and set aside in the serving bowl.
- Mince the garlic and onion and add it to a a pan with a dash of oil once it begins browning, add the tomatoes, diced. Let the whole lot fry until the sauce reaches a nice thick consistency.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste while cooking.
- Once the sauce is ready pour over the fried vegetables, and mix through.
- Bon appetite!
If you have fussy diners leave the sauce and vegetables separate so everyone can choose only what they want to eat.
A chopped and fried zucchini would be an excellent complement to this dish.