Siobhan Gallagher was living the dream—she had left a job as an executive assistant in New York City and relocated to France to work on her novel.
There was only one problem. “It’s virtually impossible to get a job here in France if you’re not fluent in French, which I’m not,” she said. “It was critical for me to network globally in order to garner sufficient clients to make a reasonable living.”
So she turned to oDesk, and built her online career as a writer and editor. “There is such a wealth of work on oDesk. Since getting my foot in the door and establishing my reputation, I’ve been able to almost triple my hourly rate in the course of three years,” she said.
The work has dovetailed perfectly with her own writing efforts. “As an author myself, I like working from home and refining my craft through other people’s work, in order to do a better job on my own book,” she said. In fact, after editing her very first full-length book through oDesk, the author—a NASA engineer—was so pleased with her work that he gave her a publishing credit in the overleaf and sent her a signed copy.
In addition to the professional development, she loves the flexibility that working online provides. “I have a portable life, as I take off for five or six weeks at a time—in June 2010, it was the French Alps, Italy and then Provence, and now I spend my winters in southern Portugal—so being able to work from anywhere is not only a huge advantage, it's imperative. I couldn't afford to travel for extended periods without being able to work.”
Given Siobhan’s ability to develop her professional writing while traveling across Europe, it’s not surprising that she is hooked to this new way of working and living. She explained, “I don’t see myself doing anything else now.”
For others interested in going freelance, Siobhan offers useful tips, like taking the time to build a stellar profile that showcases your relevant skills. She advises: “Edit, edit and re-edit. If you can’t spell or write properly, find someone who can and ask them to help you. Don’t write that you have impeccable eye for detail when your profile contains one or more mistakes...It’s worth a few extra minutes of meticulous review.” She also adds, “In terms of substance, be short, sweet and succinct. If you have accomplishments that are related to your field, list them in the first paragraph. If you have examples of your work that aren’t client-protected, include links or attachments.”