Marcel Morgan knew the corporate life wasn’t for him. Despite his comfortable corporate job as a web developer, the Jamaica-based Ruby on Rails expert felt stuck because he wasn’t able to work on projects that interested him. “I wasn’t getting to do any Ruby work where I worked. It was either Java or C sharp. I just had to get out,” he said.
So Marcel started freelancing through oDesk on nights and weekends, building a part-time business in addition to his full-time job. As his client list grew longer and his online reputation grew stronger, he decided it was time to quit his corporate job to freelance full time on oDesk.
“It was a real shock to my friends when I decided to walk away from the best-paying employer on the island to go out on my own and start my own business on oDesk,” he said. “But I knew it was the right thing for me to do. I couldn’t be happier.”
Now Marcel earns a premium for the in-demand Ruby expertise he loves to use. And he is his own boss, which allows him to spend more time with his young son.
“oDesk gives me the freedom to do the work I want on my schedule,” he said. “I no longer have a difficult commute to a place where I wasn’t doing the work I enjoyed. Since I have stopped making that commute, I go to the park to exercise three mornings per week and I can spend time with my family.”
For a smooth transition to online freelance work, Marcel recommends taking oDesk skills tests to prove you have the skills to get the job done.“Taking tests, that really helps,” he said. “I saw a difference in the number of job invitations I got after I put up a good score on the Ruby 2.3 test.”
Additionally, Marcel stresses the importance of responsiveness when working online. He explains, ‘“your online presence is very important. You have to be there and be visible when the client wants you.”
As one of oDesk’s top freelancers in Jamaica, Marcel certainly knows his stuff. Last year he represented oDesk at Digital Jam 2.0: The Future of Work is Online, a conference hosted by the World Bank. To read about his experience and more of his best practices, check out his blog post here.