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Freelancing for a better future: a chat with Elance's Oscar Pereyra

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Oscar A. Pereyra runs the freelance mobilizer program at Elance in Mexico City. He offers advice on cashflow, saving and maintaining good relations for freelancers. His tip? Develop a niche of expertise. Pereyra also advises that self-promotion is not about wasting your life away on social media, but about developing an expertise and mastering a specific area. Patience is another key, so is gaining support from a local community. You can never have enough help, be it mentors, advisors and other strong examples to help light the way. From there, he says, clients will follow.

Pereyra started freelancing in 2009, he encourages locals to share best practices and celebrate online work achievements (offline). One example is his Meetup group for lancers in Mexico City. It makes sense that Pereyra’s expertise lies in combining finance and social business (he graduated from the National Mexico University with a degree in sociology). Aside from all the projects and deadlines, Pereyra took out a few minutes to chat with Deskmag about freelancing for a better future.

Deskmag: What cash flow advice do you have for freelancers?

Pereyra: Prepare, save, and manage, that’s my three key pieces of advice for freelancers. Prepare for times of low workload, as freelancers usually flow in cycles. Sometimes you have four projects to complete, sometimes none. Cash flow is essential for your success. Save money for these times and don’t touch it when you have more workload. Save also implies investment. If you have more cash flow than usual, invest it. Open an account of stocks, bonds or saving account.

What is the best route for freelancers to get work – keep all avenues open or be specialized? Or neither?

Being focused on one particular skill is the key. If you want to offer more services, create teamwork. Many freelancers evolved toward a company when their knowledge matches larger projects. If you are alone, focus on a niche market. For example, if you design websites, focus a little more on designing e-commerce websites. If you are a graphic designer, design only logos, etc.  

What is the best way freelancers can promote themselves?

The best way to promote yourself is creating something that shows your expertise. Write a book, film a video, or participate as expert in some magazine. People will come to you. You become a master of your area when everyone uses your book to solve their problems. Combine this with a strong social media presence like blogs and fanpages on Facebook or Twitter and clients will be there. 

What do you offer at elance.com that is different from many other job sites?

Elance is the most important place to work online. We are different because we promote a better way of life. We are not looking for just business model. We want to change people life improving their jobs. We help entrepreneurs with their business offering a rich pool talent where they can build companies. Elance have local representatives around the world that bring physical presence of our company. Elancers around the world meet each other in their local city and exchange ideas and experiences about online work. 

What did you wish you knew starting out that you could share with us today? 

Be patient, be consistent and look for support. New elancers have a lot of tools to become great freelancers. Not only with our local support but also through videos, manuals and experience from other successful people on the website. Elancers from Mexico can contact me for more information

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