Finding freelance jobs: 6 sites for talented techies

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LivePerson

About the service

LivePerson.com connects Experts to consumers that want personalized, real-time advice in more than 600 categories, including computer programming, personal finance, and tutoring.

How it works

Experts apply through LivePerson.com, and once approved make themselves available to answer questions on their own schedule through live chat or via e-mail. Consumers can view the profiles of all Experts, reviewing their qualifications and reading reviews of the Expert's past sessions in order to select the one that best fits their needs. Each session starts out for free, so that the Expert and consumer can ensure that the Expert can provide the help the consumer requires.

at a glance

LivePerson

In-demand skills

In the Technology category, the most popular skills are java, C++, SQL, HTML, XML, Microsoft Office and issues related to databases.

Earning potential

Income really depends on how much time an Expert is willing to make themselves available to consumers, and how much work they are willing to put in. Some Experts earn around $400-$500 a month, while some make over $3500 per month.

By the numbers

  • 30,000+ registered Experts
  • 3,000 active Experts
  • 600 categories
  • Average chat session: 15-18 minutes
  • Average fee: $2.25/minute

Barrier to entry

Experts are required to fill out a personal profile detailing their expertise and qualifications. If the Expert is in a field requiring certification, a third party firm verifies the Expert's qualifications. LivePerson uses a ranking system based on Expert sessions and reviews that ensures the best Experts are highlighted for success, even if they are new to the site.

Words of wisdom

Fares Qeadan, a SAS Programming Expert on LivePerson since August 2007 offers these tips for newbies:

  • Organize your time.
  • Keep your promises to your clients.
  • Meet deadlines.
  • Review requests carefully before setting the price.
  • Stay online as much as you can (but don't let that keep you away from working on the projects you have been hired for).
  • Don't take on work that you aren't certain you can do.

Average gig

LivePerson Experts can work from any computer where they can access the Internet. An Expert can make themselves available for 2 hours each week or 80 hours each week. It's up to them to set their own schedule and level of commitment they are willing to give.

One particularly interesting project Fares Qeadan recalls had him using Matlab, R, SAS and Maple in the same project.

The ideal candidate

Whether full-time or part-time, the greater the commitment an Expert puts in to LivePerson, the higher their chance for success. Qeadan, for example, worked as a LivePerson Expert while a full-time Masters degree student, and will continue to work for LivePerson when he starts his Ph.D. program this Fall.

Also in this series: Elance | TopCoder | CrossLoop | RentACoder | Guru.com | LivePerson

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