A Freelancer’s Confession: My Online Gambling Addiction

Yes, I must admit it, I have come to the conclusion that I have a gambling addiction. First thing every morning, I go online and browse through lists looking for a good bet, a gamble that might pay off with my roll of the dice.

My gambling habit is a bit different from many others. It’s not poker or roulette or craps. I’m not betting on races or sporting events, cards or dice. My gambling habit doesn’t involve slot machines or video games. I don’t even ‘bet’ on the stock market.

No, my gambling addiction is actually an important part of my freelance writing career. The fact that I enjoy it so much is probably part of what has made me so successful at freelancing. What is this gambling that I do each weekday morning? I ‘bet’ or bid on new freelance projects.

Some freelancers I’ve talked to hate this part of their profession. They don’t want to write proposals and try to determine how much to bid on these new projects. It is a gamble.

“Do I bid high and hope they’ll pay what I really want to make on this job and risk losing the job to a lower bidder?”

“Or, do I bid lower in hopes of gaining a new client that may turn into additional ongoing work and better pay down the line?”

Some freelancers have a set system, just like some gamblers do. They have their rates for different types of projects and they bid consistently based on those predetermined rates. They will also use templates for their proposals to make sure and give their best impression each time and save time on the bidding process.

Other freelancers (like me) take a much more individualized approach. We’re not systematic gamblers; we play by gut feelings. We try to read the other players in the game and what is being held by the  dealer (the potential client). What is the client really willing and expecting to pay? What types of samples have the other bidders used and do I have something that will better fit the type of writing this client is looking for? It’s a gamble. I don’t know what the other bidders hold in their hands; I only know what I hold in my hand and the few cards that the ‘dealer’ has laid down in his job description. Can I bluff my way into winning a hand that I don’t truly have the cards (expertise) to win by writing a great proposal?

It’s all part of the game. I don’t have to worry about losing money directly; all I’m losing is my time, which, of course, is worth money and my free bidding points on the freelance sites, which are limited. That means I need to be strategic about which jobs I spend my time writing proposals for.

I think it’s fun! I may have to bid on 30 projects to win one, but it’s always exciting when I get that email that says, “Your proposal has been selected by the client.” Those ‘wins’ are the ones that I count. I never count the number of bids I didn’t get.

I don’t see bidding on projects as something I ‘have’ to do; it’s something I get to do and still call it part of my job! I actually enjoy it so much that I do have to keep myself from spending too much time on it and not leave enough time for actually doing the work.

How about you? Do you enjoy the process of bidding on projects or is it a draining ‘have to’ thing for you?

What do you think — do I have an online gambling addiction?


4 Comments A Freelancer’s Confession: My Online Gambling Addiction

  1. Kate Smedley

    I’m completely with you Kathy – one of my favourite jobs at the end of the day is searching for jobs on websites like Elance and bidding on ones that appeal to me. Like you I don’t have set rates, I try and assess the client, the long-term value of the project (in terms of repeat business) and when you get that e-mail to say you’ve been awarded the proposal it’s a great feeling.

  2. SJS

    Now that I’ve sent in my fourth bid on a freelance project and am actually being considered for the job,I can see how this could get to be a little addicting. By nature I am not a gambler. I’m too cheap for that; I’d rather spend my money on books, yarn, pens, or art supplies. However, this bidding for writing opportunities could become a habit.(Like the books, yarn, pens and art supplies!)

    Unlike many freelancers, I don’t have a lot of bids to spare so I get to be conscientious about putting my best foot forward. I have a need to be strategic with choosing which projects I’m going to bid on and hope like crazy that I get considered! If nothing else, it helps me become a better writer. And this time I am being considered. Yep, this could get to be a serious habit.

    I don’t know if you have an online addiction or not Kathleen, but if you do, move over, ’cause I think I’m about to join you!

    1. Kathleen Krueger

      I’m right there with you. I’m not a gambler in the money area either; I don’t even buy lottery tickets. We may have to start our own “Bidders Anonymous.”


Would love to hear your comments