I was recently contacted to do an interview about the different methods of freelancing. Guru is obviously my preferred method, and it is considered a bidding platform. Usually, when I talk about freelance websites on here, I talk about Guru or elance, or some of the other bidding platforms/ freelancer classified websites.
However, this particular article was about being a freelancer in general - and obviously there are numerous ways to go about doing this. Most people think my way - bidding on jobs - is just awful. I shudder when I think about freelancing their way, so I guess we are even.
For example, some people have websites with blogs and market themselves that way. Well, here's my website. As you can see, I use my website to sell my self-published books. To date, I have sold 0 books on my website (I would rather sell through Amazon, anyway, so I don't promote it much; in fact, most of the book links on my website take you directly to Amazon) and was propositioned for 1 freelance job. That particular freelance job stressed me out and I didn't take it. Why? They wanted my Social Security # (SS#).
Now if you work in the U.S., your employers need your SS# for the 1099 tax form they will have to fill out. How do freelancers working outside of Guru control who has their SS#? I have no clue. Call me paranoid, but if I can't (1) recognize the name of your company [I actually did recognize his company] (2) get confirmation from HR at your company that you work for them and are indeed authorized to hire me for said project [I confirmed he worked there, but no one called me back after I left a message about his hiring ability] AND (3) work directly through your HR department (because really, do you need to act as a middle man when my SS# is involved?), then sorry, I don't particularly want the job that badly.
Still, MANY freelancers hand employers their SS# every day. They apparently do it safely - probably by creating an EIN# with the IRS and using that instead. Yes, I have an EIN, but I had just received it, and really, he should have asked for that.
NOTE TO EMPLOYERS: ask freelancers for their EIN# and not their SS# (or even one or the other).