It has been awhile since I went browsing around jobs on odesk.com. I write a tutorial last year on how to get work on odesk as a freelancer and was thinking that was a great place to find work.
Over the last year though, I have found so many other places to get jobs for a wage that you can live with. odesk.com may be a good site for graphic designers but not for virtual assistants, office workers or writers.
I went browsing through the data entry section today. I was shocked at the jobs posted and the wages that these clients were only willing to pay.
In North America, minimum wage ranges from $7-$14.00hr. Rent alone can run from $600-$2000. Food prices range depending where you live. And taxes in Canada run high.
One ad in particular was asking for North Americans only for data entry, and then they said they were only willing to pay $1hr and you had to work 6-8 hours a day. I could not imagine with the expenses that I have, working for $6-$8 a day! Ludicrous!
If you truly believe that you have the skills and experience to demand the wage you think you are worth, then I think you should keep doing what you are doing, network, do whatever marketing you can to get the word out, offer samples, deals or what not to attract people, but stick to your guns, and you will find those people who appreciate time, effort and value in people.
If you are just starting out you may need to work for a little less than what you would like but use this as a foundation for your business. Build up testimonials, take repeat clients if you like the work, and in a little while you should have enough experience to go out and drum up business outside of these freelance places with the right ammunition to prove to potential clients that you are worth you fee and they will be 100% satisfied with you as a professional.