Australian journalist Josephine McKenna, who has been based in Rome, Italy since 2007, turned to an old colleague for help. She wanted to have her own portfolio website to promote herself as a freelance journalist and showcase samples of her work. She thought it might be easier to ask someone she knew, rather than tread new waters in Italy to find Web developers. “My colleague has a successful international shipping business based in Sydney and he had been hiring freelancers for technical jobs,” Josephine shared.
Her requirements for the site were fairly straightforward. She needed a strong opening homepage and a mix of impressive photos and PDFs for her articles. The site would be hosted through WordPress and use an existing template. The site should also be able to host a blog and video page later on. For these, she was quoted US$3,000 by a developer from the United States she found online. It was way out of budget.
“In the media industry, the website is your calling card. No one takes you seriously without it. It is my publicity machine not only for spreads of eye-catching magazine stories, but also for breaking news in Italy.”
Freelancer.com was the talent source shared by her colleague, and Josephine decided to take his word for it. “When I posted the project on Freelancer.com, I felt nervous because I received instant responses from around the world. I started talking to a couple of bidders, but one of them really stood out,” Josephine said, referring to Entrepreneur2000 from Moscow, Russia. The freelancer showed her a couple of examples of his work. Josephine decided to hire him because one of the sites he designed looked similar to what she wanted to have.
“He was efficient, smart, and adaptable. He made it all happen in just five days. Most of all, he was very patient in answering my dummy questions. I am really excited about my website. It is fairly new but I think it is dynamic and engaging,” she said.
So far, clients and visitors have been very enthusiastic about the website, which cost €399 euros to build. “My website, Josephinemckenna.net, looks extremely professional and reflects current trends. In the months to come I will look at making it even more dynamic and also consider creating a separate blog.”
On a Roll
Because of her great experience, Josephine posted another project on Freelancer.com -- this time for Search Engine Optimization. She hired Twigital, an SEO expert from Indore, India, which was recommended by a Freelancer.com Recruiter. “The Recruiter service was extremely helpful. They gave me valuable advice on the bidders and their experience.”
The SEO work made Josephine’s website come up first in Google when employers search for freelance journalists in Rome. The work, which cost €250 euros, added value to her website and helped raise her profile. “I have received a handful of leads. I would like to drive more traffic to the website and I’m looking for new ways of doing that.”
From Melbourne to Rome
Josephine began her career as a journalist in Melbourne in 1980 at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She spent six years freelancing in New York from 1989 to 1995 covering finance and various aspects of American life before moving back to Australia and working in various media outlets. She has worked in broadcast, print and online media for 35 years.
She first visited Italy in 1981 as a tourist and dreamt of moving there before finally making it happen. “I am in love with Italy -- the architecture, arts, archeology, food, wine, fashion, and people. Here, I work as a freelancer in radio, print, and television. I love the independence of working for myself. You don’t wait for someone to give you something to do or determine the structure of your day. It is up to you to make it happen.”
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