Elance is by far the most effective freelance website that I have worked on. It was once the world’s largest marketplace but now some other websites like Freelancer.com and Fiverr.com are among the top names. Elance will stay effective as the quality of the service providers and seriousness of the buyers is far better compared to other websites. You can make as much money as you want on Elance but the beginners face a lot of problems and always ask me the tips and tricks to win a job. I am putting the top 10 questions frequently asked in this post and I hope these Elance tips will solve problems for many.
1. Elance Profile Name: Choose a creative name and avoid putting your name as your profile name. Remember that profile name is different than your username and it is displayed at the top of your profile. Display your own picture in the thumbnail if you are a free member or if you have an individual/professional account. Only small and large businesses are allowed to display their logos in thumbnails. You can make a simple logo or record a 1 minute video and put it in place of the profile picture. Recently Elance introduced a feature which allows you to verify your identity. It is a simple procedure so take some time out and verify yourself. I have seen increase in business I get since Elance put verification seal after my name.
2. Portfolio: My experience is mainly in Writing and Translation category and I mostly get the questions from the beginners related to this category as it is hard for them to build a portfolio as they have no presence online. But building a portfolio is very simple. You can write 2 or 3 articles and submit them to some article directory like Ezinearticles.com and wait for their acceptance. Once they are accepted, you can take their screenshot and upload in your portfolio. Beginners willing to work in Web and Programming and Design and Multimedia category can make some templates or logos and upload in their portfolio. A strong portfolio is necessary to get the buyer’s attention.
3. Skill Tests: People do not pay attention to this area of their profile and always give me examples that top elancers do not have a single “orange bar” in their skill test area. Well they are experienced or lucky or God knows what, you are a beginner and no way near to their standards. You need to take skill tests to demonstrate your skill and ability and get the buyer’s attention. It also gives a positive signal to the buyer that you are hard working and care about your profile.
4. Job Search: There are over 1200 jobs available in top 3 categories and these numbers never drop down but you cannot secure all the jobs in your chosen category and you cannot possess the skills required to do all the jobs. Search for the jobs that you are confident of doing in a professional and timely manner.
5. Buyer History: I am seeing a lot of non-serious buyers these days on Elance and I have more than 30 jobs in “my jobs” tab that are not awarded to anybody and their proposal submission period has already lapsed. Take some time and visit the buyers profile page to view his/her history. You can get the information like the job award ratio, total purchased till today, feedback left and the number of providers hired. This little research will save your time and may save your connects too.
6. Job proposal: Needless to say, it is the most important thing and the client/buyer may immediately decline your job proposal if he does not find adequate information in it. Remember that Elance does not allow you to send private messages to the clients and your job proposal is the only way to interact with the buyer at the beginning. Make sure that you make the most of this opportunity and do not waste your “connect.” If you see that enough information is not given in the job description then ask probing question in the job proposal but do not force the buyer to respond to your message. Show your interest and relevant skills and experience that you posses to complete the job.
7. Pricing: There is no hard and fast rule of pricing the job and it is entirely up to the provider to decide how much should be charged. It depends on the difficulty of the job and the effort you will have to put in to complete it. For example; 10 articles on weight loss niche may not be too much costly but 10 articles on medical research will take a lot of time and effort to complete so their price will be high. But as a beginner, you may not be able to charge like the experienced providers. If you charge too low then the buyer may think that you are a sub-standard provider and want the job badly. If you bid too high then he may neglect your bid as you do not have any experience to show. I have seen providers face a lot of problems if they bid too low and win the job. They are not motivated enough to complete the job in time because the reward is too low.
8. Delivery Times: Like pricing, delivery time is also entirely dependent on the difficulty of the job. You need to evaluate the amount of research, programming, and designing you will have to do complete a job. The “over promise and under deliver” strategy will not help you at all on Elance. You need to understand that time is money on the Internet and you need to do the work in time and be in good terms with the buyer.
9. Escrow and Milestone Payments: Elance has a clear policy that you should not start work unless the buyer has deposited the agreed amount in escrow. Usually milestones are set up for larger jobs and even for the trial jobs. Once the job is awarded to you, carefully review the terms and milestones that the buyer has setup for you and ask the buyer to fund the first milestone or the full amount if there is only one milestone. Do not accept the job blindly in excitement as you may have to regret your decision in the end.
10. Job Completion, Feedback and Recommendation: Upload the complete project in the workroom and consistently talk to the buyer and keep them updated with the progress during the project. Buyers love to communicate but try to communicate through the workroom as it will help you in future, if a dispute arises. Ask the buyer to review the job and do show your willingness to make corrections if the buyer is not happy with the work. if you feel that you have done a great job and the buyer seemed happy, but has not left the feedback, then send a friendly reminder. If you are in good terms with the buyer then ask him/her to recommend you to other buyers on Elance.
Your feedback and profile is what keeps you going on Elance so make sure you do everything to make it look great and fresh. Buyers look for long term relationships on Elance and if you have the skill and ability, you will see a lot of repeat projects rolling in.
I hope I have answered all your basic questions regarding Elance and you can start working right away using these Elance tips. If you still find it difficult to move forward then buy my freelance course and I will help you further. Leave the comments below if you like this article or have some questions in mind.