How to Create the Perfect Elance Profie For Getting More Writing Gigs
How To Create The Perfect Elance Profile (For Freelance Writers)
I was asked by someone not too long ago, actually 4 people, folks from India and Pakistan, how to get writing gigs on Elance - I did my best to help them, not sure if any of it really did any good. Nonetheless, I am currently writing full time for Elance clients, and some private clients who found me at my blog where freelance writing is one of the subjects I cover.
Why would I write a Hub on how to create the perfect Elance profile? (Click that link to see mine - it's not perfect.)
As I mentioned, I am involved in Elance full-time, I lost my job like many have (shudder!) and found the opportunity timely. It's sink or swim time for me - and judging from the clackety-clack! of the QWERTY, I'm (drowning in work?) swimming.
Freelancing is what I do. I actually love this gig.
Another reason I want to write this Hub is a friend asked me to - and I realized that I have been asked a number of times to help some people get things rolling on Elance. I have also written a number of Elance tips on my blog...but regarding the profile: here goes.
Why is it important to create the perfect Elance profile in the first place?
Let me stop myself right there - there is no "perfect" Elance profile - and if there was one, mine ain't it. Nonetheless, it's important to treat every contact that you have with a prospective client as the last chance you have to get a job with them.
That all begins at the first impression - treat it like a job interview, a first date, the first day of class - it's what you'll be remembered (( or forgotten )) by.
When a prospect searches for writers, if they actually dig through the list, those with actual credibility stand out - unless the client is purposefully looking for the bottom-dollar. In which case, they will scour the list of providers for those with no prior experience.
So your best bet to getting better paying jobs on Elance is to create the perfect Elance profile. (Yes, this works on oDesk, Guru, GetaCoder, GetaFreelancer, etc.)
**Let me repeat this important benefit to you for why you need to have the perfect Elance profile.**
Are you with me still?
You need to concentrate not just on the amount you are receiving for your first gig - the amount you get is irrelevant for the first jobs. The reason being that the first jobs get your feet in the door.
Once you have some credibility, once you have good feedback, then you can step your game up and you'll be able to ask for more the next time. You need to get those first jobs in, however, in order to actually get the next few jobs.
You are in a swimming pool full of sharks - I'm one of them - and we're all going for the same bait. It's competitive - so: think competitively. Create the perfect Elance profile and you'll have your choice of what work to take.
If you're short-sighted, however, and think that Elance is a writer's grotto where no money can be made, then you'll gripe and complain that you are being asked to compete in a global economy, and you won't take the first jobs - nor will you grow a profile at all.
So, your best benefit is that a perfect Elance profile means more work, and higher-paying work, in the long-run.
The difference between success and failure is simply a razor's edge -
your first jobs are really to be used to leverage a better profile, with
better feedback, and rapport in the Elance community.
Writing you Resume or Profile
The real meat n' taters of how to create the perfect Elance profile (what I did, wished I did, need to do).
1. Create a Profile the Sells vs. Tells: stand out. Every time you contact your client, sell them again, convince them again...it all starts at the profile. There are thousands of writers on Elance, and thousands more on oDesk, Guru and other places combined. Your prospective clients have seen one too many profiles and they're tired of the same, tired, vanilla...
Be Rocky Road, or Chubby Hubby1. Vanilla's still looking for work.
"I'm James. I write well. I graduated from a school you never heard of and I have the credentials to prove it. Pay me well because I still have student loans to pay off."
That ain't gonna cut it. It reads like this:
"Go to sleep. You've seen this a million times before. Don't hire me. I have the imagination of a salamander."
2. Drive Home the Benefits: this is salesmanship 101. Your profile is not just a bio! Bio's are those little boring things on a resume that head hunters are looking for. Most of your clients on Elance are going to be the average joe - people with full time jobs who can afford to pay you so their business can grow.
Targeting that client is different than a job interview. Elance is not your local Human Resources department - it's a place where big and little fish swim together, and most of them are small businesses.
So drive home the benefits - sell the sizzle, not the steak.
I can guarantee your client is thinking:
Why do I want to hire you? What is in it for me if I hire you versus your over-qualified competitor?
Answering the question How do I benefit my customers? is key to creating a perfect Elance profile, and getting more work.
Do you have skills? SEO? Tools? Do you have sales pages on the internet that convert? These are all
your client *might care* but they are after benefits. Know the difference? It's a fine distinction, but benefits are features explained. Explain why your client might want an SEO-supercharged writer for their web content. Explain why it's important that you know ICD-9 coding, or that you have this or that technology.
What's in it for them? This is the #1 mistake of all my competition, and I know because I'm checking - your profile reads like and instruction manual and I'd rather have the sales copy on the package.
3. Will Work For REVIEWS: I won't go too far into this, it's self-explanatory. GET GOOD REVIEWS. Then make them a feature of your profile.
My first 3 jobs were dismal - I worked my tail off and got very little, and I knew it, but needed the street cred. Nobody knew me from Adam - so I needed someone to vouch for me.
The only way I could do that was to take my jobs for very little, my first one was only $150, doing transcribing. But I did it asking for a review. That's key, and part of the bidding process (future Hub, maybe).
End result? I got more jobs. Do it once, then lather, rinse and repeat.
4. Build a Portfolio: Put your mouth where the money is - why tell 'em when you can show 'em? Personally, I'd recommend EzineArticles. Write up a dozen product reviews, write about your niche, write about working from home as a freelancer...
Anything. Just get your name out there and published. You want to get a platinum status on EzineArticles. If you can't, at least write these articles, a dozen to start with, and link them to your blog, your profile, your website, whatever.
This gets you links and shows you can write. Also, when creating your profile, you can link to your author's page on EzineArticles. There are other places, too, I wrote more about that at my Freelance Writer Work lens. Join good article directories, you can in most cases take your EzinArticles articles and cross-publish them, just cut and paste.
Building a portfolio was key for me - I didn't have one except my blog (I have a faith-based blog for much ado about personal stuff), and that didn't cut it - I got no work from it.
I had to create a professional portfolio, one that showcased that I could write on various topics and get backlinks to my own websites.
5. Go Through Elance University and Take The Tests: I'll be honest here. I did that, and scored miserably.
I knew nothing about anything SEO this or that - I've learned a lot along the way. So when I took the tests - I tanked! I only did well on the English language tests, but notice: I put this last.
Sure you need to go through Elance U, it orients you and gives you good tips - and yes, take the tests - but if you don't do well, you don't need to sweat too much. I do need to re-take them, though...
6. Add Your C.V. or Resume: not sure when "resume" transformed into "C.V.," but whatev', add it if you have one - I don't. Add your educaiton, etc. - I did, but don't have much to show.
I'm more street smart and SEO savvy than Yogi Bear, and I know how to close...gets you pretty far! :)
These are more or less the steps to creating the "perfect Elance profile" - adding a body of work is an option, I just use my websites or published works to showcase my ability to write. I tried to keep this in something of a hierarchy as I see it - the last two are helpful, especially if you have nothing else to show, but not uber-critical.
Concentrate on the rest of it - and be yourself in your profile. Yes, be professional, but be personal, not a machine. You're dealing with people, not an alogrithm...best of luck to you all. Hope this helps.
1. Chubby Hubby is the most amazing material to come in a pint-sized serving. (Don't tell me it's 2, 3 or 4 servings, either: a pint of Ben 'n Jerry's ice cream is ONE serving.) Ben 'n Jerry's ice cream. Try it. It has negative calories...you lose weight eating it...(that's probably not true).