Elance Success Tips For Newbies

Is this you?

So you have heard quite a lot about Elance.

You have gone and sign up thinking that you will be getting those freelance contracts and making money soon.

You bid on profects after projects and no client is picking you

You have been there a month, two months or more and still no clients

You bid with your ten free connects each month and still nothing.

You have given up thinking it's not working or you just are't lucky, or you don't have the patience.


About Elance


Elance is a freelancing outsource site where writers, programmers and other job seekers bid on tasks that clients have posted. The bids and proposals are much like applying for a job where many persons apply for the same job and the client chooses one.

Unlike many other outsourcing sites, Elance employers pay well. A freelancer can earn $8 an hour or more, depending on the client or task. Do the work exceptionally well and the client will repeat.

Of all the outsourcing or freelance sites, Elance has gotten the best review. They make sure the client pays them as soon as the job is awarded and you get paid immediately after submitting your completed status. The only delay might be a few hours while the client authorizes payment.


There are several ways to receive your money from Elance.

  1. You may choose to receive your money through Paypal
  2. You may have your money deposited directly in your US bank account
  3. Non US residents have two options, a Payoneer prepaid mastercard directly from Elance and a deposit to a Moneybrokers account.
  4. Withdraw your money directly to your credit or debit card



The best thing you can do for your membership is.....

To make your profile stand out.

When someone visits your profile page you want them to spend some time to get to know you. Your page should be very interesting so that the client will want to hire you there and then. Here are some tips to improve your profile.

  1. Write a paragraph or two about yourself, your goals, vision and mission as a professional. Highlight your strong points. Remember this is a resume and potential employers will be reading it.
  2. Use a real photograph or company logo as your avatar. A photo of your cat or some random cartoon is not very professional and will not sell you well.
  3. Add your education and work experience
  4. Add portfolio items of your best work or the kind of things you would prefer to be employed for.
  5. Complete your profile. Elance will help you along and let you know what percent completeness you are at. They will also let you know what you can do to reach 100%.
  6. As mentioned below, do the tests and place the ones you do well at the top of your skills list.
  7. Use the tags and keywords section so your skill will show up in search.

Here are some Elance Newbie tips

  • When you view a job, check out the lowest and highest bids of the previous bids. Bid below the lowest bid. This is really no guarantee that the client will choose you but as a newbie many clients will pay less to give you a chance.However, don't sell yourself short and work for nothing. Make sure the amount you bid is worth working for.
  • Be the first to bid. Try catching the jobs as they are placed and place your proposal and bid first. Half the time the client will pick the first bidder especially if the job isn't too technical or if they are in a hurry to get the job done.
  • Make every proposal unique. Never cut and paste a proposal that you have used before. Some clients are able to spot this immediately. Your proposal must be specific to the current position you are applying for. Make it stand out. You are a writer, use that skill to woo the client.
  • Use your connects wisely. Read the job requirements before applying. Make sure it is something you can handle easily. Don't experiment and hope it works out, be sure you apply for a job you are equipped to do.
  • If you find a job you really, really want, use an extra connect to place you at the top of the bid list. The client will read your bid first and may just choose you. If there are no other bids at the time when you place yours, still use that connect. That will ensure you remain at the top of the list.
  • Just in case you change your mind and you want to decline the job, do so courteously after the client has chosen you. Send a message when you "decline" letting them know that you were chosen for another job and you won't be able to handle both.
  • Submit writing samples and links. Whenever I check my stats on certain hubs and see traffic from Elance it always pleases me. If you are a writer on HP then submit your link with your proposal/bid. If you have articles saved on your computer, attach a sample with the bid. This way the client will get to see your writing style, the kind of articles you are skilled at writing and how well presented your articles are. Make sure they are error free and interesting.
  • After each job give your client a raving review. A client had rated me 4.8 because I made an error in figures. I was referring to how many people search the internet each year and wrote billions instead of millions. So my rating dropped to 4.9. I received an email after a job that asked me to rate the client and I did. I realized that when I rate a client first they are more likely to give me a good rating. So I did it a few times (even at Freelancer.com) and my rating went back to 5.0. Clients are more likely to hire you with five stars.


Watch the Elance Tutorial!

Other things that will help you!


Take the tests - they are free

When you sign up at Elance in order to start applying for work you need to take the Elance proficiency test which is compulsory. You get to choose one category per month in which you can apply for jobs. In this category there are many tests that you can take to show on your profile.

For example, if you select the writing category, the tests can range from fiction to ghostwriting. These tests will show your proficiency and skill level in certain areas and clients will feel more confident in employing you.

Unlike Odesk and Freelancer, the Elance tests are free. You can take them anytime and the pass rate is 60, which is very low. There is no excuse, take some of the tests.


Upgrade your membership

Upgrading your membership from the free account will give you more connects each month. This way you can more than double the amount of proposals you submit. These connects also roll over, so if you don't use them up by the end of your membership month, they add to your new month.

Free membership only gives 40 connects while paid membership gives 60 connects. Your membership status is also featured on your profile and increases your chance of employment by about 40%. Paid membership for the individual costs $10 per month. It is worth it.

Paid membership also allows you to see the previous bid amounts so you can bid competitively. Seeing your competitors' bids will help you make a decision about the amount you should be charging for the project. This is a new feature.


Change your category

If your skills match more than one category, consider switching each month. Do it early as it takes a while to take effect when your membership is free. Paid members have their categories switched immediately. You can also pay $5 to have another category added to your account.


Bid on multiple jobs

Don't place your bid on one job and hope it works out. Don't wait for your bid to be declined before bidding on another job. Apply for multiple positions which gives you a greater chance of being employed.



© 2011 Carolee Samuda

More by this Author


Comments 46 comments

Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

I just saw this title but have to run off to my day-job. Looks SO good that I am bookmarking it and sending myself the link to read it on my lunch hour. Be back in the comments again at lunch! See you then.


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Thank you, see you at lunch!


Greenhousewife profile image

Greenhousewife 5 years ago

I'll be bookmarking this for later. I have tried to get jobs through Elance and did stop since I wasn't having any luck, which is when I began writing hubs. I think I'll be giving it another go after reading this. Thanks!


jenubouka 5 years ago

I just signed up for Elance earlier this morning, how Odd and awesome to find one of my favorite hubbers hubbing about it!!!

Reading your hub was so much better than rolling through the pages there. I was wondering about the tests..


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Thank you Greenhousewife, I hope you give it another chance and start making some money.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

Really good hub. Love the content. Now following you. Check your email, today, too! OK?


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Sinea, thank you!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Thanks for the in depth review.


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Thanks Flora!


gerrywalker profile image

gerrywalker 5 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

Thanks, I signed up but haven't followed through on it,now I'll take those tests and hope it works. This hub is excellent with the info on tests and other explanatory material. I was discouraged by some other sites when I saw you had to buy a bunch of equipment (head sets,pedals that sometimes don't work, etc) but this gives me new hope for this method of making some extra money. I'm a good legal secretary but older, so it's hard to find temp work now. Didn't used to be!

Thanks again,

Gerry Walker


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Jenubouka, sorry I missed your comment. I hope you start making some money there and good luck. Do the proficiency test and start placing your proposals. Take at least one other test per week or month, they are not compulsory. Jut relax and don't stress and you will be fine.


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Gerry, Elance is pretty simple and easy to use. If you have a problem and contact them they get right back to you. I signed at oDesk first but I was asked to ssend a copy of my bank statement ot utilty bill to verify who I am and I was not comfortable with that. Elance is pretty simple, all you have to do is take the first test and you are good to go. I recommend them anyday.


jenubouka 5 years ago

Thanks for the advise. Will give it a try


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

No problem!


Joe Macho profile image

Joe Macho 5 years ago from Colorado

I've been looking to expand my writing to different ventures and this sounds like a good option. I'm going to check it out now. Thanks for informing!


Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

Thank you Joe. I hope you find success there.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

Hey, this is really good. I was trying to decide which of the freelancing site would work for me. You have solved the dilemma. Voted up.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Hi Emerald Strachan,

I too have signed up with elance but haven't looked for any work yet.

The pay scales seem a little low considering they own the copyright. I think that is why I haven't bothered.

Thanks for sharing this information with us.


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Hi Cyndi, I have signed unto many Freelancing sites and only Elance has made me any real money. I only take xxx stories from Freelancer.com because I ca get $30+ for a story I can take a couple hours to write.

I think Elance is the better site.


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Hi Micheal. The pay on Elance is never the same with every client and not all clients retain copyright. I had two jobs where the clients paid really well and my name is on both clients stories. They were short fiction but that's what I do well. When I just started I took small jobs that paid cheap until I built up my portfolio. Now I can bid on bigger projects that pay better, so it has been a project. The thing about it is that clients with huge projects don't want to hire someone with no jobs on their profile or files in their portfolio. Each job you get your point go up and if you get rated high that helps. I am a 5 star so when clients search I am in the top percentile of contractors that clients want to hire.


Capedium profile image

Capedium 4 years ago from Texas.

It is really enlightening.. We look into it...


internetgeek profile image

internetgeek 4 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

This really informative and useful, specially for newbies. You have provided some good instructions, that are very helpful. Thanks you so much and voted up :)


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Thanks Capedium. Have a great day.


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Thanks Internet Geek. I am glad you found it useful.


risalat profile image

risalat 4 years ago from Moorhead, MN

Thanks a lot for the useful hub


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

You are welcome Risalat. Thanks for reading and commenting.


emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago

Just joined Elance today. Thanks for the great info! I had heard about them before, and nothing but positive reviews, so I figured I'd give it a shot.


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Hello Emilybee, they are the best freelancing site on the web. Start bidding immediately to get your foot in the door. It can take a while to get some good work but there are clients who are willing to give you a chance. Good luck!


emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago

That is awesome Emerald. Thank you for the heads up! I hope to get at least one job with my ten free credits :) I'm not even sure I'm doing the proposals right--I'm guessing a bit. Some of the jobs don't list specifics like how long the projects are for. I guess by trial and error I'll hopefully get the hang of things! Thanks for the help.


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Emily, when you bid on a project you could tell the client how many days your bid is for. Do so in the proposal and then place the bid. Make sure your proposal is original. You could also let the client know that your fee is negotiable or you can change it after seeing the average bids.


khalid 4 years ago

i have signed elance 02 days ago, i studied it and found it quife fruitfull. i am PCB designer and have submitted proaposal. My wife is very interested in novel and story writing. She has did master in literature,

So anyone here , that can guide us or share their past experience of elance with us ,

kmkyousafzai@gmail.com


Emerald Strachan 4 years ago

Hi Khalid, good luck with your Elance ventures. I think following the guide in this hub will be very useful for you. There is not much else I can add but maybe more experienced Elance users may have more info.


Sherry 3 years ago

Elance is a good site - however, it is really expensive in terms of marketing cost as each connect is now for one dollar ($1) and if many projects (big ones) need you to have multiple connects to bid.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Sherry, I am the the author of this account but too lazy to log out then back in.

I get 30 connects for my paid $10/month membership. There is no way I can use up all my connects in one month. Invited bids don't cost anything and most bids only cost one connect. I don't agree with you on that point. I have never paid for extra connects and I have been a member since 2011.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney

Great article. I did join Elance but I've always been so focussed on my websites, I'ven ever got around to trying it. Now that my sites are not doing so well, it's probably time I gave it a go, and your tips will give me more confidence to approach it correctly.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Marisa, I like Guru.com as well. I think the clients pay much better there. the clients that post there look for very high quality and are willing to pay. Elance isn't bad but beware or spam postings.


Ceres Schwarz profile image

Ceres Schwarz 2 years ago

Thanks for this very useful, informative and helpful hub on Elance. I've been trying to learn more about this site as it seems interesting. It's also good that it offers free membership and that the tests they have are free.

I wonder though if we have to use our real name when we sign up for Elance or if we can use a pen name like with HubPages? Also, you suggested that we bid below the lowest bid when we view a job but not to sell yourself short. For newbies to Elance, what's the lowest bid that you suggest they make? If a newbie is the first to bid on a job, then how much do you suggest they bid?

You also mentioned switching categories. Does this mean that users of Elance can only have one category at a time and does that mean that they can't apply to jobs that belong to other categories unless they switch to that category?


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Ceres. You can use a pen name but nothing too weird....lol Be professional when choosing your pen name. When bidding you will see what the lowest bid on a project is. As a newbie, you may get preference when you either match the bid or go a bit lower. Bids are dependent on the project type so I cannot give you a figure. Bids are also dependent on the client's budget minimum.


Ceres Schwarz profile image

Ceres Schwarz 2 years ago

Thank you for your helpful suggestions. I just started an account at Elance but haven't started bidding yet as I'm still working on my profile and taking the tests.

Do you have any more tips on what to write on a proposal? I've been looking around for samples but all that I've seen so far are for those that aren't new to Elance since they all mention talking about previous experiences, etc. But what if you're just a newbie to Elance? What should or what can you put on your proposal? Thanks.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Ceres, when you say proposal, do you mean your profile or your bid?

Profile - On your profile it's good if you state your skills and work experience even if you are a newbie at writing. Some employees would rather get articles from people with actual experience in a certain field. On Elance it's more useful to highlight skills and work experience than education but you can also state your level of education.

Bid - If you are bidding on a job which requires a certain knowledge base you can tell the employee about your experience in that area. Use your best hubs as examples of your work. I would suggest, if you write fiction, to have two stories saved on your computer to use as samples.


sbuatte profile image

sbuatte 2 years ago from Marissa, IL

Thanks for the info. I am currently working on oDesk and considering switching to Elance.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Sbuatte, did you know that oDesk and Elance have now been merged? . Since I wrote this hub I found the site has gone downhill somewhat but you can still find good jobs there.


sbuatte profile image

sbuatte 2 years ago from Marissa, IL

Yeah. I saw that they merged. I'm thinking about just quitting oDesk all together. I like this platform better. Thanks for the info!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

You should try Guru.com. I think the clients pay better over there :)


sbuatte profile image

sbuatte 2 years ago from Marissa, IL

Thank you for the advise. I'm about fed up with oDesk.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

oDesk can be a drag but don't leave it just yet. Just when you think there can be no good jobs there, a client may surprise you. I had a client disappear with my work for months. The job was specific to his website so I could not use it anywhere else. I virtually gave up on him and oDesk, then one day I got paid double the amount I was owed, with an apology. The client had been in an accident and was unable to communicate with me for a few months. As soon as he was able, he paid the bill and gave me 100% bonus for my patience.

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