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How to make Money With Elance

Updated on September 12, 2014
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Jeff Johnston is a medieval reenactor and avid history fan. He is also the publisher at Living History Publications.

Freelancing With Elance

Everyone could use some extra money, freelancing with Elance might be the route you should consider.

If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, look no further! Not because elance is the get rich scheme you are looking for, but simply because there is no such thing, anyone who is looking for a get rich quick scheme will be disappointed with elance, but anyone looking for freelance work in pretty much any field has a chance to increase their client base by using elance.

Elance Skills
Elance Skills

Finding a Job

Elance is a website for freelancers and employers to find each other. Its intricate bidding system allows for infinite flexibility in pricing out your work, and since you price your work not the other way around you have complete flexibility in choosing what jobs to bid on. When you sign up for elance you choose what skills you have. Without paying a fee you can only choose one skill category, once you are making some money you may want to pay for elance in order to increase the range of jobs you can put in a bid for.

You can search for jobs by selecting the category and searching for what jobs are available to bid on. The search function is very easy to use and allows for specifying exactly what jobs you are looking for. You want to choose what jobs you bid on carefully, you are limited to 15 Connects (credits for applying for jobs) per month at the basic free level. If you join from here you will get an additional free 10 connects upon joining as my gift to you.

How to Win Contracts and Influence Clients

Due to the limit on the connects you want to choose your contracts you bid on carefully. Elance has a built in rating system so clients rate freelancers according to how well they performed on given tasks, as a new elancer you will have a blank rating and thus it will be harder to find clients willing to hire you. While you may think you are worth $100/hr, on elance you have no reputation and thus my advice is always bid low, and bid on as many jobs as you can.

Bid Low Bid Often

One of the first rules of work from home, and freelancing is, never EVER work for free. Your time is your money. That being said when you are starting out with no reputation its hard to get clients to accept you as a worthwhile option, no matter what price you bid. However you can a higher rating on elance will help you win more bids, but the only way to get a higher rating is for clients to rate you, and the only way to get clients to rate you is to have won some bids. This is the difficult to break out of newbie circle of shame.

It is not impossible to break out though. Swallow your pride and under bid to get the ball rolling and you'll break out of the circle and start getting contracts, and once you start it snowballs. Bidding low helps you get some clients, but be sure to let them know why you are cheap so they don't think that you are just going to provide them with junk.

For instance for every bid I put in while I was trying to break into elance I started my bid with:

"My prices are low in order to build up my portfolio and increase my reputation on elance."

This simple statement lets the client know they can get you at a bargain price, and then even if someone under bids you you still stand a good chance of winning the bid simply because of the perceived value.

Bidding often is another key to success on eLance. The more jobs you bid on, the more you are seen, the more you are seen the more trusted your name. In freelancing trust is the name of the game, once you have a trusted name then you can increase the fees you charge and clients won't hesitate to pay it.

What Kind of Skills are Needed?

eLance is a skills based site, so to make money you need skills, but the great thing about eLance is the broad range of skills that is possible. Writing skills for example are highly sought after on eLance and a good writer can make a handy income off eLance. There are also a fair number of computer jobs available if your skill set leans toward the technical bent.

Competition is tight for pretty much all areas so be prepared to go after the jobs you want and to post a profile that demonstrates why YOU are the best candidate for the job.

© 2012 Jeff Johnston

What system do you use for finding freelance jobs?

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    • Flowerchild1946 profile image

      Carol Brooks 4 years ago from Florida

      I have tried Elance but I gave up after a short time because I didn't manage to get any jobs and I was unsure about the bidding process. This is good information, though. Perhaps I will try it again.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      I have written for textbroker. I also write to publications I cite in my articles, letting them know I have quoted them/credited them. Sometimes they write back, having read what I wrote.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for a great lens, and the information.

    • profile image

      Sfthomas 5 years ago

      It's a good lens discussing about elance, a shame that you do need some skill of some description for it to work. Anyone without decent skill or experience will not be able to do well.