Your own home business - Freelance on Elance
How to Market your Skills and Earn Cash on Elance
Elance.com is an online job center that matches businesses looking for skills such as writing, translation, web design, administrative support, sales and marketing, legal assistance and financial management with freelance workers who are looking for work. As of March 15, 2011, there were over 10,000 jobs posted looking for people like you who have skills that are in demand.
As a freelance writer who has been an elance member since 2009, I'd like to take the opportunity to share my experiences and give you some tips on how to earn money from home by submitting proposals to jobs through the elance job board. I've tried other sites and have found elance to be the most professional, well designed and easy to use online freelance job site on the net.
This lens will teach you how to:
* Sign up
* Post your profile
* Submit job proposals
* Wow your clients
* Get paid
* Build your reputation and attract more clients
* What not to do ...
So why am I sharing all this information for free to people who might end up signing up and competing with me for jobs? Simple, I'm not worried about competition. I already have all the freelance writing jobs I can handle through elance and even if I didn't, there are over 1,200 writing jobs posted on the site right now. There's plenty of work to go around!
First things first - create an account
The first step in your new work from home career as an elance service provider is to create your account. Click on "I want to work" from the home page and and you'll be taken to a page that gives you a choice of 4 different membership levels: Basic, Individual, Small Business and Large Business.
Each level has a specific membership fee and comes with an increasing number of options. The most important of these is the number of "connects" you can use on a monthly basis. Connects are required for you to place a bid on a project. The majority of projects require one connect to place a bid, but some jobs, especially the bigger budget jobs require 2 or more connects.
For someone just starting out, my advice is to go with the individual membership. It costs only 10 dollars per month and gives you 25 connects while also giving you the ability to buy more if you choose and giving you preferred status in search results. The basic program is free, but only provides 10 connects per month and has significant limitations. In my experience the Individual membership is the best value for your money.
Once you've chosen a membership level, the next step is to create your account. You'll need to choose a user name, and you should do this carefully as it can't be changed. As an individual service provider, you may well want to use your actual name as a user name. If you already run your own small business, you can use that name if you prefer.
You'll have to choose a category of work to specialize in from among the following choices: Administrative support, Design and multi-media, Engineering and manufacturing, Finances and management, Legal, Sales and marketing, Web and programming and Writing and translation.
Set up your Profile
Once you have an Elance account, the next thing to do is to set up your profile.
When building your profile, it's important to do more than simply list your accomplishments and qualifications. This is important of course, but it's even more important to address the needs of your potential clients and how you're going to fill those needs. You might have the greatest qualifications in the world, but if you can't understand and address the client's needs, all those fancy qualifications are useless.
Try to think like a client. If you were hiring, what would you want in a service provider?
Clients are hiring people because they have work that has to be done and they don't have the time or the expertise to do it. Show your clients how hiring you will make their lives easier. Show them that you can get the job done to their satisfaction will as little hassle as possible.
Your profile has room for a portfolio, that is, examples of your previous work. You can attach some files to this if you like, although personally I just attach work samples with my job bids. This way you can pick and choose samples of your work which are relevant to your client's needs. A client looking for a health and fitness article probably won't be too impressed with your latest writing on personal finance. As far as possible, use your samples to demonstrate your expertise in the specific area that your client requires.
Next, we'll talk a bit about bidding for jobs on Elance.