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The Skinny On Elance
I have been a member of Elance since September, but only recently started getting jobs and earning money around a week and a half ago. Yeah, it took me a while to get started as you can tell. I take full responsibility for this as, like many new freelance writers, I went about it the wrong way. Once I started doing it the right way, I immediately started receiving jobs! Well paying jobs as well, and even a repeat client. I honestly believe that Elance is an excellent option if you are interested in working online seriously. If so, please continue reading.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Elance, here is the Wikipedia.com definition.
"Elance is a global Internet platform for online employment, where businesses hire independent freelance professionals with online collaboration tools to manage remote teams and projects online. It also provides online collaboration tools to help companies manage remote teams and results online. Freelance professionals create online profile and portfolios, submit proposals for jobs that interest them, and manage both work and payment through the site."
If you would like to learn about Elance's background, please visit the hyperlink above. Now back to the low-down on Elance. They are free to join and you receive 10 "connects" every month. These connects are basically job proposal currency. When you run out of connects, you can no longer put in a proposal for a job. Since the site is indeed free to join, I urge you all to go ahead and become a member. What better way to learn about the lay of the land than visit?
On a side note, I am also a member of a few other Freelance/online employment platforms such as oDesk, Freelancer and Scriptlance. Personally, I think Elance is way better. To be blunt, I've only submitted one or two job applications on those three sites and didn't bother after that. I find them hard to navigate, much more complicated and not very well put together compared to Elance. Then again, that is just my opinion, and I do recommend you check them out as they have great reviews as a whole.
I hear so many people claim that Elance is not worth the trouble because it is difficult to receive a job to begin with. I've even heard claims of Elance being a scam. It is all rubbish in my opinion. Yes, it is hard to get a job in the beginning, but isn't getting into most any field of work the same? If you expect to put in a mediocre effort and start earning thousands every month you will be sorely mistaken. However, if you really want to do this right then take in some of this humble advice of a fledgling Elancer.
Profile & Proposal Perfection
Let me ask you a question, step into the shoes of a potential employer and look at your profile. Does it wow you, interest you and even make you think "This guy right here would be an excellent asset to my company as a writer."? If you are just starting out and aren't experienced in Freelance writing, then the answer is probably no. Your profile should thoroughly impress your client to the best of your ability while remaining in these guidelines:
- Never, ever, ever pretend to be more qualified or experienced that you really are
- Sell yourself!
- List any and all pertinent qualifications you do have
- Beef it up
All in all, you want your profile to show your potential client that you are the most amazing writer out there! I would say that as long as you don't over exaggerate and NEVER break the golden rule of pretending to be something you are not, you should do well. Now, as for proposals you will be following very similar guidelines as above with a few exceptions.
- Again, you will want to sell yourself.
- Always keep your proposals personal, not a generic template. (Trust me on this)
- Be friendly, and always refer back to what the have said in their job description. (Basically you want to explain in your own words what job you will do, and how amazingly well you are going to do it).
- Don't put in a cheap price just to get a job. Not only are you selling your services short, but it is extremely rude to other Elancers.
- Never take jobs that you really don't want.
- And always propose only a realistic time-frame.
I learned the hard way on quite a few of these. Luckily my very first client was kind enough to give me some amazing tips on how to make my profile and proposals better. Low and behold, after a few changes I started getting jobs!
Keep in mind that while you can easily make a living off of Elance alone (I know a few that do), it is hard work. When you are self-employed the work is just as hard, probably even harder, than most "normal" jobs.My 2 cents is to stick to it! If you have any questions visit the Elance University page and forum. And of course, you can always contact me with any questions you have.