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June 13, 2009

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  1. June 15, 2009 1:05 pm


    I’m surprised I haven’t come across other blog posts on this topic. As an Elance user I think this provides a great checklist for new and experienced users alike. One of the biggest problems service providers face is building credibility from scratch. For this reason, displaying or signposting to previous work and gaining good testimonials is absolutely vital.

    As you mention “No one wants to hire The Invisible Man.”

    A great post and an interesting read!

  2. spikethelobster permalink
    June 15, 2009 1:25 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for dropping in – great to see a new visitor on ScrawlBug, and one who’s a freelancer, too! That initial break-in is incredibly difficult to manage, as you say. For me, I got lucky with a batch of simple product postings on a blog as my first job – might I ask if you were also lucky or if you built credibility with your web site first?

    Dropped in on your site, by the way – love the layout! Nice, clean and simple. Loads darned fast, too.

  3. July 9, 2009 9:37 pm


    I am new in Freelance world! I was researching and reading articles about how beginners can start doing business online I came across your useful article.
    As Jon said it is a good check list for beginners.
    I came across this article as well
    in this article Frank (the writer) looks the topic from buyer points of view which I think, it is interesting!

  4. spikethelobster permalink
    July 9, 2009 10:33 pm

    Hi AJ. Thanks for dropping by, and welcome to my humble blog! That article you pointed to is, indeed, a good reference: seeing what buyers are looking for is always helpful for providers, too. I’ve also been in that situation, which I blogged about in the entry “Through The Looking Glass” – that might be of interest to you, as well.

    Good luck with your freelancing: if you have any questions, maybe I – or one of my often very knowledgeable visitors – can help out.

  5. July 22, 2009 4:07 pm

    Good stuff, Spike. I wouldn’t agree with your assessment that Elance has the best projects, but definitely better than those other two sites you mention. I would rate Guru’s project quality equally.

    And, as I’ve mentioned in other comments to your site, the high cost of Elance bids ruin every other positive about the site. The best freelancers/bidders probably don’t win much more than 20% of their bids – most are less than 10%. That translates to an average of 1-4 jobs for every 20 bids purchased. I’m not sure about GAF and ODesk, when I looked at those sites last year, they just didn’t have enough projects to make it worthwhile. Elance and Guru have the most projects, and Guru provides 50 bids for the price you pay for 20 on Elance.

    Also, as you mention, Elance projects can cost more than one bid credit, and it’s logical to assume that the more expensive projects (higher budgets) are posted by more serious buyers. Thus, you may get as few as 5 bid opportunities for your $20 Elance monthly fee.

    There is simply no advantage of the Elance site that overcomes that huge price differential. Any freelancer should make more money on the Guru site than on Elance just as a result of bidding 50 jobs to as few as 5.

    And, as, again, I mentioned previously, the high value of those Elance bid credits create a huge conflict of interest for the site. There are plenty of fake projects (or non-serious employers) posted on each site already without using a business model that motivates the site itself to post even more fakes. I don’t know for sure that Elance does that, but their business model makes it darn attractive for them to do so, and where temptation exists, greed soon follows.

    thanks for the good work!


  6. spikethelobster permalink
    July 23, 2009 4:47 pm

    Ron: Elance membership (basic) is $10 per month, but your commentary still stands as important guidance. Personally, I cannot get past the lack of RSS or email delivery from Guru. I just can’t face sitting there and loading page after page of job details, trying to tag them or figure out which ones I’ve seen. I know you said you had a neat method for that, but I get no check-boxes on my login, for example (maybe that’s a paid thing?), so it’s just horribly long and arduous. I must force myself, though, to give it a proper second chance.

    As always, your comments are food for thought!!

  7. July 24, 2009 3:06 am

    I’ve been on Elance for awhile now. The key point your post conveys is that it takes time. It takes time to establish a relationship. Wish I could say my experience has been great. My first big job ended up with the contractor going silent. So frustrating. In any case, I’ll stick with it. As you say, there are the gems.

  8. spikethelobster permalink
    July 24, 2009 6:26 pm

    Hi Chris: Yes, being tenacious (or just downright stubborn) can help a lot with the bidding sites. I just picked up another good one on Elance, so I’m doing OK. Must check out Guru, though – as Ron has said, there’s a lot of good stuff on there.

  9. August 22, 2009 12:00 pm

    Hi Spike,

    I like your writing skills and knowledge. I am new on Elance also finding some good articals about freelancer tips. this tip will help me more.

    thanks for you great post.

  10. spikethelobster permalink
    August 26, 2009 11:28 am

    Hi Alpesh! Thanks for dropping in: it’s always good to see new faces on the blog, with new opinions and comments. Another site to have a look at is – very nice chap who runs it and, although it’s still quite new, he has some good info.

  11. September 29, 2009 8:57 pm

    Great info, thanks for sharing! My experience with Elance is that the vast majority of projects I bid on are never awarded! This alone is very frustrating as I do customize each proposal for each bid. Now, I don’t bid unless the buyer has a awarded percentage higher than 60%.
    Also, as for the lowest bidder, you are correct in that bidding super low doesn’t always get you the job. However, I have lost several bids where I bid around $500 and the winner won it with a bid of $50!!! You get what you pay for!!!


  12. November 22, 2009 2:29 am

    Hi Spike

    I joined Elance a month ago, I won 3 projects in the first week (transcription work) and two of the clients offered me more work this week.

    The only problem I have had is with withdrawing the funds. It has taken Elance two weeks to add my bank account to my profile. I finally withdrew my earnings today.

    After reading some really bad feedback about Elance today I am starting to panic and wondering if the funds will actually hit my bank account.
    Do you have any idea what the transfer time usually is to a UK bank account?

    Really glad I found this site, hopefully you can put my mind at rest.

  13. spikethelobster permalink
    November 22, 2009 11:25 am

    Tom: That sums it up – “you get what you pay for”. One of my happiest (and most recent) clients is a guy who just asked me where I’ve been all his business life: I cost more than most of his other freelancers, but boy, does he get value! No rewrites, no follow-up work, no chasing: just results.

    Jo: I’d be interested to hear the negative comments. Elance took ages to add my bank stuff, too, but I think they’re overwhelmed on that front. The payouts usually take a day or two to arrive (I go direct to PayPal, so it may be a bit quicker for me). Reassuringly, they have never let me down on that front – I’ve transferred funds at least half a dozen times – probably more – and although it’s a wee bit slower than a direct payment, it has always arrived.

  14. February 2, 2010 6:42 pm

    Great article and wonderful tips! I personally love Elance and have been an Elancer for over 10 years. To date, I have completed over 700 projects and I highly recommend it to others. The only advice that I would add is for providers to scrutinize buyers carefully and only bid on projects with reputable buyers that have a history of paying. I also recommend that providers learn how to weed through the garbage to find the gold. You mentioned using the RSS field. However, using keywords like ongoing and longterm are another option. ALso, sorting projects by budgets is another great tip. Lastly, don’t give up – it may take some effort but if you put your mind to it, you can succeed on Elance, the leading marketplace for online talent.

  15. spikethelobster permalink
    March 24, 2010 1:13 pm

    Kristi: Thank you for visiting – and also for the extra tips. They’re all worth remembering, though I’ve found an increasing number of employers use the “ongoing work” carrot to underpay on their original project…

  16. September 17, 2010 10:49 pm

    I don’t know about using RSS. My routine is to go into the category I am interested in and glance thru them sorted decendingly by closing date. I am more interested in small jobs that will not tie me up, so I may refine my search to lets say “wordpress plugins”.

    After the list pops up, I smack the description link to see what the job entails. If it sounds interesting, then I add it to my Watch List. I can skim through scores of pages fairly quickly using this system and have a good list of possible jobs to look even closer at.

    And yes, I skip over any jobs that mention “ongoing” or “future work” etc. I also skip over the hourly jobs at $5 to $10. I hover over the employers name, and can see a brief synopsis of how many jobs they posted and how many they have awarded.

    Working from the Watch List is probably the most efficient way to work the system at Elance.

  17. October 24, 2010 9:26 pm

    I like your writing . I am new on Elance also finding some good articals about freelancer tips. this tip will help me more.

    thanks for you great post.

  18. December 30, 2010 7:36 pm

    Your post is extremely helpful for new comers on Elance. The comments and tips I found here are also useful and serious. Thank you!

  19. February 24, 2011 6:34 am

    I am new to elance! Your article is very informative, Thank you. I want to know more about elance biding like how may bids allow to post for free user & paid users.

  20. exponiagoomia permalink
    April 2, 2011 2:53 am

    Cheer inform appropriate me to frame collection

  21. April 13, 2011 2:32 pm

    Very informative post. I am myself an elancer and I use these strategies already. But the communication part is difficult now as Elance no longer allows PM’s and Prebids.

  22. June 9, 2011 7:42 am

    Thanks for the post, it’s very important to me. Btw, can you post about how to make a good profiler at Elance too? I will appreciate that


  23. Bugagashka permalink
    December 24, 2011 6:25 pm

    Всех с наступающим Новым Годом!!!

  24. spikethelobster permalink*
    December 24, 2011 6:28 pm

    And a happy new year to you, too, Bugagashka!

  25. January 14, 2012 2:05 pm

    I guess I fall into the category of those who gave up on Elance. Most people are not willing to give you a chance so getting feedback is next to impossible. Since I have good feedback on, I tend to apply for work there. But thanks for the encouragement, I am certainly going back to Elance!

  26. spikethelobster permalink*
    January 14, 2012 5:24 pm

    All those tips apply just as much on oDesk as they do on Elance – or, for that matter, on any of the bidding sites. If you’re finding success on oDesk and you’re happy there, it’s probably smarter to stay than to try to build reputation from scratch again on another site (unless, of course, you want to use both).

  27. amit kumar singh permalink
    February 10, 2012 5:10 am

    thanks for greatful information….


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