I talk about oDesk (now Upwork) a lot on this blog, and that’s because I made my first dollars online there and some of my best clients came from there. However, I know that a lot of people just don’t like using it, so I’ve been investigating how to succeed on Elance, just so I can provide you guys with a varied approach to your freelancing career.

Elance can be difficult to ‘break’ into, mainly because there are a lot of established freelancers on there already and clients browsing Elance are looking for experienced people to work with and are willing to pay top dollar for that expertise.

It goes without saying that you need to ensure you have an awesome profile before you can even start the process of applying for jobs, so make sure that you’ve got that sorted first.

Once you’ve got that done, follow these tips to ensure your success on Elance.

Tips for Succeeding on Elance

Capitalise on the “Invite-Only” Feature

If you want to ensure your success, have client's invite you, rather than you apply to multiple jobs in the hopes of hearing back from at least one. The way you 'activate' this feature is to ensure that your profile tells clients what you do, how you're different and who you're targeting (ie, your ideal target client). It always comes back to the profile...

Don’t Pitch

Want to ensure you stand out from the other freelancers? Look to start a conversation with a client rather than submitting your proposal straight away. Ask questions, query what they are exactly looking for. Once you've started a dialog, then hit them with your proposal.

Increase Your Rate

This is where Elance differs to Upwork (previously oDesk). You can achieve higher rates on Elance because clients are looking for quality. Sell your skills in your profile, list your fair rate and then start applying for gigs. You don't need to list your price when applying for a job, instead, determine what the client is looking for and then price accordingly, ensuring you don't compromise on quality.

Be%a Client

If you want to really get ahead of your competition and stand out, see things from the other side of the fence and become a client on Elance too. Post a small job and go through the entire process so you understand what should happen. It also gives you the opportunity to see where freelancers make mistakes when submitting proposals and communicating with clients, so you can avoid doing the same!

Offer%a Trial Period

While the aim is to earn as much as you can on Elance, a lot of clients will be wary about hiring you if you're new to the site. To increase your chances, offer to do a free (or small fee) trial so that they can see the quality of your work at no risk to them. You could offer to work with them for a few hours or work on a small task so that you can see if you're both a good fit. This is a great way to win the trust of a potential client but also provides you with an out if things turn sour fast.

It goes without saying that you need to be responsive and highlight your skills, but the focus should always be on the client and what they are looking for. When you communicate with a potential client, be clear and concise direct, no need to hide behind rose-coloured glasses or play games.

Apply these tips and you could add an extra $1000-$1500 per month to your bottom line.

Do you have any experience on Elance? Share your tips in the comments below.


Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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