How to Make Money on Elance

All of the tips and tricks that you read about will never be effective if you don’t implement them. It’s true that 100% of the shots that you don’t take don’t score, and it’s true that merely sitting back and waiting for things to happen isn’t a proven way to become awesome. Your awesomeness stems from doing the things necessary to become awesome. Those eleven minutes that you spend pursuing your goals aren’t fruitless, because they’re part of the learning process.

Risk taking is a part of life. Not all of those tips and tricks are going to work for you and you must overcome your own personal fears to at least try to make it work. For the longest time, I feared success and the rewards that it would bring me. I didn’t want to seem too uppity to the rest of the world, and didn’t want to truly pursue my personal goals. I wasn’t taking my life and my direction seriously because I hated the unknown.

I recently talked about getting a job on Elance and the general steps which must be taken to get a job (or be successful in any pursuit, really). Here are some tips about how to make money on Elance.

How to Make Money on Elance

1. Objective View

I took an overall objective view of the image that I was presenting on Elance. I read my objective, examined my sparse portfolio, and noticed the lack of skills tests. I was effectively telling the world that I didn’t take this site seriously, and that I shouldn’t be hired. Granted, I think that I should be hired on the basis of my charm and the fact that I need a job, but I’m incredibly biased on this matter. When I took the more objective view, I found that many changes could be made.

2. Overview

The overview is where you tell your client about your capabilities. It is the first thing that they see when you apply for one of the jobs on Elance, and forms the first impression. My overview, to be honest, was a first draft filled with pithy, pedantic tripe. I rewrote this overview to be more confidence-laden and specific about what I could offer a potential employer. I removed the passive voice and clearly stated my experience.

3. Experience

Getting a job is much like trying to get a loan. You have to prove that you don’t need the job in order to get the job. My experience field was (again) half-assedly put together with very little meat on the bone. I looked at the sum total of my writing experience and revamped my experience to better demonstrate that I was capable of anything that an employer threw my way.

4. Skills Tests

I took a few of the skills tests to demonstrate that I am capable of speaking and writing English, that I am proficient with editing, and that I know how sentence structure works. I know that an employer puts more credence in an objective piece rather than my own personal blather. I’m still taking the tests to flesh out my resume and offer pinpoint accuracy as to what an employer can expect.

5. Portfolio

I had two items in my portfolio, and both of them were … well, rather dry. One of them was very obviously a first draft, and the other didn’t quite live up to its expectations. I erased those two pieces and added five diverse and solid works to my portfolio. Each of them are in PDF format, making them easily read. I added pictures to some of those pieces to add graphic impact. These are not the last things which will be added, but they do provide significant examples.

6. Details in Proposals

The proposals that I entered in the past were one paragraph first-drafts which merely stated that I could speak and read English. Unfortunately, that didn’t set me apart from the rest of the pack, it just gave the impression that I wouldn’t take the time or effort to really shine with a customer’s work. I felt that it wasn’t presenting the best image, so I made the promise to myself that I would write more on the proposals. This includes providing timelines, possible articles, and what the employer could expect if they hired me. The more details added, the less fear that a client will have about hiring me.

7. Revision

I know that the process isn’t done. I know that there are more skills tests which can be taken. I also know that I can add more to the portfolio, edit more work, and add it to my Elance profile. Proving that I’m employable is a continual process, not something to be done half-assedly. I am going to leverage this one job into getting several more jobs because I have proven that someone wanted me once.

Fleshing out the proposals and becoming serious about my work landed me my first job on Elance. It’s not enough, of course, but I’m prepared to take the profile and revisions to their natural successful conclusion.

When you got your first job, what strategies did you employ? What, specifically, did you do when you made the jump from ‘just doing it’ to being serious? I’d love to know!

  • It sounds like you really got serious about eLance. I’m sure the changes you’ve made should result in many more inquiries and acceptances. Once you build up some momentum eLance can be a very good place for a freelancer.

  • After that first job was accepted, it’s been seeming pretty easy – I’ve gotten a couple more since then and one of them turned into a real job where I’m devoting several hours a week to the site. It’s pretty interesting so far. I think that the primary thing, though, is to take all of this stuff for real rather than just throwing out proposals when I need the work. It’s good to hear from you!

  • Elance is a great way to make money and hone your skills as a writer. I learned a TON from ELance jobs (much of which you share above). I still have a long-term client I acquired from that site. Good stuff!

  • I got a fairly long term client out of the deal, from my very first that I got. It was weird… he just said, ‘hey, you want to do this?’ I’m totally on board with things that make me a little cash.

    Right now, I’m learning how to ‘read’ the jobs on Elance to know what’s out of their price range and what can be negotiated. I can only learn this stuff from experience, and it’s just sometimes hard to be refused because my price was too high.

    So you’re a freelance writer, too? Cool!

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