August marked a month of continuous learning for Freelance Austin members. Elance expert Trish Lambert stopped by to provide some insight in our last meeting, Get Some Help Part 2 – Online Outsourcing, where she shared her successes and faux-pas about navigating the Elance world as both a buyer and a seller. Here are her six tips to finding success on Elance.

Freelance Austin | 6 Keys to Elance Success

1) Have the Correct Approach

  • Both as a buyer and a seller, you will have to sift through a lot of jobs or profiles that don’t fit your needs. Be patient in finding the right fit.
  • Have an understanding that usually every twenty jobs you bid on, only one will be awarded to you. The odds aren’t always in your favor, but every once in a while you will find a diamond in the rough.
  • Often small projects, if done well, often lead to larger projects and referrals.
  • Elance is relatively risk free in that it provides paper trails of conversations, bids and awards in case you are ever in need of documentation.

2) Be Committed

  • When first signing up for Elance, commit yourself to a six month trial era in which you test the waters and get used to the site and its culture.
  • Make a point of signing on 1-2 times a week at different times in the day to see what works best for you and your services.

3) Price Right

  • Services are often offered at a discounted price based on the level of expertise.
  • Sellers are given ratings so you know who has provided great work in the past.
  • You can view profiles of your competitors and often see what awards they have received before and at what pricing point. This will help you to price competitively.
  • Sellers can track jobs to see who is bidding and who is awarded. They can also view the buyer’s budget for the project so they know what to expect.
  • Elance takes 8.75% of payments and provides a calculator when bidding so sellers can price accordingly.
  • Elance eliminates a lot of overhead costs because it streamlines a lot of to-dos you would have to complete outside of the site. You will spend less time in meetings and will not have to worry about getting paid (Elance will charge the client after 30 days if they have not already provided payment- phew!).

4) Market Yourself

  • Make sure your profile matches and reflects your skills.
  • Respond and communicate with both buyers and sellers in a professional and timely manner.
  • Position yourself uniquely from competitors. What can you offer that they cannot?

5) Provide a Policy

  • Make sure that you have a personal policy set up that respects your own time and availability. Clearly line out the estimated time it will take to do a project and provide updates on if that timeline is being met or if it will be exceeded.

6) Bring Energy

  • Provide work samples, testimonials and feedback.
  • It’s easier to start with a low rate on Elance in order to gain experience and good reviews then raise your price as you go along. There is much less risk for word-of-mouth problems on Elance than in your local network.

(Post originally contributed by Freelance Austin member Chloe Scheller.)

Elisa Leichty
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