Is Elance a Scam?

If you’ve never tried Elance, you may wonder whether it’s legitimate or not. In fact, there are certain reports sitting here and there on the web that accuse Elance of being a scam.  Whether those individuals that have lodged those complaints were scammed by a project creator or not is unknown, but you can rest assured that Elance is completely legitimate.  They’re a great freelancing site that welcomes freelancers of all types, as well as those needing projects of all types completed.

Elance tries hard to ensure the quality of both freelancers and project creators, although there are no guarantees.  For this reason, they recommend that freelancers and project creators use the escrow system. This system allows project creators to place the payment for the project in an account and keep it there until the freelancer has turned in the work.  When the project creator is satisfied, he or she can release the payment to the freelance writer. This system helps prevent conflicts or problems from arising.

Elance has a feedback system that also helps to protect honest freelancers and project creators.  They have the ability to check the past feedback of individuals they’re interested in working with – to determine how past clients or project creators were satisfied with that individual.  The feedback system takes into account the professionalism, speed, expertise, and communication.  Individuals can also leave comments when they leave their ratings, so that others can read exactly how they felt about how the project turned out.

Elance has several methods for allowing individuals to remove their money – including transfers to a personal bank account or a PayPal account, so it’s easy to access your money.  With the new debit card, individuals can access their money instantly.  Elance is not a scam and is a great site for individuals to find work and to find experts to handle their projects.

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What is Elance?

If you’ve heard of Elance but you’re just not sure what it is – allow me to explain.  Elance is an online marketplace where freelancers can find jobs to do and those in need of projects can find freelancers to handle those jobs.  Elance welcomes freelance writers, website designers, programmers, legal professionals, proofreaders, researchers and more.

It works like this – businessmen or women, or website owners who need projects completed will login to the site and post their project details as well as the amount they hope to pay for the work.  Freelancers will then have the opportunity to submit competitive proposals on that project.  They’ll submit their proposals based on their experience and what they feel needs to be done in order to complete the project to the project creator’s specifications.  The project creator will then look over the proposals and select one that he or she feels would serve their needs best.

The project creators can pay the freelancer before the project begins, or place their money in escrow.  Escrow is sort of like an account that holds the freelancer’s money until the project creator is happy with the work that has been done.  If he or she wants changes to be made, they can ask for them before the payment is released, and then when they’re happy with the work they can release the escrow payment.  It will be transferred into the freelance writer’s account.  The freelancer can then withdraw it to their personal bank account, PayPal account or utilize the Elance debit card to access their money.

There is a feedback system in place on Elance that allows project creators and freelancers to rate each other on the transaction that took place – based on professionalism, quality of work, speed of work, and communication.  This allows future clients or freelancers to see how satisfied the past clients were before agreeing to work together. Elance is a great place to work and can really help freelancers find the jobs they need.

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What is the Definition of Freelance Work?

Many people aren’t exactly sure what freelance work is.  How can you be a freelancer if you work with the same company for more than a year?  Can you be a freelancer and receive a salary?  Below, we’ll discuss exactly what the definition of freelance work is and what it means to you.

A freelancer is someone who has chosen a specific industry and has learned all they can about that industry – we’ll use website writing for an example.  Freelance website writers keep up with the latest trends when it comes to website writing, what is getting results, what clients are asking for, etc. Then, they offer their services to potential clients for money.  Freelancers don’t usually have a commitment with a company on any long-term basis.  This doesn’t mean that a freelancer can’t work with a client for many years on and off – only that they aren’t committed to do so.

Freelancers usually get paid on a job-to-job basis, negotiating the price before the job is set to begin.  The amounts can vary greatly as well – one job could pay a ton more than another job while one client may pay a lot more per word than another client.  The trick is to find what works for the freelancer and what allows them to make money after they’ve invested their time and skills into the project.  Many freelancers do this by determining what their time is worth and then creating their prices based on that.

For instance, if a freelancer wants to make $20 an hour on a 30 hour job, they would quote a price of $600. The freelancer may also factor in other things, such as research time, the subject matter and its difficulty, etc.  In order to pay taxes at the end of the year, the freelance writer usually needs a 1099 from the companies he or she has worked for if that company has paid them over a certain amount of money for the year – usually $600.  Freelance work can be very rewarding and challenging for those who are cut out for it.

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Secrets of a Freelance Writer

If you’ve just started out as a freelance writer, you may be thinking that some serious tips and tricks couldn’t hurt you.  It can be difficult to find work as a freelance writer at first, but sticking it out and utilizing the secrets below can really help you get the work rolling in.

Marketing Yourself – As a freelance writer, you should always be marketing yourself.  This never stops, no matter how successful you become.  Create profiles on Twitter and Facebook and interact with people who may be in need of your services.  This includes business owners, website owners, etc.  Let it be known what you do, but don’t spam individuals, as you’re not likely to get work that way.

Freelancing Sites – When all else fails, freelancing sites, like Elance, can be a great way to pull in some extra work.  There are tricks to getting jobs on the freelancing sites, though.  For instance, submitting multiple proposals often can increase your chances and creating specific proposals can also increase your chances.  Generic proposals that you give to several project creators are not likely to win.  However, if you create an individualized proposal that really addresses the project creator’s problems and offers them great solutions, they will certainly notice you above the other providers.

Networking – Approach website designer companies, logo companies and others who have clients that you might be able to help.  You can offer them deals on content if they refer clients to you and promise to refer clients to them as well.  This can create a great referral-based business as a freelance writer and can really help you get jobs.  Most people are more likely to try a freelance writer that has been recommended to them by others.

By using these freelance writing secrets, you can make a success of your freelance career and really pull in the jobs.

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Tips for Getting Freelance Jobs on Elance

If you want to find great work on Elance, there are several things you can do to make that happen.  For starters, make sure your profile is filled out completely and that you’ve included your best samples in the portfolio.  Potential clients looking for a certain kind of freelancer will most likely browse your portfolio before they make the decision to invite you to submit a proposal on a project or before they hire you.  You want that portfolio to be quite impressive, so taking the time to set it all up is an investment in your success.

The next thing you need to do to be successful at Elance is to submit numerous proposals. Many individuals only bid sporadically, but by scheduling a certain amount of time each day and bidding often, you can increase your chances of getting the great jobs.  I personally spend an hour a day looking for projects and submitting proposals. Simply log in, check out the recently added projects, and create specific proposals for the projects you’re interested in.  Make sure your proposals aren’t the generic kind and that you actually address the problem the buyer is having and explain how you may be able to fix that problem for him or her.

Keep your price competitive so that the project poster is more likely to hire you.  Even if you want to submit a proposal that is slightly higher than the other providers, keep the price within a close distance of the prices they submitting.  Sometimes, you’re unable to see what the other providers have listed, but you can always use the average proposal and the high/low proposals to guide you.  This will help ensure that you’re staying competitive.

Lastly, it’s important to turn in your best work.  This will help ensure that you receive good feedback from the individuals that you’re working with, and in turn, will help you get gigs in the future.

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Can You Really Use Elance to Get Freelance Work?

Many people are skeptical as to whether or not Elance is a legitimate freelancing site to work with, so let me put those fears to rest.  Elance is most definitely legitimate – they are reliable with pay and give you more than one option for withdrawals, including paper checks and PayPal.  You can also now opt to use the Elance debit card to access your money.  I have been an Elance service provider for over 10 years and have successfully completed over 800+ projects to date. Although I do use other online and offline marketing methods, Elance is my absolute favorite way to market myself – simply because the system works and it works well.

While there are and always will be individuals who post projects and don’t intend on paying, Elance does what they can to ensure that it doesn’t happen at their site. Project posters can put their credit card numbers on file so Elance can verify that funds are available to pay for the projects.  Also, most freelancers (like me) request an upfront payment at the start of the project or at least ask that their money be placed in escrow at the very least to ensure that they get paid.

The cool thing about Elance is that it is an online marketplace that welcomes all types of  qualified freelancers – from writers and proofreaders to website designers, logo designers, researchers, and many more.  Another great thing about Elance is that they allow you to have a free account with a limited number of ‘connects’ with which you bid on projects.  If you’re not sure about Elance, create one of these free accounts and check it out.  You’ll get the hang of it quickly and see how the process works.

To me, Elance is better than many freelancing sites, because project posters are encouraged to pay freelancers fair amounts for the work they do.  Elance has required minimums posted and your quality score will suffer if you don’t bid at least the minimum on projects. With the feedback program, it’s easy to rate and comment about the work experience and how the transaction went so that others can be aware as well. Elance is a great online marketplace to find freelance work, as long as you research before submitting proposals and carefully scrutinize buyers via their feedback, profiles, and online reputations.

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Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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