Elance Complaints – Are They Warranted?

If you’ve researched Elance at all, you’ve probably found blog posts or comments from individuals complaining about Elance. Some state that they’ve never received their money, etc. Are those complaints warranted, or is something else going on?

Elance vs. Project Posters – One thing you have to consider is that Elance makes regular, faithful payments to its freelancers (writers, programmers, designers, administrative assistants, etc). In fact, once you receive your money from the project poster, you can transfer it to PayPal, or you can utilize your Elance debit card, or even transfer the money to your personal bank account. If an individual hasn’t been paid, they’re more likely speaking of payment from the actual project poster, not Elance. This is an issue, but it’s not Elance’s fault if a project provider refuses to pay. They do have a conflict resolution system, but a company as large as Elance can’t force their clients to pay a freelancer if the project poster doesn’t put the money in the provider’s account. Using Elance escrow can help solve this problem. With Elance’s escrow system, clients put the contracted funds directly into their Escrow account and once the provider has successfully completed the project, they release the funds to the provider.

Angry Freelancers – If a freelancer turns in a project and the client isn’t happy with the project, he or she may refuse to pay. Of course, the freelancer is going to be very angry and upset, and maybe some of that anger will be directed at Elance, since the company can’t actually make the project poster pay. This may in turn lead to complaints against Elance that aren’t actually warranted.

If you come across complaints about Elance, it might naturally make you want to avoid the freelancing site, but in truth, it’s a great place to find honest work. As a matter of fact, most freelancers are quite happy with their accounts and the work they have. So, look rather closely at any complaints before making your decision about Elance. You may be passing up a great opportunity because of a simple misunderstanding.

Photo: Penywise

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Elance.com or Sologig.com?

As a freelancer, you have several options, including using Elance.com for all of your business or applying for short projects on Sologig.com. Which one is better? Are there advantages or disadvantages for either that would help you make your decision? Below, we’ll explore whether Elance or a Sologig is the better platform to use.

Commission: The first thing you have to consider is that Elance does take a part of the profits as their commission for helping you find the job. The rate is about 6% of the total project cost. As a freelancer, with solo gig you wouldn’t have to worry about this commission however, you would have to find time sorting through the projects on sologig , applying for them, interviewing and then waiting to see if you get hired. With Elance, the process is much easier – project posters post projects, you submit proposals, you win the project and you get paid. Easy peasy, right?

Security: With Elance, there is the option to use the Elance escrow, so you can be sure your money is waiting for you after the project is finished. However, there’s no 100% guarantee that the client will pay you when you use sologig. With solo gig, you take a huge risk that the company hiring you is legitimate and that they will pay you when you complete the work. With sologig, there are no safeguards like Elance escrow or feedback verification to verify whether the person is reputable. Therefore, when it comes to security and peace of mind, Elance outranks Sologig by a landslide.

Finding Work: It’s obviously going to be much easier to find work through Elance, who actually lines up the clients and projects for you to submit proposals on. As a solo freelancer applying for projects on solo gig, it can be very difficult to sort through the garbage projects to find the gold. Drumming up legitimate work isn’t easy and can take a tremendous amount of time and there is a great risk that the person who hires you is a scam artist. With this aspect, Elance certainly gets the upper hand.

Ease: All around, it’s easier to get clients through Elance because all of your accomplishments are documented in your profile – your feedback, the amount of money you’ve made, your certifications and testimonials. On your own, you’d need a website to display all of these things and even then, clients may not trust them. Elance is definitely an easy platform to utilize in order to get freelance work.

So – with all of the details above, it’s up to you to decide whether you’d rather use Elance or do solo gig however I vote for Elance.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Warning Signs that Project Poster is Bad News

As a freelancer, it’s important that you’re able to determine a potentially great client from a potentially bad one.  Using your instinct and common warning signs can help you avoid headaches in the future, as well as being scammed out of your work and pay.  Below are some common warning signs that a project poster is bad news.

  • Bad Feedback – If there is a consistent record of bad feedback, you should automatically feel wary of the individual.  One bad feedback may not mean much more than a disgruntled freelancer – but 3, 4 or more…that’s when you know there’s a problem with the project poster.  Be sure to look at the feedback in-depth.
  • Asks for Custom Samples – Project posters should be able to get all the information they need regarding the quality of your work and talents from past samples.  If they’re asking for custom samples from every freelancer, and state that the samples will be owned by them upon completion, you need to be wary.  This means that they’re getting free projects from every person who bids on their project, so why would they need to pay?  Never create a free custom sample for a potential client – give them excerpts from past projects.
  • Illegal Activity – The project poster asks you to engage in illegal activity of some sort, such as plagiarism, taking advantage of a system when it’s clearly against the rules or something similar.  This is a very bad warning sign and you should take it as such – and avoid the project poster.  This also goes for project posters that want you to write about unethical, cruel or illegal activity.  These guys and gals should all be avoided.

Using the warning signs above and your own instincts should help you weed out the bad project posters and stick to those that really want to do an honest business with you and pay you fairly for your work.

photo link: kevinrosseel

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Good or Bad Elance Proposals?

In order to be successful with proposals on Elance, one needs to know the difference between good and bad proposals.  Utilize the examples below to help you understand good and bad bid proposals.

Bad:

“Hi there – I’m interested in working on your project with you. I’m a freelance writer with more than 12 years of experience and can guarantee your sales letters/press releases/articles/blog posts are all 100% original. Let’s make a deal today!”

Why is it bad? It’s a very generic bid. Notice how the copywriter has not addressed the needs of the poster, but looks as if he or she is trying to apply to all writing jobs at once. They even mention several different types of projects, but not the project poster’s project specifically. Also, the end looks way too much like a sales pitch, which will naturally turn off a potential client.

Bad:

“Pick me if you really want to increse your sales and brand yourself in your target market.  Your not going to regret it – please see your PM for details ans samples.”

The one above is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, and still does not address the needs of the project poster.  No project poster in their right mind who is searching for quality work would hire this bidder.  Even if the samples are fabulous and the freelancer was just pressed for time, this is most definitely a no-go.

Good:

“Hi projectposter325. I see you’re in need of 3 blog posts on hair care by the end of the week.  I have extensive experience in this topic and can provide 100% original posts that are informative and easy to read.  I’d like to suggest a few topics, since you are giving creative license to the freelancer. I immediately thought of the following topics as great ones for your blog, as they match the tone and style of the existing posts:

–          5 Ways to Boost Your Hair’s Moisture

–          Kitchen Ingredients You Already Have That Can Work Hair Miracles

–          3 Minute Hair Mask: No More Split Ends for You!

Whether or not you like the topics above, I’d love to work something out with you and possibly work with you on a permanent basis. I’m available on the computer for 10 hours a day and by Skype as well.  Thank you for your consideration.”

Why is it good?  It addresses the project poster right away by user name, so the project poster knows the freelancer was paying attention.  It repeats the need of the project poster, and also lets him or her know that the freelancer has actually visited the blog in question and looked around.  The freelancer has specifically addressed the needs, even adding in his or her own ideas that would be helpful for the project poster.  This is a great proposal and one that a project poster would remember among more generic ones.  Specific, targeted proposals work best – always!

Photo: mconnors

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Do You Need a Freelance Contract?

As a freelancer, you have to be sure that your rights are protected, including your right to get paid what you deserve for work that you do.  Many freelancers utilize contracts to ensure that this happens, but there are times when a contract is really unnecessary. Which are those times and how do you know if you need a contract or not?

Creating a Contract – Every freelancer should have a pre-written contract ready to send to a potential client if they should have need of it.  The contract should state important information, such as the type of project to be done, exactly what is involved with the creation of the project, the agreed price of the project as well as the beginning date and the deadline.

This helps protect both the project poster and the freelancer, as everything is very clear and it’s legally binding.  There are a number of resources online that can help freelancers create quick contracts that are legally binding.  A few places to look include All Freelance Directory, and Elance.  These contracts are standard ones that will have all the necessary information included.

When is a Contract Not Needed?

So, how do you know when you don’t really need one?  Below are some situations in which a contract is probably not needed.

–          You’re working for a client you’ve worked for many, many times in the past and the job is very small.

–          The job is through a bidding site and is extremely small – less than $30.

–          The client is paying in advance for the services to be rendered.

You may still feel safer by having the client sign a contract, but in some cases, clients will be reluctant to sign contracts for such small amounts of work and will consider it a waste of time. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a contract is necessary for a particular job, but remember, jobs that will take a long time or that are worth a lot of money should probably have one.

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5 Tips for Finding Great Elance Projects

No matter what kind of freelancer you are, Elance is a great source of work, and can really be a steady stream of income if you can get the great projects being offered there.  However, to many, this seems impossible with so many other providers to compete against. How do you find the great Elance projects? We’ll discuss below how to do just that.

  1. Email Alerts – Sign up for the email alerts through Elance so that you receive the top budgeted projects in your category every day.  This is a very helpful reminder to bid on projects, and can highlight which projects are most worth submitting proposals on.  You can see in your own inbox whether there is something you’d like to apply for or not.
  2. Profile – Ensure that your profile is filled out and that you have plenty of great samples in the portfolio.  Project posters can invite you to vote on their projects if they think you would be a good match for them.  By creating an inviting and impressive profile, you’ll encourage project posters to invite you.
  3. Repeat Work – Do your absolute best on every job that you turn in.  There is a huge percentage of Elance project posters that need more than just one project completed.  Project posters that have used you successfully in the past will most likely want to work with you again if the experience was great and the work was quality.
  4. Set a Schedule – Set a schedule of btime each day so you’re able to submit proposals on several projects.  Set a timer and then go through your category searching for the highest budgeted projects or the auctions ending soonest.  Then, apply for the ones you think would be great for you.
  5. Set Your Budget Amount – In your profile, Elance gives you the option to set your budget amount, or what you seek to get paid hourly.  Set this amount to what you feel you’re worth, so that you can be sure clients see exactly what you want to make.  The ones willing to pay will be the ones who approach you, and you’ll attract the kinds of jobs that pay what you want to make.

By utilizing these 5 tips, you can really find great Elance projects and create a steady stream of freelance work coming your way.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Freelance Writers Wanted – Where to Find Legitimate Writing Gigs

If you would like to expand your efforts besides online marketplaces, like Elance.com, there are many opportunities for qualified individuals like you. In fact, there are many sites that hire writers to create articles, press releases, sales letters and other written projects.  Below, we’ll discuss the most popular and legitimate places where you can find other paying writing gigs.

Demand Studios

This website pays from $5 to $15 an article, and sometimes $20 for intensively-researched articles.  The guidelines are very strict and it can be difficult to get an article through without having to make corrections.  They’re also particular about what kinds of resources you cite and use, but they do pay on time twice a week.  The topics are varied, anything from how to change a tire to parenting a special needs child.  It can be fun and interesting, and there’s a real potential to make money.

Need an Article

This website is more intimate than Demand Studios, and writers can maintain contact with the administration.  The pay is less than average – $5 for a 500 word article, however writers are paid every week.  Clients are promised their articles back within 24 hours, so if you write here, you should be prepared to write pretty fast.  They also have a weekly requirement for their writers, so a certain number of articles should be written each week to keep your position.  There is a forum where writers can interact and have discussions so it can really feel like you’re working at a job where there is support from your co-workers.

Constant Content

This website allows you to post pre-written articles and charge a price for them or to create custom content for customers who need certain things. Basically, if you have an article, you post a portion of it on the site and customers are able to see what is available.  If they like the writing or want it, they will pay for it and it becomes their property. Constant Content keeps a portion of the payment, which is how they make their money.

While there are many other opportunities out there or places that will pretend to be a great opportunity, the three above are absolutely legitimate.  While the pay may not be as wonderful as a freelance writer would like, there are jobs available and the pay is steady. It’s a great way to work towards getting your own clients and making the prices you set.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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.

Image: djcodrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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