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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