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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What to do When You’ve Taken On Too Much

As a freelancer, there are times when the projects may come in too quickly, or you’ve submitted too many proposals but didn’t expect to win so many – and now you’re stuck with a ton of work that you’re not sure you can do. Below you’ll find tips on what to do when you’ve taken on too much. Trust me, it happens to the best of us but if you take action now and don’t bury your head in the sand, you can get it all done and satisfy your clients’ needs too!

Learn to Prioritize – Which are the most important/urgent projects? Which ones pay the highest and are most likely to bring in more work? These are the ones you should focus on first. However, this doesn’t mean that you can simply leave your other clients hanging. If you want to keep a great reputation as a freelancer, it’s important that you care for all clients equally.

Get Help – If there’s simply too much for you to handle on your own, you may have to get help. Do you have other freelancer friends who could use a project or two? The cool thing about Elance is that they make it easy for you to collaborate with other freelancers and set up groups/teams so that they can assist you with your clients’ needs.

If this sound excited, contact some of your freelance buddies and ask them about handling a few of the projects you’re unable to take at the moment. Let them know they’d be working as a ghost freelancer, meaning that you would own the rights to the work so that you could turn it into the client as your own. It’s not dishonest, and people do it all the time. It should be about satisfying the client at this point. You can then use Elance’s tools to make the process easier.

Maintain Communication – Most clients won’t be upset if their work is a slight bit late. It’s important to maintain communication, though. Avoiding the clients because you don’t want to tell them that you’re going to be late is not an option and will only serve to agitate them, especially when they’re excited and expecting to receive a first draft of a project.

By using the tips above, you can manage when you’ve taken on too much work.

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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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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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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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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.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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