Written By Alexandra Romanov

How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs with Elance.com

Elance is one of the oldest and largest websites on the internet for freelance workers. At last glance, they have 3,012 writing assignments available to writers. Some of them are offering relatively low pay, while others are worth thousands of dollars. There are a lot of jobs on this site, and there is a lot of variety. Elance is a site that can keep you on your toes and energized with tons of new writing jobs.

Elance.com is an interesting site. There is a lot to take in when you first get started and it can take a bit to get used to the place. This guide should help you get settled in and get busy with jobs faster than if you tried going it alone. Good luck and enjoy the site!

What is Elance.com?

Elance.com is primarily what is called a ‘proposal’ site. Essentially you will search for the types of jobs that you are interested in completing and submit a proposal to the client.

It should be noted that Elance.com is a site for freelancers of all types and not just writers. So don’t be alarmed if you initially see jobs for graphic designers and software designers. You will be able to search for the writing jobs. Elance.com tends to list the newest jobs first unless the client has paid additional money to be highlighted.

Getting Started with Elance.com

The easiest part of Elance.com is getting started. You just sign up for an account. Once you verify your email address your account is open and ready for you to get to work.

What to do first

As soon as you verify your email address you are ready to get to work on the Elance.com site. The first thing you will be inclined to do is search for jobs. Hold off on that for a couple of minutes. Some clients are very responsive and the first thing that they are going to do when they get your proposal is to check out your profile. So start by immediately opening and setting up your profile.

There are two places to access your profile. The first is at the top right of the page where you see your name. Your profile is in the drop-down list by your name. The second place is on the middle of the page in the right sidebar. Click on either link to get started.

Setting Up your Elance.com Profile

This is an involved profile but unless you are brand new to writing sites then you have probable seen most of the questions before. Remember that a good photo of either yourself or your logo is important.

Start by posting your resume and photo. Then add in any certifications, your educational background and work history. Include any references that you may have.

There is an area to upload files for a portfolio. I cannot stress enough how important this is to a writer profile. Include as many outstanding samples as you can, up to 1GB of data. If you are a writer/photographer, be sure to include photos as well.

An interesting aspect of the Elance.com portfolio is the ability to submit a video to the profile. Ideally this is a video of you and will encourage clients to hire you. It’s optional but an interesting aspect of the site.

Your Elance.com Dashboard

This is a basic Dashboard but given the components of the site it works very well. At the top of the screen will be any important notifications about the site. Beneath that will be a list of your projects, their due dates and current status.

In the sidebar to the right you will find your inbox for the site. Under that you will find new jobs that are listed via any saved searches you have created. This makes it easy to quickly see the new jobs in your specific area of expertise. I strongly encourage writers to save their favorite searches just to make finding new work easier.

Finding Jobs on Elance.com

Finding jobs on Elance.com is easy and actually fun. There are several ways to go about it but you start by choosing the “search for jobs” option under the Jobs tab. Select the Writing option and be amazed at the various writing categories that present themselves! You can browse through all of the writing jobs or select the specific types of writing jobs that you prefer. You will see the save option for any specific searches you create. This is useful for saving time in the future.

When you find a job that looks interesting, click on it to get further details and see the average rates of competing proposals. From there you can submit your proposal for the job, including your price.

Because of the extensive profile system, it’s not unusual for the higher priced proposals to be accepted. This is not like many bidding sites where the lowest bid will automatically be accepted. The clients here are looking for outstanding work and are willing to pay for it.

Completing Jobs on Elance.com

This is really simple and most writers love this method. You complete your assignment in your favorite word processor and simply upload the completed file to the client. That’s it. No strange writing block to get used to dealing with, no hassles with copy and paste; Just a quick upload.

If the client wants additions or revisions, you will be notified by the Elance.com system and can make them before you resubmit. You also have the ability to discuss finer editing points with the client.

In the case of hourly or ongoing jobs, you will reach certain milestones where a certain about of money will be released once a certain amount of the project is complete. This is normally a bigger issue for graphic designers and other freelancers, but it can be something that writers deal with in cases where you are hired to write several articles over a certain length of time or perhaps ghostwrite a book.

Managing Jobs

Some clients will want status reports and updates. This is primarily for ongoing or long-term jobs. A single article will rarely merit a status update request. This is, however, an option for the clients. If they have selected this option then you will have to send a status update.

Status updates are really no big issue. You just need to let them know how the process is going. It’s entirely possible that by the time the status update is due that you will have finished the job.

You can access the status reports area via the Manage tab at the top of the screen. Click on the link and choose which assignments need to be sent an update. Tell the client how much you have completed and when you expect to be done. It doesn’t have to be a long message, just enough to let them know that you are working on the project and that you haven’t forgotten about it.

Ratings and Reviews

After the job is completed and you have been paid, you and the client will rate and review each other. This is an important aspect of the site because it allows both writers and clients to know what they are getting. Difficult or impossible to please clients don’t last long on this site. Neither do poor writers or writers who fail to meet deadlines. A strong work ethic and commitment to details are necessary for everyone involved with this site.

Elance.com University

This is a huge part of the site and I encourage everyone to go and have a look. Elance.com University is a collection of videos covering every aspect of the site. If you have a question then they have probably created a video answering it.

Unlike the last site I reviewed that had videos, Elance.com got it perfectly right! The videos are short with most of them under 3 minutes. They focus on a single minute topic and they give you all of the information you need.

For writers, you will especially want to focus on the videos that give information on writing successful proposals to clients. The information is solid and the video was put together based on what has worked on their site.

The Elance.com Water Cooler

There is a great forum on Elance.com that allows freelancers to network, ask questions about the site and to post questions and concerns. It’s a friendly place that contains a wealth of information from other members of the site.

Freelancers are not the only ones who frequent the Water Cooler area of the site. I mention this because many clients also visit the boards. Knowing this you will want to take care with how you write. You will want to maintain a professional attitude while posting here.

Elance.com Widgets

This is a really unique aspect to the Elance.com site and it’s one I have not seen before. Elance.com has created a host of tools and widgets that allow you to put a direct link and even a snapshot of your portfolio onto your own website. This is a great way to get clients from your website to hire you. You just copy and paste the code; save it then hit the refresh button. Presto! You now have a direct link between Elance.com and your website.

There are other widget options as well. You can have a job board, talent pool board or even a combination of the two.

The Elance.com Tracker tool

This tracking tool is like many trackers in that you open it when you begin to work on a specific project and you close it when finished. It takes screen shots at random times to offer to the client proof that you spend a certain amount of time working on their project. If you accept jobs that pay an hourly rate then you can expect that the client will want you to use the tracker.

Elance.com Payments

Elance.com is probably the best in the business when it comes to payment versatility. You can opt for direct deposit, Paypal, Payoneer and several others. Payment is made after the client has approved the job. You will then go into your financial accounts and choose to withdraw your funds. They will generally be transferred within a few hours.

The best way to quickly earn money on Elance.com

Here are some tips to get you going quickly on Elance.com without spending a lot of time.

1. Fill out your profile completely.

2. Watch the proposals video

3. Find a job and submit a proposal

4. Put a widget onto your personal website

Happy Writing!


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