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that's what I thought

A forum to bitch about eLance zombies.

that's what I thought

Postby Water's Fine » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:09 pm

Yeah, how come nobody ever opened a thread about Elance?

I tried last year, came close to getting a contract that I was ideally suited for, didn't get it in a way that reminded me too much of real life. Got another contract, got the notice inviting me to proceed, never heard from them again.

I was writing several proposals a night, you know, on the theory that you have to write 20 to get one, but that last experience I just went, nooooo. I couldn't really see anything that worthwhile coming out of the frustration.

Plus the forums were as annoying as Demand, but more pretentious. I did like the escrow thing, on the surface it has a lot going for it conceptually. I see that some people seem to be doing very well on the site.
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Re: that's what I thought

Postby WalkAway » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:29 pm

Elance is just like all the other freelancing sites: it can be a good place to find new clients, but it is hard as fuck to find good clients. For every good paying, professional client, you've got 100 shitheads who want 10 articles for $5. Or, my favorite: the client who takes the work and runs. Doesn't happen so much on Elance due to the escrow, but it's a common occurrence on sites like oDesk--unless you do an hourly contract.

It's also hard for newbies to win projects on sites like oDesk and Elance. Good clients who have previous experience buying on the site are wary of new contractors because of the foreign scammers or otherwise crappy scammers who have failed to deliver good work in the past. However, once you get your first positive feedback, winning additional projects is easier. I've been working on oDesk for almost two months now, have four contracts and just got my first positive feedback yesterday because I took on a quick, urgent fixed-price project. Thankfully, the buyer was legit and paid up-front.

Another thing that helps is a good profile. Headshot, detailed information about your skills, previous work experience, and education details are all important to list. You should also have a portfolio of your previous freelance projects, even if it's something you've just worked on for yourself. Also, a good proposal is very important. I wrote a sample proposal that I use for nearly all of the projects I bid on and I've had a lot of success with it over the years. I just tweak it slightly to fit whatever they're asking for in the project. Even without any feedback, I've been able to get several projects at good rates because of my proposal.

Bottom line is this: there's a lot of crap on these sites. But if you look hard enough, you might be able to find a few decent clients.
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Re: that's what I thought

Postby Water's Fine » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:43 pm

Yes, I could see that some time had to be invested in the profile. I'm hampered by the privacy thing -- I felt really shy about going online like that, so it was an impediment for sure. I'm just not used to it. I notice a love of privacy doesn't stop me from looking at other people's profiles, though. ;)

I did send more information privately, which is where I was making headway.

You have to be a U.S. citizen for most of these sites -- Odesk I think probably is, I think I looked at it once. Writers' Access sounds okay, but it's U.S. only.
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Re: that's what I thought

Postby WalkAway » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:02 pm

Lol, I'm the same way. Or used to be, anyway. I started freelancing back in 2006--at that point, I was 18 and it was my first "job" so to speak. I was very, very careful about not putting my name out there. Fast forward to today. I'm 23, graduated from college last year, and have no problems with putting my name out there. I've got a website with my first/last name in the address, Twitter, Facebook, Google + accounts, and own a bunch of other sites. You just gotta do what you're comfortable with, I guess.

Actually, you don't have to be a U.S. citizen for Elance, oDesk or Vworker, another freelance site I used to find a lot of work on. That's why you've got so many scammers on these sites--lots of Indians. Of course, some are legit, but you've got a lot of them who bid low and do poor quality work.
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Re: that's what I thought

Postby wordmercenary » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:14 am

I've actually been using eLance almost for as long as they have been around, but from the employer side of things. For as bad as the clients are, there are about 100 times as many bad "contractors". It's also hard to make headway among the legitimate pros because you'll be under-bid by someone in Bangladesh working for dollars per day. This is obviously more true in areas like programming and design work. From the employer side of things, I can't really justify paying someone 10x more for the same job as someone else with comparable skills on the other side of the world.

That said... let me steer you away from eLance. These days I mostly stick with vWorker.com (formerly rentacoder.com). They do need writing services for technical and website work over there. The pay rates are much better, the bidding process much more professional, and there are some mechanisms in place that can be more favorable for native English writers. I've been using them for about 4 years now, and have awarded a lot of projects. I've only once ever had a negative experience, and it was something I think was beyond the contractor's control. They also do arbitration, project reporting, and escrow to avoid problems with payment and delivery from either party.
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