Recently I was looking to fill a few hours a week with freelance work, so after a suggestion by a colleague I looked into Elance. Elance is a website that connects freelance professionals with companies or individuals that require specialized assistance on jobs or projects.
First let me say I did not follow my own advice by practicing due diligence on the job I bid on. I saw a job listing and thought, "Hey, that job was meant for me!" So, I dove right in. Head first. Into the shallow end.
If you want to give Elance a try, here is my advice:
- Read and follow the Elance policies. Read Elance's policy of "Guaranteed Payment" and follow their rules to qualify for the guarantee. (Guess what I didn't do.)
- Research the job. If you bid on a job, look at the profile and feedback of the "Buyer" (the person/company who posted the job). Read up on previous jobs they have posted, find out as much as you can then do a Google search on the company or individual. This will give you insight into the work they do, their reputation and if this fits in with what you do. (Again, guess what I didn't do until it was too late.)
- Don't sell yourself short. You will see "Providers" (other freelancers like yourself) bidding on jobs with ridiculously low rates and you may want to compete by matching or even going lower. Don't do it. You can't compete with these low-ball bids that are being submitted by providers in Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The Buyers that you want to work for will recognize your worth and pay for it, so be realistic with your rates and you will get what you deserve. (Did I get what I deserved? Don't ask.)
With all that in mind, I feel that Elance is a good way to find work, both short term and long term. But like I've warned before...proceed with caution!