Elance is an online marketplace that brings together buyers who wish to outsource work and freelancers who are willing to do the work. Lots of people find it hard to place compelling bids. If you've been on Elance for a while now without a whole lot of success , go though these seven points and make sure you're following them.
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Seven Tips to Winning Projects on Elance

Elance is an online marketplace that brings together buyers who wish to outsource work and freelancers who are willing to do the work. The freelancer places a proposal on a buyer's project; if the buyer accepts the bid, work commences. That's the simplified version. Lots of people find it hard to place compelling bids; some people don't have the right attitude needed for freelance bidding sites and others just give up too soon.

If you've been on Elance for a while now without a whole lot of success and are having trouble landing your first few good clients, go though these seven points and make sure you are following them:

1. Invest In Your Freelance Business

Get a small business account as soon as possible instead of sticking with a free account. Free accounts mean limited bidding opportunities, obscured project details and a whole lot of frustration. The trick at the beginning is to bid en-mass, which can only be done with a paid account.

2. Build A Solid, Credible Profile

Your profile tells potential clients about your attitude, demeanor, skills, qualifications and experiences, therefore it's crucial to spend some time on perfecting this and make sure you are setting the right tone in your profile message. The worst thing you can do is have glaring errors in your profile, for no one is going to take you seriously and professionally then.

3. Scout Projects Carefully Before Considering Bidding on Them

Put your project-radar on and look for projects that you are uniquely suited to work through your experiences and qualifications. Then put your buyer-radar on and look at the buyer who's posted the project: does he have a good award ratio; has he been giving reasonably accurate and positive feedback; what experiences have other freelancers had with him?

4. Never Use Boilerplate Proposals

Always place a friendly, customized and professional-sounding proposal for each project. This customization shows buyers that you will treat their project with the attention it deserves, an important point that must be conveyed given the online nature of the work.

5. Address The Buyer's Questions Directly

You need to show the buyer that you're paying attention to his questions and concerns and you also want to show that you're reading between the lines and giving his project your full attention. A little attention to detail goes a long way in building online credibility.

6. Get Your Foot In The Door Any Way You Can

Sure you might have to do more than you bargained for in the beginning (like slash your prices and offer added benefits) but once you've got the first few under your belt, you can confidently raise your rates to their true worth. Just remember to check your ego at the door when starting out on Elance.

7. Follow Up

Don't just place a bid and forget about it. Follow up with a direct message to the buyer if you can help him with his decision or offer him your contact information as a way to get in touch if he wants to talk before finalizing his choice - you'd be surprised how many buyers will choose you simply because you took the initiative to talk to them.


Salma Jafri is an online entrepreneur and freelance writer. She has been successfully building an online business on Elance since May 2008. A proud mother, a passionate writer, an MBA marketing major, a professional trainer, and an e-learning instructional designer; Salma's interests are plenty, but she's most passionate about helping others build their own successful online business.

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