Enter Elance – Part 1

I’ve been a GAF member for just over two months, but I’ve only been active since the 1st of August. So far, I’ve earned $ 180, which is not a bad start. It’s hard, because some days I have work from three different clients and I’m afraid to sleep, then after that I get four days where I win no bids at all.

The best strategy is to make as many bids as you can. I try to do a minimum of five bids a day, and some days I do as many as ten. The down side of this system is that I may end up with more work than I can handle. Luckily, the clients I’ve worked with are happy and patient, and some are willing to wait a few days before I start on their projects. In a way, you seem more talented when you have a waiting list, so the clients are more convinced you’re worth their money.

Once you get to the level of having too much work, you might want to do what Wham called working smart. You could gather your own team and outsource some projects to them. That way, you work less and earn more.

It’s a system that wouldn’t work for me because as much as I enjoy making money, I enjoy the writing more. Unless I’m really broke, I only bid on jobs that look like fun, so having someone else do the work would take the pleasure away. For me. Fortunately for capitalism, very few people think like I do. *cheeky grin*

Being a one-woman operation seriously drops your earning potential though, because no matter how good you are and how much coffee you drink, you can only work so many hours in a day. Besides, coffee makes me hyper.

There are two ways to fix this problem. Not the coffee problem – that one is beyond salvaging, so I just stick with black lemon tea. The only way you can boost your income – without becoming an employer – is to bid on bigger jobs. On sites like GAF that’s not quite possible, because the average gig pays $30. The site was started as a way for employers to get their work done on the cheap, so the low cost is part of their strategy. I thought about finding another site, so I tried Elance.

Elance is a slightly high-end provider compared to GAF. The lowest you can legally bid on a job is $50, and they have projects with a budget of up to $100,000. Per job.

Of course, Elance is harder to get into than GAF. I opened my account in July, then ignored it for a few weeks because I had to take a test to enter. *Groan* Eventually, I gathered the guts to do the test. It’s multiple choice, and it’s open book. Each question gives you a link where you can find answers, but since the test is only 40 minutes long, you may not have time to use the links.

There’s a resource called Elance University that gives you all the material for the test, and it’s a good idea to browse the campus before you sit to answer questions. EU gives information on where to get jobs, making successful bids, how to get paid and things like that. You can either read the material or watch a video. It’s pretty basic stuff, but there’s a lot of volume. I had to hang out there all day before I felt ready, and I still scored just 80%.

After you pass the test, you have to verify your phone number so they know you’re legit. It’s a pretty straightforward thing. When you click ‘verify’, you get an alert that asks you what time you want to be called. You can choose ‘right now’ or ‘in two minutes’ or whatever. The autovoice thingie gives you a call and while your phone is ringing, a code appears on your screen, which you read out when the autovoice tells you to. Voilà, you’re legit.

to be continued …

Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through www.threeceebee.com.

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