How to Win a Project on Elance

Less than two weeks ago, I made the decision to try out Elance after
having used RentaCoder exclusively to find my work. I can honestly say
that this was a great decision on my part, as I am already really
liking Elance’s set up.

For those that don’t know, Elance is a site where buyers can hire
people to perform a variety of computer tasks for them, from
programming to writing. I specialize in writing, so I’m looking for
writing projects on Elance.

Within 24 hours of giving Elance a shot, I earned my first project,
a $200 20 page eBook on Web Design. A short time later, I was awarded
another project for 5 pages of web content and am currently close to
being awarded yet another project. All this within a short period of
time. I have never been able to get so many projects in such a short
amount of time.

So what’s my secret? Well, it’s not really a secret, but rather, a
strategy. Elance has a ton of writing projects posted every day.
Because Elance is a paid service (although you can get a free
membership that gives you 3 free project bids per month), you aren’t
competing with as many people. Thus, you have a greater chance of being
awarded the project.

The issue that some run into is the fact that you’re only given
15-20 bids (known as connections) a month and yet you’re given so many
different project possibilities. My strategy is to only consider the
projects with fewer than 4 bids, so that way I’m not competing with 10
other people. I also only consider projects that I know I can perform
quickly and accurately and have some sort of sample to show buyers. For
instance, I don’t presently bid on full-fledged ebooks, because I
haven’t written as many of them. But I do bid heavily on article and
guide projects.

When I bid, I give a competitive rate. Since most Elance projects
have sealed bidding–meaning you can not see the value of other
bids–this can be a little tricky. But try to see what other users have
charged the buyer for a similar project and match that. If your bid is
a reasonable price, the buyer will be more inclined to accept it.

When bidding, be sure to include a link to your portfolio or, if
you’re a writer, a few samples of your writing as an attachment. Most
importantly, give a customized bid proposal. Don’t use a generic one,
but rather one that addresses the project at hand. Tell the buyer what
sort of skills you have and emphasize your ability to get the project
done quickly and satisfactorily. If you are an American or British
writing, say this as well, as many buyers would rather hire someone who
speaks their native tongue than an Indian freelancer who may not know
English natively. Lastly, tell them how much you’ll complete the
project for and how long you anticipate it taking.

Another tip is that, when a buyer asks you a question, answer it
quickly and give lots of details. Show that you can do it for them.
Thank them for their question. A buyer asking you a question is
actually a good indication that they are seriously considering you. If
they don’t follow up with a response within a day or two, send them
another message just asking about the current state of the project. The
bottom line is to keep them informed and be as professional as
possible. If you do that, winning projects will be easy.