UPDATE: Elance is merging into Upwork.
Elance is no stranger in the freelancing world. Whether you are an old timer or a new freelancer, you should check out Elance as freelancing platform.
Personally I have tried different freelancing sites such as freelancer.com (previously known as Get a Freelancer) but in the end I decided to stick with Elance (because Elance is the only site that can get me gigs, that don’t make me feel like I am a slave).
Get started with a free “basic” account to get used to the platform.
It is easy to use.
1. Register an account.
2. Log in and fill in your details.
3. Browse for jobs.
4. Bid for interesting jobs.
5. Keep trying until you land your first job. For some, this might take a few days, for others, it might take a few weeks or months, so be patient.
However, there are certain things that you might not like about Elance.
For example, their fee. They charge about 8.75% for every transaction from clients (when clients pay).
Having to pay 8.75% might be too much, especially for new freelancers.
For basic account (free account), you get 40 connects (free!) – which means you can send up to 40 proposals (although sometimes it takes more than one connect point to send a proposal).
UPDATE: This has changed recently, you will not get connects immediately after registration.
Here’s what they announced,
Effective January 15th, 2014 freelancers on a Basic Membership plan will be required to complete a series of tasks towards building a comprehensive profile before accessing their Connects.
You can read more here.
Once you are registered, you have the option to add more connects, but you will have to upgrade your basic account to a paid account such as “individual” account ($10/month) to get more connects (60 connects).
Apart from that, upgraded accounts have the option to buy additional connects. It costs $5 for extra 5 connects.
For most cases, it takes like weeks or months to land your first job (a decent paying job) on Elance and this is probably the biggest annoyance.
I would suggest to use Elance as a stepping stone to get started in the freelancing industry but once your freelancing career has stabilised, you might want to start finding freelancing jobs without going through agents like Elance.
Have fun freelancing!
Verdict: I find Elance a great freelancing site with better reputation than other freelancing sites. Still, feel free to experiment!