Book of the day - Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini

Elance as a Freelancing Platform

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 (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!

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂

5 Free Online Writing Courses


Writing is important especially if you are a freelance writer. It is never too late to learn about writing. In fact, the more we learn, the more we practice. Thanks to the Internet, we are able to access online writing courses for free at our own pace.

Online Writing Courses

Here are five free online writing courses anyone can learn (not listed according to preference).

1. Writing What You Know

This course is by The Open University, under the OpenLearn section. The study material is adapted from the Creative Writing course (paid and online course). This short course is a great introductory course for anyone who wants to improve in descriptive writing. At the end of the course, you will:

  • be able to articulate your own thoughts on the notion of ‘write what you know’;
  • be equipped to write ‘blind’ descriptions of known objects and note new observations;
  • have an enhanced ability to list sensory perceptions;
  • be able to write short texts about a personal memory of either a place or a character.

2. Diploma in Basic English Grammar

This course is by Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online (also known as ALISON). Grammar is essential in writing. With this course, you will be able to learn the proper use of grammar and identify common grammar mistakes. You will have to register to enroll.

3. Creative Writing: A Master Class

This course is by Academy of Achievement. If you are into creative writing, this would be a great reference, and you can easily gain the material using iTunes. To download the material, you just need iTunes.

4. Advanced Essay Workshop

This course is by MIT Open Courseware. You don’t have to register to access the course material. It is available here. Study the material at your own pace!

5. English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

This course is free but slightly different than the previous four courses. To enroll you have to register on Coursera. In order to complete this course, you will have to complete the assignment according to due dates. It takes 12 weeks to complete, so make sure you have enough time to complete assignments on time. English Composition will explore academic reading and writing.



Take some time to research and decide on the best course for your personal development. Feel free to sign up all if you are up for the challenge!

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂

Freelancing in Malaysia

Freelancing is generally unheard of in Malaysia.

However, freelancing in Malaysia is slowly gaining recognition in recent years. In fact, the number of Malaysian freelancers is increasing in Elance.

We have over 7,000 Malaysian freelancers on Elance.

Please refer:

We have over 300 Malaysian companies on Elance.

Please refer:

However, there are many people who do not understand the meaning of “freelance” or “freelancing”.

They hear me speaking alien when I say I am a “freelancer” or I “work from home”.

They thought I am “just a housewife”, simply because I “work from home” or “work at home”.

One can be a housewife and works at the same time, but working doesn’t mean you have to leave home at 7 am and reach home at 6 pm.

These days, you can work at home or work from home as long as you have a PC (or laptop) and internet connection.

You can be a freelance writer or a freelance designer (depending on your skills).

It is sad to say that most Malaysians have no idea about freelancing or being a freelancer.

In fact, I believe there should be more women freelancers in Malaysia, considering most women are housewives.

I have known some women who started their own home business by selling cakes & cookies or sewing clothing & curtains.

However, majority of them have no side income.

Living cost in Malaysia is rising (very quickly!).

You might want to consider working part time on the internet writing articles or designing logos.

Freelancing in Malaysia is possible but it takes time to learn. It is not possible to be good in something without taking the first step to learn.

Here’s your first step: Register on Elance

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂

Blog Engage: $1000 USD Best of the Guest Blogging Contest (2012) Qualifying Posts

It’s 2:00 am in Malaysia.

Here I am composing this post, not because I want to participate in this contest, but merely to collect all qualifying blog posts in one page.

I can’t find a page where I can check out all the qualifying posts for The Blog Engage 2012 $1000 Best of the Guest Blogging Contest.

Then I realise that there’s a tag on some blog posts:

Qualifying Article for Year End $1000 USD Contest

Here’s a list of qualifying blog posts based on the tag above:

  1. How to (NOT) Be Successful: Get Rich (POOR) Quick with Your Blog by Jason Mathes

  2. Should You Give Up on Blog Commenting? by Justin Germino

  3. Don’t Take Blogging Seriously And This Is What Will Happen To You by Raaj Trambadia

  4. Idealist or Pragmatist: Can a Blogger Be Both? by Holly Jahangiri

  5. How did I win my first 3 blogging contest back to back? by Abhi Balani

What you can do?

  • Tweets, 20 points per Tweet
  • Pins, 20 points per Pinup
  • Linked In Votes, 20 points per Share
  • Facebook Likes, 20 points per Like
  • Google Plus, 20 points per Plus
  • Engages at Blog Engage, 100 points per Engage
  • Comments on Blog Engage Guest Article that provide value, 30 points per comment
  • Comments on Blog Engage Story Page that provide value, 40 points per comment


Did I miss out on any posts?

Let me know by leaving a comment.


*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂

3 Reasons Why You Are Heading Nowhere in Freelancing Industry

You have decided to join the freelancing industry months ago.

You join every freelancing sites, thinking that you will be hired in no time.


You are wrong.

Months passed by (maybe even years!) and you are heading nowhere, being a freelancer.

It is sad but it happens.


  • You have no skills or talents or even the slightest interest in learning something new
  • You are wasting time
  • You think you can earn money by staring at the monitor

Seriously, time to sort out the priorities.

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂