How to Make Elance Work for You is a website where individuals and companies offer their services against payment.

At this platform, you can outsource some of the time consuming tasks that you, as a solopreneur has to worry about.

Delegating small, tedious jobs can be very beneficial and productive for your business. It will help you free up time and become more efficient.

As a result you will be able to focus on the more important aspects of building and growing your business.

Although it may seem like an overwhelming process, using Elance is quite simple.

Registering On Elance

Before you can submit a job proposal, you are required to register. This can be accomplished in two ways:

1) Click on the REGISTER link at the top of the page OR

2) The POST YOUR JOB link in the center of

From there you will follow the simple step-by-step instructions. It really is that easy.

Key Elance Terms

Once registration as a client is complete, it is important for you understand some basic Elance terminology to help guide you as a member. As you start posting jobs on this site, you will begin receiving job proposals from contractors.

If you have chosen for the job to be paid by the hour, each week your contractors will submit TimeSheets in order to receive payment for the work they have completed. These timesheets will need to be approved and paid by you.

When working on “Fixed Priced” jobs, Milestones are often used to keep track of portions of work done. The dollar amounts can be changed and approved by contractors and clients alike.

The important thing to remember here is that if the “Terms and Milestones” are changed by either party, they have to be approved by both parties before they will go into effect. This is a protection for all parties involved.

While working together on jobs you have posted, the Workroom can be used to communicate between client and contractor(s), as well as to submit work in the form of attachments.

For more information regarding key terms, as well as how to further use these tools check out Elance University on the Resource tab at the top of the Homepage.

Posting A Job On Elance

The description of the job you wish to get done should include as much information as possible, such as:

  • Size of the job
  • Estimated start and completion dates
  • Background on your business
  • Always enter a title for the job posting
  • If applicable, add an attachment as an example of what you are looking for
  • Be cautious when including private information

The site offers job description templates by using the Description Assistant. However, if you begin using a specific template and no longer wish to, you can remove the template and go back to original text by selecting the UNDO button.

Other Job Posting Options

Before finalizing your job proposal, there are a few other options to choose, such as filing 1099 forms automatically, posting your desired duration as well as a start date.

Another option is the type of job posting, which Elance offers three different types:-

  • Featured Job Posting – Highlighted and attracts more contractors
  • Verified Job Posting – Payment verification seal, noting you are serious about the job posting, which does cost a one-time fee of US$10 and will be placed on all future job postings
  • Basic Job Posting – No additional features

After your job is successfully posted, you will receive an email confirmation, and you will typically begin to receive proposals from contractors within a couple of hours.

The Public vs Private Job Proposal

Prior to submitting your job proposal, you can choose to make it a public or private proposal, also known as an Invite-Only Job Post.

A public post is a typical post where any contractor can submit a proposal. However, you also have the option of a private post, where only contractors whom you invite may submit a proposal to the job posting.

This can be accomplished by choosing PRIVATE in the JOB POSTING VISIBILITY heading under ADVANCED OPTIONS located on the job posting form.

You can select up to 30 contractors by searching through contractors with particular skills, clicking on the CONNECT button and choosing INVITE TO BID in the popup.

How To Pick A Fitting Contractor

When considering which contractor to hire – cost should not be the only factor. Although every business is on a budget and the cost is important – just because someone is the cheapest does not mean they are not good. The opposite is also true. If someone charges a lot does not necessarily mean they are the best choice either.

There are several other factors that you should take into account. Here are a few :-

  • Contractor’s Reputation
    One telltale sign of the type of contractor an individual or business happens to be, is to look at their reputation. This can be easily evaluated by the feedback they have received by previous clients.
    In order to choose the perfect contractor for your job posting, it helps to read through some of the reviews left by other clients - particularly within the last six months.
    However, do not ignore a particular contractor who has a less than perfect feedback rating until you actually read the client comments. Some clients refuse to give a perfect rating no matter what and this should not be held against the contractor.
    If the contractor is new and doesn’t have any feedback yet, ask for references. It is very important that you actually follow-up on this and check the references to make sure that the contractor is being accurate with the information he/she is providing you.
    You should also take their work samples into consideration. If they don’t provide work samples – then specifically ask for them (if relevant to the job you’re hiring for, e.g. writing, photography, or web site design). They can also provide you with a link to previous projects they have worked on as well.
  • Language Barrier
    It is important that you are able to communicate well with whoever you decide to hire. They may not speak the same language as you do or they don’t have a full understanding of the language you speak. It could create a problem down the road and may take longer to finish the job to your liking.
  • Time-zone
    The time-zone out of which the contractor is working may be a factor as well. Imagine, you need to communicate with your contractor several times a day - but there is a 12 hour difference between your locations – that’s an unnecessary challenge.
    On the other hand, this can work in your favour (obviously, depending from which countries you and the freelancer are collaborating). Imagine - you delegate the task late in the evening. The person you hire will work on the project during his day time (which is while you're sleeping at night) and you'll have the assignment completed by morning. Think about this.
    Consider also how fast the contractor can complete your project if you are under a tight deadline.
  • Awarding The Job
    Don't be hasty. Do not award the job too early. Make sure you get a few proposals in before you allow yourself to settle on one contractor. For any given job, you can usually count on getting many different proposals so just be patient before you finally decide to hire someone.

Elance Etiquette

When hiring someone on Elance there are various elements to bear in mind so you stay within the guidelines themselves as well as to ensure that you are adhering to proper etiquette with the contractors.

First and foremost, it is completely against Elance rules to hire a contractor you find on Elance outside of Elance for a minimum of two years. After you have worked with that client for 24 months, you can then hire them outside of Elance platform but until then it is against the rules.

You also must pay them through Elance for that 2 year period. It is against its rules to pay them through another source – like Paypal for example – and if a contractor gets caught receiving payment through Paypal before that two year mark they can be suspended from Elance.

It is important to post a job with the intent of awarding the job. The contractors have to actually purchase “connects” in order for them to submit their proposals to you. If a client is posting a job with no intent on awarding that job the contractors are essentially wasting that connect (and the money they spent to purchase it) and have no business to show for it.

Once You Have Hired A Contractor

The best way to ensure a successful relationship with your new contractor is to maintain regular communication. Depending on the task that you assign, it may be necessary to check in with them on a daily basis. By sending a simple e-mail requesting an update, you will be made aware of any pitfalls that may occur in a timely manner and which can be addressed quickly as well.

Elance can be a useful tool for any business. It can help you find qualified individuals to assist you complete some of those mundane tasks that you just don’t have time for. That way you can concentrate on the strengths that you have to build and grow your business.

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