Feb 13, 2010

Getting work at Elance.com

Here are some things you should remember when trying to get a work-at-home assignment at Elance.com.

1) You will be competing with professional freelancers. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Work-at-home freelancing is their full time job.

What you can do: Choose jobs that don't need a lot of hours -- jobs that can be completed in a few hours, three days at most. For jobs like this, it will hardly matter to the employer if you are available for only 3 hours a week, since that is all they need.

2) You will be competing with thousands of other freelancers. A lot of other people also want extra income. Elance is a great site, so people flock to it. There is an expert for nearly every category.

What you can do: Specialize. Find your niche, your specialty. Anything about you can help you form this niche. If you are looking for writing jobs, and you are a Filipino mom with a child or baby, apply to jobs where your experience as a mom with a baby will be advantageous.

And keep applying to similar jobs, so that you will establish yourself as an expert in that field.

3) You need a portfolio. That's the only way your prospective employers will know how good you really are.

What you can do: If you don't have an existing portfolio, start making one. It doesn't matter if you've never sold an article or a webpage before. If you can write a good article or design a good webpage, then make one even without a buyer for it. Work samples, even just one, are an invaluable tool for getting a job at Elance.

4) You have an advantage: You live in a country where the cost of living is very low. So we Filipino moms can afford to charge less.

What you can do: Find out how much your time is worth. Then base your charge on that. Not all employers will be impressed by a low price, but remember that a big reason why people get work-at-home freelancers is because they want to save money.

5) Like everywhere else, there are scammers. Filipino moms, beware! The feedback system of Elance discourages scammers, because people can easily tell the world that the company did not pay them.

But you can't leave feedback if you had not been hired yet.

So what scammers usually do is require "work samples" with the specifications that they give. They say it is to see if you can do the work they require. Unknown to you, the test assignment is already the work they require.

What you can do: Never give work samples that the employer can use as is. If you are applying as a writer, for instance, send sample articles, but make sure the article you send has been published under your name. (Click here for a good website where you can publish by-lined articles and get paid for them!)

And of course, if a job already smells like a scam, don't waste time applying to it!

6) You need to be able to get paid. It's not extra income if the money has no way of reaching you. You need a PayPal account to get paid at Elance.

What you can do: Open a PayPal account. It's free! (Check out PayPal in the Philippines.)

One important thing to remember is that while you can receive payments to your PayPal account immediately after you open it, you will need to be verified before you can withdraw your extra income. And to get verified, you need to have a working credit card.

So if you don't have a credit card yet, start applying for one.

Now you can start searching for jobs at Elance.com. Good luck!

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