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I'm considering freelancing via eLance.com (or another similar site) to help pay the bills while developing games (that will eventually pay the bills). What's working through elance like? Any recommendations or strategies? Any feedback is appreciated.

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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I've done a few jobs on another freelancing site. From my experience what helps is:

  • good and detailed profile description(education, experience, etc..)
  • individual attitude towards every potential customer. That is no posts like "I can do it". Usually I make a small demo program to show the customer that I know what he wants and that I'm capable of doing it.
  • good communication skill - keep the customer informed about the progress. Finishing a project before the deadline is always appreciated.
  • the amount of money you bid for. In the beginning before you gain a few good reviews you should try with a price lower than you should normally charge for.
  • one of the most important - be honest with your customers.

Also get a copy of "How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer". The book is really good and has good advices in general.

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I have worked on couple of projects through Elance. Of all the similar sites I found Elance much more sophisticated and professional. While on Elance I follow the following guidelines while posting. (I have learned through my experience on Elance and drew these lines).

  • When you post a proposal for any project make sure you have also posted the Software Requirements Specification (SRS) and have defined who will be responsible to satisfy the required SRS. I had to cancel my first project due to these difference. I needed Java and Tomcat installed on server and the party wasn't ready to do it for reasons best known to them.
  • When you post any proposal don't give away every details of development. Not all but there are few highly creative souls on Elance they might use your guidelines and even ask you for a demo. Later they would use the same to implement the project without paying you. So in such a condition either ask for some money and say that it would be deducted from the final payable if project is assigned else would be non refundable, or if possible give the demo through your resources like if you have a VPS server or a PHP reseller A/C. Be agile in handing over your source code.
  • Be patient to get the response on proposals you have submitted it is a time consuming process to earn on Elance.
  • Prefer posting proposal for projects/job post which are about to expire. This is because if some one has just posted a job and the validity is of 30 days(ex) then they will get into finalization after 30 days only which would again take 2 weeks to complete. So post on projects about to finish to get relatively quicker response.
  • Carefully go through the posting and make sure you can deliver exactly what the client is looking for. If you have a different suggestion like they need Dojo Java scripting and you work with jQuery then try to convince them to use jQuery instead but if they don't agree then unless you are sure don't post. Because on Elance people just don't want the things to be done, they want them to do be done in the way that they need them to be. So even if with jQuery you can deliver him the same end result it is not necessarily what they are looking for.
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