Is Elance Worth Your Time?

As a freelance writer, there are many temptations as far as finding jobs. Bidding websites are one of those many temptations. All these companies looking for work, there has to be a great opportunity out there!

I had been agonizing over signing up for Elance ( for quite a while, one of the main reasons being the high cost. This bidding website makes it so that unless you sign up for the highest priced package, it makes you feel like you are not getting the best quality job leads.

I signed up for the middle package hoping to get a glance at what the website actually is all about.

It took some time to sort out how things worked. You have to fill out a decent profile in order to even get a glance from employers. After setting up an intricate profile, I began to browse many of the jobs available.

Most of the job offers were, in fact, content article requests. If I had wanted to write articles for websites, I would have gone through my usual routines for free. Still, there were some requests for ebooks and other writing work so I tried to apply for some.

I applied for four or five different jobs at this place. I was rewarded for one but because I didn’t understand how the system worked, I was never paid for my work.

It seems that your work is also transferred through Elance. Once this happens you then send an invoice, etc. I didn’t understand this and submitted the work directly to someone’s email address. It wasn’t a hard job, just some ideas but still, a reply saying they didn’t like it would have been sufficient. To simply not have heard from them again felt like being ripped off.

This drastically changed my view of Elance of course, but I won’t hold that against the company because of someone completely unrelated.

Other jobs were for content articles, of which most of the other people applying were from other countries and were only going to charge $6.00 an article or so. My high quality articles were not appealing enough and most of my bids became declined. “Too high a bid.” That seemed to be a common reply.

To be honest, I couldn’t get comfortable being visibly competitive with other writers. I like keeping out of the way. As a writer, I want to get in, submit my proposal and only know if I get the job. I don’t like seeing other people’s bids as well.

Maybe there is a trick to this but actually seeing other people’s bids just made it feel like writing something to the bidders. Many of them applying for English writing jobs couldn’t speak English. Some were from the United States but put in bids for the same low prices as those in other countries. I wanted to cry out, “Come on! You can do better than this!”

One insulting offer for work stated, “I need 100 articles and I don’t expect to pay more than $6.00 for each.”

Someone obviously was very pompous about what they wanted. I expect they would get what they pay for, if they actually pay at all.

Okay, so none of this is actually the fault of Elance, though I do wish Elance would regulate this.

Elance itself is too expensive for my taste and I discontinued my subscription after the first month. I couldn’t see paying something like $40 a month to only get offers I could have gotten for free in other places. I do grant that there are higher paying gigs within the realms of Elance but they were few and far in-between.

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