Elance Blog

5 Tips For A Successful 2010

For many, the beginning of a new year is known as a time for making changes for the better, having a positive attitude, and starting off on the right foot to set the tone for a successful year. Why treat your online work any different? Here are a few tips that you as a provider can try out to make 2010 even stronger than before.

1. Update Your Profile Page: Although this may seem to be a no-brainer, the importance of your profile page should never be underestimated. Data from our client survey shows that having a compelling online profile is “Very Important” or “Extremely Important” to 55% of clients when making a hiring decision. Before you make changes to your profile, browse through some of your fellow providers' profile pages to get a good idea of what others are having success with. (Words For Hire, SynapseIndia, and REDPIPAL have great profile pages.)

Now, when reviewing your profile page, keep a few things in mind. Is it clear and to the point? Is it grammatically correct and typo free? Are all of the appropriate fields completed, like Headline, Summary, Keywords, Skills, Employment, etc? Although you probably don’t want to overload your potential clients right off the bat, having a healthy, comprehensive amount of relevant information will give customers a lot to weigh in with when making a hiring decision.

Also, don’t be shy! Don’t forget to show off your best work in your online portfolio. In the same client survey, 85% of respondents found that having work samples was “Very Important” or “Extremely Important”, so this is something you do not want to skip especially if you’re in a creative field like graphic design.

So, how are you feeling about your profile page? If your page feels a little sparse, invest a little bit of time – even a good half hour of improvement could make the difference for your next potential client.

2. Create High-Quality Proposals: There’s no denying the importance of the proposal – after all, day in and day out they make the Elance world turn. Your profile, portfolio, credentials, references, and feedback establish your credibility and showcase your skills, but in most cases, the first (and possibly last) impression you make on a potential client will be through the proposal process.

Although there is no perfect formula, there are several very successful strategies that you can start employing to increase the success rate of your proposals, like doing a little research on your client beforehand, asking relevant and poignant questions, custom tailoring your proposals (as opposed to copy and pasting), mention your benefits and where you excel, be clear and concise, let your personality show, and of course, have clean, grammatically correct copy.

Check out this blog post here to get more in-depth tips and strategies on improving your proposals. Trust me, it’s worth the read.

3. Take A Few Skill Tests: Skill Tests are a big factor to potential employers on Elance. When asked “What are the most important criteria you consider in hiring an online professional,” half of the those polled responded that having tested skills was “Very Important” or “Extremely Important when making a hiring decision. Additionally, over 76 percent of the respondents are more likely to hire a professional with tested skills that are relevant to their job. That’s nearly 4 out of every 5 clients!

If you’re ready to add some tested skills to your profile, you can view all of our available Skill Tests in one easy location, otherwise known as the All Skill Tests page. We are always working hard bringing the freshest tests available, so be sure to add that page to your bookmarks to stay on top of your game. And Skill Tests definitely play a big role in the next item below.

4. Join A Group: If you’re looking to boost your credibility in a number of skills, look no further than our Groups feature. With over 35 Groups currently available with many more coming down the pipe, it’s become one of the easiest ways to prove that you are part of an elite group of developers.

As a member of a Group, you’ll receive recognition for your experience and expertise by displaying corresponding Group badges on your Elance profile. To join, each Group has membership requirements which can vary from passing a specific Elance Skill Test (e.g. Microsoft Office Access) to providing proof of a 3rd party credential (e.g. PayPal Certified Developers).

Take a minute to browse through our 35 Groups, which include Adobe Photoshop Designers, Microsoft Office Excel Experts, Java Developers, and more, and while you’re at it, check out a few profile pages that are making the most of Groups.

5. Promote Yourself (And Get Paid):
Using referral badges is a great way to promote your skills and market your business, and by referring your friends to Elance, you can make $50 for each referral while also driving traffic to your profile page. Using referral badges is a great way to promote yourself on your personal or business pages, like your blogs, social media pages, and other web content that you create.

Here’s how it works: Every Elance member has a unique code, referred to as an RID or referral identification code, assigned to their Elance account. By utilizing your own promotion methods, for example, through one of our designed referral badges, you can hyperlink your visitors or potential clients to your profile page. If they sign up and spend a certain number of dollars on Elance, you get paid.

There’s 3 easy ways to get started. You could utilize email to invite your friends and colleagues, you could add a badge to your existing pages off of Elance, you could forward your newly-revamped profile page (or anyone else’s, for that matter) through social media or other communications channels, or you could simply use the timeless word-of-mouth technique. For more information on the Elance Referral Program, visit our Help topic here.

Elancers, what are your new year's resolutions this year? How are you going to set this year off on the right foot? Share your tips in the comments below. We here at Elance wish everyone a happy and successful 2010!

Comments

Thanks Alex for mentioning my profile! These tips are excellent and I have retweeted and will be sharing. People have been asking me what it takes to be a successful "gigger" or freelancer and the tips you have listed above are right on. Maximizing this great platform and all that is offered here are guaranteed to drive your success. My resolution this year? Creativity,hustle, and focus!