Elance Blog

My Ten Favorite Things About Working Online

People leave their traditional careers all the time to freelance online, but what is it that keeps them from going back? Freelance writer and Elance veteran Cathy Reed tells us what she's enjoyed the most about her freelance career, which continues to keep her engaged after two and a half years.

Working online has its challenges. It takes patience and perseverance to get started and, as with any job anywhere, there are good days and bad days, great projects and not-so-great projects, ideal clients and not-so-ideal clients. However, having worked on Elance for two and a half years, writing and editing for clients all over the globe, I have found working online a highly rewarding experience. Here are my ten favorite things:

1) I love the variety of subjects I get to work on: irrigation in China, the fishing industry in Japan, the fashion industry in Russia, drug cartels, the resistance movement in Iran, neurology, naturopathy, the academic benefits of Twitter…I just never know what I’ll be working on next.

2) If you’re the curious type and you love to learn, you’ll be thrilled to find yourself continually learning about things you knew nothing about – like dental facelifts and the behavior of rogue elephants. Until I started editing on Elance, I knew nothing about the influence of rainfall on pregnancy, the existence of lost dog detectives, the mating habits of ptarmigans, or the latest in 3D games innovation.

3) I get the opportunity to be a virtual traveler to countries all over the globe. So far I’ve worked with clients in 35 countries – from Mongolia and Lithuania to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Cameroon and Nigeria.

4) I have a whole new appreciation of the global economy and the fact that English is the international language of business. And I’ve certainly gained new respect for those whose first language is, for example, Arabic or Chinese, and who have to write business proposals, application letters for top U.S. business schools, or theses and dissertations in English.

5) Another big plus is the clients. Many business professionals use Elance regularly; they know exactly what they want, write great job posts and maintain communication throughout the project – which makes our work easier. Then there are the clients who are particularly appreciative, the ones who offer repeat jobs, the ones that give us great feedback, and the ones that even give us a bonus – we love those.

6) Some clients are gifted with a great sense of humor, which means that working on their projects is a real treat. My favorite was a golf journalist who covered all the major pro golf tournaments – he hiked the course all day and caught the great off-the-wall moments of both competitors and spectators. I got to laugh out loud while I edited his e-books.

7) You get to work on projects that remind you that the human race, for all its faults, has so many moments of brilliance and beauty – a brave youth movement in Africa, a Mongolian entrepreneur whose philanthropy goes to his employees’ families, and the mother of a severely autistic son who developed a highly successful school for autistic children.

8) Just like in real life, you’ll get word-of-mouth referrals. Happy clients refer colleagues, friends, family, and fellow students. For example, after editing a research paper for a computer science student, I spent a busy week editing research papers for others – his colleagues who were computer whizzes but struggling with their English.

9) Then there’s the bidding process. It reminds me of betting on horse racing – challenging, fun, highly competitive, even addictive considering you lose more than you win. When I haven’t been bidding for a while, I miss it.

10) My final favorite thing about working online, and maybe the best of all, is the flexibility. You can work in your kitchen, on your deck or at a coffee shop. You can go away for a week and take your laptop with you to keep up with regular clients. You can plan your own holidays. My dream is to holiday in the Caribbean for two months (next Jan. & Feb, maybe?), set up my laptop on a patio that overlooks the ocean, and take time off to go swimming and skin diving. Now that would be the ultimate Elancing!

About the Author
Cathy Reed
has been writing and editing on Elance for 2 ½ years and to date has worked for clients in 35 countries. She loves the variety of the work and the opportunity to be immersed in the global economy that we now live and work in. She lives on the British Columbia coast and when she’s not working she loves to hike, cycle, kayak and ski.

What are your favorite things about working online? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know!



It's not a vacation if you take your laptop. Let your clients know you will be unavailable. If they can't understand that, then perhaps THEY need a real vacation, and you need new clients! We frequently camp in a location with no Wi-Fi, cell phone service, or even power. Since we own several businesses and several pets, SOMETHING inevitably happens while we are gone, but before the invention of cell phones and internet, things still happened. We take a little time out no matter what's happening in the rest of the world. THAT's a vacation.

Thanx for the wonderful article.

Thanks Cathy. Entertaining and encouraging.

I am new to Elance without any work. But your article has motivated me to stay on Elance and work online. Thanks you very much.

I am new to Elance without any work. But your article has motivated me to stay on Elance and work online. Thanks for the article.

Fantastic article Cathy, seems like you have had long experience of working online. Its awesome that you travel most of the counties virtually because of online work only. Even I also being working online earning much more information.
Will love to read more such articles!!
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