Elance Blog

8 Tips To Win More Jobs on Elance

We’ve shared with you how to build better business relationships online and how to make every proposal count. Clearly these tips and strategies were designed to help you improve your success rate on Elance, but in this classic blog post we give you a more concise how-to for winning more work. Before you go off submitting another proposal, make sure to read these 8 tips on how to win more jobs:

1. Stress Unique Selling Points in Your Profile: Many contractor profiles open with personal information, mission statements and service menus. However, chances are many clients don’t prioritize these items. What they really want to know is whether you’re qualified to solve their problem or meet their needs. They want to know what you can do for them—not your children’s names and ages. Prove that you’re qualified—more qualified than any competitor—by highlighting your expertise. Demonstrate that you’ve solved similar problems and achieved similar goals for similar clients in the past.

Stress your unique selling points—the credentials and experience that make you the best choice for the work you want. Selling points include: education, work experience, awards, success stories and testimonials from former clients and bosses. Nothing makes a prospect feel more confident about hiring you than a solid track record.

Sell any credential or achievement that reflects glory on you—graduating from a prestigious university, working for/with a Fortune 500 company, achieving something noteworthy in your field. If you wrote an article for The Washington Post, feature that prominently in your profile. If a website you designed gets hundreds of hits per minute, stress that accomplishment in your profile. If the video you produced went “viral,” mention that upfront.

In addition, take the time to fill out the Service Description and Keywords sections in detail. These two areas attract the eyes of many buyers. Lastly, study the profiles of the most successful contractors in your category for hints on what to include in your own.


2. Create an Ideal Client Profile:
Some contractors make the mistake of trying to be all things to all clients. These people spend Connects wastefully, bidding on every project for which they believe they are qualified. This “shotgun” approach to marketing is like tossing darts at a board while wearing a blindfold. You may hit the bulls-eye once in a while, but you’ll use lots of time and money to achieve mediocre award ratios.

Instead of bidding on almost any job, create an Ideal client profile. This helps you spend connects more wisely, targeting only the buyers with whom you most want to work, and who are most likely to hire you. Unless you’re new to your chosen profession, you already have a good sense of which people make the best clients. Identify the characteristics that these clients share by asking questions such as:


  • What are the demographics (age, gender, geographic location, education and income levels) of my ideal clients?
  • Which industries do these clients work in?
  • What size companies do they usually work for—small, mid-sized or large?
  • Do they work in the for-profit or non-profit sector?
  • Which markets do their organizations serve?
  • What are my clients’ core values—e.g., high value or low prices?
  • Why do you like working with these clients?
  • What kinds of jobs do they usually assign?
  • What are their typical budget ranges?
  • Which clients help you achieve your profit/revenue targets?


Once you have a clear profile of your ideal clients, you can focus attention on the prospects that are most likely to hire you. This will increase both your profitability and your reputation.

3. Write Awesome Proposals: Making a great first impression is key. Remember, you’re selling yourself, as well as your capabilities. Posting cut-and-paste templates isn’t a good idea, and neither is simply telling prospects how great you are.

Instead of writing, “I can do this in 12 hours for less than my competition,” ask the client thoughtful, relevant questions. Outline your processes, and include a detailed timeline. Then, establish standard communication channels and frequency, and spec- out your milestones. The prospective client will know that you mean business.

While it helps to have a Portfolio bristling with great work samples, do not assume that every buyer will visit it. Attach relevant work samples to every bid. That way, busy buyers can take a peek at your best work without having to sift through your Portfolio.

Keep in mind that buyers care less about you than they do themselves—their problems and their goals. In every proposal, stress how you plan to help prospects achieve their goals and solve their problems. Don’t talk about yourself as much as you talk about the tasks at hand. Make the proposal about the client and their objectives. Once you do this, they will visit your profile to examine your skills, experience and other credentials.

For more on proposals, check out this blog post: Make Every Proposal Count.

4. Take Skill Tests: An Elance survey revealed that 77 percent of prospective clients found Skill Tests and Verified Credentials to be important factors in their hiring decisions. That’s nearly four out of every five clients! If you’re still debating whether to take the Skill Tests, you aren’t playing the odds.



5. Join Groups: By joining an Elance Group, you showcase talent and professional skills that are officially recognized by a sponsoring company—e.g., Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Excel. Your Group affiliation is prominently displayed on your profile page, which helps buyers quickly identify you as the cream of the profession’s crop.

6. Act Fast: Once you see that a job that fits your skills, prepare your proposal as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. By responding quickly, your proposal will be one of the first that the client sees. Of course, you also have the option of submitting a “sponsored” proposal to capture a top spot, but you must still act fast. Only three sponsored proposals are allowed per listing.

7. Manage Your Reputation:
Feedback is one of the most important components of your Elance track record, according to our last survey. To build a 5-Star reputation, complete your assignments on time, treat your clients respectfully, and communicate frequently. In addition, consider bringing your existing clients to Elance to instantly build feedback and take advantage of Elance features such as Escrow and the Workroom.

8. Stay Connected: Clients appreciate fast turnaround, and want to keep projects moving forward by answering your questions and requests for information ASAP. Therefore, staying connected to clients is critical. If you have a mobile device with email capabilities, sync up with the email account you’ve associated with Elance. Lastly, make sure you take a look at our Help article entitled How Do I Communicate with Clients Using Elance?

Now that you’ve got these 8 tips in hand, take what you've learned and start winning more business!

Do you have any strategies or tips for winning jobs on Elance? Let us know by leaving your comments below or on our Facebook page.


This is an excellent article. The information and suggestions are very practical and helpful. I especially agree that presenting the qualifications the contractor possesses – knowledge, skills, abilities, education, experience, etc. - is a better strategy for selection than listing personal information, mission statements or service menus.

However, not everyone has had the level of achievement that you recommend to include in the contractor profile. What if someone is just getting started in their profession, or has changed professions? Most freelancers, while being qualified to do the work they are bidding on, haven't graduated from a prestigious university, worked for/with a Fortune 500 company, or written an article for The Washington Post.

Employers want to see that you do have the ability to do the work they need done in a top-quality manner and that you will follow through on your commitment to them. Demonstrating how you have accomplished this in the past, such as featuring your knowledge, skills and abilities that relate to this proposal in your profile, sharing testimonials and examples of work, etc. is adequate. One needn’t have been an overachiever in their field to demonstrate a solid work history and the ability to complete agreed upon tasks on time and in a quality manner.

I have discovered that taking the time to tailor my proposal to the individual client is another useful strategy. This lets the potential client know that you have taken the time to consider their needs and have put thought into how you would accomplish the project goal(s).

Overall, I found this article to be chock-full of excellent suggestions and plan to review my profile and proposals using these suggestions to improve my chances of being selected in the future. Thank you for your diligent and thoughtful work on this article, Elance_Keith.

Vena Jensen

Thanks a lot for such nice article. The details provided are very useful and will really increase your chances to win the projects on Elance as well as other business networking websites.

Elance profile: Techmodi

Very nice and clear article and this article help me to understand how to win a lot of project and how to satisfy the clients

Thanks and regards

Very good ideas. I have been a member of Elance for years and it i always good to refresh on the best practices for getting jobs. I am guilty of occasionally taking less time then I should on my proposals; going for quantity instead of quality (as far as bids go, I always try to put quality first on the actual design).

I have won a lot of jobs based on the fact that I didn't just copy and paste generic bids. Many clients have told me one of the reasons they choice me was that I actually responded to their request and not just told them who I was. Giving them a few ideas on what I can do with their logo or book cover and why it would work.

Of course, that also relies on a job description that includes enough details. I don't know about anyone else, but I typically avoid bidding on the jobs that only say:

"I need a logo for my company with unlimited revisions by tonight"

And that's it!

For anyone reading this looking to hire, if you want descriptive, insightful bids, give a little more detail about what you are looking for.

Cory Wright

Really Nice and helpful article, Thanks