Elance Blog

Becoming an Elancer

Karen Swim, an Elance provider in the Writing & Translation and Sales & Marketing categories, has built her freelance business with the help of Elance buyers and the Elance platform.  A marketer with 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Karen joined Elance because she wanted to be in business for herself.   

"When I first visited Elance, I saw that there was this whole secret underground of people making a living outside of corporate America, and that's when I knew corporate America was part of my journey, but not the end," said Karen.

And that's when Karen decided to start her freelancing business.  "I just signed up for Elance and started bidding on jobs," Karen said.  "Elance really started my business."

Having completed her first project on Elance just 2 ½ years ago, she has since built a diverse writing portfolio, a 100% positive feedback rating, and has completed dozens of projects ranging from writing eBooks, editing manuscripts and helping resume writers with career marketing. 

Do you want to learn some of Karen's marketing secrets?  Check out the video on her provider profile, and get tips from on how she made the video.  Also, read how she created a portfolio early on in her Elance career.


Hi Karen,
As a newbie to the field of finding elancers for projects, I'd like to know how you would go about checking someone out before hiring them. I think I'm having some trust issues. For instance, my second project I'm presenting for bidding has to do with revamping a blogger website and or getting advice on the possibilities. Of course, I've asked for someone with blogger experience to advise me; but who knows if the person will be as experienced as they say with the blogger platform. So, I'm curious from your point of view what you would advise?

Hello Cathy,

I think there's an interesting story behind each of Elance providers. I am a Dutch woman living in Africa (!) and in June this year I became really desperate. I couldn't find any jobs at all and was completely broke! But then I discovered Elance, and guess what, got my first job. Right now I am very active on Elance, always looking for jobs and in a short time span I earned several jobs. I worked on my profile and on building up feedback, and it's not very difficult to do. Elance is the best freelance job site in the world, it's a good income source no matter where you are located. I only got positive experiences with it and really want to thank you for this. Regards, Akke Fall

Hi and thanks for the question! I too have been on the buying side of Elance and I have applied the same principles that I used in the traditional corporate structure. Here are a few tips that I've used:

1) Shortlist the best 3-5 providers
2) Set up time to talk with them live. A live phone conversation will provide you with opportunity to get to know them, much as a live meeting allows you to assess providers. Ask questions, ask how they would handle your project. When someone is truly knowledgeable they will be able to speak competently about their craft and process.
3) Ask for references and follow up on contacting them. How did they find the provider, how long ago did they work with the person? What was the nature of the job? Many providers will only provide references when shortlisted in consideration to their clients being contacted too much, so be sensitive to that as well.
4)Trust your gut. No kidding. I've learned that our instincts really can prevent us from making mistakes. Unfortunately, I learned this by um well not trusting my gut! LOL.
5) Read the provider's feedback. The actual comments can often tell you more than the numerical ratings. If more than one person takes the time to note the person's attention to detail, it's likely an accurate portrayal.

Finally, make sure that you are specific in your needs. Providing more information helps providers respond to your needs. There is a wealth of talent to be found on Elance. I wish you the best and hope you will enjoy great success!


Hi Karen

I'm a new provider to Elance. I would just like some advice/tips on how to present yourself to a prospective buyer. I find that with "newbies" it is hard for prospective buyers to actually give work to them. And if you don't have any references/ or prior project experience with Elance, then you don't have much credibility to show for it. Some advice would be greatly appreciated


Hi Yattish,

Welcome to Elance! As a newbie you have some challenges but also some advantages in this marketplace. Like you I came to Elance with no portfolio or experience so I used what I did have to offer - my corporate background, skill sets gained from education and working and an absolute determination to prove myself. In presenting yourself to new buyers, market your strengths. You're new to Elance but what other experiences do you bring? Do you have references from outside Elance such as from LinkedIn, your work background or private clients? Buyers do review the Elance work history but are ultimately interested in what makes you qualified to do the job. Write down your strengths and prepare your own personal marketing statement that highlights your unique expertise. The wonderful thing about the Elance marketplace is that brings together an incredibly diverse marketplace. As such there is a need for a wide variety of experiences and skills. Remember you're new here but you are experienced. Market what you do have and build upon your weaknesses. In no time at all you'll no longer be a "newbie" but a sought after provider.

I wish you the best of luck Yattish!