Elance Blog

Developing Skills Pays Off

Whoever said a hobby couldn't be lucrative? Recently hired provider, Fred Bliss (username: FredBliss), has done exactly that - he turned his web design hobby into an income-generating opportunity.  Here's how he did it:

Back in 2000, Fred needed to pay for car repairs for a vacation trip to Vermont with his girlfriend (now wife).  At this time, Fred had limited previous experience in web design, but enough to take on a small paying job from his friend.  After completing the project for $300, Fred realized that he could earn a living doing web design - something that he really enjoyed.

"I realized that building a website was not only fun and challenging from a creative and technical perspective, but that it paid the equivalent of a week's wages and tips at my serving job without the impatient customer factor," Fred explained.

Over the next few years, Fred continued to work on small web design projects to build his skill set, while also taking college courses and working a full-time job.

Enter Elance.  "After I first joined Elance in 2006, I truthfully marveled at the job opportunities available," Fred explained.  "But what I was missing was a specific expertise other than web design," he added.  "I was about as unique as a blade of grass on a sod farm."

Fred was inspired to augment his skills and began to focus on building expertise in the LAMP (Linux - Apache - MySQL - PHP) arena.  He soon became even more focused revolving his work around a German-made CMS called TYPOlight.

“I've built my skill set around the framework that TYPOlight uses, and as a result, have become one of the few specialists focusing on it here at Elance.”

Since reigniting his Elance provider membership with new expertise and skills earlier this year, Fred has won each job he has submitted a proposal on.

What’s his secret?

“I make it easy for a potential employer to understand what I do. Once I establish contact with a potential employer, I show interest in them by asking questions about their business to find out what they do and who they are. My goal is to build relationships and have repeat business.”

Check out more newly hired providers on our provider milestones page and learn how to certify your skills in our step-by-step video tutorial.


Fred's definately onto something here - focusing on a niche, a toolkit, or a specialty. This way, you can establish yourself as an expert in your arena of focus versus being decent at, for instance, creating modules for all cms's. You couldn't have picked a more extensible cms than TYPOlight.

This is a great inspiring story! I myself is planning to add new skills to my portfolio. I have noticed that most of the buyers in the accounting are offering online quickbooks bookkeeping and I have no prior experience in using the software. Can somebody help me where to find online tutorials for quickbooks that also issues certification?