Elance Blog

3 Tips For Landing Your First Freelance Gig On Elance

Danny Margulies is a copywriter and six-figure Elancer on a mission to help freelancers earn more money. Find out more at freelancetowin.com


Trying to score your first job on Elance can be tricky. We’ve all been there!

The good news is that once you’re over this initial hurdle, things get much easier.

Still, when you’re a total newbie, it can be daunting to compete with Elancers who already have an established track record.

Even though it seems like you’re David squaring off against Goliath, it’s okay because there are advantages to being David.

You just need to know how to use them. What follows is a practical guide for doing that when you’re brand new to Elance.

1. Go after small jobs (or even tiny ones)

One way to even the playing field when you’re new is to look for jobs that are under the radar of most top Elancers.

As someone with an extensive Elance track record, my existing clients (plus job invites from new ones) keep me busy enough that I simply don’t have time to look at the smaller jobs anymore. And I know many established Elancers who are in the same boat.

But when I was just starting out, small jobs offered me a great way to land my first gigs, make some money, and get some positive client reviews under my belt -- setting the stage for more success to come.

2. Send the right samples

While many freelancers are concerned about having a “complete” portfolio, the truth is that clients are more interested in how relevant your samples are.

In fact, it’s often more powerful to have just one single sample of high quality work -- if that sample is highly relevant to what the client actually needs.

Instead of thinking about your portfolio in terms of quantity, send clients 1-3 pieces that show them you can do the type of work they need. Doing so will give you a better chance of grabbing their attention than a portfolio that’s 10x as large.

(Still working on your portfolio? For the complete step-by-step approach I used to create my first samples, check out this blog post.)

3. Respond to clients with lightning speed

Once a client receives a bunch of proposals for their job, they often make a “shortlist” of candidates, and start sending messages to those people to feel out which one is the best fit.

This is yet another area where “David” can easily beat “Goliath.” Since the busiest Elancers are likely to take a while to respond back, you can outshine your competitors by getting back to clients very quickly -- the quicker the better.

Some people think that replying this fast makes you appear desperate, but when you’re just starting out, you need every advantage you can get.

And guess what? Clients love it when you respond to them quickly, because it shows them that you’re a responsive and reliable professional.

To find out more about how I earned over $100,000 on Elance in just 12 months, grab my top 5 Elance hacks for free here.

foam finger photo courtesy of Rick Bradley


Thank you Danny for these tips..!

I've already benefited from your tips! I"m the one who said send me all the tips at once. I got my first client, starting small and targeting my pitch exactly seems to be key. I've also gotten some other responses and waiting. You and 1 other guy "under30seo" are super helpful and deserve your success- both of your writings are helping lots of people if they work hard.

Great to see you offering products and mentoring now.


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