Elance Job Search Experience

Good afternoon! I will share with you the experience of finding work on the international Elance exchange. I will say right away that this is not a success story and in this post you will not find the secrets of being and recommendations on how to become a successful freelancer. This is my experience, observations and thoughts.

For those who are not in the know or who need clear instructions on what to do - “How to Get Started at Elance.com” , plus one text for the studios and teams “Freelancer's Way” .

My way. Start

I learned about international exchanges in the fall of 2014, when suddenly the ruble became half the price against the dollar. The thought suggested itself: to earn in dollars. A plus to this was a sharp departure to suspended animation of current and potential customers from Russia.

In this experiment, I acted as a manager for a mobile app development studio. A couple of programmers, a couple of designers, experience and portfolio in stock.

He registered on the stock exchange and was surprised at the abundance of potential work. I studied articles with the recommendations of "experienced". Uploaded profile: added contacts, pictures. They translated the portfolio into English and posted it in profile. Created an original description of our "company". It turned out fine. 4-5 projects of varying complexity: from games to android to the "analogue of the club’s delivery". Everything is fine, except for the rating. You can’t draw a rating yourself - you need to earn it.

Observations in the first stage

  • When registering a free account, you have the opportunity to choose a specialization and 20 points that I spend on submitting “job applications”. 20 points were over in a week, and the chosen specialization “mobile development” did not allow taking orders for designers. The solution is a paid account, or submitting a request for a change in specialization, which is possible once or twice a month. In my case, I had to wait 16 days.
  • Having a little penetrated into the system, I noticed that “a lot of orders” is an illusion. Many fantastic dreamers who place an order and disappear. Or they want some miracles. In general, this is normal among customers: want something, I don’t know what. It is important that the proportion of such science fiction writers is large.
  • Orders are placed by people from different countries. Often the description is free and you can not get to the point immediately. You read the whole sheet, and at the end the line is only for Italians, because we so want and we have everything in Italian further.
  • Any more or less decent order in a matter of minutes collects dozens of offers from freelancers from around the world. Without a rating and a new user, the chances are practically zero.
    Having placed a couple of dozens of applications for carefully selected offers during the first week, I became convinced that a rating was needed.
    To get a rate, I decided to take a simple (fast, not expensive) job at any price. He wrote to Russians in the hope of mutual understanding, but alas.


  • It was a mistake to hope to find a job quickly, and even more so for the whole team.
  • I was very optimistic about the estimated amount of communication with foreigners in their language. For good work, communication is simply necessary and the better mutual understanding and the opportunity to discuss, the greater the chance of success. I admit that there are a lot of highly specialized freelance programmers who don’t really need a language and manage with a basic technical ... In my case, there is not enough basic language for discussing a mobile application project.
  • An attempt to apply a strategy for finding newcomers who, by inexperience, can choose me, also failed. Some new customers reached the stage of discussion of the project and disappeared. For one customer with an extremely strange task (to fasten one paid module to the central office) I did the work, but he disappeared and abandoned his project.
  • Once, I very quickly answered the new work of one of the experienced customers from Australia. I clearly defined his needs and immediately described what, how, when and for how much I am ready to do to him. The answer was quick, and then an invitation to skype. There was a failure on Skype - the level of my language instantly cut off the continuation of cooperation. The mistake was personally in my assessment of my abilities, the dialogue involved a lively discussion of the project right here and now. An attempt to unsubscribe a little later led to failure.

Observations after a couple of months

It was curious to see who took the orders, where I was unlucky. It was also interesting to see the level of work or some grades.

Surprisingly, 20% of all applications ended in nothing. Those. Orders were selected normal, sane and real. Nevertheless, customers with little experience may well create orders and “change their minds”. Beginners do this much more often.
Hindus with a huge portfolio and rating took almost all the simple work.

Still, over time, I noticed that in reality there are not so many orders. When you monitor every day, you begin to notice: something is repeating, something is obviously dead, and something is simply unrealistic. Those. The strategy of sending out inquiries to everyone in a row "at random" is doubtful. And the theses on “work by the shaft” are not informative and relative. Thus, the competition for really good work is extremely high and in 2015 it is not easy for a beginner to break through.


My experience is unsuccessful, but it is not indicative. International Freelance is a great platform for finding remote work. Open market. Huge and ruthless. To build a career or business in this market, you need to invest time, effort. It may take months to earn rate and search for the optimal model. You will have to communicate a lot and be able to sell yourself. No way without it. It should also be said that on average freelancers do not get huge incomes. 1-2 thousand dollars is rather good. The work consists of searching for the customer, communication with him, coordination, and the work itself.

Yes for sweet: sometimes there were very interesting offers with hourly pay from Europe for middle-class programmers. At that time it turned out like this: work is given for 3-6 months, 6-8 hours a day. In rubles, the monthly salary is about 100-150 thousand per month. It seemed to me a good offer for those who like to work from home, prefer a fixed payment and a measured schedule. No cost to you: sit and drink yourself slowly.

Definitely, I can only say that without excellent English it will be hard.

I wish you all good luck on this difficult path!

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