Disclaimer: I genuinely think Elance is a great invention. I just think the authors on there should have to fill out an IQ test before posting a job.
After starting Curiouser Editing in May, I have tried many different ways to gain attention and clients. Two weeks ago, I kicked myself (figuratively) for not setting up an account with Elance sooner.
Elance is an online community for freelancers to set up profiles, “audition” for jobs, and gain clients. It seemed like the most fantastic idea ever. I could not believe it had taken me that long to find out about Elance.
After setting up my profile (three hours later), I searched for editing jobs. It’s simple: one just scrolls through the job postings, submits a proposal, and awaits an answer.
The reality: a hundred other freelancers do the same thing. How am I supposed to compete with a man who has a PhD with thirty years' experience? Interestingly enough, the employers do not choose the man with the PhD. Instead, they choose the 18-year-old who will edit a 70,000-word fantasy novel with a hundred images (that need formatting) for a smooth thirty dollars. Kill me now.
Most of the posts I had scrolled through seemed promising. I actually had two or three authors message me with questions about my editing process. I would feel so excited—like I was inches away from another freelance job. Instead, the author would hire someone else when I was perfect for the job.
Another interesting thing I noticed was that these authors and businesses post highly difficult editing jobs and are only willing to pay mere pennies. There were several jobs I wanted to apply for but refused because I will not edit a 120,000-word novel for 50 bucks. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I’m not. Just look on there. Go ahead. I'll wait.
There are so many ways to make Elance incredible. For example, authors should have to have detailed information on their projects. I’m talking word count/page numbers, genre, target market, realistic budget (some of them won’t say how much they’ll pay), summary, and everything else under the sun. Keep in mind that each time I submit a proposal for a job, I am competing with hundreds of other freelancers. Sadly, I'm having to drop my prices tremendously in hopes of getting a few good Elance reviews. Therefore, for each proposal, I have to type in the amount I will charge, knowing right there on my screen that other freelancers are charging a fourth of any normal price range. Here’s a shining example of one man who gave virtually no information at all whatsoever. How am I supposed to know what to charge you if I don't see a word count? Bravo, Roger. Bravo.
I haven’t landed a freelance job yet with Elance. However, I do have a great job writing for a corporation in Dallas. I know I’ll get an editing job soon, but will it be from Elance? Probably not. If so, there will be a blog post entitled, “Elance Redeemed.”