Hi and Good day
There are pretty interesting responses given by other experts and they have covered most of the aspects..my two bits for a freelancer
1. It is a long way or path to get good projects from freelancer sites, if you only focus on applying for assignments and quoting the lowest or optimal prices and then wait for the response. In addition, if you share too much information on the proposal, you find the "so called customers" actually collating this information and then going ahead with their preferred consultant or team at their backyard!!!. Some of the work in these freelancer sites are not real work or projects but more of an academic research/exercise and at other's expense. So please ensure that you verify and check the company or client before even taking time to give a proposal
2. Secondly, the freelancer like you is part of a million freelancers around the world and through technology, you can reach anyone and give them the work. In addition to excellent profile, experience and expertise, you still need that 10% of advertising and highlighting your capabilities through webpages, release/published articles, peer network promotions/ recommendations etc. Overall focus on building a good online presence and let everyone know that you are available and capable to handle assignments.
Being a freelancer is definitely a challenge as you need to be religious on your work timings and diligent as well. Wish you the best and please feel free to revert for additional support..
Here's some advice specifically for Elance:
-- Specialize in something; resist the urge to submit a proposal for everything that might fit and focus on the best fit.
-- Write good proposals, include specific deliverables and schedules, and explain exactly how you will add value to the relationship
-- Ignore potential clients that do not specify what they need
-- If you feel the need to low-ball a few projects to earn some positive reviews, do it on small projects
-- Ignore clients who have not verified payment
-- Charge what you are worth; there's plenty of work on Elance for people who can survive on $10-15 an hour, but you will never land the better-paying work if you swim in the shallow end of the pool.
-- Understand that, just like the "real" world, it's repeat business that makes it pay, so provide excellent service to keep clients coming back to you.
We are using some of these sites to work with a couple of freelancers worldwide. The success of a site depends (as with pretty much any website) on the functionality offered by the service provider and the functionality sought by the contractor /project sponsor. We only use the pages as payment systems and worktime trackers but there are other systems out there that enable you to create and control full scale project plans, milestone tracking etc. Given the kind of projects I see on freelancer plattforms I assume that the simplests palttforms (+ lowest fees) are the ones most attractive to project spnosors and freelancers.
As a user of various freelancer sites, I want the job description I post to be answered in full with additional questions for clarification. I get so many that just send me their profile and do not address the job I have posted...By now you have guessed it, they do not get considered as they have not answered my requirements...So always deal with the customers job spec and find 2 questions to ask about the job for clarification...makes it look as though you communicate.
Sounds like you're spreading yourself too thin working too many freelance sites. Focus on the best for your services offered. Each tends to have niches where it is strongest.
Also, be specific about your offerings. Think in terms of SEO for the particular site so you can be found.
Decide what you really, truly love to do and excel at producing. Promote that and let go of other stuff you can do but are only doing hoping to pay the bills.
Provide examples and testimonials.
Stop relying upon websites for freelance work. Get out there in your area and actually meet people. Use the phone. Connect proactively on things like LinkedIn. Focus on companies and people with whom you would like to serve. Then go build relationships there. Ask them for help with recommendations to people they know who could use your services. If you believe in what you can provide, then believe enough in yourself and your offerings to talk to people about their needs and your services.
Be cheap! Unfortunately those sites brings freelancers to raise to the bottom price. Only developing countries where average salary and cost of living is really low can find an interest working on such platforms.
yes it is possible that some of these sites are not serious but ultimately they are do not do anything more than spoiling their name.
If you are serious about it then you should continue to try. Just make sure that you also collect some information about their earlier projects as you communicate. This will help you in making choices and even if there is no response it will not be a huge waste of time
Hope that helps
I have been working in several of these sites for a year now. It is hard. The problem is, that there are many 'fake' customers, as well as many 'fake' providers.
The most important thing is to be good at what you do. I agree with Tim, that you need to have a complete profile, a couple of verified credentials (you pay for that in Elance $25/pc), some samples in the portfolios and a good feedback. Elance have some testing utilities, so it would be a good idea to get your skills tested. All of these contributes to your overall rating.
The second thing is to be able to communicate effectively with clients. There are really any type of people who come there. Most of them have absolutely no idea what they want and it is very difficult to work with such people. Some of the consultants give the clients what they want, but this is not a good approach. It could work in a shot term, but for the long it would not bring any results.
You can not rely on the income from these site for leaving, at least not in the first years. I have approx. 7% success ratio, which means that I had to write roughly 20 proposals to get a job.
Generally, the prices are really low, so be prepared.
There are a very small percentage of clients who are looking for a quality freelancers. They ask for people with an experience from the top tier consultancy firms and not for the lowest offers. I have seen bids won by such freelancer for a price ABOVE the maximum announced.
Designe good portfolio and with dashy cover letter, and put rates with respect to client and with respect to other bits, and learn with all last bits...
My experience with freelance is that word of mouth is best. I got local photo gigs and media promo gigs for corporate, while i completed projects at my role at work. I build reputation this way, slowly and gradually.
A site (like a personal website) helps greatly to advertise your services of course.