How I made over $4,000 in my first month on Elance (Upwork)


Replace: Elance has now merged with Odesk to shape Upwork. The platform is kind of the similar, and operates in the similar approach. The recommendation beneath continues to be appropriate. Excellent good fortune!

Strangely, the sector of freelancing had eluded me till not too long ago. It used to be by way of whole twist of fate that I stumbled throughout a site referred to as Elance – a type of eBay for freelancers. Fuelled by way of enthusiasm and a unexpectedly declining checking account I dove in headfirst and used to be astonished on the incomes doable of the net freelance marketplace.

Underneath I’ll element how I went from an empty Elance profile to creating over $four,000 in my first month operating as a author on-line, all with out an oz. of freelance writing enjoy.

Freelancing is very similar to contract paintings. It’s mainly advertising and marketing your self as a person, providing your talents to companies to do a role. You haven’t any boss, no workplace hours and no public vacations. You’re employed for your self and it’s as much as you in finding paintings and pitch your self to purchasers.

Elance is an internet market for freelancers. It’s a spot the place each freelancers can to find paintings and companies can to find freelancers to paintings for them.

As a traveller freelancing is a perfect source of revenue supply. In case you have any want to trip longer term and get out of the workplace you want to start out construction a contract source of revenue. You’ll be able to paintings anyplace, anytime with only a computer and wifi. That is the place sustainable longer term trip begins!

Once I surfed on into Elance I signed up and created a profile. I was an accountant, so naturally I beginning surfing the roles within the Finance phase. Maximum had been bookkeeping jobs and the kind of crap I hated that led to me to hand over my process within the first position. No longer best that, each and every process looked as if it would have masses of bids from Indian freelancers providing to do the process for $2 an hour. $2 an hour! I wouldn’t even take a seat thru Gossip Woman episodes for $2 an hour! (I wonder whether Blair Waldorf has gained my fanmail but…)

So there I used to be, so simply uninspired and seconds clear of clicking the large pink X within the most sensible proper hand nook once I stuck sight of the “Writing and Translation” class. I vaguely remembered any person telling me about other people making a good salary operating as a author on-line and determined to test the listings out.

I had no thought what I used to be doing, however a large number of the roles appeared attention-grabbing and I knew I may do a good process. I grew to become to my highest buddy (his title is Google) for just a little of recommendation. Just about all my searches about changing into a contract author on Elance got here again with the similar message:

“Indians and Filipinos are extremely professional, extra devoted, and spend 18 hours an afternoon in this web page bidding for actually each and every unmarried process that comes up. What’s extra, they provide to do that paintings for $1 an hour. You merely can’t compete. Overlook about it.”

Something about me is I’m tremendous cussed. When any person tells me I will be able to’t do one thing it in reality annoys me, and regardless of how silly it’s I’ll normally do the entirety I will be able to to turn out you flawed. What!? You mentioned I will be able to’t consume an entire bag of french fries thru my nostril?! That’s it. McDonalds, now. You’re using.

So with my stubbornness in hand I began bidding. Sadly for me what Google had informed me used to be true. Each unmarried process used to be being swamped with lowball bids from India and the Philippines. Reality is, I did need to surrender at that second, prepared to just accept the truth that they had been all most likely smarter, extra onerous operating and extra skilled than I used to be, to not point out they had been a lot, a lot inexpensive than me too. Nevertheless, I soldiered on, bidding for roughly 15 jobs and getting awarded precisely 0 of them.

After serious about this for some time, I realised that the in all probability reason why other people weren’t thinking about hiring me used to be as a result of I had no comments. I additionally gave the impression of a hamster in my profile picture. However with out a minimum of one comments, there used to be no approach that they may inform whether or not I used to be a rockstar author or an entire illiterate fool. On each and every process that I bid for, the author who in the long run received the process had a minimum of a few jobs finished and a minimum of four/5 megastar comments.

So I requested myself, what do companies do once they’re looking to building up consumers? They provide stuff away at no cost!

The following 3 jobs I bid for, I determined to not write my same old “I’ve an accounting level and I’m an excessively onerous employee and I like a problem and I received’t allow you to down and please dangle on whilst I recall to mind one thing much more dull to inform you”. As a substitute, I determined to do a part of the process at no cost as my proposal.

The process posting gave the impression of this:

Accounting blog

I had no thought what a ‘ingenious transient’ or ‘search engine marketing’ used to be. I nonetheless don’t.

However that didn’t subject to me as a result of since accounting is my experience, I knew I may kill this process. Alternatively, if I simply wrote my standard “I paintings in reality onerous” proposal I’d just appear to be every other novice author and not using a enjoy, most likely even a homeless one bidding from a stolen computer. Due to this fact I determined to in reality write a weblog submit for probably the most asked subjects as my proposal as an alternative. That approach he would know that I may write a weblog submit in just right English and likewise would no longer be left questioning whether or not I in reality knew the rest about accounting. Right here’s what my proposal gave the impression of:

Accounting blog proposal

I additionally bid moderately a prime value. I bid $250, which quantities to $25 for a 250 phrase weblog submit. For a brand new freelance author that’s an excessively prime charge. Maximum writers when beginning out paintings for round $3-$5 for a 500 phrase article. Why did I do that? Easy – to face out. Purchasing psychology 101 – prime costs give a belief of prime quality. Additionally, I’m from New Zealand the place the minimal salary is $13.75 an hour. If I’m supposedly a certified accountant prepared to write down for $3 an hour in a rustic the place every other process would earn me 5x that, then the customer will most likely conclude that one thing is off, i.e. that I’m a moron.

To my wonder, the entire thing labored completely. Inside of a few days I used to be awarded the process and it’s embarrassing how proud I used to be. I in reality couldn’t wait to get began. I used to be now formally a contract author, and had a shopper to turn out it!

celebration dance

Lesson: Bidding prime is helping you stand out, and tells the customer you’re no longer some determined wannabe (even supposing you might be). In this process I may see that almost all of the bidders had been best bidding $3-$5 according to submit, and lots of had been from India and Pakistan that means they most likely weren’t local English audio system. The very best bid at the process used to be round $300, so I bid slightly below that, making me stand out however no longer making me glance extravagantly dear.

After 10 days I had finished the process, been paid $250 and gained my first comments:

feedback accounting blog

I additionally wish to rigidity that you just will have to get a 5 megastar comments. A three megastar comments is most likely worse than having no comments in any respect. So how do you do that?

In the beginning, try to be the most efficient freelancer your consumer has ever labored with. Put up paintings sooner than the time limit. Write 700 phrases while you best wanted 500. Make it transparent that you’re going to rewrite and edit your piece till they’re 100% glad. Put effort into your writing and make your articles the most efficient your consumer has ever learn. In different phrases, exceed each and every expectation.

Then, make it transparent you want a 5 megastar comments.

“Good day Joe,

I’m happy you loved the general article. If, for any reason why, there’s nonetheless part of it you’re no longer moderately 100% proud of, please let me know and I’ll rewrite it till it’s precisely what you’re after.

If there’s no additional paintings to be achieved, I’d in reality admire it if you have to depart a 5 megastar comments for me on Elance. This could be so useful in me securing additional paintings and proceeding to write down. If you are feeling any side of my paintings wasn’t to five megastar usual, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll do the entirety I will be able to to mend that.”

Be mindful, discovering just right writers on Elance is an entire headache for many editors. Smartly established freelance writers earn as much as $500 an editorial, so for $20+ they don’t have a tendency to be expecting an excessive amount of. For those who’ve been blowing their socks off along with your professionalism and dedication to high quality all through the mission, they in reality should not have any downside leaving you the 5 megastar comments you’ve requested for.


My e mail route is designed for the ones taking a look to take their freelance writing occupation to the following stage. We will discuss discovering good fortune on freelance websites, crafting proposals, area of interest variety, easy tricks to build up your process wins, construction a wholesome consumer base and extra. It is simple to practice with real-life examples, and 100% loose. Merely input your main points beneath if you want to get began!

After that the entirety changed into exponentially more straightforward. With my first 5 get started comments in the back of my title I landed my subsequent process a few days later. Right here’s what the process posting gave the impression of:

Indian job

My proposal:

Proposal indian job

Whilst I will be able to’t see the opposite proposals, I will be able to see who the opposite bidders are. There have been 13 bidders for the process, which I’ve indexed beneath:


As you’ll see, of the 13 bidders four are from Pakistan, 7 are from India, 1 is from the Philippines, and 1 is from New Zealand (me). Assuming the process poster used to be searching for a local English speaker, he can make a selection both me or…me.

Lesson: Don’t get disheartened by way of numerous other people low bidding on jobs. Whilst a lot of them is also nice staff, Elance is famend for having numerous English 2d language audio system filing deficient high quality writing that may’t be used. Because of this many process postings explicitly ask for local English audio system best. On this case I used to be the one local English speaker that bid, and ultimately I used to be awarded the process. Funnily sufficient, virtually each and every different bidder used to be additionally a Chartered Accountant and a few had CFA’s/MBA’s, making them way more certified than I used to be (most likely approach smarter, too). Additionally they had been inexpensive than me – my bid of $550 used to be a ways upper than the common bid of $180, which boosts my previous level of bidding prime and no longer promoting your self quick.

After finishing this process and getting every other 5 stars, I determined to look if I may land a task outdoor of accounting and finance. I did this for a laugh greater than the rest, and to get some enjoy in a distinct area of interest. Just about all my proposals went alongside the strains of:

“My background is in monetary writing however I will be able to observe my talents to a lot of subjects….I paintings onerous blah blah…I’ll feel free to write down the primary article at no rate as an ordeal to look if it fits your target market.

After filing round 10 bids for trip articles, meals articles, health articles, sports activities articles and just about any process that were given indexed, the only I were given successful on used to be a number of articles for a mens way of life weblog (hooray). 10 articles at $11 every. Granted, an important paycut from my earlier gigs, however used to be a task however and I in reality had a large number of a laugh doing it.

Since the article used to be outdoor my area of interest I needed to put just a little extra effort in to make sure a 5 megastar comments. I learn throughout the purchasers weblog and a large number of identical blogs to get a really feel for the appropriate writing taste, I made certain the writing used to be delivered approach sooner than the time limit, and naturally I introduced to rewrite it as repeatedly as he wanted. Out of the 10 articles, only one had to be rewritten, and he appeared very inspired with the paintings:


Lesson – You’ll be able to land jobs outdoor your area of interest – you’ll most likely receives a commission much less and wish to be offering a freebie for the primary few, however it’s value it for the additional enjoy and comments. Analysis neatly and try to put up the best quality paintings that your consumer has ever noticed. Quickly you’ll have a just right quantity of enjoy in several niches and have the ability to command upper costs.

The following process I landed ended up paying me moderately just a little greater than the others. It used to be for writing Chartered Accountancy educating notes, which is:

  1. A crap process that no one needs to do
  2. Calls for an excessively particular skillset

The ones are two substances for a prime paying gig. Right here’s what the posting gave the impression of:

accounting notes

My proposal:


In my proposal you’ll see that I made certain to handle each and every requirement indexed in his posting. What you’ll’t see within the screenshot is that the process funds used to be as much as $5,000, so I knew he used to be prepared to pay just right coin for the appropriate candidate.

I spent lots of the night time researching and placing in combination the pattern notes asked within the posting, as I knew that might in all probability be the deciding issue. I sought after to put up one thing outstanding. The buyer emailed the following day pronouncing how my proposal and pattern notes had in reality stood out from the remaining, and awarded me the process. The primary process used to be an ordeal, which concerned writing a unmarried bankruptcy of notes for $230. I did the entirety I may to make it the primary set of attention-grabbing accounting notes within the historical past of mankind (I failed, it’s no longer imaginable), and he later introduced me a complete 10 chapters, for which I negotiated a worth of $2,900.

Lesson – Don’t be afraid to spend time for your proposals – it’s like getting ready for a task interview. I’ve discovered that the purchasers who ask for particular samples of their listings are normally those that require writers with an excessively particular experience, and if you’ll ship in this the payday will also be beautiful just right.

Income for the primary month:

Process 1: $250

Process 2: $550

Process 3: $110

Process four: $230

Process 5: $2,900

General : $four,zero40 USD value of labor awarded in simply over a month.

Disclaimer: Whilst I controlled to “win” these kind of jobs inside a month, it in reality took round 2 months for me to finish the entirety. It is because the ones had been the cut-off dates I negotiated. I did this as a result of:

  1. I used to be travelling on the time
  2. I’m lazy

I used to be most likely operating round 10-15 hours every week. Had I been operating on them complete time this can have been simply finished in round a month.

I used to be incomes round $25-$30 an hour on reasonable, which isn’t a ways from what I used to be incomes when operating complete time as an accountant. The attention-grabbing factor is, this is regarded as peanuts for a author! Many established writers earn nearer to $100 an hour, some considerably extra. Whilst I’m far from the ones charges, the prospective itself is thrilling.

Bid for jobs inside your experience (specifically for writing). This will likely be your highest shot for generating high quality writing and build up your comments. For those who’re a non-public instructor bid on health articles; if you happen to’re a banker bid on monetary articles; if you happen to’re a nurse bid on well being articles and so forth. You don’t essentially wish to be a qualified – you have to bid on parenting articles, trip articles; I’ve even noticed a number of jobs for avid gamers to write down articles and opinions on Ps video games, so there in reality is one thing for everybody.

Take no matter jobs you’ll get at the beginning. You get 40 bids on Elance while you get started out – you should utilize they all. With my first 40 bids I were given awarded 3 jobs, after which I paid the $10 price for every other set of 40. For those who’re fascinated by construction an source of revenue, you’ll wish to put a good quantity of effort into advertising and marketing your self and bidding for paintings. If you get some respectable comments it is possible for you to to be extra selective with the paintings you settle for.

Don’t prohibit your self to writing – Writing can get dull, so it’s great to have one thing else to paintings on to provide your self a damage. For internet builders, programmers and IT nerds usually, the freelance international is a goldmine for you. I’ve flirted with the speculation of discovering accounting paintings however I will be able to’t deliver myself to do it simply but. Nonetheless provides me nightmares. Every other nice moneymaker is translation – if you happen to talk a couple of languages there are other people that may pay giant cash for correct translation paintings.

Write at no cost – I’m a large suggest of writing articles at no cost and together with them on your proposal, a minimum of while you’re beginning out. If the rest, it’s a good way to observe your writing and if you happen to don’t get the process you’ll nonetheless upload the piece for your portfolio. As an example, if the poster calls for 10 articles on the advantages of inexperienced tea, analysis and write an editorial at the matter. Even though you don’t win the process, convert the document to pdf and upload it for your portfolio as “Inexperienced tea article written for established well being mag”. Win win!

Have a look at different a hit writers. See how their profiles are laid out and what they come with of their portfolio. Glance thru their resume, their picture and the profile structure usually. Use this as a fashion on your personal profile.

So anyway, that’s how I began out in freelancing and I used to be beautiful glad with my effects. What’s been nice about it’s that I’ve evolved a brand new circulate of source of revenue that I will be able to earn whilst travelling, which is at all times the objective for me. I’m certain there are lots of other methods that folks use to freelance and if you happen to’re prepared to percentage I’d love to listen to them! Additionally, I’d be willing to listen to how the above methods of mine figure out for you if making a decision to make use of them. I’ll most likely write every other submit at the matter in a couple of months, expectantly with a brand new and advanced method to percentage with you all. Confidently this submit has confirmed you that it in reality is imaginable to generate income on Elance; possibly no longer tens of millions, however sufficient to make it value giving a take a look at.

Arrange a loose account at Elance (Upwork) and spend a while growing your profile. Then, get started bidding like loopy on any writing jobs you suppose you’ll do a good process of. It could be writing about parenting, about figuring out, about healthy eating plan, about insurance coverage, about automobiles, about computer systems; the rest! On the very least you should utilize the entire 40 bidding credit that you just get started out with. With some effort and a bit of little bit of good fortune, you will have to have the ability to land a minimum of one process.

Then, do an improbable process. Exceed each and every certainly one of your consumer’s expectancies. Allow them to know that you just’re dedicated to high quality and can produce precisely what they want with a purpose to get a 5 megastar comments.

End the process, receives a commission, request a 5 megastar comments and blow the cost on one thing to praise your self.

Congrats! You’ve simply constructed your self every other source of revenue circulate 😉

Satisfied freelancing.

My e mail route is a better information on how I went from 0 enjoy to creating hundreds of greenbacks per 30 days in freelance writing source of revenue. No hype or fluff – simply genuine examples, genuine assist and genuine recommendation. Click on the fairway button beneath if you want to get began.

Ready to start your freelance career? This in-depth guide shows you real proposals to real clients that have landed real jobs, complete with the tools and resources you need to get started.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here