Creating an Eye-Catching Profile on Elance

Before You Get Started

Until you have created your profile and gone through the steps of account creation, you will not be allowed to bid on the various jobs and projects on the Elance marketplace. Your profile provides you with a place to indicate the type of work that you are interested in or that you are a specialist in, and also gives you a chance to upload samples from your portfolio for potential buyers to review.

How to Sign Up For Elance

To sign up for Elance, you will need to visit Elance.com. From the home page of the website, you will click the link "Provide Services", located at the top of the page. Next, click on the button which reads "Become a Provider". From there, you will be asked to enter your valid email address and to confirm that email by clicking a link in an email message generated by Elance's auto responder. Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be asked to make a decision about your plan type by specifying whether you wish to register as an individual or a business. At this point, most would-be Elance providers should select "individual". Companies with one or more full-time employees should select "business" when choosing their plan. However, for the purposes of this guide to Elance, all references going forward will be for those who are interested in working as individuals on Elance.

Personal Email

The basic membership on Elance is free; however, most providers find it difficult to land a job on Elance with a free membership. There is a huge difference in free and paid memberships on Elance. Let's look at those.

Free membership comes with these offerings:
  • profile (up to 5 skills) and portfolio
  • personalized URL
  • work history and feedback
  • Elance admissions test
  • option to upload a video to your profile
  • unlimited skills tests
  • ability to submit up to 3 proposals each month
  • ability to link to FaceBook and LinkedIn profiles
Paid membership on Elance costs $9.95 monthly (as of August 2009). With a paid membership, Elance providers will get all of the above benefits plus:
  • up to 10 skills listed on their profile
  • ability to submit up to 20 proposals monthly (more if needed)
  • free wire transfers of earnings
  • reduced Elance service fees at the end of the project

When signing up to become an Elance provider, you should pick the membership plan that is right for you. If you are serious about working from home and want to give Elance a good trial, the best way to achieve that is to become a paid member. Once you have chosen a membership plan, you will be prompted to choose the category in which you want to work from among the following: web and programming, design and multimedia, writing and translations, sales and marketing, legal and engineering and manufacturing.

Your next step will be to enter any promotional codes that you have received to entice you to become an Elance provider. After that is done, click "continue". You will then be prompted to enter your account information and basic contact information. You will also be required to check the box that indicates to Elance that you have read and understand the Elance Terms of Service agreement. Then, click "continue", and you will see your username on your provider profile page.

A Word about Elance "Connects"

Elance providers must use the official Elance currency, known as "connects" in order to submit proposals for projects on the Elance system. The free membership account include 3 connects each month. Each project posted on the Elance system requires that the provider use a certain number of "connects" just to apply. Many projects "cost" more than the 3 connects that come with free membership, which means that many Elance providers cannot apply for specific projects. The number of connects that are required for specific proposals are determined according to the budget of the buyer and it's posting type. Again, another benefit of paid Elance membership is that you receive more connects (20) - thus you have a greater ability to find work on the Elance marketplace. Inversely, all Elance providers can purchase more connects as they are needed to apply for projects. The current rate for Elance connects is $5/10 connects.

Paid Elance Membership Steps

For paid Elance members, your next step is to enter your payment information. Once you have chosen a payment method, Elance will automatically charge your payment method each month for the cost of your membership plus any additional connects that you purchase. To set up your payment method and complete your enrollment on Elance, you will select "Get Paid", and then "Financial Accounts" from the navigation bar along the top of the page. Go to the "Default Payment Account" section, and pull down on the menu to "Set Default". It's that simple. Remember - if you sign up for a paid membership account with Elance and then decide that the system is not right for you - you will be responsible for cancelling your membership to avoid being charged automatically each month. To cancel your membership, you can call 1-877-4ELANCE.

Your Elance Profile

Your Elance profile is your chance to impress potential employers and win projects on the Elance marketplace. To begin building your Elance profile, you will enter a tagline, keywords, summary description, and "about us" section. Below is a sample of the easy to fill in form that will get you started on your Elance profile.

Elance Profile Sections

Each section of your Elance provider profile should be filled out completely. Let's look at each.
  • Tag line - brief "one-liner" about what you offer to the potential buyers who might see your profile. For example, if you are a freelance writer, you might make your tagline read: Trusted Freelance Writer & Native English Speaker - Ten Years Experience
  • Keywords - your profile keywords are useful for buyers who are seeking out your services to find your profile based on your skills. Please note that unpaid Elance providers may enter up to five keywords while paid memberships are allowed to enter ten keywords for greater search visibility (another reason to sign up as a paid member). Building on the freelance writer professional looking for work, you might choose keywords like: landing pages, website copy, articles, SEO, and product descriptions
  • Summary description - use this space on your Elance profile to show potential buyers why you are qualified to do the type of work that you are looking for. This is your place to brag ? but choose your words wisely. You are limited to only 1,000 characters.
  • About Us - use this section to give a brief overview of your past experience, education, and certifications.
Once you have filled these profile sections out completely, you should save your profile by clicking on the "Save Your Profile" button on the same page.
 
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