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Elance is a platform to find freelance work of all types. You can find there wide array of technical, data entry, accounting, and other freelance and temp jobs. Input your skills and search through their job database.

Today Elance is one of the top three online freelance outsourcing job marketplaces. Launched at the twilight of the 20th century as a technology for supporting virtual work, reorganized in 2006 as a web-based platform for online, contingent work.

It is a place where companies can post projects that require specific skills and expertise, search for professionals and solicit proposals (jobs) from one side; And freelancers from around the globe who offer themselves as a skilled experts able to complete those projects.

More than 500000 businesses and more than two million freelancers use Elance today. They recently merged with their main competitor oDesk, which made them the formidable force in the freelance industry.

Each project can be evaluated from both sides; Freelancers can see the clients project histories in the system. Clients can evaluate freelancers, by researching their histories and their profiles, as each freelancer is able to post profile describing skills, education and background info, portfolio with past projects and feedback from finished projects.

Once the contractor is selected all correspondence and file exchange goes through the Elance platform.

Clients pay hourly rates or per project through Elance system which commissions 8.75% fee for all jobs. As a assurance to both clients and freelancers Elance features Work View tool which serves as official record for the completed work. Job statements and milestones are used to indicate total job progress, for all this time allocated funds are held by Elance to ensure payment and completion of the job.

So if you have skills and expertise that others are willing to pay for, freelancing is probably the best way to make money from home.

While signing up and posting profile is very easy, getting quality jobs requires patience and determination, as no one who pays decent will hire freelancers without portfolio and positive feedback.

Note that as a FREE user you are limited with the number of jobs that you can apply, so if you want to to apply for more jobs once you exhaust your free credits, you will need to upgrade to one of the three paid memberships that range from:

-$10 per month. (individual)

-$20 per month. (small company)

-$60 per month. (large company)

Beside patience and determination the best strategy for beginners is to get lower paying jobs at first, execute it perfectly as this will help to build history and references, which is imperative when applying for higher paying jobs. Don’t  apply for jobs near the deadline period, the best strategy is to post early and to post as frequently as you can.

User interface is decent enough, easy to navigate and features everything that matters both from client’s and freelancer’s perspective.

Another thing to keep in mind is that as a business Elance will, in most cases side with clients if dispute arises.

Doing research on client is imperative, and prefer hourly pay instead of project (fixed price) paid jobs in the beginning, at least till you get hang of it and develop instinct what works and what not.

If you see the client offers ridiculously high amount per hour, and if his payments in payment history are private, its a instant signal for fishy dealing. This is very important indication to keep in mind, as many clients post jobs that pay “high” per hour to attract quality freelancers, but they usually choose someone who offers to complete the job for less.

While there are many alternatives to Elance/oDesk (upwork), the most notable freelance platforms are: Freelancer.com, Guru.com and Fiverr.com Or just check out our up-to-date list with the best freelancing platforms.

If you are interested in Elance make sure you check out our exclusive interview with Laura Pennington, a top 1 percent freelancer on Elance.

UPDATE: Elance and oDesk merged back in 2014 creating mega platform called Elance-oDesk which was rebranded to UPWORK in 2015. The oDesk was upgraded and rebranded as UpWork. It was also announced that the Elance will be phased into UpWork too within a couple of years, resulting in a single giant freelance marketplace.


Popularity: 5/5

Reliability: 4/5

Security: 4/5

User Interface:4/5

Support: 3/5

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Last updated: May 22, 2015

Published: October 01, 2014

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Laura A.Pennington