We originally hit elance back in the day looking for some outsourcing ala 4 hour work week. We enjoyed the interaction but it was such a long time ago and we were not bidding on projects.
We are now starting to look at being a virtual provider and expand out networking via our online presence. These are my initial thoughts based on wandering around for a while...
a. Great opportunitty if you can spend the time. We are going to segment a part of the day to virtual submissions and try not to get lost in the sheer numbers....However it is a NUMBERS GAME.
SCHEDULE 1-2 hours a day or days to submit.
b. Create an engaging profile(s). It's one of their biggest tips but I have to agree on this one. Just by looking at the site you can see that every job has multiple bids going in and creating some smart copy is a GREAT IDEA. More and more it bodes to great copy writing and an e-version of the elevator pitch.
Create a solid Elevator Pitch First Paragraph. Do not be afraid to change the copy until you start getting work.
c. A Lower the hourly rate in order to get jobs and reviews? Elance lists the amount of money and jobs that you've completed. It's only common sense that you would want to work with companies that have a history of achievment. The quickest way to get there is via JOBS and great reviews.
Consider a discounted rate in order to get jobs & reviews.
d. Don't be afraid to be an AMERICAN... The power or weakness of the American Dollar on this site does freak me out. I mean we originally came to elance via the 4 hour work week looking for cost-effective solutions.
However in actually outsourcing stuff, I can tell you that there are certain jobs that you want to keep a US based contractor for. Any writing or editing is a definite plus and any project where an uderstanding of it's end application in the business world or US is also important.
Find a Niche where you can compete based on your location and dollar power.
e. Embrace the restrictions...ARGH! So one of my biggest challenges is the format. We are used to meeting clients in person first. So this FORMAT is extremely foreign to us. Normally our online presence supports our physical presence and in this virtual situation our Virtual presence is now our "FIRST IMPRESSION" and it's not even our site but a profile.
We will try to keep within the restrictions or elance. I sort of hope its either a booming success and we are able to find a niche on elance for our team or the other business picks up suvstantially.