I recently signed up as a Provider on Elance, one of the prominent freelancing marketplaces in business today.
I did so to extend my freelance writing services to clients who are outsourcing their projects on Elance and to finally get over my fear of trying out a new freelancing marketplace. It’s an exciting adventure and a new chapter in my freelancing career, so I hope things will turn out bright and successful.
But putting that aside, I thought it would be nice to write a series of posts as a sort of tutorial for those who are also deciding on opening an account on Elance. This is the first of the many that will come after, which centers on the entire process of setting up a provider profile on Elance.
What Makes Up the Elance Provider Profile
My first step is to complete my provider profile. After entering all of the necessary information and clicking on the email verification code, I moved on to completing all of the sections that were empty or that needed to be revised. From the looks of it, every single section is important, so do your best not to miss or skip any:
- Username, profile name, tagline, and a company name (this is optional)
- A professional profile picture and logo
- Minimum hourly rate in USD
- Basic information
Digging Deeper Into the Basic Details
The username, profile name, tagline, and company name (if you choose to have one) should represent you and what your business is. Do not, and I mean do not, use a name or a company name that is made up or that you will not stand by till the very end of your career on Elance.
Your profile picture is different than your logo. The logo is only 40 x 50 in size and is found right beside your profile name. It should represent your company or (if you’re working solo) your personal brand, so make sure to use a logo that is professional and that symbolizes your business.
The profile picture is located right beside your overview and is bigger in size as compared to the logo. This is where your portrait goes, so make sure to choose one that is clearly you (no cartoon characters, no inanimate objects). This is important because clients prefer to hire people who have actual profile pictures, so don’t lose your chances due to an unprofessional and… well, fake picture of yourself.
Your Minimum Hourly Rate
If this is your first time working on a freelancing marketplace like Elance, you have to set a minimum hourly rate to charge to your clients for work. You can read A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Your Freelancing Rates and Fees if you’re unsure of how much to charge and what to charge.
If, on the other hand, you’ve worked on another freelancing marketplace before, you can use your current hourly rate on Elance or give your future clients a discount hourly rate. In my case, my hourly rate on oDesk is $15 per hour (excluding the oDesk 10% fee), but I decided to give my future clients a discount rate of $10 per hour.
Your Basic Provider Information
Your basic provider information includes your Overview, Service Description, Payment Terms, and your profile keywords. The Overview section functions the same way as the Overview of an oDesk profile: It should tell the client what it is you can do for them, what makes you stand out, and what your objective is as a freelancer.
The Service Description tells the client what your services are, so be as clear and concise as you can with what you do as a freelancer. The Payment Terms section is where you list down your rules and guidelines regarding payment. For my profile I noted down my usual payment terms, which is 50% upfront payment for new clients and 30% upfront for regular clients.
Lastly, Elance gives basic or free members 5 keywords to use for their profile. These are keywords that will pull out your profile in the search results when a potential client searches for freelancer to hire, so if you aren’t a paying Elancer, pick the best 5 keywords that will bring your provider profile to the first page of the search results.
Building Your Portfolio on Elance
The portfolio section is one of the sections that I like. It was revamped last October 2010 to give users a more dynamic experience and providers an easier way to upload and organize their portfolio pieces as well as a better way to feature their work to clients.
If you already have several portfolio pieces on hand, you can start uploading, giving short descriptions, and arranging them according to “sets” or categories and which ones are to be seen first when on public view. Organizing into sets like putting your pieces inside separate folders to make it more organized and easy to search for, so take some time to segregate your pieces into sets.
If this is your first time to own a portfolio, you can upload your past personal projects such as articles you’ve written for publications or templates you’ve designed and built on your own. You can also read The Basics of Building a Portfolio and 14 Expert Tips to Making Your Portfolio Even Better afterwards for more tips and advice on how to make your portfolio stand out.
Employment and Education Sections
These are the last two sections found at the bottom of your profile, which are the areas where you can list down your employment history (if you’ve worked in a company full-time) and your educational background. Your clients may want to know where you received your degree or where you’ve worked previously, so as much as possible complete these two sections as well.
Are you an Elance freelancer? How is your profile doing so far? Share your experiences in the comments below!