Lessons from an Elance Pro Part II

By Andrew Neitlich

This is a follow up to the Elance Pro blog a few entries ago.

I have a second project, similar to the one that the Elance Pro just did for me. He once again impresses me with his ability to close business. Here is how it worked:

1. I sent him specifications for the project.

2. This morning when I hit the computer, he instant messaged me immediately to thank me for the specs.

3. He asked me my budget for the project. I told him that it should be less than the site he just did for me. He agreed and suggested a ballpark. I agreed to that. He asked if I could start today; I told him early next week.

4. Now it gets interesting. He asked me if he wanted me to have him post the project for him. I said sure.

5. So he posted the project on my behalf and awarded it to himself!

This action not only “closed the deal” for him, but did two other things:

1. He saves 4.75% on elance fees by doing this on a repeat project.

2. He is able to automatically invoice me for half the project fees right away.

So with a brief IM conversation, this developer managed to close a second project. I love that kind of speed and efficiency!

Free Guide:

7 Habits of Successful CTOs

"What makes a great CTO?" Engineering skills? Business savvy? An innate tendency to channel a mythical creature (ahem, unicorn)? All of the above? Discover the top traits of the most successful CTOs in this free guide.

  • http://www.vodkafish.com VodkaFish

    I know some people here like it – but I hate “instant IMs”, and they seem very common from people working overseas. The moment I log on I get bombarded with them. I don’t mind IMs, but I don’t prefer to conduct a lot of business over them. I’ve met few who do, but Sitepoint seems to be an exception to that (observed) rule.

  • http://www.satviz.com/GPS_Blog davestarr


    You’re of course totally entitle to your preferences but for myself I wish more people would get into conducting business with IM. It’s much more responsive than email, easier to control, and easier to keep records on.

    Perhaps you just haven’t found the right platform? I like Yahoo messenger but there are others that work in different ways that suit many other folk’s needs.

    Best regards

  • Anonymous

    Once again – I bet someone in the U.S. could have done it just as cheap and just as well.

  • Mathew

    Once again—I bet someone in the U.S. could have done it just as cheap and just as well

    So? Why bother going with someone else you haven’t worked with, to get the same price and quality?

  • willthiswork

    So? Why bother going with someone else you haven’t worked with, to get the same price and quality?

    You will soon see it.

  • pdxi

    I think it will be best to leave the “India vs. USA/UK” discussion in the previous blog, or somewhere else. Let’s not draw attention away from the topic of this entry.

  • mjc

    pdxi, agreed.

    The lesson here is how to get repeat business from a customer who has already bought from you. The location of either business is immaterial. I’ve heard horror stories about offshored projects and I’ve worked with very good Indian developers. In this case the developer is doing a good technical job but quite clearly an excellent marketing job which is why Andrew is using him as an example.

    Elance is a place where it’s hard to compete on anything except price. You’re better off marketing yourself on quality in your local niche. Read Michael Porter, on second thoughts, don’t ;) Summary:-

    You can only compete based on one of three criteria being either Best, Cheapest or one of the previous two in a niche.

    Looking seriously at most of us we:

    a) Don’t have the resources to be best in the world.

    b) can’t compete with an offshore outfit on price.

    Which leaves us with niche marketing which I’m sure Andrew’s recommended in the past. So everyone, identify your niche & be best in that niche.

  • friendsterindia

    how can we make elance to spend more money on advertisements. currently there are few buyers and low value projects

  • friendsterindia

    how can we make elance to spend more money on advertisements currently there are few buyers and low value projects

  • friendsterindia

    any other online marketplaces to pick up projects …??

  • http://diarist.com marcel

    I would not mind buying services from the US or India or UK. But so often I see freelancers or sellers saying “We only accept PayPal”.

    In India they accept Paypal, Wire and a myriad of other payment options. I know online businesses that make $120,000 / year and only accept PayPal.
    That’s not Ecommerce. The rest of the World exists you know…

    For those who don’t know, PayPal does not do business with a lot of countries.

    Just a 0.02 cent sidenote.

  • http://diarist.com marcel

    there is also rentacoder.com

  • http://www.vodkafish.com VodkaFish


    IM means responding at someone else’s pace or sitting and waiting for them to respond at yours. I find it great for quickie things, sending out reference links, etc., but not conducting business. I’d rather email someone and not have to worry about focusing on the IM, or I’d rather just pick up a phone (or IM chat, Skype, whatever).

    I use Trillian myself, love the thing, always have windows open – but I like to keep most of my business over email or on the phone for time purposes. Time is my greatest expense and if you’ve ever had to clarify things with a slow IM conversation, it just seems too costly.

  • Anonymous

    Concerning Elance anyone choosing to join this service should watch their billing like a hawk. They make countless mistakes in overbilling, which they will fix but its happened to me more than once where I was double billed with Elance service fee which is 8.75. Also all the times I’ve called their 800 number I’ve never reach a live person. Their answering machine message just becomes redundant. Although someone eventually calls you back.

  • Kim Scott

    Elance and RentACoder are nice but I don’t like chasing freelancers that barely speak my language.

    I use SoftwareProjects

  • JACK

    Elance and its team is good for nothing…Elance have some fake buyers. The commission and fees is also very high. They are high-tech robbers which can use your credit card to refund for the buyers.

Because We Like You
Free Ebooks!

Grab SitePoint's top 10 web dev and design ebooks, completely free!

Get the latest in Entrepreneur, once a week, for free.