How to Get Hired on Elance and oDesk

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Why You’re Not Getting Hired on Elance and oDesk

When I first started out on Elance, I really had no clue what I was doing. In fact, I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. I had this sinking feeling that nobody was going to hire me and I’d quit the whole thing feeling like a failure (and maybe give up on coding for good).

And, at first… that’s exactly what happened.

The first few freelance jobs I bid on I got undercut by another developer willing to do the work for a price so low it made me question if I’d be able to every make any money as a freelance coder.

And it really burned me!

It made me angry that a potential client was willing to give control of a huge chunk of their business (and livelihood)… to the lowest bidder. It just seemed so stupid.

Then, a friend of mine (another coder who was killing it on Elance) showed me what he was doing and how he was able to get clients to hire him over and over… even though he was often the highest bid on the project.

And, he laid out a 3-step plan for me to kill it (like he was) on Elance. Here’s what it looked like:

  1. Use Elance to Prospect for Ideal Long-Term Clients
  2. Build a Killer Profile That Targets Your Ideal Clients and Makes Them Hire You Immediately
  3. Engage Clients in Your Bids to Get Them to Instantly Trust You and Hire you 99% of the Time

Honestly, when he first showed me how to do this… I was skeptical and I was nervous. I wasn’t sure if it would actually work. I even spent a few long nights stressing over whether or not I should change my approach this drastically.

But, eventually he kicked me in the butt and made me do it… and BOY am I glad he did.

As soon as I implemented his advice, things changed dramatically. Suddenly, I began landing clients that I’d normally lose. Before I knew it, I had 5 ongoing client contracts and I was choosing how much money I made each week.

I quickly went from charging $25/hour to $90/hour and now charge $500/hour for my coding services (and get hired regularly).

But, I often wonder what would have happened if I never asked for his advice… or if I had decided not to take it. Would I still be charging $25/hour… struggling to get clients?

Would I have given up on coding altogether?

Would I be working some mundane “regular” job… hating life?

I don’t know, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out!

Now, it’s your turn…

In this episode of the John Morris Show, I break down the 3-step plan my friend laid out for me and show you exactly how to implement each step.

After listening to this episode, you’ll have the same choice I did… implement the plan and watch your coding career take off… or don’t and… well… who knows.

I hope you’ll take action on this and create the same kind of success I did.

Click to Listen


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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Fantastic post John! I coached a client back in 2008 to ramp up his copywriting business by transforming his way of doing marketing and proposals on elance, so I found this interesting.

  2. Thanks John. I am not having much success getting clients. I think my prices are driving them away. So I am having to have a fix price. I am charging per page and for ecommerce I am charging depending on how much product. My prices are really low because I am trying to build up my profile.

    1. Probably price and too complicated. Charging per page or number of products turns off a lot of clients. You’re better off if you can charging a set price and saying it includes X number of pages/products. I know it’s really the same… but clients feel more comfortable with that because it’s a set price.

  3. Thanks John. I have a question or have to clear my doubt that does the Agency Association in odesk freelancer profile leads to negative effects. I am reading it mostly that Individual Freelancers preferred more than others?

    1. If you mean bidding on jobs as a company rather than an individual… than yes that’s probably hurting you. You have to work a lot harder to establish a reputation as a company than you do as an individual in the web design space. That’s on Elance/oDesk and just in general.

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