Free Lance — Guru — Constant Content — Elance

Posted on March 1, 2011

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Okay, I’ve been using Google Ad Words for a while now and noticed that the term “free lance,” spelled just like that with the space, is searched 1,830,000 times a month. So, I used it in the heading of this post.

Nope. I’m not giving away free “lances” BUT I am giving away free information, so listen up!

I have to admit, though, it could bring some really fresh faces into our tight little close-knit forum here … maybe not ones we’d really want to know, though … I’m posting really late at night, so only God knows what’ll end up here.

Back to the post at hand.

As a professional writer, my income ebbs and flows, so I’ve diversified my writing to include a variety of writing projects to pay the bills. I joined a few article bidding websites a while back and just now submitted some proposals or bids on writing jobs. I thought I’d share with you what I found out so far.

The only ones I know about right now are Elance, Guru and Constant Content. From what I’ve learned, customers look for contractors through each of these sites. They submit an initial job description, along with their budget for the project. Writers and other freelancers (oh, I mean free [space] lancers) bid on or submit a proposal for the open jobs.

Elance

I only submitted one proposal on Elance and my proposal was selected the next day. I never tried the site before, because I saw so many low amounts customers offered on projects — $10 to $20 per article — but recently saw some significantly higher, which piqued my interest — $50 to $100 and more per 300- to 500-word article.

I was thrilled when they selected my proposal — kinda like when I finally got picked for dodge ball when I was in grade school — only I was the first one picked this time!

The thing I like about Elance is that they only take out .875 %  of each project awarded you.

Guru and Constant Content

I just submitted several proposals through Guru and one through Constant Content. Guru’s system is a little more convoluted than the other two as far as having access to bid on all work available. I haven’t used it much, so I’m still learning how it works. I do know it costs around 12% to use Guru’s system if you don’t pay for any subscription, so you have to build that cost into your proposal for jobs.

Constant Content (CC), on the other hand is a greedy little website. First of all, if you want to submit a bid on a project, CC requires you to write the entire article and insert 1/3 of the article in your proposal. The content may be so unique that if the customer to which you create it for and submit it to doesn’t want it, you may have just spent precious time writing something for nothing. In addition, CC charges their users 35% on each job you are awarded and I think charge other fees, too. It’s a ripoff unless you get the job and charge the customer an astronomical fee for buying your content. What’s unfortunate is that many customers only want to pay $10 to $20 per article, sometimes for full rights.

Be Specific on Proposals

Some of the other challenges are that you must be VERY SPECIFIC in your proposal to avoid pitfalls inherent to these kind of sites. For example, I didn’t consider charging for rewrites on the first proposal I submitted and for which I was accepted, but the client was sharp enough to ask about it before we agreed on the project, so it worked out nicely.

When submitting a bid, specify to the customer how much you charge per word and state any minimum you have. Also consider rewrites. Some customers may be quite picky and you could spin you wheels doing a number of them. It’s best, also, if you have a list of questions for the client to answer once you are awarded the proposal, so that you’ll know their exact specifications for the article or post.

I think Guru and Elance might work out quite nicely, but am still reeling from Constant Content’s up charge.

Anybody else have experience with these sites and are willing to share their experiences?

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