Guide to Making $6,500 on Elance in 45 Days - Flight Media Blog
Guide to Making $6,500 on Elance in 45 Days

Guide to Making $6,500 on Elance in 45 Days

Ah, Elance. The massive online freelancing community that can greatly benefit your business/ personal income or be a complete waste of time.

Before I break down exactly how to bring in $6,500+ in jobs during the first 45 days on Elance, let me tell you my story.


Before you read this post, please watch this video!
(Made by popular demand..)

Feel free to download my top 5 winning proposals below.


My Story

I first heard of Elance during a mentor session with a retired owner of a $20 million/year advertising agency, Phil.

He knew that my (now) business partner Derek and I were shifting our focus to web design, marketing, and advertising, so he briefly mentioned Elance to us and said that it would be worth checking out.

The next day, I headed to the mountains of Pennsylvania for vacation and, luckily, that simple recommendation from Phil changed my life.

3 hours into the trip, I had already created an account on my iPhone and added multiple job postings to my ‘watchlist’ to submit proposals on when I arrived.

When I arrived, before I began submitting proposals, I read every review and tip on Elance out there. Just like you’re reading this, I wanted my proposals to be flawless.

After hours of research, however, the only information I could gather was that 50% of the reviews said it grew their business and 50% said it was a waste of time.

On the fence, I submitted my first proposal.

Within 1 hour, I had a message from the job poster and was awarded the job to write a Youtube marketing plan for $30 (only took me 45 minutes.)

I immediately called my soon-to-be business partner and told him about my success. He hopped on Elance, created a profile, and within 2 days had landed several jobs amounting more than $1,000.

We felt so empowered, that we decided it would be a good idea to incorporate Elance into the beginning foundation for the company we had been developing, Flight Media.

After that, things went uphill.

By time the 7-day vacation ended, I had landed a $15/hr WordPress management job for 10-15 hours per week, a $1,000 WordPress web design job, an article writing job for a $35 article (took me 1 hour to write,) and a graphic design job for $50 (took 2 hours.)

When I got home, Derek & I quickly became a full-time freelancers on Elance. We gained clients, lost clients (due to work overload,) and within 45 days, we had earned more than $6,500 combined. (Pretty good for 21 & 22 year-olds!)

Why You Should Elance

In the past, when I heard the word ‘Freelancer,’ I always thought of unemployed people who did ‘odd-jobs’ to make an extra income. It wasn’t until I joined Elance and did more research that I realized freelancing is the best thing you could do as a career (besides owning your own business.)

“Why? I have a decent-paying job.”

There are numerous reasons you should freelance, but if you’re on the edge of deciding whether or not it’s a route you want to take, consider these:

  1. No Bosses. (Just clients that abide by your schedule.)
  2. No Workplace. (You work remotely where you have internet access. That could be in Tahiti sipping martinis or by the fireplace on the couch in your home, not a cubicle or office.)
  3. No Income Cap. (Your income is relative to how hard you work, what you charge, and how often you work. I averaged $25-$30/hr my first month on Elance. A nice raise from $12/hr doing manual labor as previously being a painter!)

The important thing to remember, however, is that being your own boss isn’t as easy as it sounds.

You need to be responsible, motivated, and manage your time wisely. Lacking in any of these areas can quickly make freelancing more stressful, than fun.

Where Do I Start?

Excellent question. I jumped head-first into Elance and landed those smaller jobs, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they were the right jobs.

The WordPress management and web design were massive headaches (bad communication, too many expectations, etc.) and I could have eliminated that probability if I submitted proposals for the right jobs and not just ones that would make a quick buck.

The trick to winning on Elance is establishing long-term relationships with good businesses.

That’s where the money and fun is.

So, whether you’re looking to make an extra monthly income or become a full-time freelancer, here’s a Guide to Making $6,500 on Elance in the Next 45 Days:

1.  Sculpt the Perfect Profile

No one wants to hire someone with an incomplete profile.

Take 3-5 hours to make the best profile you possibly can. If somebody is considering your proposal for a job, they will look at your profile to view your portfolio, ‘overview’, skills, groups, etc.

To maximize your proposal-award ratio, having a complete profile is essential.

Here’s a checklist to do that:

  • Have a Real Picture. People are more likely to hire someone with a nice, professional, smiling picture. Not a stock photo or no photo.
  • Have an ‘Overview’ Section. This is where you want to toot your own horn. Any accomplishments you’ve made in your field, let potential clients know. Make it the first thing you say as well because the first few sentences will appear in your proposals as a mini-snippet. Mine said:


    “I’m absolutely passionate about business, marketing, and advertising. I helped Flight Drummers accumulate 500,000+ views on Youtube, 20,000+ fans, and paid members in more than 14 countries during the first 8 months of working with them. blah blah blah.”

    This immediately grabs the attention of anyone looking for a marketing, advertising, or business consultant and positioned me as an expert. Those are real results, too. Don’t make up something for the sake of getting work. In the end, the results will reflect that!

  • Join Groups. If you’re a web designer that uses WordPress, Magento, or Drupal, then test in those groups and join them. Often times, people wanting WordPress websites will require you be in those Elance groups or favor your proposal over those that aren’t. Elance has groups for just about every skill, so be sure to find a group to join!
  • Upload a Portfolio. Although this can be time-consuming, potential clients look at it. Having an organized portfolio with relevant examples can be the factor as to whether your job is awarded the job or not.
  • Test in Your Skills. Testing in your skills will show that you have proof to back up your ‘overview’ section.
  • Get Verified. If you have a new profile, it should ask you if you want to get verified by setting up a skype call. You will need to scan your ID, send it to Elance, and be on a 2 minute Skype session with someone who works for Elance to verify that your ID matches your face. Annoying, but it gives potential clients more ease-of-mind, knowing that you’re verified and real.

 2. Find the Right Jobs

Like I said before, this was the first mistake I made. I was so excited to get started, that I began proposing on every job I possibly could to land the maximum amount of jobs–only to be knee-high in crappy clients that had horrible communication, were cheap, and expected the world.

Here’s how to find the right jobs to propose on:

  • Find Relevant Jobs. This may sounds like common sense, but it’s easy to come across jobs that aren’t what you’re looking for, but would be an easy paycheck. Don’t do it. Stay focused and build your portfolio with relevant jobs to enhance your credibility. I made this mistake with writing articles and doing graphic design work in Adobe Illustrator when I knew close to nothing about it. I didn’t have fun doing them and I didn’t ever use them as portfolio examples.
  • Make Sure Their Budget/Expectations Are Realistic. It’s very common to see job postings where people have unrealistic expectations. Someone may want an article/web site completed with unlimited revisions or want you to triple their company’s sales with a budget of less than $500. We call those Project Creeps. Their expectations are higher than their budget and they will turn your profits into a loss.
  • Find Sponsored Posts. Sponsored posts are the job postings that are highlighted and say “featured post”. These are good to consider because it means the poster paid $25 just to have their posting highlighted. If someone is willing to pay an additional $25 just with hopes of finding a good freelancer, then they are more serious and typically have more money to spend.
    Sponsored Elance Post

    Sponsored Post

  • Review Their History. How much have they spent on Elance? Are they ‘payment verified?’ What’s their award ratio? Do they typically leave good reviews for past freelancers and do they seem kind and understanding? These are all important things to consider before submitting a proposal. If someone has spent $0 on Elance and they have awarded 0 out of 16 job postings, then chances are, they won’t do it for you. It will just be a waste of a ‘connect’ (you get 40 with the free profile.)
    Elance Poster History

    Elance Poster History

My rule of thumb is to find posters who have spent at least $500-$2,000 on Elance, have at least a 40% award ratio, are payment verified with at least 3 green dots, and leave kind reviews for past freelancers. It ensures a higher probability that the relationship can start and end well. Although it will take an additional 2-3 minutes, it’s worth it. You can find all this information by clicking on the poster’s name.

3. Submit Award-Winning Proposals

This part of the process can make or break your Elance success. It takes time to sculpt a high-converting proposal and if not done quickly, can leave you demotivated and thinking like the 50% of people who say “Elance doesn’t work.”

It took me a while to truly craft an effective proposal, but now that I have, I typically receive messages from 50-70% of the jobs I propose on and get hired by 40-50% of those. (If I propose on 10 jobs, I’ll have 4-6 message me and actually get hired for 3-4 of them.)

*Side-note: These numbers come from submitting hundreds of proposals since July 2013 and getting hired for 30-40% of them.

So, to craft a high-converting, award-winning proposal, you’ll need to:

  • Leave Copy & Paste Behind. If you’ve ever used Elance, you’ll realize that it’s pretty easy to craft a proposal for a particular field, then copy & paste it to relevant job postings. This is a ‘no-no.’ People can easily tell when something has been copied and pasted. It’s not personal and it’s not specific to their needs.For example: In October, I decided it was time to hire a Virtual Assistant, so I submitted a job posting. I received more than 40 proposals, with only 6 being authentic and specific to my needs. The rest were copy & paste bullcrap that I immediately declined. The few that tailored it to my specific needs caught my attention and the girl I hired has been with me for more than 3 months and is advanced to becoming a marketing project manager within our company.
  • Make Your Intro Count. Make the first few sentences of your proposal ‘pop’. If you don’t grab the attention of the job poster in the beginning, chances are, they won’t read your entire proposal. I typically grab attention by letting them know that it’s “good to see another serious posting” or “We could absolutely help you with your ________!” This makes them feel special and everybody loves to feel special. 😉
  • Be Enthusiastic. People like to work with happy, passionate people. If your proposal reflects that, then it will more than likely be considered over those that aren’t. Use of smiley faces, exclamation points, and humor tend to work very well!
  • Know Key Terms. Knowing the lingo for whatever kind of job you’re submitting a proposal for is essential. For marketing, I use terms like ROI, campaign, strategizing, CPC, CTR, CPM, CPA, etc. If it’s a term that I don’t think they’ll know, I’ll put it’s meaning in parenthesis:

    …drop your CPC (Cost Per Click) and higher your CTR (Clickthrough Rate)….

    It assures the prospect that you know what you’re talking about and you’re a good teacher. 

  • Price Competitively (at first). When you first begin on Elance and have zero credibility, it’s best to price your services competitively until you have a reputation. I priced on the medium-side until I accumulated about $3,000 in sales, then increased to a higher rate. Once you’ve worked with more people and have a larger portfolio, clients can justify paying you more.Quick-tip: Having a reference spreadsheet that contains every service you provide & pricing will make submitting proposals quick.
  • Sponsor Your Proposal (when necessary). When you submit a proposal, you will have the option to ‘sponsor’ it for additional connects (typically 4.) It’s important to be one of the first people to submit a proposal on a job, but in the case that you’re a bit late and there are 20+ proposals, you can bump yours to the top by ‘sponsoring’ it. It costs more, but will increase your chances if there are a large quantity of proposals already submitted.
  • Create a Video Proposal. Although this sounds like a great deal of work and ‘weird,’ it works. I’ve done much split-testing between text proposals and video proposals and video proposals receive a higher response rate from the job poster. Creating a video that introduces yourself, addresses their specific needs, and adds a bit of humor will nearly double your response rate from a plain text proposal. Why? Because nobody else is doing it. Videos are interactive, show that you’re real, demonstrate your enthusiasm, and establish a sense of trust between the poster and you. Plain text can be very dry and just blend with the rest of the 30+ proposals the poster received.The best way to create a video proposal, is by filming it via your webcam directly on Youtube. To do this, login to your Youtube –> click ‘Upload’ –> choose ‘webcame capture’ on right –> hit record! It will automatically upload to your profile as soon as you’re done recording, so you can add the link to your proposal! (See example below) It may take several takes, but it’s worth an additional 5 minutes! Although I don’t submit 100% video proposals, I try to submit them whenever I’m in a good environment and I look presentable.
  • Find ANYTHING In Common. Have you ever heard the saying, “Find the 1% you DO connect on, and connect 100% on it”? This holds true on Elance. If a client is in an industry that you are familiar with, mention it and make that connection. People like to work with people who understand their industry and their passion. Seeing as I used to be a licensed investment advisor, I use that as my connection point whenever I submit a proposal to a financial company.
  • Tell Them the Next Steps. People post jobs on Elance because they need direction in a certain area. One of the last things you want to include on your proposal is the next step and what the process is to solve their pain-point.
  • Attach Examples. On Elance, talk is cheap. Everybody and their grandmother says they will create the ‘best’ logo, write the ‘best’ article, and generate the ‘best’ results. Back up your words with samples of work. It demonstrates that you really do know what you’re talking about and saves the poster from having to look themselves. If i’m submitting a proposal on a Facebook Ad Campaign Setup, I’ll attach screenshots of real clients. This is the icing on the cake. Don’t do it and you’ll lower your proposal’s worth immediately.

Here are a few examples of proposals that resulted in new clients:

Example #1 (Plain-Text Proposal)

Elance Proposal Example #1

Example #2 (Plain-Text Proposal)

Elance Proposal Example #3 

Example #3 (Video Proposal)

Elance Proposal Example #2

As I said before, crafting an ‘award-winning proposal’ takes time. The first few you write may be tough and sound weird, but the more you do, the better they will become.

4. Close the Job 

After a job has been completed and paid, it’s easy to forget to close the job out.

This is important for three reasons:

  1. The client is in agreement that the project is completed. There are no more revisions, requests, etc. (I’ve had clients come back after a job has been completed and ask me to do more work as ‘part of the job.’ When there is no written confirmation of a job being completed, the ‘Project Creeps’ will come for you.
  2. It reminds the client to leave feedback.
  3. It gives opportunity to get bonusesIf you’ve clearly done an exceptional job and the client has experienced massive results, it’s easy to add a final note in your ‘closing email’ that says “P.S. Any bonuses are much appreciated!”. I’ve received bonuses up to $100 from clients before. It doesn’t hurt to ask!


If you’ve never utilized Elance  for your business or individual income, I would highly encourage testing these methods.

I first began Freelancing on Elance during a summer vacation and since then, have incorporated Elance into Flight Media’s business model. The first month Flight Media was a legal company, Elance accounted for nearly $9,000 of it’s revenue.

It even allowed us to expand from two team members (Derek & I) to 5 in the first 2 months.

Have you experienced success on Elance? (If so, what tactics are you using?)

Final-note: If this article motivated or helped your Elancing efforts, please hit a share button and subscribe! I figured I’d make this a free post, rather than an eBook! :)

About Josh Coffy

Entrepreneur. Marketing Nerd. Life enthusiast. I am absolutely passionate about what I do. My goal is to inspire others to reach their true potential.
  • Dustin

    Josh this is a great and informative post! I am going to seriously look into this.

    • Thanks for reading it, Dustin! I would highly recommend it. Flight Media built it’s base on Elance to start off and it was definitely great for individual freelancing. In the first 3 months, I was on track to make $50,000 per year. 😉 If you ever need pointers, I’d be glad to help!

  • I normally don’t post much but I must say this was definitely a good read

    • Thank you so much, Phillip! I greatly appreciate it. Just made my day brighter! I hope these techniques help! :-)

  • Ray Akers

    Amazing as usual!!

  • Deepak

    Nice, thank you so much for this article.

    • Of course! Ironically, the first person I ever worked with on Elance was named Deepak. 😉

  • Kathleen Krueger

    Excellent! Elance is one of the places I used to get my freelance writing business off the ground. Your tips are spot on, especially the importance of making your proposal personal and customized to the project. Elance’s secure payment process is a big plus too.

    • Same here, Kathleen! The more clients you accumulate, the more referrals you receive, and the less you have to be on Elance. (Which rocks because you can charge whatever you want–without the 8.75% fee..)

  • Ananda Projapati

    Thanks Josh!! it was a really helpful post for a new guy like me on Elance who don’t know where to start. can you give any tips on web designing topic

  • People Person
  • Mary Tilley

    Well, what if I’m just a creative writer? I can also type over 60 words per minute. :-) While that may seem a bit archaic, I can’t imagine there isn’t someone who could use a superb typist. So, what does that mean for me? I do see a lot of people posting creative writing jobs; however, the pay doesn’t seem to be worth the effort. Why do creatives seem to get the low end of the deal. Waaahh…Yes, I’m whining. Please explain to this “out of the circle” kind of gal where to begin. I’d so appreciate it. Thank you!

    • Hey Mary! One of the first jobs I actually landed was a writing job for $35 for 700 words (took me about 45 minutes,) so it’s definitely possible!

      The key to remember is to NOT lower your prices and stoop to the level of those ‘hirers.’ Stick to your guns, get a couple clients that love your work and eventually, you’ll be on retainer. Trust me. I’ve worked with dozens of writers and one thing I know is that everybody just wants a GOOD one on a regular basis. (Usually for blogging.) If you can set the level with your quality to a few clients, you’ll be hired on indefinitely.

      I’m actually developing a course for Freelancing to your First $1,000 per month that will hopefully be out in the next month! :) I’ll notify you when it is! I’ll add a section specifically for writers! :)

  • Tdaniel

    Hi Josh, I appreciate this article. I’m curious as to what the best approach is for freelancing project managers. Specifically web development project managers that have experience managing development and design teams. I’ve been on Elance for almost 2 weeks now so I want to make sure that I’m starting off on the right foot as there doesn’t seem to be as many opportunities for project managers as there are for designers, writers, etc. Any advice would be helpful.

    • Thanks for the comment! The good thing about what you’re trying to do is that you only need to do it ONCE. It sounds to me like you’re looking to join a company in general, rather than get clients and do the design.

      I have actually seen plenty of project manager jobs on Elance. Specifically in the design/development area, I have seen $70k/year jobs and some paying $40-$60/hr for a good project manager.

      My advice to you is to be consistent. Some days on Elance, there aren’t ANY good job postings. Other days, you will find amazing ones like you’re looking for.

      Pay attention to the time of day as well. Most people (from India/Bangladesh/etc. are all sleeping and working on USA time because that’s where all the good jobs are.) Meaning, if you’re from the U.S., they are waking up with you @ 7/8am and submitting proposals ALL day with you. From months of study, I found the BEST time to see good jobs and land proposals is in the late afternoon to evening. Because the typical person will shut down work @ 5pm our time (so they will too, seeing as they’re on the USA schedule), but if you’re still on, competition will be low and often times, business owners will post jobs after hours. :-)

      Hope that helps! It’s a book! 😉


      P.S. I’m currently developing a course that will teach anyone to take something they’re passionate about and freelance via Elance/oDesk/Freelancer to make $1,000 per month in the first 30 days. :)

  • Ashok Patil

    Sir I want to start SEO work on ELANCE plz help

  • Maria Berta

    Loved this blog, very informative. So far the best one I found to get my business off the ground via Elance.

    • Thanks for the encouraging comment, Maria! I started my ‘online career’ on Elance and since then, I have been able to travel, work when I want, and set my own income. It’s awesome! :) Good luck in your endeavors! (I actually have a course coming out in the next month about Elancing Your First $1k/mo. :)

  • Jane Dee Wylie

    This is the best article I’ve read all day! I am super stoked to get started on E-Lance. I just finished my profile and was verified but I couldn’t find the courage to actually submit a proposal (I’m a rejection-a-phobe). I have been looking for sample proposals, and yours are the best so far. I will definitley come back to this article for refrence.

    • Hey Jane! Thanks for the awesome comment. :) Whatever you do, DON’T be afraid of rejection. They won’t message you if they don’t like your proposal, so there’s nothing negative about it! I’m currently developing a course that will have proven proposal templates for nearly all the industries on Elance.

      Should release within the next month. Get on my email list if you wanna see it when it comes out! It’ll teach you how to Elance your first $1,000/mo within 30 days. :)

      What industry are you in?


      • Jane Dee Wylie

        By day I am an Event Planner/Social Media Manager, So I have been looking for social meda management, creative writing and resume writing on E-Lance.

  • I’ve been using elance for a couple months now and it definitely gets easier. I didn’t go gung-ho into it like you did, but once I got a couple of jobs and a couple of reviews things got a LOT easier. I’ve found what sort of jobs & clients are a better fit for me and have gotten a lot more responses because of it.

    Definitely an intro that shows you are a real person who actually read their job description and a sign off that is friendly and encouraging for them to contact you are key elements. And of course if you don’t have examples, you are just wasting your time.

    • Gen- You are 100% right. It does get easier! I’ve hired 7-8 freelancers on elance and if they don’t have anything relevant to my posting, I turn the proposal down. Copy & Paste is easily detectable..

  • Shoeb Hasan

    I came to read this directly from Elance. You posted a job and I went in to checkout! Good read. Definitely going to try as I am a newbie there! Thanks man. Appreciated.

    • Thanks, Shoeb! Good luck in your Elance Endeavors! Subscribe if you want to get notified when my ‘Elance School’ course comes out in June! :)

  • Patrick Michaels

    Then why can’t I find flight media or josh coffey on elance?

  • julie

    Wow, thanks Josh. That is incredibly helpful. I’ve never used elance before and these tips will save a lot of time and headaches.

    • Josh COffy

      Awesome! I can’t wait to see your results! :)

  • Hello Josh, I found this post literally by putting Elance marketing training on Google! After reading it I applied a few of your templates (with my personal twist) and got a greater response rate. Your content it really top notch. I am wondering after subscribing…is the post above different from the ebook on this? Do you go in depth?

  • Murshi Rudeboi

    Hi Josh coffy,
    Im very much happy to read this article. i was finding for the way of making money on elance. im just starting. your article is really helpful. thank you so much. :-)

    • Of course, Murshi! I wish you the best! :)

  • Woah!! Dude, I just got a BONUS from my very first client on Elance – simply because I asked for one! Never would have thought of it without you. Thank you so much, man :)

    • Hey Dan! That’s AWESOME!

      As the saying goes, “The world belongs to those who ask!” :)


      • Josh, this is seriously life-changing information. Just from freelancing over the past two months, I’ve earned enough side cash to go meet Oprah!! It was a dream come true. I can’t thank you enough :)

        • OH my goodness, Dan! That is AMAZING! If you don’t mind, I’d love to share this with my list & social media!

      • Hey Josh, I’m thinking about shifting my Elance presence from individual to company. What are the profit margins when adding additional team members?

        For example, I am considering building a team of ghost writers who specialize in writing books. If my hypothetical team has five employees and we generate an average of $5,000 per month, then how much of that do I get to keep as the owner?

        Thanks for the awesome article,


  • Jennifer D’Alessandro Bosavage

    Last night, I spent about an hour doing a 90 second video proposal. It was a little tough, but I got through it. This morning, 12 hours later, my proposal was accepted. Thanks for the advice! I’m off and running :-)

    • YES! That’s amazing to hear, Jen!



      • vinodh

        great jennifer. congrats

  • vinodh

    thanks for this. I have web development (full time) experience for 15 years.
    I want to become freelancer/consultant. your article is very helpful

  • vinodh

    absolutely love this post. After reading this I know my mistakes in elance.
    Also saw your elance profile. You preach what you practice.
    EPIC post :-)

    • Thanks Vinodh!

      That’s one thing you’ll learn about my blog! Everything I write about, I have experienced. :)

      Appreciate the kind words!


  • malkymayweather

    Great article It was very helpful. Im an amazing writer and im good with advertising but i never did ebook is there an ebook site i can use for free? Also is ebook hard to use Thanks

  • Rambabu Thapa

    This Post is GREAT!
    Hoping to get your amazing posts in future, Josh :)

    • Thanks, Rambabu! Subscribe to my email list and you will. 😉

  • Absolutely! Thanks for reading & I wish you the best! :)


  • Kevin Bancroft

    This is definately a great post! very detailed and helpful for new freelances like me. Thanks for sharing all these tips and tricks, I’ll definately adopt these methods :)

    Looking forward for more such posts :)

    • Thanks Kevin! I wish I had this info when I started… Enjoy learning from my trial & error!! 😀


  • Noor

    Thanks Josh. These seem like really useful tips. I will keep these points in mind to write next proposals to make my proposals look like professional rather than amateur-ish. I have one question though. I am a bit camera shy and I am mainly into video editing. What could be other alternative to make video proposal more personalized?

    • A video is the best because it contains both audio and visual. However, if you can’t do the video, there are plenty of services out there that allow you to upload audio for proposals. Depending on your services, you may also be able to do a screencapture of website (or something similar,) while you make recommendations and position yourself as the expert. :)

      Hope that helps!



    That is very inspiring, Josh. Well done, mate!

  • Guy Siverson

    This is a great post. I’m breaking 40K in my first year on Elance. Would have been 100% easier had I done video proposals which I’m now going to look at adapting for my own processes. Thanks so much for this. Should have read it earlier.

    • That’s a great testimony to Elance! I hope they help improve your closing rate, Guy! Thanks for leaving a comment. :)


  • Alfred

    Hi Josh! I just registered on Elance last Monday and haven’t gotten on any job yet. I worked in the BPO Industry for the past 3 years but I recently resigned because I find my work schedule to be very toxic and demanding.

    I admit I was starting to lose hope as I haven’t gotten any reply from my proposals and I’m contemplating on returning to my previous job but after reading this post, it inspired me and gave me ideas on how to improve my chances to land a job as a freelancer. Thank you very much!

    – Alfred, from the Philippines (

    • Thanks for the nice comment, Alfred! I just sent you an email with 5 proposals examples that landed me some massive clients. Enjoy!


  • Abdul

    Hi Josh! Your article is very informative. Unfortunately i haven’t gotten any job on elance. I am trying since last month.
    My field of expertise lies in Finance and Accounting. I would be grateful if you will email me screen shot of some of your submitted proposal samples.

    Again thank you for your efforts which you contributed in writing this beautiful article.

    -Abdul, from pakistan (

    • Check your email, Abdul. Just sent some proposal examples. :)


      • Bilal Ahmed

        Hi Josh,

        Can you please share the sample proposals with me? I am from software development background.

        Much appreciated.

        My email:

  • bhavesh khanpara

    Hello Josh Coffy,

    I have 1 years old account in Elance and i also login regular and send a proposal to client But I haven’t gotten any reply from my proposals. I need your help please guid me ideas on how to improve my chances to land a job as a freelancer / Odesk / Elace. Thank you very much!

    My skype :- bhaveshkhanpara

    Gmail :-

    • Hey Bhavesh,

      That’s too bad! Have you tried any of these techniques? They’ve worked for hundreds of Elancers and Odeskers. Unfortunately, I don’t do Freelance consulting!


      • bhavesh khanpara

        Hello josh, Thanks for Reply. One small help needed from your side. Can you please give me a sample proposal formats which i can use and try to get a new job from oDesk or Elance.

        Thanks in Advanced,
        Bhavesh K

  • Dee

    Hi Josh,

    This is a great article and I believe it has pointed out to my why I’ve only had 3 jobs since starting Elance in October 2014. I am a accountant and quickbooks pro advisor.

    I have been using a copy and paste for the Proposal section in Elance called “Describe your relevant experience and qualifications” and when I got to “Outline your approach to the job, or ask for more info.” this is where I would get more into details about the job.

    I see that you are saying to catch their attention up front with your knowledge and show direct the proposal to them personally. I haven’t been doing that first thing. I will start.

    I do have a question for you:

    How do you handle proposals for jobs where it seems like some important information is missing? Do you want for them to contact you to get into specifics?

    For example:

    I have been asking questions on each job proposal, multiple questions like 4 to 6. It seems like many just put “Need my bookkeeping done monthly in quickbooks, sales tax forms filed, some payroll”.
    I ask questions like, how many employees do you have, do you outsource to a payroll company, what state are you in that the sales tax forms needs to filed, etc.

    Am I asking to many questions in the proposal? Should I just keep it short. I know you marked in one of the proposal screen shots “our process and next steps”.

    Feel like I lost many jobs because of a bad proposal.

    Would appreciate any input.

  • Mrhar

    Thanks for nice article to help. I had got my first job just in 5 bids on Elance and complete it successfully :) I have to know I am working on different categories, like designing, web development and mobile ios , android app development, can i create different Elance account i am individual.

  • Nastya

    Thanks, Josh!
    I am about a 3 months on Elance. And there is no result. Could you send me samples of you proposals, that make your success? My e-mail:
    Best regards

  • Meenu Soni

    Hi Josh,

    Greeting !!

    I have read your complete blog and really happy that you are the right person who can get me succeed on elance proposal. I blindly propose my proposals on elance but didn’t get good success. Can you please help me to wright good proposal to get hired.

    I am Graphic designer and more that 8 years experience in Flash, Photoshop and illustrator. I have done lots of Adwords and many more designing stuff in my Designing career.

    It would be great if you help me to create nice proposal and send me sample of same.

    Thanks once again for being here !!

  • Samy

    Hi Josh,

    Greetings of the day !

    I gone through with your articles how submit proposal on elance,I found these articles very informative and helpful. I learned from other websites also, but I did not found anything helpful so am here requesting you to help me in writing a heart winning proposal.

    I am submitting proposal on Elance since last month, I neither received any reply nor feedback.
    I want to write a proposal to prove my self, if ill not get any job that’s not important for me but i want buyer at least noticed my proposal and think once to award job to me.
    Please help me in writing best proposal so i will get more jobs and enlarge my experience.

  • canuck2014

    I came across your blog around the same time I came across ELance.

    Question. Some of us self employed types are one-person operations operating under a business name. Do you think there’s any advantage/disadvantage to using a personal versus company identity on ELance?

    • Thanks for reading!

      Great question. Doing business as a person, rather than a business will generate MORE sales. When I started, I used my own name & image to generate clients for Flight Media. Later, I tested the profile as Flight Media with our logo, descriptions, etc. The result was MUCH LESS ‘won’ jobs. People who hire on Elance are typically looking to hire individuals because it’s more personal.

      I would win jobs, then onboard them and introduce Flight Media. I never had a single problem from a client! :)

      When a proposal comes from a company, it seems impersonal from first glance!

      Hope that helps! :)


  • Just found this blog after starting my free lance writing compan. On E-Lance I had already secured my first client and have finished some works but, I’m still having trouble securing other clients especially the decent paying ones as there are so many more qualified people I have trouble seeing how I would stand out. This quick and easy method seems incredible for giving my proposals a real pop out. I’m recording my companies progress in a blog and i’d like to know if i had your permission to link this article in my next post.

    I’m going to try video-proposals and the tweaks you’ve mentioned here and see how it goes, thank you for your tips I hope they help.

    • Hi Cassius!

      I’m glad it helped you! :) I would be happy to have a backlink. Tweet me @joshcoffy when it’s complete & I’ll retweet it. :)


  • Om

    Hi Josh,

    Have an Elance account since last year and landed 7-8 jobs from it also got 2 direct clients from Elance with good business. Stopped bidding on elance jobs but willing to start again now, need some sample winning proposals related to Software and Web Design niche. Hope you can help.

    Thanks in advance :)

    • You’re in luck! Today, I’m actually posting the proposal examples at the top of this post with a video. :) Look back in 2 hours. :)

  • RuDee Sade

    I was waiting for a h/t to Daniel DiPiazza…but it never came, lol.
    This is his method and the base of his course teachings, right?

    • I honestly don’t even know who that is! What does he do? lol :)


      • RuDee Sade

        lol precisely and exactly the same thing.

        He also teaches an entire 8 week course on just this.

        I guess it’s like different ppl across the world who were all inventing the lightbulb or stumbling onto quantum physics at the same time but didn’t know eachother. Viva, interwebz.

        • Seriously?! He already has a course? I’ve already thought of making one because this is one of our most popular blog posts! haha!

          That’s insane.. Great minds think alike! I wrote this in January of 2014..


    • Steve25

      Way too ironic to believe this crap. This is a Daniel DiPiazza rip off
      all the way! From the wording to the video proposal, this is a load of
      ish! Another thing that I’d like to mention is that your up here
      blogging about how to make $6500 in 45 days, but when you go to your
      Elance page:…,
      the math just doesn’t add up! Since July 2013, you’ve only made $10,855
      to date, LMAO!!! What a fraud, who are you kidding? Maybe EVERYONE

      • Hi Steve,

        At first, I declined this comment because I believe spreading negativity anywhere is what makes this world a worse place, but since you’re so inclined to make wild, false accusations, I think it’s best to address this for the thousands of people who read this article per month to understand, in case they have doubts.

        Let’s start from the beginning:

        1. I wrote this article 14 months ago & I don’t know who the hell Daniel DiPiazza is. Great assumption.

        2. If you were an active and successful Elancer, you’d realize that Elance pulls 8.75% of your earnings, so maintaining clients 100% through Elance is like having to be taxed by the government twice. Our average client stayed on Elance for 1-2 weeks, then moved to Paypal with 3% fees. You also have not counted that this was my partner and myself, not solely me. (Missed that tid bit on accident or on purpose?)

        2A. Glad you can count. Do you think Flight Media is actively on Elance? Elance was a small stepping stone to never having to prospect for clients again. We get 6-10 referrals/week currently and don’t have to submit proposals on Elance. Of course, you wouldn’t understand that because you’re reading this article to get started on Elance. (Which there is no shame in, by the way.)

        Bonus: For everyone reading this sorry, pitiful comment left by Steve, I encourage you to take this information, apply it and grow your business on Elance. When you lose the job to someone else, keep going. When someone responds negatively to your proposal (like Steve did to this post,) move forward and be the best that you can be.

        Thanks, Steve. Your input definitely brought forth a question that others may have been thinking!


  • I love it!!

  • GuanitaK,

    That’s an extremely important note. Grammar is also very important. Despite the fact that ‘discrimination is bad’, it happens on Elance. Thanks for the helpful comment!

    *EVERYONE, take note of this.


    • Victor Chowdhury

      Hi,I am Victor Chowdhury. I have no experience. What Can I do as a new freelancer?
      Please, How Can I bit on Upwork as a new freelancer.

    • Discrimination against people with bad grammar isn’t bad! Grammar is a skill like any other.

  • Jamshed Nazar

    Hello Josh,

    A good day. Just finished reading your blog, feeling great from reading it :) I will appreciate, if you can send some demo proposals. Thank you.

  • Anita

    Thank You so much! You shared very useful tips!

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much for making this! This is going to help me so much in this journey, thank you for sharing the knowledge!

  • Glad to hear it! :)

  • Donna Capps

    @disqus_AvvXz3kI7I:disqus It doesn’t seem to me that you’re very knowleIdgeable of the elance platform. As of January, my profile showed all 630+ jobs I had completed and over $50.000 in earning. Now, it only shows jut above 400 jobs with nearly $25,000 in earnings. Totally not accurate. I believe this would be an elance glitch as I have heard other freelancers complain about it. No need to launch a psycho rant here. I found this advice to be quite valuable. Cheers!

    • Preach, Donna, preach! :) BTW- Excellent work! 630 jobs?! That’s amazing. :)

      You’re doing something right!


  • Ankit Swami

    Hi @JoshCoffy:disqus

    I have read your complete blog & found very interesting….I have already subscribed your blog to follow interesting tips. As I am new on Elance I have confused to fill a box which is mentioned as : Outline your approach to the job, or ask for more info. Can you send me a few set of examples of SEO proposals on my id ,then it will be very helpful for me.

    Thanks in advance & keep sharing :) :’)

    Waiting for your positive response :)

    • Hi Ankit!

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any SEO proposals. You can, however, download 5 proposal examples of winning ones I’ve submitted by clicking the button under the video in this article! :)


  • I’m contemplating joining Elance, and this was an super helpful post! Loved all of the tips, and screenshots of the dashboard and proposals were nice to see before deciding to jump in. If you’re still thinking of creating a course with this kind of content, I say go for it!

    • Thanks for the awesome comment, Robyn! If you haven’t dived in, do it! Although, I believe it’s changing to ‘Upwork’ beginning in 2016! :)

      It set the base for Flight Media to grow, prior to having any credibility!


  • johny_johny

    I’m a website and Logo designer. Can you please help me by sharing a few sample proposal for Website and Logo designing.Please help me..Thanks

  • Wesley pipes

    Hi there! I read this entire page, and I’m looking forward to trying out elance. I attempted to download the PDF, but the link led me to a 404 page. Is there an alternative download location? Or an email address where you can be contacted?

    • Hi Wesley!

      Thanks for making this known. The link is fixed! :-)


  • I haven’t been on Elance for a good deal of time, but I see the merger as a large INCREASE in the amount of competition–which is never good for getting off the ground as a freelancer. I’ve heard good and I’ve heard bad about it. Either way, the people who hustle the hardest and don’t give up, win!


  • Hi Josh, Do you have any proposal sample as a PDF or Doc format?

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