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Elance is a fantastic site. You can meet new people, network and truly launch your career on this platform, so why wouldn’t you take advantage?

Like everything else in life, Elance has good and bad apples. For both freelancers and employers, it’s important to know what kind of language to avoid when posting or responding to a job. Here, I’m going to give you a general list of Elance Projects to Avoid and the reasons why. It’s up to you as a freelancer whether or not you want to bid on these projects – but hear me out! I’ve been doing this for a while.


Elance Projects to Avoid:”This should be easy”, “Easy job”, or Any combination of Easy

There’s a reason you hire someone to do a job for you, especially an easy job. 90% of the time, you hire them because you don’t know how to do the job yourself.

The issue here is that most people who post these types of job aren’t just posting because they want to save time – they truly believe this job is going to be easy, even if they don’t know how to do it. “Easy” should not be the first place you click – you should avoid these jobs at all costs. The “easy” job poster is typically your classic micromanager, who nothing will ever be good enough for.


“I can’t find anyone who can do a good job for me”

Being screwed over by advertising agencies is just something that happens to people. It’s not just about failing to find a good fit – there really are folks out there who will take $10-20k from a person with a business and then just check out. I’ve had a client in the past who gave up tens of thousands of dollars to a guy who up and left the country and moved to Germany, leaving very little options for legal recourse. Yikes!

The problem with the statement above is not that people who have had bad experience do or don’t deserve good advertising – it’s about expectations. If someone has had issues with another agency or freelancer, you’re already set up for failure. I typically avoid jobs like this because before even doing the job, I’m faced with the disappointment, frustration and hurt left behind by a previous freelancer.

I’m not saying never take these folks on – a great client right now was mistreated by a previous agency. I am saying scrutinize the opportunity carefully to make sure you can deliver AND be as communicative as needed.


“I Will Not Release Funds Until I’m Satisfied” or “I’m Paying on Commission Only.”

Is there anything wrong with paying once you’re happy? There’s not. But when you’re looking through freelance job sites and you see “I’m not paying until I’m happy so don’t ask,” you have to ask yourself what would necessitate that disclaimer before the project is even awarded. I mean, come on! Imagine this person is sitting across from you at a traditional office interview and comes at you with that kind of challenging tone. You’re going to immediately start getting nervous about the implications and – rightly so – look elsewhere.

Additionally, ‘commission only’ stuff is typically a big TOS no-no on most freelancer sites. I urge you to report commission-based jobs because they really do pollute the freelance community and waste bids. If we could all live off the hope of being paid, life would be so much easier – amirite?

As a freelancer, you’ve really got to make your own decisions about which jobs make the most sense for you. It’s important to consider if you can deliver before you accept a job. There are some horror stories out there – so why not take the opportunity to evaluate whether or not you’re a good fit before making that horror story happen for you and your client? You decide.


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