freelancing while traveling

Rough Times for New Freelancers

Freelancing while traveling, a dream of mine. I read an article from Bren On The Road, How I Made Over $4000 in My First Month on Elance and I decided to take a stab at it.

He explains how he makes this large amount of money on this site with millions of freelancers from around the world. All while traveling. I’m taking the challenge. What will happen in one month on Elance?

I have been looking for a platform where I can effectively work while I travel to keep up my gypsy ways sustainably. Luckily, I have some graphic design skills in my pocket and I’m ready to give it a go. Let’s see what happens, one day at a time.

What is Elance?

freelancing while traveling

Elance is the biggest freelancing platform on the web where all types of freelancing professionals, literally millions from around the globe, can connect with thousands of clients from around the globe.

Day 1- Make profile. Which is quite a lengthy process. Have most of it down. There’s countless blog posts on the web on how to make your profile stand out, the do’s and dont’s. Welcome to the world of Elance.

Day 2- Still working on the profile and it is 90% complete at this stage. There are so many bits and pieces-verify this, tell us about that, potential clients want to see this, take skill tests. Ready to finish this up and move on to bidding

Day 3- Given I haven’t sat down and finished this off in a full sitting (I work full time), the profile is still at 90%. All looks good and portfolio is up. Last thing is to take some skill tests to get that extra 10% or verify identity with a small fee for a legal check. I opt for the skill tests. I start with English Spelling…piece of cake right? So wrong! Failed this twice and I was spelling bee champion in school! A bit discouraged, there is always tomorrow

Day 4- Elance starts you off with 30 credits for the month to use to propose to jobs. There are sooo many jobs, and a lot of them look pretty cool and pretty fun! It also seems quite competitive. I submitted two proposals and took a look at it later, now there are 27 proposals to each of these and there are 14 days left for this person to receive proposals and decide.

Day 5- Applied to one more job, so I’m at 3! And guess what? A client said they want to work with me and they’ll give the green light tomorrow. It is a small job that I can breeze through and have a bit of fun with; it’s for a student fundraiser. Cool!

Day 6- Pretty sure I have one job secured, the time difference is a bit funny when working with international clients. Have set the goal to apply to 3 jobs, once a day or until I run out of proposal credits, for just 30-45 minutes max a day. There are so many jobs on Elance that I got a bit carried away looking at what everyone in this world is up to!

Day 7- What I thought would be a piece of cake job turned into an all day video-editing nightmare. I keep thinking, I don’t get paid enough for this. But, I’m following Brent’s advice and securing my first job with a kind of bargain and asking for a 5 star review. My advice for you, when in doubt: fixed rate or hourly-go hourly with minimum $20 an hour! You deserve it!

Day 8- The video project is due today and this beast of a file is taking 8 hours to upload on Dropbox. If all goes well, I should be uploading it in an hour and receiving my payment. Which is a whole nother box of worms in Elance. I’m pretty impressed by how legit everything is set up. Very professional. There is an escrow system, sending invoices, woah, cool.

Day 9- Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I had to refund my client. I promised in my proposal that I would edit the project until the client was 100% satisfied. I recommend maybe not offering this on video projects at least.

Day 10- Discouraged, I forget about Elance for now…

Day 15 & 16- Applied to some jobs I know I can complete. Don’t hear must be quite persistent on this site and I didn’t follow through with my three proposals a day.

Day 27- I have completely forgotten about Elance until I got invited today to apply for a job…new hope! However, due to my workload and circumstances, I decline..however, this was just the glimmer of hope I needed to start again.

Day 30- The End. Better luck next month…Maybe I can find another way to start freelancing while traveling.


Update: Since writing this article Elance is no more, the new site that has taken its place is Upwork. After this first month I did get jobs on Elance and I am freelancing while traveling but not $4000 worth of jobs! It is possible to make a living but like anything, you gotta score that first gig


Writer and Founder at DO YOU EVEN TOURIST?
Passionate traveller. Sea gypsy. Digital Nomad.

3 thoughts on “Rough Times for New Freelancers

    1. Have you worked on Elance before? I am still on my 30 day challenge. I haven’t made anything yet. I did make $30 but refunded it to my client but the project was worth about $100. Although, I haven’t spent my full time energy on Elance either. Still making my opinions about it 🙂

      1. I wish you luck on there. I am freelance, but have to work mostly for agencies where the money is. I looked ate lance a couple of times, and was shocked by how little they pay! $50 for a logo? That doesn’t even cover the cost of doing research!

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