freelancing sites

Jenn Marie Writing & marketing Elance

Jenn Marie Writing & Marketing on Elance

This page does not exist.

Today, Elance removed my profile from their site. I still am unclear as to why they did that, but at this point I don’t really care. It is just one site on the Internet, and not crucial to the success of my business. Unfortunately, many online freelancers are not as lucky.

Take, for example, the freelance virtual assistants working through the site Zirtual. When the website suddenly shut its doors, not only did the company’s employees suffer from sudden layoffs, the freelancers using the site lost access to their clients. Desperate clients went searching for their freelancers via social media while copycat sites immediately tried to sign up abandoned VAs. The employees have started to take action as well, with a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, this is the type of behavior I’ve begun to expect on the Internet. Online websites, such as Elance and Zirtual, or even Facebook for that matter, have no allegiance to their site visitors. Their explicit purpose is to make money off of the use of their site. When that is no longer occurring, the site vanishes – with no commitment to those using the site.

That is why I knew my Elance page was going to disappear in a short amount of time – not because I had done something wrong, but because I was not making the website money. So when announced earlier this year, that the site would be shutting down, and all freelancers were being transitioned to Upwork, I knew that meant all profitable freelancers.

So I am not at all surprised, but I am still a little sad to see my profile go. I put a lot of time into creating wonderful experiences for my clients, and it showed in my reviews and ratings. The fact remains, though – Elance owned those reviews, although I earned them for them. So as that site is slowly erased from the internet, so goes the written record of my time there.

That’s okay, though because it leaves more room for everyone else.

I envision a freelancing website that does not hold individual’s livelihoods hostage. It should be a site that connects freelancers with the clients that want to work with them. It should be easy to use, moderated for scams, and supportive to new freelancers. It should promote top performers while still having a community feel. It should be everything that Elance was not.

Knowing the internet, it will only be a matter of time before something like this exists.

Writing A Profile That Isn’t Crap

I have always been amazed by some of the professional profiles I have read online. Some of them have you clicking away thinking ‘Man, I wonder if they will even acknowledge my email’ while others have you thinking ‘Are they for real – they want people to pay them?’

Lately the majority of the ones I have seen had me thinking the latter. It should be no wonder why people pay to have professional profiles written on sites such as Linked In.

So how do you write a profile that isn’t straight crap?

I don’t know.

I’ve rewritten my profiles so many times, at any given point I couldn’t tell you what it says. But I can say that everything that is written in them is true.

I update my profile regularly, and that is how it should be.

One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make is not evolving. How can you explain not having learned anything new in over a year of freelancing? I can understand that happening if you work a traditional job – a factory worker may have the same task as they’ve had 6 months earlier. That is typically not the case with the online freelancer.

I used to work (yes as in typical job) for a company that had a motto of move at the speed of the Internet. That means: learn something new today, but expect to re-learn it tomorrow. You need to be able to take on new assignments, learn from it, and then do something else. The Internet is not stagnant, so why should the experience of an online freelancer be any different?

That is why a stale profile is a useless profile, or at least a sign that the freelancer is not suited for the online economy.

So if you are like me, an online professional that moves at the speed of the Internet, it makes as much sense spending time ensuring your information is updated as it does using the right keywords. If you are going to drop $100 on a professionally written profile, be prepared to update it in a month or so. Otherwise, save your money making a website and promote yourself the old fashioned way- with business cards.

For online professionals, writing a profile that doesn’t suck is all about staying fresh, because it’s the Internet, and search engines can’t read.