If you have a project that you need to outsource but don't know where to turn, Elance might be your solution. Elance connects businesses with a pool of professional providers from around the globe. When you post a project on Elance, providers compete against each other to give you the best price and service. You can choose either an open bid where all qualified Elance professionals can bid or an invitation only bid where you can peruse portfolios and choose which providers you'd like to invite to bid on your project. Signing up with Elance is easy and it's free. Here's a step-by-step guide to start you on your way to finding the professional that's right for you.
1. Go to Elance.com and click on the “Buy Services” tab located at the top of the page. This will take you to the next screen.
2. On this screen you'll be presented with three choices: “Post Your Project”, “Search For Providers” or “Get Project Review”. For this guide we are going to focus only on posting a project for open bid. So, click on the first button, “Post Your Project.” (You can always come back later to investigate the other options.)
3. Here, you'll need to enter your contact information. If you do not already have a username and password, click on the “click here” underline next to the password box to get to the next screen. If you have a username and password, enter it now and skip to step 5.
4. You'll see a screen with eight empty boxes. You'll need to create a “username” and choose a password. Enter each within the assigned boxes. Re-enter your password in the “Re-enter password” box. Remember to choose both a username and a password that you'll remember. Next, enter your e-mail address, first name, last name and phone number. You'll also need to re-enter your email address for verification purposes. Then, click “continue”.
5. Choose the category which best suits your project needs. There are 11 categories to choose from. These include: Administrative Support, Architecture & Engineering, Audio, Visual & Multimedia, Graphic Design & Art, Legal, Management & Finance, Sales & Marketing, Software & Technology, Training & Development, Website Development and Writing & Translation. Once you choose your main category, you'll be asked to choose a subcategory. This allows you to receive bids that better match your project. After choosing your subcategory, you'll be taken to the next screen.
6. On this screen there are three main boxes of information to provide. In the first box, you'll need to Choose a Title for your project (e.g., 12 Business Articles), describe your project in detail (how many words, project deadlines, etc.), choose how many days you will allow providers to bid on your project, choose an estimated start date, a projected budget and attach any files that may be relevant to your project. The more detailed you are in describing your project, the easier it will be for qualified providers to give you detailed proposals regarding your project.
7. In the next box, you'll be asked if you want providers to able to seek clarification on your project via the private message board. If so, check the box. If not, skip to the next box.
8. Finally, you'll be asked to choose how you receive your bids. The Select Level will provide you with higher quality providers. Providers will give you more competitive bids as Elance charges providers a higher rate to list as a Select Provider. You'll also be seen as more serious about your project if you choose this level. The lowest amount you can receive for your project is $250 and you also must pay a refundable $25 deposit to post your project. If you choose not to go this route, you can pick the Basic level which allows you to post your project without a deposit but you'll still need to be credit card verified (so that Elance knows you can pay for projects you award.) After filling in the required information in each of the boxes, click “Continue” to move to the next screen.
9. Here, you'll need to provide your credit card information. Unless you chose Select providers you won't be charged. If you want to pay your provider with a credit card through Elance, you'll need to verify your credit card. Elance will make two small posts against your card and then refund them once you've posted your project. Once you supply the required information, click on “Continue”.
10. On the next screen, you'll confirm the information you supplied regarding your project. If you need to make any changes, this is the place. You can either click on “Post Project Now” to make your project active or on “Save & Post Later” to post the project at a later date.
11. Now that your project is live, bidders can bid on your project. When you receive a number of bids, pick the provider best suited to your needs and your project is on it way to being completed.
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