First Job on New Board has been around since 1999, but I have just recently signed up for their service. I completed my first job on Elance a couple of days ago. It feels like I have been working forever to get started on this job board as a freelance translator, but let’s take a look at the numbers to see, what I have done to get my first job completed:

  • Joined in May 2014 (about 2½ months ~ 80 days ago)
  • My identity was verified July 2 by phone (30 days ago)
  • I have submitted 16 bids on jobs since May 19 (about 2½ months ~ 74 days)
  • The current status of the jobs are: 10 closed, 4 open, 1 awarded and 1 ongoing

Although it seems like a long time to wait to get going, the bid-to-deal ratio is pretty good I would say, i.e. 1 out of 16 bids led to a job ~ 6%. And the jobs I bid on where all jobs that I  knew I could complete before the deadline, with topics I knew I could handle.

The Elance system seems to be quite good at first impression. When I was digging up the numbers I noticed the little text in my browser address line, to the left of the address, saying “Elance-oDesk Inc. (US)”. I’m already used to working on, which is a nice system, so apparently a merger is already going on, although the user interfaces are still different.

The message system inside Elance enable the users to communicate back and forth, which is great for building trust, clarifying issues and asking questions regarding the specifics of the job. Sometimes it seems like time wasted because it takes time away from the actual translation work, but when the relationship is established with the client, things move more efficiently, so remember to follow up and let the client know you’re there.

When I find a good client I invite them to connect on LinkedIn too, to establish a stronger relationship. I have loads of information in there about my previous work, which works as a sales letter, presenting my skills to the client, if they want to know more about me. Just another way to market yourself that is easy to do, when you already have a LinkedIn profile.

Improving Efficiency

This is not related to only, but it’s a general idea concerning all the job boards. I have seen quite a few clients on the market, who post something like “I have a job, [source language] to [target language], very easy. Is this something for you?” After a long communication back and forth I usually find out what they want, but in order to save time, whenever I see this, I have built up a list of things that I need to know, before I can come up with a serious offer that will work in the long run. It’s better to shoot these questions right away, in order to get moving and make a decision:

  • How many source words are there in the source text / document / website?
  • Which format is the source in? (Word, text, HTML…)
  • What type is your text? (Tourism, gambling, technical, legal…)
  • What is your deadline? (Within a month, within 3 hours…)
  • In which format do you want the document delivered in? (.txt, Word, Excel)

A source document received in Word, but expected back in Excel will take a lot longer to handle, than simple Word to Word translation.


I don’t know if it’s my imagination but we’re having the warmest summer here, and it feels like the activity on the job boards is a bit low at the moment, which I would like to attribute to summer vacations around the world, and not me being lazy and not doing enough. But then the question about Australia pops up right away; isn’t is cold Down Under at the moment? Around here, the summer vacations are about to end, so I’m looking forward to see, if the activity will increase in the coming weeks and months. But after all: The training and development of determination and patience is a requirement for success, so I’ll look at this slump and see it as an opportunity to work on these softer parts of my freelance business.

6 comments on “First Job on New Board

  1. -

    Very cool. So is this one of your first steps towards being able to make money, working from home? From my business experience, some businesses thrive in the summer times, but most of them do hit a low around the summer. Usually around the last week of August and then from Sept until December things get much busier, so you’ll probably see more contracts posted then. 🙂

  2. -

    Thomas, thanks for this post, I found it informative, I myself have toyed with the idea of setting an account on either o-desk or Elance, in the past. Part of me felt like I needed a little more presence in the market though, I found the one comment interesting about how the communcation system within Elance allowed fot engagement with potential customers but at this same time made you feel like time was being wasted. I can understand this feeling, But at the same time I have realized that trust, engagement and connection with out clients is every bit as important and maybe even more so that thee actual job skills we bring to the table. people not only want the service, they want peace of mind, they want to know that they can put the issue to rest and mark that one things of the “to do” list. so it seems that that customer engagement is such an important part of the process and it makes me glad to hear that these two services provide that.

  3. -

    Congrats on finishing your first job on the boards! I haven’t used job boards before, but have been considering posting jobs on them. I wasn’t sure if I could totally trust them though. A little nervous to hand my work over to someone I didn’t know. It is nice to hear from someone who is on the other side of the fence and bidding on, and doing jobs. August is usually a little bit quiet for me too, this year, I am booking up for the last week of August, but it has been slow the past couple of weeks too. September usually picks up a lot.

  4. -

    Great Job Thomas! Had to review the website to discover the benefits of becoming a freelancer. I wasn’t aware that the company was running since the late 90’s! Your progress is on point and soon you’ll be the next go-to guy. I assume large companies are generating so much revenue and positions the VP’s and Ceo’s need help from outside individuals to handle the upkeep. This is where the freelancer work is involved. Keep it up brother!

  5. -

    Congrats Thomas! You’re well on your way to establishing yourself as a reputable and sought-after freelancer 🙂 I myself have looked into both Elance and Odesk in the past but never created an account to promote my services, simply because I never had a solid portfolio of work. I was also curious about client interaction, so thanks for sharing your experience and great to know that it just takes a little time and patience to have some success on the boards!

  6. -

    Sweet Good Job! Would like to hear about your future work and how you progress – I hope your reputation grows and you shine as a reputable freelancer! Great things ahead for you I can fee it!

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