Wednesday was not a good day for me. I missed half of my breakfast meeting because of clashes in scheduling. An emergency made my date two hours late for a lunchtime meeting. I ordered three unpalatable drinks at T-spot … and paid for them all. I got into an argument with my daughter because she was exhausted – and resultantly – too tired to admit it.

[You know the way babies throw tantrums when they’re tired or overstimulated? Apparently, tweens do it too.]

My new Phone FM earphones broke. And I was given the evil eye for staring at my dream car in town. By the driver. He’s a guy. I tried to take a picture [of the car, not the guy] but the window on my phone is too small. Sigh.

But the worst part of the day was Elance. I’ve been a member for about 6 months now, and so far I’ve made $828. I’ve had a few Like Chapaa readers ask me to coach them on Elance, but all I know is from trial and error. There’s no secret formula. You just go online and try it. And some days, like last Wednesday, you make really dumb mistakes.

Via smallbusinessnaked.com

The last few months have been hard for me. I had to cancel a few jobs because I suffered from a bad case of depression, so I couldn’t write anything. I fell way behind on my work and am yet to fully catch up. Due to the cancellations, I dropped from a level 5 to a level 4, and lost 48 unused connects. Let me explain.

When you join Elance, you get work by bidding on jobs. Freelancers on Elance are called providers, and each provider has a profile. You build up your profile by including work experience and educational background. You can also do various on-site tests to prove how good you are. They’re usually multiple choice tests that last 20 to 40 minutes. Last time I checked, there were 1,500 Kenyan providers on Elance. The highest earning writer joined in 2008 and has earned just over $6,000. Other Kenyans include a programmer who has earned $7000 so far.

When a client posts a job, you go and bid on the job, just like you would bid in an auction. You write a few paragraphs explaining why you’re right for the job, you guestimate how long it will take you to finish the job, and you make an offer of how much you’d like to be paid. All bids are private, so only you and the client can see them. Other providers can’t access the information. The client then looks at the sales pitches, skills, and cost, then picks a provider for the job.

To bid on a job, you use connects. They’re kind of like points, and each bid requires a specific number of connects. If you have basic, free membership to the site, you receive 10 connects every month.  If you have Professional membership, you pay a subscription of $10 every month, and you receive 25 connects, though you can choose to buy more. For paid memberships, any connects that you don’t use are forwarded to the next month, but they can only forward the connects allowed in your membership plan. For example, I can never forward more than 25 connects, so at any one time, I have a maximum of 50 connects to use, unless I choose to buy more.

Via dealbase.com

My depression started around October, so I was working less and less, and in the end, I had accumulated 48 unused connects. At that time, my account was nil, so my paid membership was cancelled and downgraded to basic. That meant I lost the 48 connects I’d accumulated. When my membership was downgraded, I lost other privileges as well. For example, my skill level dropped from 5 to 4, and my position among Kenyan Writers on Elance dropped from 5 to 9. That stung. A lot.

Towards the end of December, things picked up a little. I finished a big project, got paid $500, and had my level reinstated to 5. I couldn’t get back the lost connects though, and that limited the jobs I could bid on. But I felt positive, so I bid what I could. This week, I’ve used 12 connects bidding on jobs, and so far, I haven’t won any. Some weeks are like that, but I still feel really beat. Luckily, I just got paid for some outside work , and that will tide me through the month.

But then the bomb hit. I opened my Elance to find a note that I’d been suspended! I’d opened an old job to bid when I received an alert that said I couldn’t bid on new jobs. It said I had ignored awarded jobs for over 15 days, and that I needed to correct that before I could bid.

Usually, when you win a job, you get a note in your inbox that asks you to accept or decline. I hadn’t received any, so I was surprised. I checked my gmail and instead, I found a note that said I had contact information on the wrong part of my profile, so I had been suspended. Apparently, they had sent me a warning 24 hours earlier, but I hadn’t seen it. They assumed I’d ignored it and shut me down.

I looked through my profile for the contact information, but here wasn’t any. I noted that my service description ends with ‘Samples are available on my website’ but I hadn’t mentioned the url, so I thought that was okay. I sent an email explaining that, but got no response.

And then the power went off.

Via diasporadical.com

I must have spent an hour in panic mode, which is never a pretty sight. I ran through worst case scenarios and ended up banging doors and crying. I realized that I always use my url in job bids, but I thought that was okay, since it’s not contact information. Contact info only refers to email, right?

Wrong.

After lying in the dark for a while, the power came back on, and I jumped onto my computer hoping someone had answered me. They hadn’t. But I did see something I hadn’t noticed before. Elance has an option for live chat support. Yay! I got onto that and found a lovely lady named Rosalie. She was really nice to me. She looked through my profile and confirmed I hadn’t violated anything, so she immediately lifted my suspension. I wanted to kiss her right through the screen.

Then I asked her about using my url on job bids. I’d assumed it was fine since only the clients could see it anyway. She told me it wasn’t allowed, so I promised her I’d go change all my bids to take out the website, and I did. She even wished me a nice day.

I still feel pretty shaken, and I suspect the url issue is what made all my bids fall flat. Someone must have alerted Elance and maybe I was blacklisted for what they felt was blatant, repetitive policy violation. Ignorance is very rarely a valid excuse, and I wish I’d taken more time to just read the FAQs and know exactly what I can and can’t do. I’d have saved myself a breakdown.

I settled down to try and sleep, hoping the next day would be better. Two days later, I still haven’t won a job, but I earned negotiation with a client, and that hasn’t happened before. We had a pleasant conversation on the private message board where we bargained and haggled on my fee. We didn’t settle on a price, but it felt better than being ignored.

Sometimes, I wonder if the clients see my bid among the 20 to 3o others, and it feels sad to be invisible. Today’s conversation proved the clients know I’m there, and it’s a better place to be than Wednesday. Meanwhile, I wish a thousand blessings and a raise on Rosalie. All customer care and support people should be like that. And so shall it be. I hope kharma [or her boss] is listening.

Via killertrick.com

Change your mind Sister Hazel

PS: Today, almost two weeks after the saga, I received an email from Elance. My company name is Threeceebee Dot Com. Spelling out my url was interpreted as a sneaky way of providing contact information, and that’s why my account was suspended. If I hadn’t found Rosalie on live chat support, my account would have remained inactive for this entire period. I have no words. No words at all.

437 thoughts on “Drama on Elance

  1. Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually annoying. A good site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for making this web site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  2. Thanks for your exciting article. One other problem is that mesothelioma cancer is generally attributable to the breathing of fibers from asbestos, which is a carcinogenic material. It can be commonly found among staff in the building industry who’ve long experience of asbestos. It can be caused by moving into asbestos protected buildings for an extended time of time, Inherited genes plays a crucial role, and some consumers are more vulnerable towards the risk compared to others.

  3. Hi there. I found your blog via Google at the same time as looking for a similar matter, your web site got here up. It appears to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  4. I precisely wished to say thanks once more. I do not know the things that I would have gone through in the absence of the type of methods contributed by you concerning this area of interest. Entirely was a very frightful circumstance for me, but looking at the skilled way you dealt with that took me to weep with contentment. I am grateful for your support as well as hope you find out what a powerful job you’re carrying out training the mediocre ones with the aid of your websites. Probably you have never encountered any of us.

  5. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is just spectacular and i can assume you are a professional on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grasp your RSS feed to keep updated with impending post. Thank you a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  6. Hi there. I discovered your website by means of Google even as looking for a comparable matter, your web site came up. It appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  7. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there.

  8. Hi there. I found your site by way of Google at the same time as looking for a related subject, your web site came up. It appears to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  9. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and web stuff and this is really annoying. A good website with exciting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for making this website, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  10. Hello there. I discovered your website by the use of Google even as searching for a similar topic, your website got here up. It seems good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  11. Hello there. I found your website by means of Google at the same time as looking for a comparable topic, your site got here up. It appears good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  12. Awesome post. I am a normal visitor of your site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a frequent visitor for a really long time.

  13. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really not often do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the issue is one thing that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I’m very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing referring to this.

  14. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is actually annoying. A good site with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  15. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and net stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web-site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  16. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually annoying. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  17. Awesome write-up. I’m a normal visitor of your site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I’ll be a regular visitor for a really long time.

  18. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks a lot

  19. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Many thanks!

  20. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good site with exciting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for making this site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  21. Awesome post. I’m a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a frequent visitor for a really long time.

  22. One other important part is that if you are a senior, travel insurance pertaining to pensioners is something you need to really take into consideration. The elderly you are, a lot more at risk you might be for permitting something terrible happen to you while in foreign countries. If you are not really covered by many comprehensive insurance policies, you could have a number of serious problems. Thanks for revealing your advice on this blog site.

  23. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  24. Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.” by Ambrose Gwinett Bierce.

  25. Hello there. I discovered your site by way of Google whilst searching for a similar topic, your website got here up. It looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  26. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  27. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  28. Awesome write-up. I am a regular visitor of your blog and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a regular visitor for a really long time.

  29. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is really frustrating. A good website with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thanks for making this site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  30. Hi there. I discovered your blog by means of Google even as searching for a comparable matter, your web site came up. It seems to be great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  31. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and net stuff and this is really frustrating. A good site with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web-site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *