Thursday, November 30, 2006

11/30: Casting bread upon the waters

Two months ago I decided I needed to have some more income coming in, since my various websites aren't generating as much as I'd hoped. I visited the blog of someone who was going to show people how to make money on the web, and they provided the link to Elance.

It cost $60 to join, at the level I wanted - bare minimum! - and they take a $10 commission minimum on each job, which I wasn't too happy about. Nevertheless, I looked at the dozens of jobs offered in my field - editing, rewriting, etc., and decided that it had possibilities. So I decided to chance that $60. I lowballed a few projects, got one response, and have done work for that individual ever since. And I've got two more projects I'm working on - one of which I *think* is going to lead to long-term freelance employment. So I'm pretty pleased with Elance.

The reason why I bring this up is because I can't help laughing at the short-sightedness of some people. Along about the time I joined Elance, I also placed an ad on a different site, looking for writers for my various websites - science fiction, Virginia history. I specified that I could pay nothing, but they'd get nickels and dimes from my links to on their pages, etc.

Nevertheless, I got quite a few responses from people, whom, when I reiterated the compensation package, never got back to me, so I can only assume that they didn't pay any attention to what I'd written the first time around.

One woman, I think in her late 20s, emailed me, offering her services. She had a blog, which I looked at, and I confess I wasn't impressed with her writing skills. (I myself am somewhat careless with my grammar on this blog, but I hope people can tell the difference between someone who knows grammar and skips it on occasion, and someone who doesn't know grammar, period.)

Anyway, her blog made her sound a bit desperate for money, so I suggested she try Elance. "All it takes is a $60 investment," I told her, and there's lots of jobs there. [I know she has *some* money, and $60 isn't that much - get it from a relative or friend or something if nothing else!]

She emailed me back and said she "wanted to make money, not spend it." In other words, she didn't like that $60 fee. Well, I emailed her back and pointed out that I had earned back that $60 fee on my first job, plus $40 over that, and everything else I'd earn in the course of the year was gravy.

"I'll think about it," she replied, which I understood very well to mean that she was going to do nothing. She was going to continue to haunt the writing sites where people could post for free, and email people looking for paying jobs - when Elance is right there.

I'm willing to bet that this woman hasn't made a dime doing any writing in the last two months, whereas I've made quite a bit. Relatively speaking, of course.

And I just don't understand it. I don't think her writing skills were such that she could do any of the jobs on offer at Elance, but she seemed to think she did have skills...

If it had been a question of a $100 fee to join...I confess I would have hesitated at that myself. But $60? With the rule that the minimum bid you can make is $50? It's obvious that you'd make back that fee in one job alone, plus Elance is a well-known site, thus quite safe to join and trust.

So, all I can say is I cast my bread upon the waters, and I ended up not with soggy bread but with some fresh bread!

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