after a month of being frustrated and writing bids on projects we wouldn’t get, erin and i re-evaluated what we were doing, how we were approaching the business, and what we should be doing. since then, in a little over a week, we’ve scored 7 new projects on Elance and completed 4 of them.
saying we’re excited would be an understatement. sure, we’ve had to cut our prices to be more competitive because many buyers are wary of new providers, but now, while we still have the new provider tag next to our name on our bids, we have positive reviews and a history of completed projects — we end up looking better than the other new providers. and we’ve only had to stop bidding on things we didn’t really want anyway, and take projects we’re more interested in. the ultimate decision was to play to our strengths — we don’t like making professional, corporate websites nearly as much as we like making fun, artistic websites. and anyone who wouldn’t want to hire us because we’re not professional enough is someone we wouldn’t want to work for anyway. so we’ve changed some of the language on the thinktank site and changed how we word our bids to be much more honest, and conversational, and less canned. and it seems to be working — we think we’re really the only ones who talk like human beings in our bids and it seems to be attracting a positive response (oddly people seem to feel more comfortable with that…).
and this is working for ourselves, not through a third party. which means that when we do work for someone they can say we did a great job, not the company we’re working through, which all just reflects better on us. we’re really just excited we’re doing so well. and it means we can cut down the number of projects we need to take from that other freelancing job. it may be a while, yet, before we feel comfortable cutting them off entirely, but since doing these Elance jobs, we’ve had to chase down our customers much, much less, and they’ve been much easier to work with, and we don’t need to worry about calling them during business hours or really talking on the phone at all. And oddly enough — although hws says that their customers are the type that want their site up cheaply and asap — the projects we’ve been working on outside of hws have gotten done faster than those for hws.
it’s all just so much more satisfying and rewarding and we’re really starting to feel like we know what we’re doing. and, you know, i’m excited, too, because we’re expecting our business cards to arrive tomorrow.