How to Use Elance - How to Outsource Work

Why does Elance Rock? Let me explain in a nutshell… It helps increase efficiency and effectiveness for your small business. Hire Entrepreneur's from the US as well as all parts of the world.


Elance is essentially a community of freelancers and businesses who are:
  • Programmers
  • Designers
  • Writers
  • Admins
  • Marketers
  • Consultants
  • Accountants
  • Mobile Developers

Elance can be very beneficial for entrepreneurs seeking to hire as well as entrepreneurs looking for more work. The community creates jobs for millions of people around the world.


There are many parts of a business that I'd like to try and learn, but some things are better off left to the pros. (See my article about being a “Jack of All Trades” master of some for more insight on focusing on what you are good at). Instead of wasting my time learning coding I'd rather hire someone to do the job while I'm working on big picture projects. Using Elance is easy and finding help can be a lot of fun. Elance freelancers live in all parts of the world, and I've had great luck with all of my hires.


The other day we had a problem with a few programming errors on our website. I probably could have fixed them eventually, but I'm guessing it could have taken all day. So what did I do? I logged in to my Elance account and posted that I needed help with programming on a wordpress website. I posted my budget for the project of $50.00. Within about 5 hours I had 6 proposals ranging in price from $22 all the way to $50 even. After looking at the proposals I decided to go with a great freelancer out of New Dehli, India for $40. I used my credit card to fund the job which is mediated through Elance. The $40.00 goes into escrow until the job is finished to my standards, and I choose to release the funds. Immediately after accepting the contractors proposal I had an email telling me he was starting the work. His name was ” Anup ” and he first asked for some login information to my site to get started. I made a temporary login account for him and we were off to the races.

Within a couple of hours Anup completed all of the work while I was able to focus on other parts of my business. Once completed, I released the funds to him and was happy the programming was all worked out. Elance has been great for so many parts of the business. I even have a person in Mumbai currently working on an iPhone Application that I plan to release in the next year.


There are a few different ways to determine what to pay your contractor. Here are your options.

1. Fixed Amount: Submit a project and wait for bids and proposals. You'll be able to choose the person or company that you believe will do the best job for the money. You can set a budget so contractors can determine if it will work for them as well.

2. Pay Hourly: Contractors often have an hourly rate that you can go by. You might find folks who will work from overseas for $5 an hour and others for $40 an hour. Interview and research your prospective contractor to increase your chances of finding a good match.

Time Difference

When working with people on different sides of the earth, you'll have to remember the time difference. Sometimes contractors will work normal daytime hours in their country, but some work nights (which means our normal daytime hours). Depending on your hours and needs, the time difference can work to your advantage. For instance, if you are outsourcing administrative work you can hand it off at the end of your day to your Virtual Assistant or Contractor. They'll be able to work on your projects for the next 8 hours while you are sleeping and by the time you wake up everything will be completed and in order. If you need to work with your contractor during your working hours than simply make sure to find out your contractors hours prior to hiring.

Language Barrier

People you will hire will be from different parts of the world. You will communicate via email, phone, or Skype for the most part. I've always been able to find people who speak the same language as myself (English) without a problem. I've had good luck working with people in Asia as well as people in other countries.

Working with Elance

I can't say that I have experience as a contractor through Elance, but from the looks of it you can get started quickly. You'll need to fill out a form 1099 (is you are a US Taxpayer), and enter basic information to set up an account. Elance Contractors live all over the world.

How I heard about Elance

I first heard about Elance from a fellow blogger named Pat Flynn over at Pat uses Elance for many blogging projects, voiceover projects, video editing, and other things. He also uses virtual assistants to help with various administrative tasks. He claims that he'd have saved so much time if Elance had been recommended to him earlier in his his career. His advice inspired me to give it a shot a few years back and since I started using Elance I've been hooked.

Outsourcing for EntrepreneursBook about Outsourcing

You may have heard of a top selling business book named ” The Four Hour Work Week ” by Tim Ferriss. In his book, Tim talks about the benefits associated with outsourcing and how it can create a lifestyle with more free time and flexibility. Tim explains how to oursource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and how to manage your time more efficently. The book teaches you to think differently, is a New York Times Bestseller, and a book I'd highly recommend.

Getting started with Elance is a simple process that can be accomplished in just a few minutes.


1. Sign up for Elance. You can create an account to hire or an account to be a contractor for Elance. In this example I will show you how to hire your first contractor quickly and easily. First, go to and go to the Create an Account section.

How to Sign up for Elance



2. Once you've created your account by entering in some basic information, you'll be ready to create the first job. Name the job and provide a brief description for the potential applicant.

How to Start Using Elance - Think Entrepreneurship


3. Next, you'll want to categorize the work to make it easy for potential applicants to find a relevant opportunity for their specialty. Then decide if you want to pay using a fixed rate or hourly.

Technology for Entrepreneurs - Elance for outsourcing


4. Select a budget for your project (either for the entire project or hourly). Lastly submit your job and wait for the proposals to roll in! (The fun part!) 

Think Entrepreneurship - How to outsource your business


5. In just a few minutes (or hours) you should have a proposal or two. You'll want to read the proposals to see which contractor will be best for you. I will explain what to look for using the arrows and numbers below.

How to stay focused on what you are good at using Elance


  1. Arrow 1 is pointing toward the contractor's hourly rate. Only pay attention to this if you are hiring hourly (and not by the project).
  2. Arrow 2 shows the number of jobs the contractor has done on Elance. It's always good to pick someone who has a few jobs and more experience under their belt
  3. Arrow 3 shows the contractors total earnings to date on Elance.
  4. Arrow 4 shows methods to contact or interview the contractor (via Email, Phone, Skype, and so on)
  5. Arrow 5 shows the Dollar amount the contractor has bid for the job.

6. Select the proposal you'd like to accept and get started on your projects! You'll learn and figure out everything else you need to know along the way. 

* I know this article will stir up a bit of controversy about going overseas to get business done. Let me inform you that I've hired Elancer's from the USA as well as overseas for certain jobs.  I believe it is important to buy local as well, and so I do hire local help and buy locally when I can and it makes business sense.

Good luck and if you have any questions please comment below! If you've had any experience in outsourcing using Elance or similar websites we'd love to hear about it. Don't forget to find us on Facebook as well as subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive entrepreneur tips and to be entered into drawings and contests!  Click here to become a Facebook Fan