I am a writer at heart. After graduating college, I started looking for a job that would allow me to get by while still being able to focus on my writing. I quickly turned to substitute teaching. It paid well enough that I didn’t have to worry about the bills. It wasn’t the most attractive job, but it allowed me to continue working on my craft without the fear of downing in debt (or, God forbid, asking my parents for help).
My first summer as a substitute teacher was empty. Summer school is small and sicknesses are rare. By the time the new school year started, I realized I needed to make plans for a summer job. That’s when a good friend of mine started telling me the blatant truth about writing. No matter how much you develop your craft in your youth, getting published is nothing more than a dream until you reach your thirties or forties. If you are in your twenties and a writer, the only way to get paid is by ghostwriting.
That’s why I first signed up for Elance. I set up my profile and started looking through the jobs in the “Writing & Translation” section. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do. I walked away at first. The number of jobs and number of applicants for each job was daunting. I came back a couple weeks later and tried applying to a few jobs—quickly learning how to build a good proposal.
It took me a while to get my first job. Contractors tend to have a hard time working with people who have no experience on the site. I ended up doing a really cheap job on a holiday when no one else was available. It was a quick edit. I turned it around within twelve hours and received a 5-Star rating for my work. After that, Elance became an asset of mine.
Having a 5-star rating under my belt was all I needed to start the snowball effect. I started getting several small jobs. After finishing these jobs and receiving more 5-Star rating, I was able to land a few jobs with some decent dollar amounts attached. Before I knew it, I had built a strong profile. I now have a realistic chance of landing almost any editing or ghostwriting job that I apply for.
I have now finished several jobs on Elance and maintain a 5-Star rating. Even more exciting is that I love my job. One day I am putting together a pamphlet on how to open a small business in a foreign country. The next day I am writing a personal letter because the contractor doesn’t believe she can articulate what she wants to say. The point is I am doing what I love every day. Writing. I am practicing different forms of editing and writing every step of the way.
The money that I made off of Elance used to be a supplement to the money that I made as a substitute. Now it is becoming a serious part of my monthly income. I am reaching a point where, if I dedicate myself, I could make Elance my full time job. I hope to make that transition as quickly as possible. Teaching was never my passion. Writing is. With Elance, my youth is no longer a factor. All that matters is my rating and the reviews that coat my profile.