Freelance sites connect buyers with sellers. And they do a heckuva job taking care of that task. They pay attention to search engine optimization and user friendliness. Those factors can make or break a site and the techies behind these freelance sites are making sure those factors are in place. But what else do they do for us, and when is it time to deal with the customer on our own?

Freelance Sites Provide A Safe Haven For Transactions

In general, freelance sites, like I mentioned, connect buyers and sellers together. They also stand in between transactions to make sure the transaction happens smoothly. Plus they provide a mechanism where feedback can be left which fuels the process even further. Some sites like eLance will also provide training and testing, but I’m just talking about the basics here. Fiverr is an example where the basics are taken care of in a very efficient manner.

So, what else does the freelance site do? One other thing is that they take a cut of your hard earned money.

Since The Freelance Network Provides The vehicle For Us They Share In The Profits, And Rightfully So

You will undoubtedly get customers that you never would have gotten if you didn’t advertise on these sites. That goes without saying. Because of that, and the fact thay there is a middle man that wants to see both sides happy, we’re smart to advertise/buy services on Fiverr, eLance, etc.

They deserve a cut. They earned a commission.

But, it’s often strict policy not to communicate with your new customers outside the freelance site. Hold up!

Taking the Transactions Elsewhere

OK, we have established that the middle person deserves their cut for all that they do to provide customers, handle transactions and create the feedback vehicle that makes people comfortable transacting. But where do you draw the line? At what point should the freelance site stop getting residuals for your work? I personally feel that the answer to that is NOT “transaction #2” NOR is it “never.” So when is it? Somewhere in between and it’s not so cut and dry.

If you need to stay within the safe haven of the network, stay there and share the fees. That’s cool. They are providing a service throughout. But, at some point it’s time to leave the nest and be a big boy and work with the customer without a middleman. Besides, the feedback is most valuable only the first time a specific customer leaves it. It arguably drops in value exponentially for subsequent feedback… I feel.

Once You Get Comfortable Working With a Customer, Deal With Them Directly

Moving away from Fiverr and eLance to handle your transactions with established customers means you have to take on some more responsibility, and be more organized, but… you don’t share in the profits.

So, if you are comfortable with losing the new feedback from the same customer, and handling things on your own, consider the following new activities:

  1. Make certain the job description is very well defined and both parties agree.
  2. Make sure the deadline is clearly established.
  3. You might opt for $0 up front, a portion up front or $all up front.
  4. Communicate effectively and regularly.
  5. Consider using so the customer can watch you work.

You can’t exactly ask someone to connect with you outside of Fiverr from within Fiverr which is fair, but it’s not hard to fine someone’s contact info from their YouTube channel, username, web site, and so on.

You’ll know when it’s time to move on from the site on a customer by customer basis. Do so when it feels right and don’t feel bad. Always praise the freelance site though because they started the ball rolling with your customer… can’t ever forget that. Give them love in the search engines and social circles. Let other people know about the awesome opportunities for making money and getting work done on these sites.

Best of luck!