## The eLance Experience

This is a guest post by Quoterobot user Malcolm Mckinnon

Its been over 10 years since Daniel Pink published [Free Agent Nation](http://www.amazon.ca/Free-Agent-Nation-Working-Yourself/dp/0446678791) and with so many (some 40% of us) becoming free agents themselves, the Free Agent Nation is here. So what have we seen, experienced, learned - especially first hand? Well I took the plunge into Free Agent Nation some years ago, and have spent time buying and selling using these tools and I thought I’d share some of my experiences amongst we the free agent nation.

As a seller, I learned about the school of hard knocks. I also learned the importance of trial by fire - and how what seem like scars turn into medals. I’ll share a few of these in future posts but to whet your appetite: here’s one: use classic copywriting skills (P.S. additions almost always get read) when you write your posts because it helps convey your proposal’s message, and perhaps more importantly, its uniqueness. And one bonus one: on your first job don’t sell to a newbie buyer, because they’ll be as confused as you are during the process, which will make it uncomfortable for both.

As a buyer, I learned to trust but verify... I learned about commitment confusion and a host of other challenges and uncovered a few tricks to overcome them. Again, in future posts we’ll talk about lots of them; but again, to whet your appetite, here’s one: get a discount for being a vendor’s first purchaser. Its not just because you can, but its because you will also need to coach them through the engagement process - because they will probably react in challenging and seemingly selfish ways during their first engagement. You can even explain that to them when demanding the discount - just don’t do it if its your first purchase as well because you won’t have experienced the process yet, so there’s my bonus: for your first job, buy from a VERY experienced, well qualified, supportive vendor.

In all, the classic “do unto others as you would be done by" is certainly valuable advice, but there’s more to it than that, couch each side with caveat emptor and caveat venditor... buyer and seller beware. The reality is in a world with less human contact, we need to find something that can replace body language for communication, and must write in ways that communicates the same thing in many contexts... because it will be read in just as many. Similarly, when we read what our counterparties write, we need to flexibly interpret what’s coming back. Add that, especially for small jobs sourced internationally, court doesn’t make sense and you find yourself with an arena where convincing people to do what’s asked and pay for what’s done being more challenging than you might think.