Could You Sell a New Product…Worldwide?Elance_Cathy | Jan 14, 2008
Let's be more specific: Could you design a new retail product in the U.S., manufacture it in Taiwan, begin selling it in Holland… and then across Europe and North America? While you live in, say, the U.S.?
With the help of Elancers, Matthys Van Leeuwen can.
First some background. In 2001, Matthys, a software professional, was Director of Product Management for an Internet start-up when the dot-com bubble burst. "I was working on my Ph.D., and I didn't want to leave IT altogether," Matthys says. "But I decided to change careers and create a consumer product that people would like. I'm a bike lover and a dog lover, so I developed a product - DoggyRide - that matches my passions."
The original DoggyRide, introduced in 2003, was the first dog bicycle trailer on the market. The success of DoggyRide allowed Matthys to grow the business to include a wide range of dog trailers, parts, and accessories.
It wasn't always easy. "I decided to first market DoggyRide in Holland, even though I live in the United States," says Matthys. "Biking is a normal part of the regular commute in Holland, so I felt the product would be well received. And I was right - but building up the right staff in Holland was difficult, and it took awhile to find the right people." Now that DoggyRide is off the ground in Europe, Matthys has been able to focus most of his efforts on growing the U.S. market.
So how does this entrepreneur design, market, and sell products in the global economy? One way is by outsourcing to global providers on Elance. Since joining Elance, Matthys worked with Elancers to develop the DoggyRide website, logo, product, and even for language translation.
"Every business has a need for specific and specialized skills," says Matthys. "It usually costs a lot - too much for most startups - to get those skills from local experts. Easy access to a tremendous pool of talent when you're starting a business is a great opportunity."