The Story of iPilatesElance_Alex | Jun 30, 2010
With roughly 30,000 new jobs posted every month on Elance, there's no doubt that entrepreneurs and businesses both small and large are tapping into freelancers and contract professionals to help launch their businesses and keep them running smoothly. Today, Tracey Corcoran of iPilates has dropped by to share her story on how elancers have not only helped her start her new online business but also change the way she works.
Our business, www.iPilates.co.uk, simply would not exist without Elance and the wonderful people who work through it. This is our story.
We are two friends and business partners, Tracey Corcoran and Julia Jackson, who decided that we wanted to create an online business that incorporated what we were doing on a day to day basis. This was teaching pilates exercise in a studio environment. However, neither of us had the slightest idea how to design a website or a logo, nor did we have a large budget.
Fortunately, we happened to read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which set us thinking that we too could use skilled Elance providers and experts to help us to create the business we wanted. So, with excitement and fear in equal measure, we embarked on our business journey.
I took the responsibility for the administration side of the business, allowing Julia to concentrate on creating a superb product range. The first impression I had of Elance was how easy it was to use, the web pages were clear, simple and followed a logical path, which meant I was able to get our jobs requirements posted online immediately upon registration. This meant that almost no time was wasted in getting the business started.
We had three things that we wanted to achieve in the first instance: The creation of a business logo, the development of a website and some market research work.
The logo creation was easy as we had been given the name of an Elance provider who had done a similar job for someone we knew, so we invited that designer, Draward, to bid alongside other providers.
Within a matter of hours, we had tons of excellent proposals to choose from. It took a while but I soon became accomplished at working out who had really read our brief and created a bespoke bid, as opposed to those providers that just sent out a standard bid reply.
The process of finding a web designer was a bit more difficult, so I took great care in preparing our specifications, which for us has been the key to a good Elance relationship. Again we had plenty of applicants to choose from and settled on Nicopablo in California. He has been wonderful, holding our hands, metaphorically, through the entire process. In addition to these jobs, we have used a UK journalist to research publications for advertising and a Canadian back-end web designer, TheWebHostCompany, to create a sophisticated cart that allows customers to download our product in the style of iTunes.
The system for making payment is clear and fair for both provider and customer, allowing the provider to wait until the money has been put into an escrow account before they set to work, and letting the customer see the work on an ongoing basis, whilst releasing stage payments.
We have learned an enormous amount over the course of the last 12 months, much of it directly attributable to Elance, and we now have a website that is working smoothly and fulfills all of our original expectations.
I have continued to turn to Elance for any outsourced work that we need doing, and have never been disappointed. Also, I have recommended Elance to anyone who will listen and all those who have taken the plunge have been delighted with the service they have received.
As our business expands we plan to continue to use Elance to address the marketing side of www.iPilates.co.uk, and to take care of some of the more routine administration tasks, so enabling Julia and I to focus on taking our business forward.
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