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Digital Globalization – Live Your Passion

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Ever ponder the idea of ditching the 9-5 and start doing something you're truly passionate about? Steffen Hedebrandt, COO of VintageandRare.com, shares how Elance has turned his passion into a business with an office that is truly global.

Dear reader,

I would like to take you on a tour through my office and present to you some of the most important colleagues I work with as Chief of Operations at VintageandRare.com.

Meet the office
As I step into my Copenhagen office in Denmark, I see that my graphical designer Rajkumar is already working on today’s tasks, and he has just emailed me the latest mockups for our website. Next to Rajkumar, we find my researcher Ravindra. Ravindra is a young, straight out of college guy with a thirst for knowledge and an eagerness to take on new challenges. He has filed his report on vintage instrument dealers in the eastern US.

In the product development department, I say hello to Sarah and Ulrik. Sarah is currently wrapping up a social media project for one of our customers who has ordered customized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace pages - everything synced to compliment each other. She has performed way beyond my expectations so I decide to just briefly spend a few minutes giving her a pat on the back and a “keep up the good work!” Ulrik - along with a team of developers - is currently working on a SEO optimization project for our site so he’s very busy and only has time for a short hello. He has a very compact project description, and he is aware of his deadlines so I won’t bother him today.

In the sales and marketing department, I see that only Rahul has turned up, but I remind myself that Jill and Bill normally come to work a little later. Rahul is the project manager for our new Google Adwords campaign. He informs me that he has just finished his keyword analysis of the site, and is now awaiting my response so he can continue the task.

At the same time, the CEO, Nicolai, arrives, so I decide to talk through today’s activities with him, and brief him about what the employees will be working on the next couple of days.

By now, Jill and Bill have arrived in the sales and marketing department, and they get to work straight away. Jill is currently the sales rep. and lead generator. Bill is a sales rep. too - and the junior product manager of our site. After a short brief on today’s priorities, I am now ready to proceed with the tasks I’ve planned for today.

Around the world in… 80 minutes
At a normal office this walk would be a walk of 60 small steps or so, but you have actually been on a trip with me across the planet starting in two different locations in India, on to an office in Pakistan, over to Bulgaria, back to India, and back to the two desks in a small Copenhagen office. Then we “flew” across the pond to Florida before finishing today’s brief in Texas.

How is this possible? Short answer: Elance Workrooms.

Digital Globalization
The world is undergoing a digital globalization. It is a harsh threat to those who are afraid of it, and do not act according to it, but a profound competitive advantage for those who dare embrace it. I am writing this blog post to encourage you to embrace this digital globalization, and Elance offers a great tool for overcoming this challenge. The aim of this blog post is to explicate the potential that these new trends represent in relation to operational performance and capacity. Being a long-tail company focused on a global niche while at the same time being located in an expensive country like Denmark could seem like a mission impossible, as the high costs would kill most companies.

But this has not been the case for VintageandRare.com – Instead we are blossoming and finding leading expert knowledge for an affordable fee through Elance’s search, browsing and job posting options.

The right person is out there
Just to give you a brief example of how large the Elance providers span, I will tell you about Jill (Florida, US). As we needed to ramp up our sales and marketing department to increase the growth of VintageandRare.com, we needed to find a new sales rep. This would normally be an easy task, had it not been a sales rep. for a niche market as the vintage and rare instrument market where solid and comprehensive knowledge is required to separate quality from random instruments, dealers and builders. So, knowing this would be a difficult task and that it would be impossible to find an affordable Danish sales rep. with specific knowledge about vintage and rare instruments, I thought to myself: Why not try Elance, and see what happens?

At first, we received offers from the random soldier of fortune who bids on whatever merely fits his or her competencies. But after a day or two, I got an offer from a woman in Florida, US, who seemed extraordinarily profound and honest. After a couple of messages back and forth, I found out that Jill’s husband was a musician and instrument collector, and many of their friends were either musicians, singers or instrument collectors. Her bid was a bit above what the other bidders offered, but in return she possessed the critical knowledge and passion for vintage and rare instruments. We decided to go for Jill, and have been nothing but satisfied with our choice ever since. I could give you many other examples like this one, but instead I would like to turn to the potential this holds for people all over the world who are deeply passionate something, but lack playmates to manifest this interest on a daily basis.

Live your passion
If you are feeling trapped in solitude because you think you are the only person in the world interested in your micro niche, and are considering dropping your interest because you can’t find any fellow companions, go to Elance and start searching. You will instantly find other people sitting in basements, at cafes, in offices, and wherever nursing their interest. Little by little, your will get closer to the right partners for you (and don’t worry, it’s okay to try people out, and see how the personal chemistry between you is, and if you are not satisfied you just don’t hire them for a new project).

Through Elance you can let your personal network grow, and you get more and more playmates that can challenge and inspire you to stay passionate about your niche. Who knows what might come out of this relationship?

My advice: start using Elance, sooner rather than later. Start with small tasks, and as your experience grows, you can let the projects grow too. Elance is an opportunity to follow your passion, to build your own- or your company brand, and to obtain new customers and hire new people.

About the Author:
Steffen Hedebrandt is the Chief of Operations at VintageandRare.com, a website dedicated to establishing and developing the ultimate community for enthusiasts and retailers of vintage, rare and antique musical instruments. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, networking, personal and professional development.

Comments

Hi Steffen,
Totally loved your post and agree to it completely! Sitting in Pakistan we are developing Social Media Kits for some of the largest players, ventures and businesses in USA, Europe, Australia and Singapore. My experience with Elance is that if you are a great provider - you can win the world!
@Steffen - Steffen is a buyer who appreciates quality and it is therefore a pleasure to work with him for the Social Media Brand Development Project.
@Elance - You guys are TRULY helping people reach for and accomplish their dreams. Thanks
- Sarah