Building My Health Food Company With ElancersElance_Keith | Apr 27, 2012
This is a story of a delicious combination of hi-tech and health food that grew on the fertile grounds of Elance.
While working long hi-tech hours in a fast growing online advertising network, I made a decision to live a healthier lifestyle and part of that resolve included making healthier food choices in my daily diet. I searched for food that would allow me to maintain a healthy weight, gain all the nutrition I need and still enjoy what I eat. And so I found sesame butter—a yummy peanut-free spread, bursting with yummy nutty flavor and numerous nutritional benefits.
After a quest for finding the perfect sesame butter, I've finally begun to make it myself. With a single ingredient and absolutely no additives, I started making my very own organic sesame butter. When my coworkers fell in love with it, I understood that other people may want to enjoy sesame butter as well.
Starting My Business with a 100% Elance Team
At the time, I was using Elance to find contractors for various work-related tasks, and so it was only natural to turn to Elance when my newly found hobby started to look more and more like a business. I didn't plan to create an actual business at first, but the Elance community was so helpful that I found myself working with an entire team dedicated to sesame butter, without even leaving my job.
The first sesame butter-related project I posted was for a graphic designer. I was hoping to get some help with the logo. I chose to work with Bryan Knox, who delivered so much more. With his experience with packaged food labels, we created an entire graphic language for the brand and the final label. There were so many things that I didn't imagine would be needed, but Bryan helped my throughout the process. Today, the label is shown at Wikipedia as a perfect example for sesame butter.
The second project was about content. My research yielded a lot of information about sesame butter. It turned out that it is a major ingredient in many cuisines throughout Asia and the Middle East and also an important part of many diets. But being busy at work, I couldn't write it all myself. And so I was happy to have Dawn McKenna join my Elance team. Together with Dawn, we researched and wrote about fifty articles that we later used as the basis for a book about sesame butter—that is now available on Amazon—and for the website's initial content.
Oh sure, I needed a website. Again, Elance to the rescue, Erin B. has joined the efforts and she designed and developed the entire website under the perfect domain name—SesameButter.com. Erin brought with her enormous knowledge about creating a functional ecommerce website and the result became the front for the new business.
Continuing To Build My Team
But it didn't stop there. I've hired BrainDesk to help with online research to find leads for the early stage marketing—from food blogs to cooking magazines, and on to registered dietitians. And then I turned to Cijomon M. to help set up Google Analytics for ecommerce. Both of them work out of India, and having imported the best organic sesame seeds from Ethiopia and working with a 90-year old millstone in Israel, the team became truly international.
At that stage I felt that the business was ready for actual sales and that it was time to find business people to join the team. Until then, I didn't know that the Elance community extended beyond the online world. So it was a great surprise to find Orly Telisman from Chicago, who brought public relations expertise to the team. These days, with sales starting to gain momentum, I'm in the process of hiring a business development professional to help close deals with distributors.
Thanks and a Coupon for the Elance Community
Working with Elance allowed me to progress step by step, controlling a very limited budget, and spending only when needed. I was blessed with a team that I could never have found otherwise and they all became part of the success. Today, I sell premium organic sesame butter in my own website. I tell my customers that sesame butter is the proof that health food can be delicious. In a sandwich, as a dip or salad dressing, and as part of many dishes, sesame butter is slowly becoming a health food trend. And among all the recipes, I'm also happy to tell the story of how it was all made possible with a team of Elancers.
To give thanks back to the Elance community, I've set up a special discount coupon. If this story made you hungry, you're invited to visit the website and order a jar. Use coupon code elance to get a 5% discount (it works after entering the shipping address).
About the Author
Tomer Treves is an entrepreneur and a marketing expert. After four years with the Infolinks team, he has recently joined URU as CEO to lead social change. Tomer is also the author of three books, including "Sesame Butter—Delicious Super-Food" and "The Hidden Treasure in Your Website". Tomer's passion towards sesame butter has started as a hobby and grown into a serious business at SesameButter.com. He lives in Israel with his wife, son and daughter.