What a competition, eh? Let’s look back and reflect (including with this fun video recap of the event).
Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Elance Big idea Startup Competition a success of Olympic proportions. The international startup community is still buzzing about the contest – and naturally we’re thrilled to have helped so many deserving startups fund their vision.
In case you missed the action, here’s a quick wrap up.
The competition began in earnest back in December as over 800 startups began submitting “Big Ideas.” Each startup proposed what they would do with $2,500 worth of freelance work, entering in one of seven regions around the globe (or participating as a Worldwide Wildcard contestant).
By early January our judges had narrowed the field to 40 Semifinalists, with each receiving $2,500 in Elance credits. By late January Semifinalists used their $2,500 in freelance talent to create the work they proposed, bringing those Big Ideas to life. After live pitch events in seven cities (and online voting for our Worldwide Wildcard contestants), the competition was narrowed to eight Finalists. Each Finalist received an iPad plus prizes from local sponsors.
On February 6 our Grand Prize Winner was announced.
But not until all eight Finalists presented at a thrilling thee-hour Grand Finale.
It was at this online pitch event where the “great eight” Finalists put forward their Big Ideas to our panel of esteemed judges. Alas, in the end there could only be one winner, and Labster triumphed. Congratulations to Copenhagen-based CEO Mads Tvillinggaard and the entire team at Labster, who earned $10,000 in Elance credits plus an online meeting with a top venture capitalist. They also won a 10-year subscription to accounting services from Billy’s Billing -- a global sponsor of our competition. Labster will be using the freelance work to help “empower the next generation of scientists to save the world.”
We couldn’t have done it without you.
Putting together a contest of this magnitude couldn’t have happened without the support of so many people from the Elance community, as well as our generous partners, high-profile judges, inspirational guest speakers, lively audience members and many, many others.
Our gratitude goes out to one and all for helping us pull-off such an amazing event. To see what people are saying about the Elance Big Idea Startup Competition, check out (and share) our specially-created social media page.
One of the hottest fields these days is 3D printing. It’s front and center on most everyone’s mind – from journalists and venture capitalists to manufacturers, consumers and of course, enterprising startups looking to cash in on the next big thing.
In case you’re unfamiliar, 3D printing allows people to use plastics and other materials to print anything from car parts to toys (and who knows what?), right from the factory floor or kitchen table. The revolution is without question shaking up what’s possible.
Here at Elance we’re always among the first to see trends, and we’re definitely seeing a spike in activity related to 3D printing projects. We also have a full-range of freelance 3D experts ready to tackle projects, so feel free to hire a CAD designer for your next project. Right now we have nearly 400 3D printing jobs on Elance, among the 70,000 3D jobs currently listed (ranging from 3D CAD, modeling and scanning to 3D animation). For more information, see our trends section.
Hoping to support those in the 3D printing realm, Elance has also hosted meetups recently to foster better communications and to accelerate development. Much like the “homebrew computer club” that spawned the personal computing industry in the 70’s and 80’s, these meetups focus on the quickly-emerging world of 3D printing. Last week at our Silicon Valley headquarters our 3D printing meetup featured 75 entrepreneurs who enjoyed a presentation by Geoffrey Doyle, CEO of GrowShapes and Steve Nguyen, VP Marketing of Sixense Entertainment.
After whittling down an impressive list of over 800 amazing and inspiring contestants to our 8 Finalists, the Elance Big Idea Startup Competition winner was announced today at our Grand Finale competition.
Our Finalist from the Copenhagen region (and located in Copenhagen as well), Labster is an internationally focused company dedicated to the development of pioneering online tools for teaching science globally. They partner with top universities and their leading faculty to create and develop innovative, scientifically advanced laboratories.
As the winner of our Big Idea Startup Competition, Labster has won $10,000 in Elance credits – as well as a meeting we’ll soon arrange with a top venture capitalist. They’ve also won a 10-year subscription to accounting services from Billy’s Billing -- a sponsor of our contest.
According to Labster CEO Mads Tvillinggaard Bonde (who presented at our Grand Finale), the freelance work will go a long ways to grow their business.
“We will use the award of $10,000 Elance credits to expand our platform to the next level by implementing detailed analytics and feedback to students and teachers,” Mads explained. “Elance makes it possible for us to hire domain experts that can rapidly co-create what we need together with our team, while our in-house developers can focus on our core products.”
We’re sure the awesome freelance talent, funding get-together and accounting assistance will go a long way in bringing Labster’s big idea to life. Good look from the team at Elance.
A big success. Thank you.
We want to thank everyone who participated in the Big Idea contest.
This ranges from the many startups who submitted ideas to our esteemed judges. We also want to thank people who voted online, and everyone who attended live events. And last but not least, thanks to folks who followed the action here on our blog or through social media. We hope you all enjoyed the competition as much as we did.
Gracias, and look for additional startup events from Elance once we catch our breath (whew!).
Elance CEO Fabio Rosati was featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Elance Taps Growing Demand for Freelancers.”
The profile highlighted the evolution of Elance, today’s skyrocketing growth of freelance work globally, and Fabio’s vision of the future of work. Among the many topics discussed were Fabio’s insights into emerging job security, as well as what will most-likely be required of tomorrow’s workers.
Focus on remaining employable, as opposed to remaining employed.
One of the many highlights of the article was Fabio Rosati’s distinction between work today and work in the very near future.
“If I had to give advice to anybody about their careers, I would say your number one priority should be to remain employable as opposed to remaining employed,” Fabio explained in the article. “Because your employer may terminate you, you may be acquired and restructured, may go bankrupt; and if you’re not employable, you’re in big trouble.”
The Wall Street Journal coverage also included an accompanying video with Fabio, in their popular Boss Talk video series. To read the article itself, just pick up the Feb. 5 print edition of the publication. Or if you’re registered with the WSJ, you can read the article online.
A great working relationship is the key to successful online work. However, given the crazy and stressful environment startups often find themselves in, it’s not uncommon for startups (and businesses of all size, actually) to fail to follow best practices. When this happens, your client-freelancer relationship can go down the drain fast.
Here are some tips on things to avoid – unless you want freelancers pulling their hair out and mumbling your name under their breath:
1. Post a vague project description. Freelancers need specifics to be successful. If your online job post is wishy-washy on everything from the scope of work to delivery dates and final deliverables, you’re well on your way to some name calling. “Loser” is a term you may hear a lot.
2. Lowball the price. A website for $100 bucks? A blog article for $5? A mobile app for $50. Go for it! Some sucker will eventually take the bait and run with it. But once reality sinks in, your freelancer will realize that it’s easier to make money selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. And the door will get slammed shut.
3. Never give concrete examples. When discussing the project, speak in generalities at all times. Even if you know of a company that’s doing exactly what you want to do, there’s no need to pass that information on. It would only make their job easier, and that’s not your goal now is it?
4. Ignore your freelancers. Ignore their emails, phone calls, texts, pings, payment milestones, questions, you name it. Ignore your freelancers and, pretty soon, they’ll ignore you too! It becomes sort of a fun game … until they want payment for work to date. Oops.
5. Ask for “Oh, one more thing.” Sure, freelancers are paid for their time, experience and knowledge. But just because you wouldn’t ask your attorney for “Oh, one more thing,” that’s no reason not to ask your web programmer or graphic designer to sweeten the pot.
6. Assume you got yourself a Jack-of-all-Trades. Web design? Web development? Web optimization? They’re all the same – web stuff. Save a few bucks by expecting that your highly specialized professional does a little homework and goes the whole 9 yards for you.
7. Expect a freelancer to be your 24/7 Employee. If they value sleep, they can go work a “9 to 5” job, eh? Good thinking. Ditto for Saturday afternoon fire drills. If you really, really want to drive your freelancer mad, make a habit of disturbing their sleep patterns and home life.
By avoiding these 7 “worst practices”, you’re well on your way to building a great working relationship and getting great work done.
Congratulations to the 7 regional winners of our Big Idea Startup Competition. Now it’s your turn to vote for the 8th Finalist. Here’s how it works:
Check out quick 2-minute video pitches from our 5 remaining Wildcard Semifinalist, then vote for your favorite Big Idea. One winner advances to our February 6 Finals, competing for $10,000 in Elance credits (plus a meeting with a top VC).
You can cast your ballot once per day through February 4, so vote now. Also spread the word by using hashtag: #bigidea
The judges have spoken. Meet your other 7 regional Finalists.
With 800+ amazing entries, narrowing the field was no small task. But after a preliminary round, and heated live competitions at events around the globe yesterday, our 7 distinguished panels of judges selected the best-of-the-best:
Assists brands looking to distribute their content through mobile and social messaging.
Be sure to follow the Finals competition via social media (and use the hashtag: #bigidea) on February 6, as we’ll share up-to-the-minute details through online channels.
Thanks to everyone who competed yesterday.
The regional Semifinals were inspiring, and the Elance team couldn’t be more impressed by the startups who presented. Your Big Ideas are sure to have an impact soon. So good luck to one and all. Ditto for those who threw their hat in the ring for the first round. Well done.
Startup fever is spreading worldwide, fast, as our Big Idea Competition is now underway. The global Semifinals are in full-swing around the world, with U.S. events happening tonight.
While we’ve run out of room for folks to watch today’s competition live (thanks to everyone who reserved a seat at one of our 7 locations tonight), we will keep the conversation going in real-time through our specially-created social media page.
Here’s where you can follow the Big Idea Contest, pitch-by-pitch and surprise-by-surprise, as our regional judges narrow the field all day and night on January 30:
You can join the conversation as well, using the hashtag: #bigidea
Don’t forget that from now through February 4, you can also vote online for our Wildcard winner. Help us choose the final spot to compete for $10,000 in Elance credits and a meeting with top venture capitalists.
Elance is thrilled to team up with the global payment solution Payoneer, co-sponsoring free and informative sessions for freelancers around the world. Elance is excited to be joining forces with Payoneer for these events. They’re now making the payment process easier and more cost efficient in 200+ countries, offering a full-range of flexible payout options for freelancers.
Sure to be both entertaining and invaluable, the events include free training sessions, introductions to Elance and Payoneer, success stories, panel discussions with local guest speakers and a wonderful opportunity to network with the teams and fellow entrepreneurs.
There will also be drawings for Apple iPad Minis, plus free refreshments.
Yup, we’ll bring food and beverages too, as well as other prizes. Plus at each event, Elance will be honoring top-performing freelancers from that region. So don’t miss the boat. Register below for an event near you and take your career to the next level:
Welcome to Advice from an Elancer – a place to ask your Elance questions (through Elance’s LinkedIn page) and get them answered as thoroughly and personally as possible. My name is Dorothy D. and I have worked with Elance as a freelancer since April 2009. I have always tried to help other Elancers understand how things work and how to accomplish more. In Advice From An Elancer I will address as many questions as I can each week. In some cases, questions have been edited for clarity.
If you end up in a dispute, is it always worth seeing it through to the end?
Advice from an Elancer:
Even if you are right and have the documentation to prove it, sometimes it just isn’t worth it. It is sad to say, but if you have been attempting to resolve it on your own already, the 2-business day “Member Resolution” period won’t really change anything with an unreasonable person. It is certainly possible that, with an Elance facilitator, you will be able to work through the problem. Whether you proceed to arbitration is really, for me, a money issue. Arbitration requires payment. I strongly suggest reviewing the cost of arbitration against the amount of money at stake. Is it worth the cost or will you end up with LESS than you started or only slightly ahead – with quite a bit of time invested. If you are having issues, start a dispute, but monitor how much money, time, and effort are going into it.
Is it ethical for a client to ask for an NDA after a job is completed?
Advice from an Elancer:
An NDA, or non-disclosure agreement, is a contract that states that the freelancer will not receive any byline or credit for the job – basically, it is ghostwriting. It is usually asked for at the beginning of a job, but if a client doesn’t mention it, I ask. I want to know if my work will be credited. If you were counting on using it in your portfolio but the client has asked you to sign an NDA before releasing funds, at least ask for a reference on LinkedIn or a review to use on your website.
The best way to deal with these situations is to make certain that things are worked out BEFORE you start the job. Ask questions. Lots of them – until you are clear on the job.
How does the Elance Level System work and how can I increase my level?
Advice from an Elancer:
The Level, Point, and Ranking system is based on an algorithm known only by Elance. It takes into account: Service Delivery, Client Relationships, and Marketing. It will vary wildly, depending on what you are working on and shouldn’t be your primary concern. Provide your clients with high quality work and you will find yourself with repeat jobs and invitations, which will boost your level.
That’s enough for today. If you have questions or want to follow the conversation of other Elancers, visit the Discussion page of our LinkedIn page.
2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for online work, and particularly for businesses that hire talent in the cloud. If last year’s trends are any indicator, the future looks exceedingly bright. In 2013, over 1.1 million new freelancers and 441,000 new businesses joined the Elance community (a hearty welcome from our team to each and every one of you). The growth in our marketplace has been dramatic and continues to accelerate, driving a 50% year-over-year increase in freelancer earnings.
As we look beyond the numbers, it’s clear that businesses are now getting work done in an entirely new way. In fact, an exciting new future of work is emerging. Based on what we saw happening on Elance in 2013, these are our 4 predictions for online work in 2014:
1. Freelancers will command double-digit wage increases—Freelancers are enjoying higher earnings due in part to increasing demand for specialized talent. In December 2013, the average hourly rate on Elance for a U.S. based freelancer rose to $27. Increased demand for both Creative and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) skills drove hourly rates up 10 percent last year and are predicted to fuel similar increases in 2014.
2. Freelance technology professionals will become part of every company’s team — IT and Programming continue to be the highest-growth online staffing categories, representing nearly 40% percent of hiring last year. In 2014 more businesses will turn to online work marketplaces to find software programmers, application developers, system administrators and data scientists. In 2013, the demand for networking and security professionals increased over 400 percent, enterprise software developers 100 percent, and mobile app developers 50 percent compared to the same period last year.
3. Your next MVP may be a freelancer—More businesses are adopting a hybrid staffing model, comprised of both full-time employees and a trusted extended workforce of freelancers. In the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, the number of companies hiring across multiple skill categories increased over 30 percent, with German companies increasing 69 percent.
4. Online hiring will be local—Even when hiring online, 2013 data shows that many businesses prefer to hire local talent when possible. The demand for talent that is both local and online talent will continue to grow in 2014.
In addition to the annual Global Online Employment Report, Elance just released our regular monthly U.S. Employment Report for December 2013. Both are derived from hiring and payment data and measure several key indicators, including the number of new jobs created, the number of people looking for work and local data on hiring and wage growth on Elance.
Each report reveals exciting news for the Elance community, as expressed by Elance CEO Fabio Rosati. “With millions of talented freelancers working online, more businesses are meeting their staffing needs online,” Fabio said. “Until recently, a team of Elancers was the secret weapon for entrepreneurs and startups, but in 2013 we saw a noticeable shift in the labor market with many large companies building extended workforces online to engage talent they don't have in-house.”