If there’s one thing the team here at Elance wishes we could do more often, it’s meet face-to-face with Elancers. We love hearing what really matters most in your lives.
With that in mind, we were excited to host a Work Differently Summit at our Mountain View, CA headquarters Tuesday night to highlight what “Work Differently” means to our community and employees.
It was a chance for local Elancers to drop by as the sun set, getting to know the leadership team and other staffers. They also heard from successful Elance clients and freelancers, plus there was plenty of time to network with fellow Elancers and simply enjoy some hors d'oeuvres and refreshments.
Well over one hundred Elancers braved a surprisingly rainy night to join us for the summit. Event activities ranged from networking and socializing to presentations by successful Elancers. Elance CEO Fabio Rosati kicked off the program with an introduction to working differently, followed by other members of the leadership team discussing some great new features and hidden gems.
We would like to thank Corrina Stasik for her well-received presentation that gave insights into an online professional. And another big hit was a panel discussion featuring three Elance clients: Kevin Zittle of GoVoluntr, Jon Acosta of Acosta Productions and Jonathan Fleming of Jonathan Fleming & Associates. A big thank you to each of the panelists, as well as everyone who dropped by for an enjoyable evening. We enjoyed spending time with you.
For those not in Bay Area, fret not. We’re planning similar events around the country soon. And our European team will be hosting more Work Differently Summits on the other side of the pond too. Stay tuned for details, as we’ll be sure to let you know when an event is coming to your neck of the woods.
If you create websites for Elance clients, we have great news for you. We’re now partnering with fast-growing web hosting service Arvixe to make your job easier and your clients happier.
Plus as a special perk for Elancers, you can now design your client’s website in Arvixe’s Hosting Sandbox Application free for 6 months. Their handy app is powerful, secure and easy-to-use (it’s ready to work with 260+ scripts – from WordPress and Drupal to Joomla and OpenCart), and it's available now in Elance's collection of applications. It's even been customized to work seamlessly with the Elance platform, including its look and feel.
Once your website development is finished, just hand off ownership of the hosting environment to your client. There are zero transfer issues. The client simply begins paying for Arvixe’s monthly hosting services. But with low rates and awesome features, your client will thank you for steering them in the right direction.
Check out the Arvixe Hosting Sandbox and enjoy your bonus offer for Elancers.
Elance CEO Fabio Rosati is a regular contributor to the American Express OPEN Forum, the financial giant’s online site powering small business success. Below is a recent column from Fabio discussing how companies are no longer limited to their local economies. See the original post here.
Brad Simmons was eager to hire employees for ClearMechanic, his mobile app development firm for the automotive industry. But he encountered one major obstacle: Because he’s based in San Francisco, he was competing for the talent and attention of workers who have an eye toward the Googles and Facebooks of the area.
Rather than straining to find employees in that market, Simmons turned to the great equalizer: online work.
“Living in an area where the cost of living is high, the time and money I save with online freelancers helps me be more successful and focus on what’s most important for our growth,” Simmons says.
These days, being bound to a region with too much competition or too few resources doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocre work. It’s possible to be successful wherever your business is, regardless of what project you need to hire for, by tapping into the wealth of freelancers who work online.
That is especially helpful not just for areas that are highly competitive, but also for areas that suffered the most in the economic downturn. According to Elance’s most recent report of online hiring, in U.S. regions hardest-hit by unemployment, total freelancer earnings were up tremendously last year. This includes Rhode Island (+89 percent), Mississippi (+67 percent), New Jersey (+58 percent), Michigan (+54 percent) and California (+41 percent). The same goes for Eastern Europe, where Poland, Bulgaria and the Ukraine levered their strong technical skills to significantly drive 2012 earnings.
Though she’s far from the competitive streets of San Francisco, Alisha Fuller also decided hiring online rather than locally was the best solution for her Jamaica wedding venue, Hummingbird Hall. “Being from a rural area, it can be hard to find talent at the right time and price,” Fuller says. “Using online workers is like having an extended team of specialists, everywhere, who I can use when needed.”
Small businesses that are seeking online workers are finding a surprising level of talent, as skilled employees choose to forgo the corporate world or industry hubs to work freelance jobs from wherever they happen to live. For example, Remington McElhaney, a 19-year-old worker from remote Idaho, specializes in animation graphic design for clients around the world, all from his Coeur D’Alene home. Online workers like McElhaney bring opportunities for small businesses. Even though high-profile companies and startups are scooping up much of the available programming talent within 500 miles, with online workers, you’re never shut out from building your own talented teams.
In fact, small businesses are counting on these employees to help them compete with larger companies. The biggest needs that they’re seeking to fill online include the technology talent gap (Web and mobile app development and programming), as well as a recent surges in online content needs (writers and editors) and design needs (from Web and graphic designers to Photoshop and Illustrator experts).
As a small business seeking talent, rest assured you can escape your local economy and run free in a market unhampered by geography. It’s the key to economic growth wherever you live, so take the opportunity and run with it.
While Elance provides you with many handy tools for communicating and collaborating, sometimes teams have specific needs and opt for third-party solutions. One software program that’s gaining a lot of traction is Doodle, an online scheduling tool. Below is a quick guest blog post from Doodle’s CEO, Michael Näf, explaining the product.
Communication is something that’s essential for any project to be a success. As an Elancer, you’ve surely experienced the truth of that statement in a personal way.
With that said, finding a time to have a meeting with one or more people can definitely be a challenge. Just because a time works for you doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for everyone. That may be obvious, but it’s still a frustrating reality to deal with.
We created an online scheduling tool, called Doodle, to help solve the problem of getting people together at a specific time. If you’d like to make scheduling less painful, then I’d encourage you to use Doodle alongside Elance to take your collaboration to the next level.
Benefiting from better communications.
Most of the products that we offer through Doodle are completely free, and we also provide extensive time zone, language, and calendar support. This means that collaboration through an international online platform like Elance will be effortless.
Included below are some of the core features you can leverage:
Group Scheduling - Registration isn't required to use the basic free service, so getting started is quick and easy. To schedule a meeting, you just select some possible dates and times and let the participants specify what works best for them. With a quick look, you'll see everyone's availability and be able to make a final decision that satisfies the entire group.
Premium Doodle - This ad-free professional version of Doodle offers premium functionality and customizable branding options.
MeetMe - With this personal scheduling profile, your Elance contacts can see when you’re busy and available and will then be able to submit meeting requests to get on your calendar.
BookMe - Designed to help service providers streamline their booking process online.
Being more productive on Elance.
While Doodle can be used to make your project communication on Elance more productive, we’ve also found that Elance has helped our business become more productive. Just like with any other company, specific projects randomly come up from time to time, and while our team could handle them on their own, this activity can take time away from other established priorities.
In order to keep our employees focused on their usual tasks and avoid burdening them with additional tasks, we’ve used Elance freelancers to help us with things like user support and market research, and our experiences have been very positive.
In the end, it’s all about getting work done in an efficient way, and I hope you’ll be able to do that with Doodle in the same way that we’ve done that with Elance.
About the Author
Michael Näf is the CEO of Doodle, which is the world’s leading online scheduling service. Doodle is based in Zurich, Switzerland and is used by more than fifteen million people per month.
For Yahia Khan this spells exciting opportunities he couldn’t have imagined just a few short years ago. Especially since Yahia is both an SEO freelancer and a client who hires other Elancers for his company, G.I.T. Expert.
Born and raised in Bangladesh, Yahia moved to the U.K. a while back to study computing. After graduating he took a full-time 9-to-5 job in the U.K., working for a U.S.-based tech company.
But Yahia’s heart was still in his homeland of Bangladesh. So he returned to his hometown of Sylhet and soon found Elance (and the many benefits of working online freelance jobs). “I love freedom and I love being my own boss,” he says. “And I hope to continue making my business bigger and bigger.”
Today Yahia’s business is growing fast, as he and his team of SEO and link building professionals help companies get more traffic and more leads from their websites. He even hires Elancers himself, working with a stable of 15 freelance content writers and SEO experts to create articles, blogs and other online properties to make his client’s websites more successful.
Yahia’s clients, mostly based in the U.S., love that G.I.T. Expert is able to deliver great results quickly and at a reasonable price. “My Elance writers are at the heart of my business,” he notes. “Finding people with great English writing skills in my country is difficult, and keeping them is expensive. With Elance I get quality freelancers on a pay-as-you-go basis and pass the savings on to my clients.”
Yahia has one great tip for Elance clients searching for quality work: Test runs. “I hire multiple freelancers on the same project, sending them a small amount of work first as a test,” he explains. “Then I measure the quality of the work and move forward with the top performers. It’s the perfect way to work with a variety of the very best people in a very cost-efficient way.”
He also has an astute tip for fellow freelancers: “Deliver exceptional work on every project and earn great feedback.” As an Elance client who also hires, Yahia is quick to add: “Terrific feedback is certainly something I look for when searching for the best people to work with.”
Needless to say, Yahia’s clients (and freelancers) appreciate his insightful approach to optimization. And it’s why they keep coming back to G.I.T. Expert again and again for more awesome SEO work.
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.
Question #1: Category Confusion
Every time I click on the job post I am instructed to subscribe to a certain category to apply.Why?
Advice from an Elancer:
When you signed up for Elance, you were asked what area you would be working in. You may have indicated Writing & Translation, Admin Support, Sales & Marketing, or one of the many other categories. Jobs are listed in categories and you may only bid on those in the category you have signed up for. You may change or add categories at any time by clicking on your name in the upper right hand corner and going to your Membership. The Membership page summarizes your membership. If you need to edit any information, click the edit tab and you will be presented with the opportunity to change information. If you wish to change your category, you may do that with no fee. If you wish to add a second category, you may do so for a fee.
In this example, the Writing & Translation tab has been clicked. The results will include only jobs in this category. As you can see, the jobs can be narrowed even further if you like.
Check what category you are subscribed to and make sure it is the right one for you!
Question #2: Not Getting Jobs!
How come I have completed the processes of Elance, but am still not getting any jobs.
If you spot the Elance bus on the highways, byways or city streets of Texas between now and Saturday, March 9th you could earn $100 in Elance credits (good for hiring your next freelancer). Simply snap an original picture of the Elance bus and tweet the photo to us @elance – be sure to include your username.
There are a few rules for lassoing-in your $100 credit: All qualifying photos must feature the Elance bus pictured here, with the writing on the side (Elance Work Differently) clearly visible. All qualifying pictures must also be original, no duplicates accepted. And Elance reserves the right to disqualify any submissions.
Plus, don’t hesitate to flag down the Elance bus if you see it rolling in Austin (carefully, please). You might earn yourself some special treats from the ever-generous Elance team.
So get your camera ready and snap into action. Austin, the fun is headed your way.
When chatting with clients new to Elance, one of the first questions we’re sometimes asked is, “How safe is Elance?”
Our answer: Seriously safe.
As you can see, here at Elance we don’t mince words when it comes to something as critical as your security. But since we do have the room here, let’s go a bit deeper and clarify exactly how and why you’re seriously safe at Elance.
1. An iron-clad working environment.
To make sure your money, information and rights are always protected, we’ve invested tons of money in the latest security tools and systems. We also work around-the-clock to make sure this technology is hitting on all cylinders, at all times.
Elance also works diligently to verify freelancer identities so you truly know who you’re working with. Just the tip of the iceberg is validating email addresses, phone numbers and geographic locations (and for US-based freelancers there are also confirmations through W-9s and Tax IDs). Freelancers can also, have their credential further verified by a third party – which you’ll see noted on their Profile pages. On Profile pages you can also read other clients’ feedback and ratings to get even deeper insights into each freelancer’s work history.
When working with freelancers you can also count on secure, dedicated workrooms. Only you and invited guests have access to your workrooms, where you can communicate, share files and collaborate with teams in confidence.
2. Protection for your “working” capital.
We realize that you come to Elance for great work at a fair price. With that in mind we do everything humanly possibly (and technically possible) to make sure you only pay for results.
Hourly Work Protection: Thanks to Elance’s Work View™ Protection you only pay for hoursworked on your job by your freelancers. Built in are plenty of safeguards, ranging from your ability to view real-time screenshots of work as your freelancers are on-the-clock, to your freedom to audit and reject timecards if need-be.
Fixed Priced Escrow Protection: With Elance’s Escrow Protection you pay only for work received. You can inspect all work from your freelancer, and only when you approve the work are funds released from Escrow.
3. Dispute Assistance (should issues arise).
It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally work disagreements do occur. When there is a difference of opinion between a client and a freelancer, Elance provides a process to help your resolve the situation. You’ll have access to Dispute Resolution Assistance for both Hourly and Fixed Price jobs – and if needed, Arbitration. Learn more
Naturally Elance works hard to avoid disputes before they become disputes. This includes offering multiple channels of communication so everyone can get on the same page before the job begins, as well as the option to refund and cancel payments if the work has been started.
Work through the Elance platform, and you’ll work safely.
Whew. That’s just a quick glimpse into the immense Elance world of security that awaits you at every step, every day. That is, as long as you’re working jobs through Elance -- and not taking them offline where fraud can occur.
Hopefully this blog post answers many of your questions on protection in the workplace. To learn more, visit our Trust and Safety page.
Our Elance staffer Megan reports that a great time is being had by one and all on the still-rolling Startup Bus 2013.
In fact, at least on her bus (which pulled off out of New York City Sunday morning), total exhaustion hasn’t kicked in yet. Amazing, eh? Sounds like energy drinks are flowing free? Perhaps some other beverages too?
Just to get you all caught up, Elance is a sponsor of the Startup Bus competition and Megan is riding shotgun -- helping entrepreneurs use talented Elancers during the 72 hour journey. Here is the story, if you haven’t heard.
Megan’s team rolled into Knoxville at 3:00 am this morning, filled with smart, passionate “buspreneurs” from everyone (Tampa, Oklahoma, Finland, you name it). Megan reports that the biggest challenge so far is finding good Internet service and enough power outlets to charge their many devices. Pretty much the same issues we all face on a daily basis…
Oh, moving around is a problem too, given the space limitations on a bus. That makes sense.
The seven Startup Bus teams will be pitching their business ideas tomorrow, and the top four will continue. Check the Elance facebook page for blow-by-blow details as the completion progresses!
In yesterday’s blog post you met our fun social media maven, Megan (not her official title, I can’t imagine?).
Now that Megan has gotten a taste for the limelight, all the attention has gone straight to her head. No longer the unassuming social media savant we’ve come to know and love, she’s now demanding to use this blog as her personal forum to discuss Megan’s upcoming trip on a Startup Bus.
Because Elance is a sponsor of Startup Bus 2013, we’re gonna cave into her demands this one time.
Actually, the Startup Bus is a pretty cool story. Six buses take off from 6 different cities (including Mexico City). Each is headed to the South by Southwest conference (SXSW) in Austin. And each has onboard a handful of entrepreneurs, all furiously working around-the-clock to create a new product by the time they roll into Texas (72 hours later).
Several Elancers will also be online helping out when work is needed, and one Elance staffer will be on a bus (yes, Megan). Let’s see what Megan has to say for herself.
1. It’s a heck of a lot easier to fly to Texas. Why on earth take a Startup Bus?
Megan: I’m always up for and adventure and Startup Bus is an experience like no other! It’s an action-packing three days that gives you a chance to step outside your comfort zone, meet phenomenal people and see companies form overnight.
2. What’s all the fuss about SXSW? Have you been before? Will you bring us back a T-shirt?
Megan: Similar to Startup Bus, SXSW is a conference jam-packed with great people and the hottest startups. It’s where tech people from around the world gather to share their ideas, knowledge and new startups. This will be my third year going to the event, so I know exactly how to maneuver within the chaos. I’ve got my tennis shoes packed and camera ready!
3. What are your road qualifications?
Megan: Road trips are my favorite past time! In fact, my last birthday party took place during a road trip from Vermont to Toronto.
4. What are you doing to prepare for your adventure on the Startup Bus?
Megan: I’ve talked to a few alumni from previous Startup Buses, so I have a loose idea of what to expect. But from the sound of it, the best thing to expect is the unexpected!
I’ve also posted this photo on my desk to prepare for the view I’ll be seeing for three days.
5. What exactly will you be doing for 72 hours on the Startup Bus?
Megan: While the “buspreneurs” are busy starting their companies, I’ll be helping them use Elance to build bigger, better and faster companies. I’ll also be sharing photos, stories and videos from the road.