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.
Answer: I’m on the marketing team here at Elance. I head up the social media channels, which means I get to tweet, post, pin and link to great stories for and about the vibrant Elance community. Other fun tasks include helping with the Elance Online Work Differently Summit and the Work Differently Photo Contest.
2. What do you like most about working at Elance?
Answer: Elance is a truly global company. I’ve learned so much about so many different cultures, from both my colleagues here at the HQ and from people from around the world who I get to interact with on a daily basis.
3. How do you Work Differently?
Answer: I Work Differently by skipping the commute twice a week, working remotely from San Francisco. Sometimes when I need a change of scenery, I take my laptop and mobile hotsport to a great outdoor location like the top of SF's Corona Heights.
4. What songs are now on heavy rotation as you’re working-away?
Answer: On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons: It’s happy, upbeat and makes me smile!
5. When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Answer: My two favorite pastimes are traveling and meeting new people. After graduating from college in 2011, I spent 14 months roaming around Europe and the United States having coffee with strangers along the way. Fortunately the Bay Area has great places to explore and people to meet!
6. (Bonus question!) OK, ask yourself anything. No subject is off the table.
My question and answer:
Megan, have you ever been to Antarctica?
Why yes I have! In November, my friend I and I took a ten-day cruise to Antarctica. It was unlike every place I’ve been before: No inhabitants, electricity, or buildings -- just ice, water and snow for as far as the eyes can see.
Oh, well I suppose there were inhabitants. We saw plenty of adorably awkward penguins, sea lions and a handful of humpback whales.
(Can you spot Megan in this picture? Look carefully.)
In case you missed the latest hoopla, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has gotten herself in a wee-bit of hot water from a recently-leaked memo. See story
The note, issued through the company’s HR Department, explains that beginning this summer Yahoo!’s over 11,500 employees can no longer work from home. Period.
Even if the cable guy is coming!
This includes not only staffers near the Yahoo! HQ who WFH in their plaid pajamas on the occasional Fridays, but also employees who live hundreds of miles from the nearest Yahoo! office. Which means these workers will have to unplug their modems and relocate to a new city just to keep their jobs.
And, after all this turmoil and expense, these Yahoos won’t even be able to get cable TV. Because who’s going to be there to let the cable guy in? Yes, we’re talking about the fall of civilization here.
But in all seriousness, needless to say, the backlash has been swift. Since we’re not one to swoop down on a person when they’re having a tough go of it, we would simply like to let Marissa know that, thank you very much, working from home works.
If you’re reading this Marissa, rest assured that freelancers and businesses alike on Elance are quite happy with the whole online working arrangement. In fact, our own studies (and many, many other studies) prove that people who work from home are happier, more productive and do a better job. Just browse our most-recent global business survey or global freelancer survey for a quick glimpse of the future of work. You’ll see why people at Elance Work Differently and how it enhances their lives and livelihood.
Ironically, Maynard Webb recently wrote about this very subject in his book Rebooting Work. Why is this ironic? Because Maynard sits on the Yahoo! Board of Directors.
Hmmm? Maybe with so much happening at Yahoo! it’s hard for Marissa to hear what’s coming through loud and clear to the rest of us. Online work is here to stay, so enjoy it and embrace it.
Thanks for listening Marissa. Have a nice day, and feel free to WFH tomorrow. You deserve it.
With South By Southwest (SXSX 2013) just around the corner, Elance is doing things up in a BIG way (yup, everything is bigger in Texas).
We’re co-sponsoring the exciting Startup Bus 2013 competition, which hits the road starting March 3.
During this fun competition several teams will motor from various cities, while furiously working to launch a product by the time they roll into SXSW. This means turning their entrepreneurial ideas into a reality in just 72 hours. On a cramped bus. With no sure guarantees of personal hygiene.
As an Elancer you have two ways to be a part of the festivities. You can even choose which specific Startup Bus to support and follow, as buses will be taking off from several different cities (including Mexico City).
1. Be on a Startup Bus remote support team.
Apply to be on a Startup Bus’ “parked” team, offering on-demand skills when needed. Each team will have a host of professionals online waiting to tackle specific jobs. You’ll get paid for your hard work as well, plus grow your reputation tremendously.
2. Follow the Startup Buses activities online.
Can’t participate? Browse the Elance Facebook page and follow our tweets, keeping track of each team’s progress. We’ll keep you posted on how the work is going and who drives away with the winning work. Check back often at the Elance blog too, as we’ll update activities throughout the week.
Hurry, buses are boarding soon.
If you want to be included on an Elance Startup Bus 2013 team, you’ll need to act fast. Really fast. We’ll be assigning remote seats in the next few days. So apply now – because that’s just how you roll.
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: Proposal declined for incorrect reason
A potential Client said they would send me a few pages of copy for a translation project that I had bid on. When I told them I only do test translations of 500 words, they declined my bid with the reason “the contractor does not have the required expertise.” How do I deal with situations like this?
Advice from an Elancer:
The reason was not incorrect. The Client was, however, in violation of Elance’s Terms of Service by asking you for “a few pages of copy” for you to test your skill. You should not provide ANY samples for a Client other than work you have done that is not protected by agreement by a client. In other words, if you agreed that you would not take credit for it and it is allowable in a portfolio or as an example. Elance’s Site Usage Policy states that Clients may not “Post any Jobs that require free services.” The request for a sample is a free service.
Clients are given a few pre-written choices for declining a Freelancer. This one chose “does not have the required expertise”. This doesn’t reflect on you at all. It does not affect your rating.
As for how to deal with such posters, let them know that it is against Elance policy to provide samples. You may report the Client via the posting. Click the Report Violation link located just below the job description. The Report Violation Window will pop up and you can enter that the Client violated Elance Terms by asking for a sample and explain it.
Never give anything away for free! Imagine if every bidder completed this Clients sample request. He could get his entire job done for free!
Question #2: Communication Problems (A Client Question)
I recently hired my first Elance Freelancer. I asked for her contact information right away, sent to my email address, but she sent it on the Workroom message board. This really angers me that she didn’t follow my instructions and I plan to take it off of her star rating. Why wouldn’t a Freelancer follow a simple request like that?
Advice from an Elancer:
I can only guess. Freelancers are told to keep a record of all communication in the Workroom. While they may communicate in other ways, the important elements of the discussion are to be transcribed in the Workroom to keep a record of the contact. I don’t know why the Freelancer chose to reply via the message board rather than email, but she may have felt that she needed to keep a record that she was providing the information to you. Honestly, I hope that she does a great job and that this was a misunderstanding. I hope you rate her on her work, rather than a small bump in the road in the beginning of the job.
Maynard should know a thing or two about adapting. He began his career as a traditional “company man” at IBM, gradually evolving to the Silicon Valley “way” while working at eBay (COO) and LiveOps (CEO). Today he has a clear view of our transforming world of work, sitting on the boards of Yahoo!, Salesforce and LiveOps – all while juggling other enterprises and writing a best-selling book (with the help of Carlye Adler). Here’s some of our conversation:
1. In Rebooting Work you note that 47% of American workers today are unhappy. Why do you think this is?
Maynard Webb: People today are accustomed to choices. The TV has 200 channels plus on-demand movies, the smartphone has 50 applications, the car radio is programmed to their musical tastes. But at work, there is very little choice. At the office you’re told what to do, and there’s little or no satisfaction in that. People want control and many businesses won’t yet let go of that control.
2. You also mentioned that traditional “paternalistic” companies actually hinder employee growth and productivity. Can you elaborate?
Maynard Webb: When management dictates exactly what to do, and how to do it, it takes the soul out of the job. There is no incentive to excel or go beyond the minimum expected. Companies also try to protect their workers from being poached by other companies, hence they don’t want individuals to shine too bright or know what their real worth is. But now with LinkedIn, this information is out there regardless.
3. You foresee a huge shortage of qualified workers coming – “a war for talent” as you say – what’s behind this insight?
Maynard Webb: Among skilled positions, there continues to be many job openings that can’t be filled. This means the most-demanded workers now have more opportunities and more options, and they are increasingly choosing to work online rather at an office. As a business, if you want to attract the best talent, you have to be at places like Elance where top workers are offering their skills.
4. In a nutshell, what is Rebooting Work?
Maynard Webb: Rebooting Work is a change in mindset among workers and businesses. It is people realizing that what worked yesterday doesn’t work today. Rather than being afraid, people need to embrace change and take control. The faster you realize this the better position you will be in as work evolves to a point where you’re completely in charge of your own destiny.
We’re always tickled pink to hear stories about Elancers who not only love their work, but also find true love while working on Elance. Check-out some pillow talk from our Facebook page.
But for every passionate story of someone falling madly-deeply in love through Elance, there are a thousand (million?) stories that are equally heart-warming. We’re speaking about how Elance helps families spend more time together. Here are a few of the many Elancers who Work Differently and are sharing the love on our Facebook page.
Thanks to everyone who shared their sentiments. You really make us feel loved.
Well said, one and all, well said.
Although the holiday itself isn’t celebrated universally, the sentiment certainly is. And it’s wonderful to hear so many stories of Elance, and the true definition of a labor of love. Enjoy your day.
Thanks to everyone who submitted a photo and inspiring story, sharing how you Work Differently on Elance. Thanks also to all who voted on our 16 motivating finalists. We were overwhelmed by both the quality and quantity of stories. It was truly inspiring to learn what a difference Elance is making in people’s lives and livelihood.
Finally, after counting the ballots, we now have our First Place winner: Mark Lloyd Binar
Congratulations Mark. He earned $500 and will be featured soon in Elance’s Inspiration Center.
We also want to congratulate our Second Place and Third Place winners: Sam Debey and Gillian Whyte-Roseway. They’ll each receive $250 and be featured on our Inspiration Center in the near-future as well. Well done.
We’re excited to be a sponsor of Cowork in the Park – a fun and invaluable day of mass-coworking at Wynyard Park (in the heart of Sydney), and it's coming up soon, so be sure to register now and attend.
Cowork in the Park is an enlightening (and free!) opportunity for freelancers and businesses alike to work in the fresh air (ahhh!), network with fellow entrepreneurs and learn all about coworking and online work. Hosted by HUB Sydney, here are the event details:
Cowork in the Park
Thursday, February 21
8 am to 3 pm
To help you comfortably work-away, mingle and collaborate there will be all sorts of amenities, including:
• Power charging stations
• Tables, chairs and umbrellas
• Networking areas
• Boardrooms for meetings
• Solar powered sound system
• Bean bag chairs for relaxing
Naturally, as well as satisfying your working needs, the Cowork in the Park sponsors will also tend to your personal needs with:
• Food and snacks
• Beverages (including coffee and chai tea)
• Roving massages
There will also be plenty of food trucks parked nearby, as well as hosted events throughout the day – like lunchtime “lightening talks” featuring experts from business, design, tech, wellness and other fields.
Elance will have a strong presence during Cowork in the Park, as Elance Mobilizer Jonathan Blackwell will be on hand to answer your questions. Be sure to RSVP and stop by and say, “G’day.”