Have a great idea for an app? But haven’t a clue on how to bring it to life?
No problem. Now there’s an easy-to-use guide that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create your own mobile app, including how to use Elancers to make it happen.
And if that isn’t good enough news on its own, we’re also excited to bring you limited-time savings on this popular guide. It’s possible because Elance has partnered with app savant Brandon Cowan of Crazy Dog Apps for limited-time pricing on his recently-released App Making Guide. It’s now available through February 15 at Apple’s App Store for the special price of just $.99 US (you’ll find similar savings in other region’s App Stores too).
So download the app that’s all about making apps (seems oddly appropriate, eh?) to your iPhone or iPad to discover how easy and affordable it is to place your app squarely in today’s booming world of mobile.
The “App”tly-titled App Making Guide is a step-by-step handbook on how to make your app without doing any programming yourself (whew!). Written in plain-English for people who don’t know a thing about coding (read: most of us), it details the best path to take and helps keep you organized and on track. Here are some things covered in the guide:
The App Making Guide even helps you calculate how profitable your app will be. Whether you’re building an app to support your business or to offer-up to the general public, this guide helps gets you there swiftly.
As mentioned, the App Making Guide is written by the wonderfully-talented Brandon Cowan – Co-Founder of Crazy Dog Apps. Just 19 years-old and based in Australia, Brandon is a big fan of Elance and uses many of our freelancers to develop his company’s wildly-popular apps.
A case in point is his App Making Guide, which was made using Elance talent for under $700 (US). It reached #7 on Apple’s Australian App Store (even surpassing Angry Birds!). Again, this proves that you don’t have to be a millionaire or Fortune 500 company to get a super-successful app into the market.
Download the guide and get your app built ASAP. And “Cheers” Brandon, for making your app available at a special limited-time price for Elancers (through February 15).
Originally a pure graphic artist by trade (a career he toiled in for some time, dutifully working the corporate 9-to-5 grind), Esteban wisely saw a bright future in mobile apps and steered his career in that direction. It was a great choice.
“I love my life and I’m living the dream,” he says.
Now that every company worth its salt is creating a mobile app for their business (and justifiably so, as customers are using mobile apps at record pace), Esteban is enjoying the financial and life-style benefits of creating mobile apps for Elance clients around the globe. In the past two years he’s worked on over 150 Elance projects for 80+ clients, including mobile apps for iPhone and Android projects.
With Argentina facing severe economic difficulties much like most countries, Elance has been a breath of fresh air for Esteban and his family. A father of five young children, he can now earn money to support his family while also organizing his work schedule around family commitments.
“I prefer this way of working,” he notes. “I can enjoy time with my family, control my life and remove stress.”
Esteban’s clients are less stressed too, as he’s helping companies create that awesome mobile app to drive growth and increase revenue. It’s skilled professionals like Esteban who are helping make mobile app development among the most-demanded projects on Elance.
With his talent and wonderful story, Esteban has also earned a coveted spot in the Elance Inspiration Center. Bravo, Esteban, bravo.
Note: As freelancing becomes an increasingly-important force within the world’s workplace, the issues of online worker’s rights is taking center stage. While full-time employees often have access to employee benefits and rights, this is not always the case for freelancers. Below is an article discussing this critical issue in Europe, penned by Joel Dullroy of Deskwanted, with an invitation to voice your opinion in a study they’re conducting. Naturally these matters need to be studied and resolved in all regions of the world.
The situation of freelancers is undoubtedly an important one; and includes the political, economic, and social circumstances of independent workers. Currently, however, there is proportionately little discussion and reform surrounding these issues need to be addressed and rewritten to reflect their economic clout, especially as this demographic swells to account for the majority of the international workforce.
As it stands, the situation of freelancers as a subgroup of the international workforce is still fairly unexplored, and we know comparatively little about this growing demographic which some studies suggest will make up a major part of the European workforce by 2020.
Without information, little can be done to assess the political and social needs of independent workers. This, however, is soon to change.
A study into freelancers is underway.
A group of academics, commissioned by the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP) is currently conducting a European-wide study of freelancers (also referred to as independent professionals or I-pros in the UK), with the aim of better understanding the situation of freelance workers. The outcome of the report will be used by the EFIP to start an EU-level political campaign to fight for better conditions for freelance workers – and much needed workplace reforms.
Why do freelancers’ work protections need to be revised?
We know that work conditions for freelancers need to be improved. The workers’ protections that employees everywhere take for granted – fair taxation, payment protection and affordable healthcare schemes – aren’t extended to independent workers, which has created an environment in which freelancers are too-often exploited for their work.
One recent campaign conducted by the Freelancer’s Union in New York highlighted this all-to-frequent occurrence, when a cumulative invoice of almost $16 million in unpaid freelancer invoices was delivered to the New York senate. Here is a link to their site:
Without appropriate protection laws, these instances of payment infringements are bound to continue; and will become a much larger issue as the freelancer demographic grows.
With some statistics suggesting that 55% of businesses already outsource part of their work to contractors, and multinational companies like IMB introducing strategies to reduce their core workforce to a minimum – aiming to cut 14,000 of 20,000 permanent jobs in Germany alone – the independent workforce is set to become a majority of the European workforce within a decade.
There are some precautions that freelancers can take.
There are of course several ways that freelancers can safeguard their livelihoods. Joining an agency like Elance (which includes their Elance Hourly Work Guarantee), offers a buffer between clients and contractual workers, is one way to reduce the risk of working independently. Elance can hold clients accountable by pinning responsibility back on the client, and ensuring timely payment.
Aside from joining a virtual network of freelancers, another way is to join a physical community of freelancers, like in a coworking space. By surrounding themselves with other independent professionals, freelancers can ask advice on administrative and legal issues, as well as finding trusted clients. There are coworking spaces in hundreds of cities worldwide, which are acting as hubs of freelance talent, supporting independent workers in their work and social life. Deskwanted is a useful tool to find and book coworking spaces in all corners of the globe.
Despite these safeguards, the situation of this growing demographic should be improved on the whole, ensuring they are properly protected by national and regional law.
Anyone working in the EU as a freelancer is happily welcomed to participate by taking part in a brief interview with a member of the research team. If you would like to add your voice, please be in touch with Joel Dullroy email@example.com, International Representative of the Association of Founders and Freelancers – Germany (www.vgsd.de and co-founder of Deskwanted.com).
We’re excited to roll into 2013 with a full head of steam. Now more than ever Elance is helping freelancers Work Differently and be more successful.
A case in point: More Connects.
We’re now increasing the number of Connects you’ll automatically receive each month. This means starting January 29, 2013, without a second thought, you’ll have more opportunities to submit job proposals and boost your career.
The chart below shows how many more Connects you’ll receive each month (depending on the membership plan you have). Read more to learn about all changes to Connects. Also feel free to upgrade your account if you’re feeling inspired and want even more Connects for more job prospects.
Mark your calendar for a weeklong Work Differently Summit, February 18-21.
To get you motivated and deliver real-world tips, Elance will also be hosting a Work Differently Summit in mid-February.
The summit will include a series of online events throughout the week. These 20-30 minute sessions (including a chance for Q&A) will feature different Elancers discussing their experiences and offering first-hand advice. We’ll mix in successful freelancers and clients, giving you a perspective from every angle. You’ll get astute advice from Elancers like yourself, hearing stories and discovering new ways to get more from our workplace. Tune in for insights ranging from how freelancers have turned Elance into a way of life, to how clients are using the platform to build bigger and better companies.
While the exact times of the sessions aren’t etched in stone, check back soon and we’ll let you know when to plop-down in front of your screen for some really, really interesting discussions.
Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned Elancer, you’re sure to learn from these live video sessions (we’ll make them available to watch later too, if you miss a favorite).
Oh, don’t forget to enter our Work Differently Photo Contest.
You can still win $500 or $250 and be spotlighted on Elance. It’s a fun and simple contest, just submit an inspiring photo of you as you Work Differently, and write a brief note explaining your unique story. Learn more about the contest, or cut to the chase and enter to win.
Today we kick-off a fun and informative new feature here on the Elance blog. It’s called Advice From An Elancer, and it’s your opportunity to get timely answers to those all-important freelancer or client questions -- all from a seasoned Elance professional who has walked a mile in your shoes. Feel free to peruse the answers to other people’s questions (or ask your own question on the discussion page of Elance’s LinkedIn Group). Enjoy! Hopefully it will help greatly as you Work Differently in 2013.
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.
Elance is new to me. I need to understand. How do I get my first job when I don't have anything to showcase. All I need to understand is "How do I approach the client or post a proposal which will not only attract the Client or Hiring Manager, I would rather he initiate the PMB, which should result in a Project Award!!!
Advice from an Elancer:
Part of the answer depends upon what area you are working in. If you are in IT or Design, you may provide links to work that you have done online. For writing, you may want to write a few pieces to use for examples of your skills. You can use this technique in several areas. Make some examples simply to use in your portfolio or to share with clients in proposals. You could also use recommendations in your portfolio from previous clients.
You cannot approach a client without making a proposal or asking a question. There is no way to contact a potential client without using a Connect and filling out at least something in the proposal screen. This may be questions for clarification or a bid without an exact amount, but it opens the door to communication.
While it is nice to communicate via PMB, your main impression on the client will from your profile and your proposal. This is the place to show who you are and what you can do. Don’t worry about initiating private conversations. Focus on your public profile and high quality proposals.
I have been on Elance for over a year now but unfortunately I've not even won a bid. Is the problem about my proposals? Or where I come from? (international provider). An employer that was interested in me recently declined my bid because I do not have a feedback. How do I get one when I'm not offered a job? I'm in the Finance and Management section.
Advice from an Elancer:
This was posted within a thread selling an e-book with tips for writing winning proposals. Honestly, to give a precise answer, I would need to see the freelancer’s profile as well as a sample proposal that they have written. Elance is a global business, so it is doubtful that location is the culprit. More likely, your profile is not complete or is not attractive to clients or your proposals are not written in a way that stands out above the others.
Remember, each proposal must be different. You cannot use a “cookie cutter” proposal with small changes and expect to win jobs. There is no secret for writing that magic proposal that will win a job. There are, however, ways that you can write your proposal that will show the client that you are the best candidate for the job. Let your experience and personality shine through. Be confident and explain why you are the best person for their particular job. Realistically, you may have to bid lower for a few jobs to establish a reputation on Elance. Once you have the reputation, you may raise your rates to a more reasonable level.
Another way to gain a reputation is to add some references or some jobs to your portfolio. This will help clients feel comforted that you do, in fact, have experience.
Sometimes it is very tough to get a project on Elance. Do clients get a lot of proposals and get confused and move for the cheapest bid?
Advice from an Elancer:
Some clients are simply looking for the lowest bid to get their job done. Some even say this in the description! Often, the client is looking for good work for an unreasonably low price. This can be frustrating for both the client and bidding freelancers. I have had situations where the client chose a very low bid, did not receive the work they needed, and came back and hired me to fix the work so that it met their needs.
The best case is the client who realizes that you get what you pay for. In other words, the client realizes that to get high quality work, they may have to pay more to get a freelancer who can provide what they need.
There are all types of clients out there. Before you bid, look at their profile. Do they usually hire the lowest bidder? Have they spent very little money on Elance? If so, you may want to save your Connects and look for another client.
Whew, 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.
UPDATE:The Polls are now open! Vote for your favorite photo/story through Febraury 10. Return often, you can cast up to 3 votes daily!
OK, the cat’s out of the bag. Here at Elance we’re thrilled beyond words to officially introduce our new tagline: Work Differently. It’s the rallying cry of our new marketing campaign – as well as the mantra for everything we embody at Elance.
To celebrate we’re hosting a fun contest with cash prizes. It’s also your chance to be featured on the Elance website (read: great exposure to a world of potential clients, not to mention earning the envy of other freelancers).
Ten finalists will be chosen by the Elance team (based on how submissions express the Work Differently mindset – a combination of how compelling the written story is and how aesthetic and creative the photo is). So be original and inspirational!
Fellow Elancers will then vote on the winners (polls are open February 7-10, so be sure to return and vote for your favorite story). We’ll award $500 for the top pick, and two runner-ups will receive $250 each. See contest details.
As mentioned, we’ll also feature the top three prize winners on the pages of Elance’s brand new Inspiration Center. It’s our testimonial section where freelancers and businesses alike tell the world what it means to Work Differently on Elance. You’ll be professionally photographed and filmed as you tell your story, and then added to the Inspiration Center. Check out some stories currently there, and get inspired yourself!
Also get ready for more great additions to the Elance website and your workplace in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’ll be introducing more features, more services and more surprises sure to delight you and help make you even more successful on Elance. You see, the Work Differently tagline is merely the jumping-off point to celebrate everything we’re now able to accomplish together. This includes allowing freelancers to find great work while enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle, plus giving businesses the freedom to accomplish quality work quickly and affordably. Well done, Elancers. Well done. Tell us your story.
We’re constantly looking for ways to help great-performing freelancers stand out. Today we’re pleased to announce two upcoming additions to freelancer’s My Stats: New metrics for rewarding consistent delivery of great services, and changes to the existing benchmarking group for freelancers.
The two new metrics are intended to help differentiate freelancers who consistently deliver high-quality jobs and build long-term, lasting relationships.
Similarly, the enhanced benchmarking will provide more-relevant information to help freelancers understand what other freelancers are doing differently, and how to improve your own rankings. However, My Stats will continue to be visible only to you – although these changes will allow you to grow your Levels rating (and reap the benefits associated with achieving higher Levels).
Here are more details on the up-coming changes:
New “Repeat Clients” metric.
This metric awards more points in their Level calculation to those freelancers who have been able to partner with clients for long periods of time. It’s a great indicator of your ability to build relationships and to successfully meet your clients’ changing needs.
New “Earnings Percentage” metric.
This metric rewards freelancers who consistently complete awarded jobs. A successfully completed job is defined by two factors: 1. Did you complete the job and get your expected payments (or more)? and 2. Has the job gone well? When these conditions are successfully met, it lays the foundation for the type of consistent job delivery that differentiates high-performing accounts. Freelancers who achieve higher than average Earnings Percentage rates will accelerate growth in their Level.
To provide freelancers with more visibility, we’re changing the benchmarking group you’re in to include only the freelancers with similar Levels and Categories. This will give you an opportunity to review what some of your peers are focused on as you grow your own reputation on Elance.
When is this all happening?
Changes to your benchmarking group are already happening for Elancers. As mentioned, only you will be able to see this information since it will only be in your My Stats page.
The two new metrics, and some other smaller changes to My Stats, will be rolled out soon. Don’t worry, we’ll come back here to update you when this change goes live. In the meantime we want you to be aware of what’s coming, so you can begin thinking about how best to take advantage of these new ways to grow your reputation on Elance.
If you’re looking to meet a rugged man with a pioneering spirit and commitment to old-world quality, look no further than Xan Hood.
Founder of the popular clothing outfitter Buffalo Jackson Trading Co., Xan is cut from the same cloth as Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and John Muir. He’s also a devoted and long-time Elance client – which helps greatly to explain his passion for high-end work and superior craftsmanship at every step of the way. It’s the same rough-and-tumble excellence you’ll find in his collection of dress shirts, outdoor jackets, leather goods, shoes and other fashionable sundries.
As Xan shares, “One of the greatest success stories of our business is working with contractors on Elance. Our business couldn’t have grown without them.”
When Xan originally set out to build his clothing company three short years ago, he knew he couldn’t settle for a handful of so-so employees with general skills. That’s not the way Teddy would have manned an army, or Pappa crewed a deep sea fishing expedition. Xan wanted the best of the best, and that’s why he turned to the highly-specialized professionals available at Elance. To build Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. and to get his business up and running quickly, Xan hired-on an entire team of top-notch experts – from product developers and accountants to graphic designers, artists, website developers and customer service reps.
“I literally bootstrapped my company using Elance teams,” said Xan. “I started with $300 and a dream.” He is quick to point out that he looks only for the finest and most passionate workers, rewarding them fairly for an honest day’s work. “I love my team,” Xan notes. “They’re like employees to me, or even family. I had the opportunity to send some extra money to a trusted programmer in India when he went down with Dengue Fever and was in bed a few days.”
The physical location of Buffalo Jackson’s Elancers spans from across the globe in the Ukraine to around the corner from his North Carolina home. Xan currently works with 10 freelancers, but that number can rise at the drop of a hat. When the demand is there, Xan simply invites more Elancers to help him tackle the job. “I was recently talking with a much larger company on some collaboration and they estimated I had 15 or more employees working around the clock,” Xan explains. “But nope, it’s just me and Elance right now.”
But when you’re one tough field general committed to honor and integrity like you’ll find in Xan Hood, nothing is going to stop you from blazing new trails and realizing your dream. Especially when you have an army of Elancers there to support your every move. Giddy-up.
The clock’s winding down on 2012 (or perhaps it has turned the corner where you live?) and once again it’s time to make those annual New Year’s resolutions. If you’re browsing this blog with any regularity, chances are the following resolution is at the top of your list:
Resolution #1:Earn more money and advance the career.
Yes, work goals are usually above getting in shape, eliminating stress and volunteering to help others for Elancers (although they’re all worthy goals too). To help you get off to a great start in 2013, especially if you’re new to the platform, here are a few random resolutions to consider. Naturally, making your Elance Profile shine and writing great proposals are critical too – but these are less obvious goals:
Resolution #2:Strike while the iron is hot.
Be among the first to submit the job proposal. Many clients are super busy and in a hurry to get the job rolling. With no time to spare browsing through proposals, they’re apt to choose among the first to catch their eye. Make sure it’s you they see.
Resolution #3:Screen clients carefully.
That being said, don’t pull the trigger and use-up your valuable Connects for the first job that looks promising. While there’s no sure-fire method of determine a client’s quality, get an idea by hovering your mouse over the client’s name. See if they have a verified method of payment, percentage of jobs awarded and more. Go deeper to see their history for awarding feedback and other important factors.
Resolution #4:Be friendly and build online relationships.
Clients love working with friends. Make sure you’re always building great online relationships that help you be successful. When corresponding be conversational and show interest in the client. Wish them a good weekend and let them know you’re taking a hike on Sunday. By bringing the human element to the table, you’ll have a major advantage over other freelancers only interested in cashing checks.
Resolution #5:Don’t try to be all things to all people.
Specialization is key to success in most areas of life, and Elance is no different. If, for example, you have specific expertise in medical writing, take advantage of your proficiency and gravitate towards jobs in that specific area. Don’t try to sell yourself as a general writer for everything from technology to children’s literature. Be THE authority. This will allow you to stand out. After you’ve achieved success in one space, you can branch out to other areas. But throwing out too wide of a net too early can dilute your uniqueness.
Resolution #6:Never sell yourself short.
As a skilled specialists (see above), you deserve to charge a fair price for your know-how. There will always be people bidding lower, but it’s important to decide what you’re worth and stick to it. Explain in your proposals why you’re slightly higher priced, and why you’re more than worth it. Talent trumps price for clients truly interested in doing quality work.
Resolution #7:Learn to upsell.
When you finish jobs, suggest other areas of work you can do for the client. Often they’re too busy to consider all of the variables that may emerge in the days to come. By being proactive you can not only earn more revenue but become a trusted partner that clients will come to again and again.
Whew, that’s enough for today. Naturally, they’re just the tip of the resolution iceberg. But as you start achieving some of these goals, more-and-more you’ll begin to discover other similar areas that will also allow you to standout and get hired. So start finding more work for the year ahead, and cross #1 off your list for 2013.
If the Mayan doomsday predictors are correct (and hey, they were right about Facebook stock…), then the world will end sometime tomorrow.
2013 was shaping up to be a great year. Especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs who were slated to grow at epic proportions -- thanks in part to all the great freelance talent out there.
It’s especially bad news for companies out there who have half-finished business on the table. What if centuries from now, inter-galactic travelers combing through our crumbled universe find the remains of planet Earth? And your company details are somehow salvaged, and put on display in a historical museum on a planet with a name too long to fit in a blog (just like domain names today, eventually they’ll start running out of planet names).
Pretty tough legacy to leave, eh? That’s why you might want to start thinking about some projects to get underway ASAP. Just think of all the quick jobs you could tackle immediately -- and have your company’s star burn a little brighter in centuries to come.
Here are pithy suggestions for things to cross off your Mayan Calendar bucket list:
1. Find a writer to immortalize your business. Tighten-up your messaging to explain why you were destined for eternal greatness.
2. Find a translator to put your messaging into multiple tongues. Who knows what languages they’ll be speaking in the 43rd century?
3. Find a programmer to put your message in computer languages, because you can’t necessarily count on people communicating through words.
4. Find a mobile app developer to fortify your message in the cloud. The more options you have out there, the better your chance of everlasting fame.
And who knows, maybe the Mayan prognosticators will be mistaken again (they were wrong about Google stock). If the day of reckoning fizzles out, you’ll still have projects in progress that are sure to put your business on the way to immortality in our time. All you have to do is post your job to set the wheels in motion. With any luck, the rewards will long-lasting.