Note: One thing we hear often from freelancers and clients alike is how great it is getting to know people while working on Elance, and building personal relationships on the platform. The line between “colleagues” and “friends” is often blurred as one project turns into two, and two turns into ten. Here is a fresh perspective on this topic, from Elancer Ben Gran.
One of my favorite things about being an Elance contractor is that I get to work with a variety of clients all over the U.S. and all over the world. I’ve written for companies in locations ranging from New York to Los Angeles, Seattle to Miami, and overseas (London, Germany, Belgium, Tokyo and Australia).
But even though I’ve worked with more than 100 different clients on Elance, I usually don’t get to meet face-to-face with the people I work with. So it was a lot of fun earlier this year when I traveled to New York City (on unrelated business) and while I was in town, I got to meet up with a few of my favorite Elance clients.
My Elance clients that I got to meet in New York were Vincent Fabrico and Jason Stephens. I’ve worked with all of these guys on various web content and blog writing projects for their companies during the past 2 years. We had talked on the phone and had Skype chats and collaborated on big projects over many months, but we had never actually met in person.
We were able to find a night on everyone’s schedule where my Elance clients came to watch me perform stand-up comedy at a comedy showcase in the East Village. (I’m not just a freelance writer; I also do stand-up comedy – although my comedy thing is more of an “expensive hobby” at this point than a “career”). At first I was afraid that after my Elance clients saw my stand-up routine, they wouldn’t want to work with me anymore – but they all had a great time and complimented me on my performance.
Pictured here (from left to right) are Ben Gran, Vincent Fabrico and Jason Stephens.
It was really great to meet in person and have a few drinks with these people who I had “known” for awhile, but never gotten to spend time with in “real life.” It was reassuring and energizing to get to see the real people behind all those e-mails – it made my work feel that much more real, and made me feel better connected to my clients.
The experience made me reflect on how Elance has changed my whole idea of job security. I started working on Elance back in January 2009. At the time, I had a full-time job at a Fortune 500 company. My sense of financial security was based on a single company, a single industry, and a single paycheck.
After meticulously poring over a year’s worth of impressive freelancer profit figures (and other industry statistics and trends – from the skyrocketing rise of companies posting jobs online to the public policy advocated by President Obama), Elance has pulled out its crystal ball.
What follows are five highly-educated predictions for the year 2013.
1. “Services” hiring will double online in 2013.
Although technology jobs continue to surge, the single-largest percent increase will be in the service industries – as the traditional “creative agency” model moves to online workers. We first got wind of this as the demand for creative talent skyrocketed 58% from last year. Ditto for other service jobs, such as legal (up 176%) and accounting (up 88%).
2. 1 in 4 university students will work online in 2013.
Freelancing is the new normal for students as they discover how online jobs are more lucrative and rewarding than flipping burgers. While building experience, many continue freelancing after graduation as they earn a stable living while traveling and enjoying life. The Elance Freelance Talent Report shows that millennial freelancers on the site jumped from 26% to 47% in the past year.
3. The number of full-time employees who quit and turn to freelance will triple in 2013.
Lack of healthcare is a concern for freelancers. If ObamaCare happens, more U.S. workers will grab their affordable healthcare and run-not-walk to full-time freelance work. ObamaCare will also be a boon for companies, as they reduce the burden of rising healthcare costs for employees.
4. Unemployment figures will be overstated by 5% in 2013.
The economy isn’t as bad as it appears. Those unemployed (and underemployed) are increasingly going online to earn money – and many of those jobs won’t be reported in 2013 employment figures. This new online work will be fueled by the business world’s growing trend to hire “on demand” (this “on demand” trend is echoed in the consumer world too, exemplified by ZipCar and Airbnb).
5. Companies of all sizes will hire twice as many online workers in 2013.
With cost savings, faster time-to-hire, access to top talent not locally available, and a better product delivered, 85% of small business report in the Elance Global Business Survey that hiring online offers a competitive advantage. In 2013 enterprise companies will increasingly realize these benefits, and in turn they’ll hire more and more virtual teams as an extension of their onsite staff.
Not a bad outlook for the year ahead, eh? In the words of Elance CEO Fabio Rosati, “When you pair the online freelance category’s fundamentals with recent trends on Elance, it’s clear that online work is primed for explosive growth in 2013.”
If you’re an Elancer, it’s a pretty picture. And if you want an even prettier picture (literally), view this eye-catching infographic we created, outlining even more details of these “prophesies.” So get ready to turn your calendar to 2013 and enjoy a fantastic year. And yes, if you go by the Elance Calendar as most of us do, you’ll notice that 2013 is officially the “Year of the Freelancer.”
We’re tickled-pink to be selected as a finalist for the prestigious 2012 SMB Innovator Award. But to earn the esteemed honor (and to also win the accompanying “People’s Choice Award”), we need your support.
Vote for Elance daily and confirm what all Elancers already know – together we’re leading the way in today’s workforce revolution, allowing small businesses and freelancers alike to work differently and achieve things never before possible.
In a nutshell, voting for Elance is a vote for yourself – as you’re the reason we’re able to make this sort of innovation possible. Without you the vision would be empty, so thank you.
The SMB Innovation Award is presented by Phonebooth, a division of Bandwidth. The award recognizes “game-changing” companies now making a difference in the small business space. After reviewing thousands of potential candidates the Top 10 Finalists were selected by a distinguished panel, representing experts from government, media and the small business community. It really is an honor to be included.
Along with the Award (if we’re fortunate enough to win) comes generous cash prizes ranging from $2,500 (for the People’s Choice Award) to $20,000 (the overall SMB Innovator Award – determined by a combination of your votes and the panel’s recommendations). If we win, we’ll be investing the prize money in worthy events to reward Elancers such as yourself for supporting us. Details to follow, should the win present itself.
So thanks in advance for your participation in the voting process. Remember, the balloting only runs through Friday, December 14, so be sure to cast your vote early and often (yes, you can vote daily).
With the New Year’s celebration breathing down our neck, it’s time for businesses to think about all the great things you’ve accomplished on Elance since last January (hopefully a lot). And also, what’s left to do in December of 2012 before the books close and champagne glasses clink.
Remember, there’s still plenty of time to post your job, find a freelancer and make a big difference on your bottom line in the last few days of 2012. While other companies are busy wrapping up for the holidays and spiking the eggnog, you can still get a ton done and build momentum for the post-New Year rush of activity. With an international pool of freelancers, there are plenty of workers ready to tackle your projects right up to the midnight hour. Here are some thoughts:
Give Your Brand Identity A Make-Over. Start 2013 with a fresh look and feel, adding sizzle to your marketing efforts and company image. Hire a hip freelance graphic designer to spruce-up your logo and add pizzazz to your printed material. If you’re going to expand into new markets in 2013, make sure you look the part. It will also help build moral among your team and get everyone excited about the coming year. You also might consider a well-versed marketing copywriter to turn your major selling points into provocative headlines, and perhaps a public relations pro to let the world know you’re moving and shaking in 2013.
Get Your Website Hitting On All Cylinders. When your customers return to work in early January, the first thing they'll do is visit your website. Now’s the time to improve the content and tweak the functionality. You’ll find freelance web programmers ready to add new pages you’ve been talking about for months, or simply clean up some functionality that’s less-than optimized. Also attract more customers to your website with an SEO expert that knows how to turn keywords into gold. And don’t forget a computer animation savant to add some eye-catching graphics to your site.
Take The Next Step In Your Mobile Sphere. More and more people are accessing businesses through their smartphones and tablets. Whether you’re already there or just thinking about going to the mobile world, Elance has freelance mobile app developers ready to get you there for 2013. You’ll find iPhone developers and iPad gurus, plus Android specialists galore.
Tighten Those Legal Nuts And Bolts. As your business grows in the New Year, so grows the thorny legal issues involved with day-to-day business. Use the last days of 2012 to tie-up loose ends with freelance legal help. From patent attorneys and legal contract experts to litigation pros, be sure everything is in order for the year to come.
Naturally, only you know what’s the most important job to accomplish for your business as the year winds down. But when you think about all the great opportunities close at hand, and tax advantages of finishing work in 2012, you’ll agree with one thing: Your best New Year’s Resolution is to finish the old year strong. Go get ’em!
Mark Leary of Soulsplash Writers is among the top freelance writers on Elance. But more than simply scaling the pinnacle of his literary profession, he has also reached his lifelong dream of living in the clouds. In fact you’ll find him most days happily working and playing at his home/office – 3,600 feet up the Cascade Mountains at the base of Bend, Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor.
“Thanks to Elance I can work in the sunshine on my back deck, go for a morning ski or afternoon mountain bike ride, and still get in a full-day’s work – all on my own clock,” Mark says. “I have freedom and flexibility that none of my corporate friends enjoy.” He’s also quick to point out that with very few writing jobs in Bend, without Elance he would never have been able to trade in the cubicle for a ski lift.
To date Mark has completed over 150 writing jobs and counting on Elance, from sales and marketing projects to ghostwriting articles and eBooks. This includes a wide-variety of topics that keep him fresh and energized. “The range and diversity of projects is a blast,” he notes. “Everything from writing How To Surf and How To Throw A Baby Shower books to ghostwriting for best-selling New York authors.”
There’s an international flavor to Mark’s portfolio too, thanks to Elance. He’s able to write for a diverse list of clientele from around the world – from the United States and Canada to South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Choosing Elance was an easy choice for Mark. “It’s a trusted company where people feel safe working, especially with the escrow. Elance is also well-publicized, which gives me a bigger reach and eliminates the need for additional marketing.” He also gives a thumbs up to Elance’s sensible rating and ranking system that rewards people fairly.
While his career continues going uphill and his mountain bike downhill, we have to salute someone able to achieve an ideal work/life balance. It must be heavenly.
Elance is thrilled to be in Dhaka this week, kicking-off our exciting new operations in Bangladesh.
While we’re in Dhaka we’ll also take part in several Elance events and government-sponsored happenings. Each activity this week has an eye towards helping boost economic development for the talented people in this deserving region.
The festivities began with a bang on Wednesday, where Elance sponsored our own Work Differently Summit 2012. More than 200 eager Elancers and future Elancers were on hand as we swapped stories and shared insights. It was great connecting with local professionals, as the pictures here show.
On hand for the summit and spearheading activities was Elance’s most-recent hire, Saidur Khan. Our new local Business Development Manager, he’ll be based in Dhaka and help us grow the Bangladesh community even faster. Also of note attending from Elance were Kjetil Olsen (VP, Europe) and Alex Yoon (U.S. Director of Marketing and Talent).
Thanks a million. Thanks two million actually, and counting. That’s the number of registered freelancers we’ve now reached here at Elance. Woo-hoo, two million!
Two million is a historic milestone we couldn’t have achieved without your support and the support of our entire community. To thank you we’ve arranged for a celebratory gift: Free online skills training at Lynda.com for all registered Elancers. It’s our small way of giving back, by helping you further reach your career goals.
If you’re unfamiliar, Lynda is the shining star of video training with 1500+ courses and 84,000+ tutorials. You’re sure to find some awesome materials to help you brush up on current skills or explore new areas. Lynda has tutorials on every skill from web design and development (like PHP and HTML 5) to audio/video, graphic design, accounting and photography.
Officially-sponsored by Authorize.Net, this group is sure to become the go-to list for businesses seeking skilled workers for payment-related projects. In case you’re unfamiliar, Authorize.Net is one of the leading payment gateways – allowing merchants to securely accept credit card and electronic check payments anywhere they want, including on websites, via mobile devices and at brick and mortar retail stores. And since we all love getting paid, the work they do is having incredible impact around the world. In addition to its Certification program, Authorize.Net offers an Affiliate program which offers generous residual payments for merchant leads.
If you have mad skills working on Authorize.Net projects, join the group. And if you’re a business looking for top freelancers to tackle payment projects, you know where to find them. A warm welcome to all involved.
We don’t think getting great work done at a fair price should be like pulling teeth.
Jaime Bellos of Detroit-based mydentaltrip.com would agree. Why? Simple. He and his business partner Rich used Elance to bring their entrepreneurial dream to life. Through our online freelance web designers and web programmers Jaime got their “unique” dental startup’s website up-and-running fast.
A great idea (in our humble opinion), mydental.com is a website allowing people to combine their dream vacation with getting some dental work done. On their website you pick a destination (Costa Rica for example), select the dental work you need (perhaps a bridge replacement?) and then local dentists in Costa Rica submit their quotes. It’s a great solution for getting in some relaxation while saving a bundle on your dental bill.
Every so often, someone invariably asks us, “Why? Why Oslo?” Yes, inquiring minds want to know why, of all cities, Oslo, Norway is the location of our first European office. After all, Europe is teeming with major economic centers (see: London, Berlin and Geneva to name a few). To which we smile and calmly reply, “Enkelt, fordi Oslo er egalitære...” (Translation: Easy, because Oslo is egalitarian…).
The fact is, when you’re blazing new trails to make work accessible to anyone, anywhere, what better place to center your European activities than a city where freedom and equality is paramount? That’s what Elance is all about. In case you don’t know, Oslo is a dynamic and modern melting pot of different backgrounds (with a 30% immigrant population) and cultures (with a focus on social fairness and open-mindedness across the board).
There is also a tremendous devotion to equal rights in Oslo, as evidenced by business women who are highly-respected and receive equal pay and promotions. Ditto for its great economic and class equality, with most Oslo inhabitants enjoying a uniform (and extremely high) standard of living. The people of Oslo are also highly-educated and skilled, which correlates directly to everything we do here at Elance. And they’re passionate about that all-important work/life balance, including offering parents a full year of paid paternity leave (which can be split between the mother and father).
And how about this: Transparency is key in Oslo – with public access to all salary and tax information for every resident. That’s the sort of openness Elance works so hard to give freelancers and businesses who use our platform. They also like to walk a lot in Oslo, which is really cool … although it has nothing to do with Elance. And if you’re there don’t forget to try the pickled herring (sursild). It’s ridiculously good when fresh.
Oh, Oslo is a beautiful town too, as you can see from the photo – taken early morning outside the entrance to Elance’s office at Fornebu.
So that’s why Elance is in Oslo, and why we love the city so much. If anyone asks, let them know too.