Elancers at Work

How Yalantis Became A Top Mobile App Development Team On Elance

Occasionally we ask Elance clients and freelancers to discuss their experiences working online. Here’s a quick case study from the team at Yalantis.


The Yalantis Story – A Study In Determination.

Our mobile app development company has been existing since 2008. A lot has changed since then. From two people working from home on Elance, the company grew to about 70 specialists sitting in a spacious office in the city center. In 2013 we became among the top Elance company. The staffing platform for freelancers let us find our best customers, most of whom are still loyal to us. But most importantly, it gave us invaluable experience which made us what we are.

The Start.

Seven years ago mobile app development business was just emerging, following a dazzling appearance of the first iPhone in 2007. “The phone that has changed phones forever,” was the reaction of Time magazine.

Apple’s creation became the cradle for Yalantis, as developing apps for iPhone was our first professional strategy. The reason for that was not an omnipresent love for Apple, but a corny market research. Alexander Kholodov, one of Yalantis co-founders and a developer himself in the past, discovered that the demand for iPhone apps on Elance exceeds the offer by miles.

“We started with an aim to fill the empty niche existing in the iPhone apps development,” he said. “After a while we began to engage with Android and other platforms.”

Kholodov together with Yuriy Kotov, an excellent programmer, got together and set up a mobile app development company. Initially they worked from home picking up interesting projects from Elance. About six months later, Sergey Fesenko, who was also a programmer before, joined the team of co-founders.

“When I got into, we moved in an apartment, which became our first office,” said Fesenko. “We bought a couple of arm chairs and started off as a real team.”

Kholodov called the company Yalantis -- a strange word that doesn’t exist in any dictionary. It was created with the help of a random words generator from the word Yalta -- the name of a sunny resort city in Crimea (a peninsula in the south of Ukraine). As a boat called so it will float. According to phonosemantic analysis of the word Yalantis, it induces positive subliminal associations, like good, beautiful, strong, light, simple, safe, etc. This is also a unique name. You can’t explain it, it but it has look and feel, just like all our products do.

The first staff members hired by Yalantis were young specialist with little to no experience in developing mobile apps. Their knowledge of technology and level of professionalism grew considerably owing to supportive attitude of the company leaders and their own aspiration to self-development. The majority of these guys are still in the company occupying senior developer positions.


With increasing number of mobile app development projects the perspective of becoming a bigger company with different specialists, not only iOS developers, began brightening up. Here is when the team got completed with a larger administrative board, Android developers, project managers, quality assurance specialists, designers and account managers.

Now we only employ experienced team players highly enthusiastic about what they do. Our people are just as important for us as our clients and we care much about making them feel at home in Yalantis.

At some point, Kotov, one of the co-founders, understood that managing the company wasn’t for him. He left Yalantis but came back in a few years in the role of a senior iOS developer. He chose to do what he likes most -- developing great products.

When Yalantis grew larger, Kholodov and Fesenko divided their responsibilities in management. Kholodov is the CEO of the company leading sales and marketing. He also manages our own product development initiatives. Fesenko is a financial director and manages the department of human resources. He is in charge of our internal processes as well as employment and partnerships.

Here's To An Amazing 2015!

Happy New Year and thanks for making 2014 such an incredible success!

Take a look at our 2014 Annual Impact Report for a glimpse inside the impact you have on a global scale. We talked to freelancers and clients from Bangkok to San Francisco to Sydney to get their perspectives and hear how online collaboration is changing the world.

Also check out a fun and interactive Infographic here (you just roll over images to read people’s inspiring stories).

With more than 9 million registered freelancers and 3.5 million registered clients, Elance-oDesk is more than just an online workplace. Thanks to you, it’s a vibrant global community that’s changing the way the world works.

Here’s to making 2015 an even greater success together!

To share this post—and the impact of your work—with your friends, click the social media buttons above. 

4 Tools For Making Online Collaboration Easier

Occasionally we invite Elance-oDesk clients to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here are thoughts from Tobias Schelle, a Danish entrepreneur who is the Founder/CEO of 24slides.com. Check out his blog post below and video below on collaboration, or his other video in his series on finding the perfect freelancer.


Love all the advantages of doing business online? Yet find it challenging to efficiently collaborate with the freelancers you work with?

You’re not alone. Taking your business online has certainly made it faster for you to communicate and get work done, but it also presents certain obstacles. This is especially true when working with various people – from diverse backgrounds or time zones – who are simultaneously working on multiple tasks.

Fortunately you also have online tools at your disposal. Checkout this video for suggestions on how to better collaborate, or keep reading below, to learn about four of my favorite tools:

1. Redpen

This is a visual feedback tool used for collaboration, primarily between you and your visual artists like graphic designers. With Redpen you can upload any picture, then provide comments on it. Because of this quick and easy tool, you eliminate the need to discuss an image at great length. This reduces unnecessary communication, through email and other less-productive channels.

2. Screenflow

Screenflow is a screencast tool for Mac users. As a screen recording software, Screenflow records your screen and voice, including through your webcam if you like. This is highly useful for giving instructions or feedback. It likewise captures non-verbal cues, like tone of voice and facial expressions or gestures. This makes it a more effective alternative to email, and eliminates possible misunderstandings. Another advantage is its flexibility. Screenflow doesn’t limit you to a specific time zone. As you may know, for real-time communication, some online messaging, chat or video conferencing call providers require all people involved to be within the same time zone.

Summer Camp Unites Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

A summer camp for grown-ups? In August Elance-oDesk paired up with the NYC-based coworking community WeWork and their annual Summer Camp — a weekend-long event for entrepreneurs, freelancers and members of the WeWork community.WeWork and Elance-oDesk Summer Camp


With a good dose of outdoor activities, Summer Camp is part festival and part start-up/freelancer bootcamp. This year’s camp featured talks from UPS, Coach and Restoration Hardware. They spoke about everything from small company logistics and the power of brands, to creating the perfect startup culture for teams.


Hosted in upstate New York at an actual Boys & Girls Club campground, Summer Camp brought nearly 1,500 entrepreneurs and freelancers together for a break from work. It also gave them a chance to be a kid again. And, just like childhood, it was a weekend of experiences that allowed people to bond for life.


Naturally Elance-oDesk had to get in on the fun too. We organized one of the most coveted competitions at camp: the Human Skee Ball Competition. It’s a super-sized slip-n-slide, with bragging rights for the team that traveled the furthest in the air! The winning team was “Almost YouTube Famous,” who took home the trophy for the competition.


Here’s a quick video of this year’s camp:




Want to learn more? Visit http://summercamp.wework.com/ or check out #WWCAMP14 on Twitter for this year’s highlights. Plus check back for more information about how you can be a part of Summer Camp 2015.


How Elance-oDesk Helped Build One Of The Most Popular Personal Finance Blogs

Hey everyone, Joshua Rodriguez here again. I’ve got some great news to start with. I’m going to begin contributing stories here on a regular basis now. This week, I had a unique opportunity to have a chat with Jeremy Biberdorf from Modest Money. In that conversation, I learned quite a bit about his blog, and what helped him to go from concept to completed vision!

Before We Talk About What Made His Blog Successful, Let’s Look At Some Stats:

According to Alexa Traffic Stats, Modest Money is currently ranked as the 22,165th most popular website in the world and continues to grow steadily. Although that rank may seem pretty low, considering that the Internet is an amazingly big place with billions of websites, that’s actually a remarkable number for a blog to achieve. Jeremy’s domain is highly trusted no matter what metric you look at, and as a result, he receives about 19,000 visitors per month! So, here’s how the conversation went.

Me: Why did you start Modest Money?

Jeremy: Since I have an IT and SEO career background, it makes a lot of sense for me to work on various side projects.  If someone could make extra money while sitting at their computer, I'm sure most people would.  Previously I had created websites in various niches which earned money via referral commission.  Basically I'd get money if I sent traffic to another website and it leads to a sale.  That was all going great, but then Google started to shift their 'rules' from what had previously been acceptable. In an effort to combat that I decided to create a blog since that seemed to be the most effective platform with the current SEO landscape.  Two years later and it was definitely a smart move.  The blog has earned me a fair bit of money and still has a lot of untapped potential.

Me: How long did it take to become overwhelmed?

Jeremy: Well 'luckily' for me I was unemployed and single when I started my blog.  So I was able to put in long hours every single day.  Even without other commitments that started to get overwhelming within the first few months.  At the time I was waking up at 6AM to comment on blogs right when they published their posts.  There was just so much involved between managing my blog, writing, marketing, social media and networking.  It was a wonder how some people managed to do all of this on top of having a full time job and a family.

Me: Did you try to hire local contractors?

Jeremy: To be honest, no I've never hired anyone locally.  At one of my previous jobs my boss had encouraged me use online freelancers.  With affordable wages in other countries, it made a lot of sense to use them for some tasks.  Hiring someone online for small tasks was just a much easier process than doing local interviews and weeding through full resumes and cover letters.  Plus by opening up my search to an international audience I could find much more specialized employees.

5 + 1 Questions With Elance-oDesk Staffer, Jaisimha Sethuram.

1. What’s your job here at Elance-oDesk?

 Answer: I am a Senior QA Engineer at Elance-oDesk. My responsibilities include leading a group of QA engineers, testing the product and making sure the product meets all the quality standards.

I closely interact with Product Managers and Development Engineers to understand the product and its features. My goal is to have best-in-class products.

2. What do you like most about working at Elance-oDesk?

 Answer: People at Elance-oDesk are highly passionate about their work, fun loving and help each other.

The most impressive part of the job is the over-all culture that motivates everyone to make a positive impact within the company.

3. What do you love about today’s changing world of work?

Answer:  I enjoy the flexibility to work from home when needed, team building events and Thursday Buzz (e

ditor’s note: a weekly social get-together for team members). After a fast-paced day of work, many of us get together and spend some time playing ping-pong or tennis -- which definitely acts as a stress buster.

4. What songs are on heavy rotation as you work-away?

Answer: I usually start my workday listening to Smooth Jazz, when I get of most of my strategy-type work completed. Later in the day I switch to some heavy metal/hip-hop to get some adrenaline in rush.

5. When you’re not working, what do you enjoy most?

Answer: I enjoy spending time with my wife (pictured here with me) and family.  Other than that I enjoy long drives, spending time in the gym, swimming and kayaking.

6. (Bonus question!) OK, ask yourself anything. No subject is off the table.

My question and answer:

Do you prefer a car or motorbike?

I have always enjoyed riding motorbikes; it’s a total different experience. I have previously owned 3 motorbikes, but I have yet to buy my new cruiser motorcycle (vroom vroom!).


Home Office Tax Deductions For U.S. Freelancers

Once again it’s nearing the April 15th deadline for filing taxes in America.

While many U.S.-based Elancers know about tax benefits available to the happily self-employed, it’s possible that a large number of those new to freelancing may be unaware of allowable deductions.

This is especially true now that more and more 9-to-5 staffers are making the switch to freelance work (welcome).

Note that for freelancers in other countries, this may not apply directly to you now. But keep these principles in mind if applicable, and at the appropriate time. Naturally all freelancers should consult your own tax advisor before making decisions.

If you are paying U.S. taxes, however, you’ll find a plethora of valuable information on the Internal Revenue Service website. One such page discusses the home office deduction. A few topics covered include:

Requirements for claiming a home-office deduction

• How using your home for office storage differs from working and meeting clients there

• How to determine the amount you can claim on your taxes

• Which forms to use when making home office deductions

Of course your home office is but one of the many possible tax deductions available. While we can’t begin to explain them all in detail here, hopefully this is a good starting point for your own research. Another good tip is to contact fellow Elancers who are tax experts. You know as well as anyone how many great resources are available to us all on Elance. Good luck on those taxes.

Congrats To Elancers Who Helped Fuel StartupBus

StartupBus North America 2014 is now in our rear view mirror, and needless to say it was a gas (as well as another exciting and inspiring journey). Here’s a quick video recap of the action-packed competition that followed the 72-hour StartupBus journey:

Next order of business: Congratulations to contest winner SmartHost.

Their StartupBus pitch introduced a clever new business and app allowing you to estimate the optimum price to charge for your rental property. An example of their differentiating point is, for example, if a huge Amway conference is coming to town they calculate the law of supply & demand into your estimated rate. Pretty smart, eh?

Follow Along As Startup Bus Rolls On

Startup Bus is once again in high gear, as scrappy startup teams across North America (as well as remote Elancers around the globe) motor their way towards Texas for another epic showdown.

Follow the action through Thursday, via our social media pages, as we report live from inside various Startup Buses. This includes regular updates on how a plethora of talented Elancers are helping fuel the innovation.

In fact Elancers have been a huge part of many successful Startup Buses in the past, and have been on several winning teams.

This year, Startup Buses departed Sunday from Mexico City, Kansas City, Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Nashville. They’ll wrap up the completion in Texas on Thursday, March 6.

If you’re not familiar with Startup Bus North America, it’s a wild pitch competition. More specifically it’s where an assortment of entrepreneurs (most of whom are complete strangers to each other) pile into a bus with one thought in mind: Combine the know-how onboard (and online) to create a great company.

It’s a 3-day journey where each team buckles down to first decide their best collective idea for a company, then uses every resource available to bring that idea to life before rolling into Austin.

Hold onto your hat, as Startup Bus North America is sure to be a fast and festive journey.

Follow along and enjoy the ride! Oh, and to join in the conversation yourself, use hashtag: #startupbus

Startup Case Study: Freelancers Help Wine App Bubble To The Top

If you’re an entrepreneur with a healthy thirst for success, you’ll be glad to know that the future remains bright. There’s even a case study that validates you’re on the right path.Vivino wine app

As this case study illustrates, here at Elance we’re constantly discovering new startups who’ve taken their business to the next level. Whether it’s getting initial funding, releasing that first product or earning some eye-popping revenues, startups today are enjoying unprecedented success.

But if there’s one theme we hear often from startups, it’s that given the time crunch you’re under, it’s absolutely critical to get to market faster with the best-possible product. “Those who hesitate are lost,” says entrepreneur Heini Zachariassen of Vivino. Founder and CEO of the Copenhagen-based startup, Heini and his team make an engaging phone app that allows wine lovers to photograph and share wine labels – as well as rate and discuss those wines.

Vivino has become a huge global hit, earning the distinction of being the most-downloaded wine app in the world and the highest-ranking wine app in the U.S. To give you an idea of how successful they’ve become, Vivino was recently featured in a Forbes article and has now opened an office in San Francisco.

What made Vivino’s startup success possible? As well as having a great idea for a product, one key factor was working with Elance to supplement their core team. “Without Elance we couldn’t have launched Vivino,” explains Heini. He hired freelancers at all stages of developing and launching the app. This includes hiring online freelancers ranging from mobile app developers to database experts. As mentioned above, there’s an enlightening case study on how Vivino was able to streamline development and get to market faster with a better product.

Check the case study out for some inspirational words, and insightful advice, for any startup looking to gain a competitive advantage. See Vivino case study


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