Elancers at Work

5 + 1 Questions With Elance Staffer, Stephan Outrey.

1. What’s your job here at Elance?

 Answer: Originally from France, I am a software engineer at Elance in charge of the Trust and Reporting subdivision. This subdivision encompasses the famous MyStats feature. In case you didn’t know it, MyStats is used to analyze freelancers’ important data for computing their Elance level, points and ranks.

While working in close conjunction with our OPS team, I also laid the foundation for several improvements to our platform. Some examples are guaranteeing the timely processing and delivery of emails, the handling and scheduling of recurring payments and the constant updating of user content.  In addition, I assist the Customer Service team to promptly handle user requests.

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

 Answer:  I definitely most like Elance’s global impact. Our platform simply empowers people. On one hand, an individual with a great start-up idea does not need to know how to design, how to program, how to advertise or how to place cold calls! Our platform will simply present the best candidates possible in order to bring his or her idea to life and to allow it to finally succeed.  

On the other hand, the technological exodus has already started.  More and more jobs are moving online; thus, the physical presence of employees is less pertinent. Most of the time you simply need to have an internet connection, in order to be hired and to be paid on our platform. Your skills are valuable and will make a difference on our platform.  

3. How do you Work Differently?

Answer:  Despite my long commute, I enjoy starting my day early while the office is still quiet. It is a great way to take a fresh look at the purpose of my job and to contemplate how I can improve things. Carpooling is ideal for me to meet new people and to get home early on a regular basis.    

4. What songs are now on heavy rotation as you’re working-away?

 Answer: I let Huka, our African Grey parrot, decide on our playlists. He takes pleasure in imitating my voice.  He then impersonates me to my lovely wife, who is the love of his heart, too. To answer your question, I like to hum and sing a mixture of French and English electronica music. Electronica is the music computers would sing if they could.  

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

Answer:  California is practically ideal for me! I hike at the Pinnacles, in Yosemite and in redwood forests. I like spending time on the beach with my wife picnicking at dusk. Watching sea otters, sea lions and seals in the Monterey Bay is pretty fun, too! I enjoy visiting art galleries, especially when my wife is one of the featured artists. I love to taste wine in local wineries and to improve my pallet. However, I do miss French food. If it weren’t for my wife’s delectable cooking, I probably would not have stayed in the U.S.    

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

My question: What is little known about you and where you came from?

Answer: I grew up in the Jura Mountains near the Alps in France on a dairy farm. Our milk is used to make the delicious Comté cheese. My home village has only seventy inhabitants, yet it is populated with almost one thousand cows. Nozeroy, where I attended grade school, is the smallest city in France. A few kilometers away lies the coldest city in France, Mouthe, otherwise known as “little Siberia”. I grew up cross-country skiing and even competed at the national level for a time.

Our region is famous historically for the industrialization of eyeglasses in Morez. Also, Louis Pasteur and his family were native to the area. I am proud to share roots with Pasteur whose unprecedented breakthroughs in medicine, science and technology are still widely known and in use today.

I studied at Iowa State University where the Atanasoff–Berry Computer was the first electronic, digital, computing device. Algorithms were my favorite subject to study. Throughout college, I dreamt of working in Silicon Valley. Now, here at Elance, I am sure that we are certainly writing history by transforming the lives of millions of people around the globe.

Guest Blog Post: Co-Working Freelancers Take Surfing The Web To Heart.

Occasionally we invite professionals to wax poetic about issues of importance to the Elance community. Here are some thoughts from Amanda Gray, a big Elance fan and writer at deskmag.com. Today she’s discussing a fun co-working opportunity off the coast of Spain.

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These days, being your own boss is easier than ever. There are now countless online portals offering freelancers, start-ups and entrepreneurs the chance to connect, find jobs and build a strong digital network. Elance, one of the leading freelance portals has grown substantially since its launch in 1999, now boasting 2.5 million registered freelance professionals.

Yet, with so many jobs popping up by the day, when will there be time to take a break? Freelancers are known for working around the clock, their work hours melting into their free time, eventually blurring the line between deadlines and leisure.  

If only you could finish up your work and simply walk outside to a beautiful seaside view. Well, now you can.

Along the coast of Gran Canaria, you will find a freelancing paradise: The Surf Office.

Built on a foundation of a passion for surfing and the need to get work done, Michal Kostal and his co-founder can offer you the most productive holiday you can take.

The Surf Office is fairly priced, with a fixed price of 300 Euro per week. The fee comprises accommodation and workspace.  Surfing lessons for beginner or surf board rentals for experienced surfers can be arranged based on request.

“We would like to achieve a balance for people who are coming from a coworking environment, and also for those employees who are simply feeling burnt-out, ” Kostal recently told Deskmag, the Berlin based magazine dedicated to the coworking movement.

A pop-up coworking paradise is perfect for Elance users, since it gives them a chance to relax, but also to interact with likeminded people, who could be potential business partners while you’re on the island or even in the future.

So pack your bags and get to the beachside to send out some proposals for projects and ride a few waves. Gran Canaria is a touristic destination, but the capital city (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) is quieter, since most of the tourists are on the other part of the island. There is also the chance to enjoy the laid back vibrant nightlife when you really need to have a night out.

 “Our project is perfect for individual freelancers or startup groups who are looking to work on a project for a certain period of time,” explained Kostal. And what better way to gain inspiration then is combining the philosophy of coworking with a unique environment.

5 + 1 Questions With Elance Staffer, Katie Castro.

1. What’s your job here at Elance?

 Answer: I manage the Global Payments group at Elance.  I handle the processing of inbound and outbound payments across multiple platforms and in multiple currencies. In addition, I work diligently to reduce overall fraud risk.

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

 Answer: I’ve worked at Elance for 13 years and have to say I love seeing how Elance has grown as a company and had a positive impact on so many users worldwide.  I’ve also formed some very close friendships with my colleagues that are priceless!

3. How do you Work Differently?

Answer: I prefer to work in the office, but appreciate that I have the flexibility to work from home when my children are sick or have a day off school.

4. What songs are now on heavy rotation as you’re working-away?

 Answer: Music keeps me sane!  A random shuffle on my IPod came up with these ten:

  1. Lantern by Motorama
  2. Manda una Senal  by Maná
  3. Bad Love by White Lies
  4. Terror! By The Rakes
  5. From What I Once Was – Neverending White Lights
  6. Heart and Soul by Joy Division
  7. Royals by Lorde
  8. I Call Your Name - Switch
  9. Ride by Lana Del Rey
  10. In Silence by Catpeople

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

Answer: As a mother of two active children, I spend most of my weekends on a soccer field watching their games. I do not play soccer, but I am on a co-ed dodgeball team and enjoy obstacle/mud runs.  I unwind by hiking, reading dystopian novels and spending time with my husband and friends (usually over food).

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

My question:  What is your favorite time of year?

Answer: Fall! I love seeing the changes in the trees, feeling the crisp air and of course, Halloween.

 

5 + 1 Questions With Elance Staffer, Hyun Lee.

1. What’s your job here at Elance?

 Answer: I’m a Product Manager with a focus on the job management and payments areas of Elance. I work with our Designers and Engineers to develop and deliver features and experiences that delight our users.

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

 Answer: It has to be the people I work with, as I spend so much time with our great team. If they weren’t so much fun to be around, I wouldn’t have stayed here for the last 5 years. A very close second is the difference Elance is making in people’s lives. It’s fulfilling to unlock the opportunities, for both businesses and freelancers, that were previously unavailable to them.

3. How do you Work Differently?

Answer: I Work Differently by actually coming into the office on “work from home” days. I live only few miles away from the office so it’s really easy for me to come in, and those days working in a very quiet office are my most productive days.

4. What songs are now on heavy rotation as you’re working-away?

 Answer: I listen to all types of music indiscriminately. Hip Hop, Country, K-Pop and more! But last few days, I have been listening to Maroon 5 a lot.

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

Answer: I like to squeeze in a round of golf whenever I can. Although my score doesn’t really reflect how much I enjoy the sport, it helps me to clear my head and is a great way to release stress.

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

My question: What part of your day to day work do you enjoy the most?

Answer: The part of the job I enjoy the most is the opportunity I have to speak to our users on a regular basis. These conversations help me to validate our new designs, as well as spurs me to change directions. It really helps me to keep my ear to the ground and understand our users.

 

Egypt Mobilizer Earns Trip To Our Silicon Valley HQ.

Elance was delighted to host Heba Allam for a week of fun in the sun (oh, and a little bit of work now and again).

Travelling all the way from Cairo, Egypt, Heba is an Elance Mobilizer who earned a trip to California thanks to her outstanding work for the team last year.

For those not familiar with our Mobilizers Program, Mobilizers are local Elance representatives who work tirelessly around the U.S. and across the globe. Their job is to evangelize online work and enlighten freelancers and businesses alike on the opportunities at Elance. We’re always looking for Mobilizers in your neck of the woods, so apply now if you want to earn money while helping spread the world on how to Work Differently. You might even win an all-expense-paid trip to Elance – just ask Heba.

Speaking of which, during Heba’s week in Mountain View she also ventured to nearby San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Naturally Heba toured the Silicon Valley too, and soaked in local landmarks such as the Google headquarters and Wal-Mart (apparently they haven’t made it to Egypt yet?).

Heba also found time to inspire us all with her wonderful story, speaking at an Elance All Hands Meeting and a few other gathers of note.

From all of us at Elance, thanks Heba for your hard work and for being such a pleasant visitor. We hope to see you again soon.

Elancers Help WebNet Hosting Grow (And Grow).

In the highly-competitive world of web hosting, you need every advantage possible to stand out from the crowd.

For WebNet Hosting of Arlington, Virginia, a big part of their gaining a competitive advantage to attract (and retain) customers is hiring Elancers to lend a hand.WebNet Hosting website

With 14 full-time employees, WebNet Hosting President PJ Taei notes that their team hires Elancers for a variety of positions. “Originally we started with data entry positions and that went very well,” he says. “Then we began looking for more technical positions, including web designers and web developers for our own website and for the websites of our customers who need assistance.”

PJ estimates that Elance has saved WebNet Hosting upwards of $20,000 in the last year alone, plus they’re able to find great candidates for jobs they might not otherwise be able to fill. “Elance has been an excellent solution for finding experts to help us with technical requirements,” he adds. Most recently WebNet Hosting worked with a talented Elancer to develop a dedicated server page to promote their newest offering.  Needless to say, the team was more than happy with the results.

As well as finding top talent quickly, PJ appreciates Elance’s simple-to-use and intuitive user interface, which allows him and his team to easily manage multiple candidates and jobs at one time. He also appreciates how effortless Elance makes tracking the time billed by each freelancer.

If you’re looking for sage advice from a seasoned client on how to best use Elance, here is a great pointer from PJ Taei:

“Post a good job description that thoroughly includes your requirements. Make sure to explain your needs and expectations initially with the freelancer. Manage the contractor just as you would any other worker, as they too need guidance and motivation.”

Today WebNet Hosting continues to grow steadily, providing small and medium sized businesses around the world with various hosting solutions ranging from managed hosting and cloud hosting to dedicated server solutions. They plan on using more and more Elancers in various technical and non-technical positions to tackle opportunities that arise.

“We have multiple positions and requirements that we’re looking to fill with Elance,” PJ points out. Which means it’s going to be another great year for the team at WebNet Hosting.

Against The Odds, Elancer Builds Not One, But Two Businesses.

For most people, building one successful business would be plenty.Elancer Colette Barry

Not true for Colette Barry, who launched her business Yoga Trends a few years ago (working with many Elancers to get up-and-running and maintain her site). Plus she has now seen the opportunity for working as a freelancer/business and has opened her other company Creative Website Pro, helping businesses build their websites.

And what makes Colette’s story even more inspirational is that she is unable to hear. “Being deaf since birth, I realized the only way I could succeed in life was to avoid serving a boss,” she says. “Not being able to hear, I knew I could only answer to myself. LOL!”

“After many years of teaming up with such great Elancers, I eventually set up my own web designing company and hired the best writers, designers, IT managers I could find.” Colette notes. “I know what exceptional service is and this is how I run my online website business.”

But back up a few years, and the story begins with the Ohio-based Colette working with Elancers to bring her vision of Yoga Trends to life. Yoga Trends is a successful fitness and rehab center offering classes locally, as well as web-based classes across the country.Yoga Trends

“Elance has been an instrumental solution in helping me materialize my visions both locally in my studio and also virtually,” Colette explains. “When I first started building my company years ago on Elance I hired everyone from video editors, writers and even business advisers to lawyers. Having access to such amazing talents and personalities around the world, made me feel that I am able to connect to the top talents in the freelance industries.”

Colette loves the freedom and opportunity Elance gives her: “I have this relentless desire to create, share and grow. Elance gives me this opportunity to express these desires without boundaries or limitations. When do you have a career where the world is at your finger tips?”

While building her two businesses, Colette has discovered what many Elancers know as well. The platform allows you to test several Elancers to find the perfect freelancer for your specific job. In her own words: “The beauty of Elance is that that it allows clients to interview candidates and post small "experimental" jobs, in order to explore which freelance is the perfect fit for their online goals and visions.”

A big thank you to Colette for sharing her story with us all. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have the talent and drive to succeed. Nice job (two actually).

5 + 1 Questions With Elance Staffer, Katrin Hippler.

1. What’s your job here at Elance?

Answer:

Being a part of our European Elance team I am based in Oslo, Norway. As Talent Marketing Manager, Europe, I am managing our worldwide team of Mobilizers who conduct trainings for freelancers in how to build a career online and show entrepreneurs how to find the right freelancers for their projects.

Besides that I also get to travel quite a bit, mainly within Europe, speaking at events, conferences and meetups to spread the word about Elance.

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

Answer:

At Elance our whole team is passionate about what we are doing and it is very rewarding to see that we have the opportunity to change individual’s lives. It’s also nice to broaden my mind, and working together with people who share my passion and vision about how to Work Differently would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Elance. All in all, I love being part of a great team and pioneering the new way of working.

3. How do you Work Differently?

Answer:

I enjoy the variety: Most of the time I work from our new office in Oslo. However the best ideas and new inspirations I usually get when I’m away from my desk (on the train to work, the lounge area of our office or during travels to events or conferences). I also like my to-do-lists on paper – they keep me structured and help with prioritizing the things I am working on.

4. What songs are now on heavy rotation as you’re working-away?

Answer:

I enjoy music in all forms, however, while working I am more of the “I-like-it-calm-and-quiet” type as this is when I concentrate best.

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

Answer:

I love traveling, especially exploring my new home Norway (I am originally from Germany). Now that summer is slowly approaching, I like spending as much time outdoors as I can, enjoying bright summer nights by the fjord, hiking tours in the Norwegian woods, weekend trips with the motorcycle and a tent, finding the best swimming spot at the Oslo fjord, laughing with friends or sometimes just reading a good book.

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

My question and answer:

Katrin, I’d like to learn more about the Elance Mobilizer Program you’ve mentioned. How can I join your team?

Great question! Yes, we are continuously looking for Mobilizers to join our team in all parts of the world. If you are passionate about the new way of working, enjoy hosting workshops and organizing events, check out our Mobilizer info page.

 

Elance Is On Cloud 9, Sponsoring AngelHack Events.

Update: Here are photos from the recent AngelHack in Kiev.

If you’re a serious hacker, AngelHack is heaven on earth.AngelHack attendees

And we should know, as Elance had a fantastic time sponsoring a recent AngelHack in San Francisco. Plus we’re also looking forward to sponsoring several upcoming AngelHack events in cities around the world.

To fill you in, AngelHack organizes hackathon competitions for web developers, web designers and other entrepreneurs. Called AngelHacks, these events give budding startups a chance to bounce their ideas off others, crystalize their thinking, learn new development tools and receive funding and mentorship. They also have access to great freelancers from Elance, who can help bring their ideas to life during the weekend competition.

Oh, they also meet new friends and have a blast all weekend long.

This year AngelHack is organizing even more hackathons than ever, bringing together over 15,000 developers in 50+ cities. Each is a competition (with noted judges), with winners of each city’s AngelHack entering a 12 week AngelHack Accelerator Program to prepare them for a trip to the Silicon Valley to meet investors.

If you want to be a part of an AngelHack Elance is sponsoring, here are some upcoming dates:

Austin, June 1-2 RSVPJamHive logo

NYC, June 1-2 RSVP

Singapore, June 1-2 RSVP

Kiev, June 15-16 RSVP

For those who attending the even in San Francisco last weekend, you know how fun AngelHacks are. And congratulations to overall S.F. winner Livabetes (a positive take on DIEabities). They’re plan is to make an iPhone app that can monitor your blood glucose level with an add-on device, as well as track your insulin shots and other diabetes-related treatments.

Also a big nod to JamHive, which earned a special prize from Elance. They’re developing an online music collaboration tool for musicians, and they’re one of the many teams who used Elancer during the S.F. event. This includes hiring Irish graphic designer Alan, who worked through the night (Irish time) to iterate and create a rockin’ logo for JamHive.

Good work to all, and we look forward to more great work in the weeks to come.

5 + 1 Questions With Elance Staffer, Nenad Molerovich.

1. What’s your job here at Elance?

Answer: As Director of Online Marketing, I lead all efforts to make sure clients and freelancers find us when searching the web. Another huge part of the job is to really understand who our users are and how to serve them better.

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

Answer: I have to tell you a story first, and I'll try to keep it short. Before working at Elance I was a freelancer making a living through Elance.

I still remember the day when my fiancée quit her job at Microsoft in Seattle, sold everything she owned, and moved to Macedonia to start a family with me. On that same day, the Macedonian company I was doing online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for suddenly stopped paying everyone’s salary without any explanation. I had to do something and fast. A friend mentioned there was a site where you could work online jobs and make a decent living. I decided to not just try Elance, but to make it work for me. I figured if it can work for others then it can work for me as well.

Long story short, I got my first job and made just $50. Three months later I made the equivalent of 9 months of salary.

I still have that feeling of freedom whenever I see the word "Elance". I know that no matter where I am, I can still survive. For the first time in human history you don't have to live in a prosperous and developed country to have access to great jobs. Now you can grow your expertise and make a decent living from anywhere in the world. That's pretty powerful.

So, to answer the question, helping people and companies understand this opportunity is what I like most about working at Elance.

3. How do you Work Differently?

Answer: I work from home when I feel it's more productive, but I like being dynamic and changing my scenery every day. One good habit I’ve developed is to stay focused on what I'm doing in the moment no matter what is happening around me. In addition to that, I'm not afraid to fail and I love to learn, so I am always trying new things. 

4. What songs are now on heavy rotation as you’re working-away?

Answer: Oh man this is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I find Pink Floyd drowns out any distractions at work. (Editor’s note: Nothing wrong with rockin’ The Floyd)

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