Elancers at Work

Game On: Elancer Creates Sochi Olympics Travel Guide.

One amazing thing about being an Elancer is that you don’t have to be “in the business” to move into a lucrative new business arena. Our marketplace truly allows anyone, anywhere, to do almost anything. If you have an idea, you can bring it to life almost instantly on Elance.My Olympic Sochi

A case in point is Elancer Marina Zdobnova of Southern California. Originally hailing from Sochi, Russia, she noticed that as the Winter Games approached there were little or no travel books on this beautiful area. As one of our Los Angeles area Elance Mobilizers, Marina knew full-and-well that you needn’t be a major player in the publishing industry to create just such a book. You simply need Elancers.

Hence, with no book writing experience, she quickly assembled a team of Elancers and created the definitive guide: My Olympic Sochi: Travel Guide (also available on iTunes and Google Play, as well as Amazon). It details places to visit in the area (including the top 25 adventures), plus Sochi’s rich history, climate, food, people and more.

To create the book, Marina hired two translators, two graphic designers, an editor and an eBook conversion specialist. To go a little deeper on the subject for our readers, Elance asked Marina a few questions we thought apropos:

1.   What’s one surprising thing that most people wouldn’t believe about Sochi?

There was a time when Sochi was full of swamps and considered the worst exile place in Russia, worse than Siberia, due to malaria. Since then swamps were dried, malaria was eradicated, and subtropical trees were planted all over the city’s coast.

2.   What’s the best restaurant in Sochi, and the best food to try while in town?

I'm a big fan of Old Bazaar Restaurant on Nesebrskaya Street, 4, close to Sochi Sea Port. They specialize in traditional Russian and Caucasian cuisines, try their famous khachapuri ‘lodochka’, a boat shaped bread, and borscht, a soup made from beets. While in Sochi, try chanakhi, a stew of lamb in a clay pot with vegetables, while vegetarians may enjoy lobio, a dish of dark red kidney beans cooked with herbs.Marina Zdobnova

3.   Do you have any great tips on using Elancers?

Always be respectful with Elancers. Since people are from different cultures, some things may get lost in translation, so it is important to acknowledge your Elancer’s work and say thank you first, but also indicate what needs to be corrected or modified in a professional manner. Feeling appreciated, Elancers will also treat you with respect and will do even more for you in return.

4.   Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

Sure, my name is Marina Zdobnova and I was born in Sochi and attended Sochi School #16. I graduated from Sochi State University and Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts. I now live in Santa Monica, California and for sure am going to Sochi for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in February 2014. Check out my blog and a video about my book.

A Holiday Message “Yule” Love.

Thanks to Elancers everywhere for a wonderful 2013, and wishing you an amazing 2014. Here’s a short video that says it all.


Happy Holidays,

The Elance Team

Happy National Freelancers Day, United Kingdom!

Thursday is yet another blooming enormous day for entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom, as the sovereign state has wisely decreed November 21st National Freelancers Day.

All day (and into the wee hours of the night, we suspect?) National Freelancers Day Festivities are happening around the region. This includes a major event hosted by the UK’s Professional Contractors Group (PCG) – an organization strong in championing freelance work in the area. They’ll be hosting their Main Event in London with a panel discussion including many A-list speakers, such as former Birmingham City Football Club Managing Director Karren Brady and local radio host Nick Ferrari. The discussion is happening at the London Symphony Orchestra’s historic concert venue, LSO St. Luke’s.

If you’re in London drop by the National Freelancers Day Main Event as the fun gets started at 18.15 pm. Elance’s own Country Manager UK Hayley Conick will also be on hand at the event. If you can’t be there Hayley will also be tweeting during the event, so join the conversation with #NFD2013. You can also follow PCG’s live feed.

While those of us in the Elance community are already well aware of the many benefits of the freelance life, folks in the UK are getting onboard at a record pace as well. It’s estimated that there are some 1.7 million freelancers in the UK alone, contributing in the neighborhood of £95bn to the world economy this year. This helps to explain why freelancing is more than worthy of a National Day, if not a National Week or even Month. Check out these comments about National Freelancers Day and entrepreneurism, gathered from UK heavy-weights ranging from Prime Minister David Cameron to Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Also here’s a recent article in The Telegraph on the surge in freelancing in general, and National Freelancers Day in particular.

Naturally there are lots of other fun and valuable activities happening across the UK on National Freelancers Day, including at co-working spaces, home offices, coffee shops, pubs and wherever freelancers work. Have a great day and enjoy your independence. This day is yours.

As StartupBus Rolled Through Europe, Elance Posted To Facebook at 105 kph.

Here are some highlights from the recent StartupBus Europe, as seen through a few Facebook posts. Congrats to Team Aiden for their victory, creating an app to help fight depression.


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.


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.


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