Elancers at Work

Recapping Elance's Week in South Africa

Kjetil J. Olsen is Elance's Vice President of Europe.

Recently I had the incredible opportunity to represent Elance in South Africa at a number of high-visibility events, including the Design Indaba Conference, the largest design conference and expo event in Africa, which was held in Cape Town from February 29th through March 4th . Elance was invited to participate in a series of events alongside First National Bank (FNB), which is PayPal’s official representative in South Africa, and we were eager to continue our relationship working with PayPal.

Earlier in the week, I had the honor of speaking at Digital Cowboys, a monthly forum for the digital marketing community in South Africa, where I introduced Elance to a community of freelancers, agencies and entrepreneurs in graphic design, ecommerce and marketing.

The next day, I spoke at the AAA School of Advertising, a leading South African school for creative talent in graphic design, copywriting and art direction, where I delivered a presentation to 60 students about how Elance is changing the global workforce, and how their careers would likely intersect with online, global work.

[Winners] Elance Spotlight: Your Summer Stories

In our most recent Elance Spotlight, we asked: Where has online work taken you this summer?

Did you take an Elance project with you on your travels? How did being an Elancer allow you to get work done from anywhere in the world? Were you able to take a vacation this summer due to an improved work/life balance?

You responded, and we wanted to share some of the incredible stories we've received:


  • Over the summer, I spent six weeks in Cuenca, Ecuador, which is a city that is gaining popularity with Americans looking to retire overseas. It’s possible to live there very comfortably on a retirement income, and a lot of Americans are visiting to see if they might be able to live there. While I was there, writing travel articles and blogging, I checked in with Elance daily. I was able to bid on projects and complete work. Ecuador has a great Wi-Fi network, which makes it very easy for me to work.

    In fact, Elance was one of the major factors in my decision to go to Cuenca in the first place, because I knew that I would be able to work while I was there.


My Ten Favorite Things About Working Online

People leave their traditional careers all the time to freelance online, but what is it that keeps them from going back? Freelance writer and Elance veteran Cathy Reed tells us what she's enjoyed the most about her freelance career, which continues to keep her engaged after two and a half years.

Working online has its challenges. It takes patience and perseverance to get started and, as with any job anywhere, there are good days and bad days, great projects and not-so-great projects, ideal clients and not-so-ideal clients. However, having worked on Elance for two and a half years, writing and editing for clients all over the globe, I have found working online a highly rewarding experience. Here are my ten favorite things:

1) I love the variety of subjects I get to work on: irrigation in China, the fishing industry in Japan, the fashion industry in Russia, drug cartels, the resistance movement in Iran, neurology, naturopathy, the academic benefits of Twitter…I just never know what I’ll be working on next.

2) If you’re the curious type and you love to learn, you’ll be thrilled to find yourself continually learning about things you knew nothing about – like dental facelifts and the behavior of rogue elephants. Until I started editing on Elance, I knew nothing about the influence of rainfall on pregnancy, the existence of lost dog detectives, the mating habits of ptarmigans, or the latest in 3D games innovation.

3) I get the opportunity to be a virtual traveler to countries all over the globe. So far I’ve worked with clients in 35 countries – from Mongolia and Lithuania to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Cameroon and Nigeria.

Share Your Summer Story For the Elance Spotlight

Elancers, here's an opportunity to share with us one of your memorable summer experiences over the past few months! You could win a $50 Amazon gift card just by answering the following question:

Where has online work taken you this summer?

Did you take an Elance project with you on your travels? Tell us about how being an Elancer allowed you to get work done from anywhere in the world. Were you able to take a vacation this summer due to an improved work/life balance? Send us a photo of one of your sightseeing stops with a caption. We want to hear (and see) your stories!

Ready to enter this month’s Elance Spotlight? Here are the details:


  • Send your photo, anecdote, YouTube link, etc. to elance_spotlight@elance.com with the subject line:
    Elance Spotlight - [your Elance username]
  • In the body of your email, include your:
    • Elance username
    • City and country
    • Short description of whatever you're sharing about your summer!
  • Feel like sharing? Use your Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or any other social channel of your choice! Post it on our Facebook Page or upload and tweet a link to @elance with hashtag #ElanceSpotlight.
  • We'll round up your submissions and share them in a future blog post.
  • We'll also select ten (10) winners at random to each receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
  • Submissions will be taken until Friday, September 30th at 5pm PT, and the winners will be announced the following week.
  • Limit one submission per unique Elance user.
  • Any submissions deemed offensive or inappropriate will be disqualified.

 

We're looking forward to your summer stories!

 

Startup Cloud Winner: TutorCause

So you’re starting a new company, have some big ideas and need to get them done yesterday? Elance is here to help! We caught up with one of our recent Startup Cloud winners, Neil Kelty of TutorCause, about the exciting new education and non-profit marketplace he's founded with former classmate Peter SerVaas, the prototype built by Elance contractor Promatics, and the plans for their $500 in prize winnings.

Hello Neil! Tell us about TutorCause and what it offers to students, tutors, and causes.


TutorCause allows causes, typically non-profits organizations, to leverage the intelligence and skills of their supporters by generating donations from a tutors' fees. These educational efforts provide more value to society than typical direct mail campaigns or street-based outreach efforts. The TutorCause platform provides an integrated, one-stop solution for a major gap in a multi-billion dollar market.

Tell us about your entrepreneurial past. Why is this the time to start your collective first company?

Peter and I spent the majority of our college careers leading and transforming the Indiana University Student Association. We expanded the organization from a small unproductive group of 15 students into a 140 professional and respected campus powerhouse capable of producing large scale campus projects valued at more than $1 million dollars and dislodging critical campus initiatives, including one issue that had been stalled for 39 years. We permanently altered the structure and role of student government at IU by instituting a project-based philosophy that continues beyond our tenure.

TutorCause grew out of that passion for improving the lives of students. We’d heard from hundreds of students about the scattered and ineffective market for tutoring on college campuses and we decided to fix it.

Elance Spotlight: Where Has Online Work Taken You This Summer?

As the summer starts to wind down for many of us, we thought it would be exciting to discover where our global community spent time over the past few months. You could win a $50 Amazon gift card just by answering the following question:

Where has online work taken you this summer?

Did you take an Elance project with you on your travels? Tell us about how being an Elancer allowed you to get work done from anywhere in the world. Were you able to take a vacation this summer due to an improved work/life balance? Send us a photo of one of your sightseeing stops with a caption. We want to hear (and see) your stories!

Ready to enter this month’s Elance Spotlight? Here are the details:


  • Send your photo, anecdote, YouTube link, etc. to elance_spotlight@elance.com with the subject line:
    Elance Spotlight - [your Elance username]
  • In the body of your email, include your:
    • Elance username
    • City and country
    • Short description of whatever you're sharing about your summer!
  • Use your Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or any other social channel of your choice to share with the world! Post it on our Facebook Page or upload and tweet a link to @elance with hashtag #ElanceSpotlight.
  • We'll round up your submissions and share them in a future blog post.
  • We'll also select ten (10) winners at random to each receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
  • Submissions will be taken until Friday, September 30th at 5pm PT, and the winners will be announced the following week.
  • Limit one submission per unique Elance user.
  • Any submissions deemed offensive or inappropriate will be disqualified.


Good luck! We're looking forward to your summer stories!

Turbine: The Company Built With Elance (Part Two)

In the second part of our interview with Turbine Founder Matthew Stibbe, we discuss the reach of his Elance usage—from Turbine to several other blog projects he manages, how he sees Elance playing a role in the future of startups, and his choice tips for managing online workers.

To read Part One, please click here.

What do you feel are the strengths about Elance’s platform?

Initially the value of Elance is tapping into the inventory of talent but when you start using it, you see the management tools and the way in which it balances the relationship between supplier and employer with escrow. That’s a great feature that gives both parties the confidence to transact. That is one of the big challenges of cross border work.

Feedback is useful, especially since it is an incentive for the contractor to do a good job. Bad feedback means bad business and good contractors are very careful that they have happy customers.

For what projects are you currently using Elance?

On GolfHotelWhiskey.com nearly all the blog content is written by online workers. They scan the blogosphere for interesting things for pilots and then write articles on them. On another site of mine, BadLanguage.net, I write all the content, but I use Elancers to help me add unique functionality to the site, such as a ‘popular posts’ page which lists the top five posts in each category, much like Alltop.com.

With Turbine right now, almost all the work is done through Elance, including all web development, testing, and content writing. Our site launched about a month ago, with early functionality and 4 or 5 modules for things like time off management and expenses claims. The full-blown Turbine probably will have 20-25 modules altogether, so we have another year of innovation and development. It’s a constant process, but I’m able to manage it through Elance quite effectively.

Turbine: The Company Built With Elance (Part One)

In the first of a two-part Q&A, we speak with Matthew Stibbe, Founder of online office management software Turbine, about his journey starting Turbine after putting the idea on the shelf for years. Here we discuss Matthew's entrepreneurial past and then discover how Elance allowed him to go from an early vision to a growing company.

Greetings Matthew! Please tell us a little bit about your company Turbine.

Turbine lets businesses take care of routine paperwork more efficiently. People can do time off requests, expenses claims, purchase requests etc. anywhere, anytime online. Managers get instant reporting and best practice approval workflows. As we add more functions – appraisals, timesheets and invoicing are coming next – the system becomes ever more useful and efficient. Growing businesses need to spend their time on innovation, marketing, sales and customer service and we help them do that.

When and why did you see a need for an all-in-one administrative tool like Turbine?


Turbine grew out of my experience running a computer software company in the 90s. As we grew, we added all this paperwork – holiday forms, purchase requests, expenses etc. And we hired people to process all the paperwork. And set up an HR database to keep track of it all. The whole thing was time-consuming, inefficient and expensive. Little bits of paper cost big bucks in growing companies.

CEOTraining.com: How to Use Elance To Grow Your Business

Entrepreneur Richard Wilson started using Elance over four years ago to help launch CEOTraining.com, and has since hired over 20 Elance professionals to complete projects for each of his businesses.

Recently, Richard (while in Singapore) put together a fantstic video on his site highlighting some of his best advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners using the Elance platform. We took the liberty of transcribing a few of Richard's tips—and are confident that you'll want to hear all of them in the video below!

 

  • Make sure you have examples of what you want done. When you give someone a project, make sure you show them the ideal outcome that you want at the end of the day.
  • Always have very focused projects. If you have four projects to get done, make those four different projects on Elance.com. Sure, you might award two of them to the same person, but chances are, if you post four different projects you're going to get people who apply for each of those, with very specific skills that match those projects very well.
  • Touch base weekly if you have a long-term project. If you don't touch base all of the time, sometimes people on Elance get distracted by new projects or their full-time jobs. Touch base with people weekly, and then they'll do a better job and more consistent work on your project.




[The Winners] Elance Spotlight: The View From Your Office

Thank you to everyone who submitted their photos for our Elance Spotlight: The View From Your Office contest! We regularly talk about how online work has truly gone global, but to see it first-hand from Elancers across all ends of the Earth is really special.

If you haven't flipped through the photos yet, we've put them together in a Flickr slideshow below. Also, remember we also have a Flickr badge in the right sidebar of this page and the rest of the Elance Blog. Underneath the Blog Topics box, you should see a Flickr box with three thumbnail images—those are Elance users! Click on any of them to be taken to our Elance_Flickr page, and you can browse through all of our contest submissions!

Elance Spotlight: The View From Your Office



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