Elance recently launched a variety of community resources at their website, including a company blog and forums.
Elance is the online marketplace where small businesses can hire Web designers, writers, admins and other freelancers to staff projects. Or, if you are a freelancer yourself, it is a place you can look to pick up projects and independent contracting jobs.
The blog and forums are housed under the tab on the website entitled “Water Cooler.”
I notice that Elance CEO Fabio Rosati has joined the ranks of CEO bloggers on the site. He recently wrote about the trend toward independent contractors:
Today, the free agent movement is global and uses the Internet as its workplace.
A good number of independent workers are members of our community. They market their services, work, make money and grow their reputation on the web. Their diversity and resourcefulness, and their relationship with the Internet, have been the subject of several interesting pieces of organizational research (“The Future of Work”, written by MIT’s professor Tom Malone, includes a section on Elance and its community).
The combination of a rapidly changing Internet foundation and work creates tremendous opportunity. More advanced online tools and applications are becoming available for remote workers and small businesses. The ability to work from anywhere in the world, without having to own and manage expensive infrastructure, is rapidly becoming a reality ….
It also looks like the new Elance community will offer resources to learn how to get more business if you are a freelancer. Check out Elance University.
There is a wide variety of freelancers available on their site. It is very interesting to see how many are not located in the US.
Hi Amanda, it’s definitely a global marketplace these days for many types of freelance workers.
Web development, for instance, went global a few years ago. Same goes for graphic design.
And increasingly SEO services are being provided from offshore — I’m seeing a lot more SEO firms from Canada, South America, VietNam, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Anyone who is thinking of joining Elance may seriously want to reconsider. While I’ve had issues with the site for a long time (lowballing, a huge percentage of projects going unawarded, abysmal pay rates from many buyers, etc.), I’ve been able to make a viable profit there for years. Now, however, Elance is about to raise their fees astronomically, making the site cost-prohibitive for the average freelancer. I highly recommend everyone proceed with caution and check out the Water Cooler thoroughly for comments from scads of discontented members before dropping money in the ever-growing Elance coffer.
I can’t seem to find the scads of comments from discontented members that are referred to. And I think it’s great that Elance allows an open forum for people to express their opinions. Elance IS a valuable source for freelancers. . .
Click on the Water Cooler tab then the New Membership Structure link. I suppose Elance is a valuable resource for freelancers if you like giving a huge chunk of your profits to a corporation that cares nothing about the providers that have made it a success.
Suscriptions at Elance are TOO expensive and %8,75 fee for each project is too high.
I have been with elance since they started. I have seen many changes over the years but this recent one is the absolute worst. Not only are they raising fees for providers but they are lowering the number of bids you can place a month unless you buy more of course. Also we still have to pay teh 8.5% transaction fee per project. Elance claims this to be done in the name of making a better market place for everyone. Hah! The only ones getting benefit from this is Elance period! They have never listened to providers in the past and I suspect they won’t into the future, they just keep lining their pockets with providers hard earned money. They also don’t seem to care how many providers they lose because of this because in their mind, more will come along willing to pay the price to get work on Elance. So they win again and always will. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it except, move on. Quit and get out. Spend the money marketing yoru site in more creative ways. That’s about the size of it.
Just my 2 cents,
Raising prices is always a tough thing for a company to do. I am looking at raising my consulting fees come January 1st, and it’s not something I do lightly. I don’t doubt that Elance thought long and hard about any prices increases.
From my perspective as someone who uses several brokers and agents, I would add this: when I pay a sales agent or a broker to bring me business, I focus on how far ahead I will be once I get that business, not on the fee.
I pay up to 40% — yes 40% — to get some of my business, and I think about:
– what I will make after paying the 40% — is it worth it to me?
– what would it cost me to go out and prospect, market, sell and close that business without the agent’s help? There’s a cost to that, too, in terms of my time.
– could I even secure that business without the agent’s help? In other words, do I have the the right contacts and the source of new business that I can tap into on my own, without the intermediary?
Let me give you another example that many website owners will appreciate. If you run Google AdSense ads on your site, you are probably paying something like 50% to get those advertisers (I don’t know for sure, but that’s what I’ve read on various websites as the cut that the publisher gets for the ads displayed on their site). It’s just not charged to you specifically, so you are not aware of it — but in effect you’re paying a fee nonetheless. And most website owners would say it is well worth it, because it is extra money they would not be able to make on their own.
No one wants to pay any more than they have to, but on the other hand, if you can raise your own prices a bit to counter the increase, the net benefit to you could still be very positive even with higher fees because you are getting access to good business.
Just my 2 cents.
Agree Anita! Good business comes with a price. You get what you pay.
The problem with this logic is that you DON’T get what you pay for at Elance. A vast majority of the projects never get awarded, yet the bids (now connects) you pay for are not returned to you when this happens. Moreover, many of the jobs that do get awarded go for prices far below market rates. I guess I’m fortunate in that I have more than enough work to keep me busy almost all of time, almost all of which I pay nothing (except my own marketing time and effort) to secure. What Elance thought long and hard about was only how to increase their own bottom line. That self-focus is already backfiring and guess what? Yep, they’ve received so many complaints they’re re-evaluating their “brilliant” new structure. It’s every feelancers prerogative, of course, to sit back and allow companies like Elance, brokers, and what have you rob them of their hard-earned money, but I’m not one of those freelancers.
If only the annual subscription on Elance could still be considered I would personally get over the decreased number of connects instead of bids. But the prices for montly subscriptions are outrageous. You see, this is apparently suppose to help us providers to choose the months we want to work and pay only for them, but where is the logic in that!!! I can’t predict when I’m going to be selected for a project. You just have to bid over and over again and be patient untill you get awarded. So anyway you will have to pay every month in order to continue bidding and working. I don’t see how this montly subscription will help the providers at all. It can only help Elance to get more money out of us which I assume was the original plan from the start of these last changes and not to help us both as they said in the long run. That can only make are pockets even more empty than they are now.
Earlier this week we announced the biggest change in our membership model in 5 years.
The present model has served Elance and its community well (for example, in the last year payments to Elance service providers have grown 100%), but to make Elance a great online workplace we needed to introduce a membership model that contributes to even higher quality.
Key points are listed below:
Elance Premier Program
The monthly cost for participating in this new program will be waived until March 1, 2008. This will give eligible members the opportunity to try the program and assess its benefits.