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If you run an online business, you should learn about outsourcing. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Fabio Rosati, the CEO of Elance.com.
Bryan: First of all, maybe you can explain what Elance is.
Fabio: Elance is a platform for online employment that helps businesses hire and manage workers online instead of onsite. For a manager looking to staff-up a team on an hourly or project basis, Elance offers instant access to qualified professionals who work online. Elance provides the tools to hire, view work as it progresses and pay for results. For skilled professionals who want to work online, Elance offers access to qualified clients, a virtual workplace and guaranteed pay for great work. Elancers have already delivered on projects worth more than $325 million.
Bryan: What type of tasks can Elance workers do?
Fabio: There are over 300,000 online workers on Elance with more than 400 rated and tested skills. For example, Android programmers, iPhone developers, PHP developers, web designers, graphic designers, writers, translators, search engine marketers, affiliate marketing specialists, virtual assistants, customer service agents, lawyers, you name it. If the work can be done in front of a computer, you can probably find a professional on Elance to do the work.
Bryan: What type of activity/volume do you see on a daily basis?
Fabio: Elance is a global employment platform where online work is being delivered every hour of every day. In a typical day on Elance, over 1,000 online workers are hired. Employers in more than 60 countries hire online workers in over 240 countries. There are more than 400,000 jobs posted per year and the Elance community earns over $2 million per week –that’s more than $100 million a year.
Bryan: What growth have you seen in online outsourcing since Elance began in 1998?
Fabio: When Elance started, online work was almost exclusively IT in nature. While technology and web development related skills are still the largest category (approximately 59% of the work done on Elance), marketing, writing, graphic design, translation, administrative and legal services are all important skills and have grown tremendously over the last few years. The world of online work today is much more diverse in terms of the types of jobs being performed as well as the geographic distribution of online workers.
Bryan: Where do you see Elance in 5 years time? What about the overall future of outsourcing?
Fabio: Within 5 years, Elance will be an integral part of hiring practices at small businesses and enterprises as more businesses adopt the online work model. It should not just be considered outsourcing, it is actually online employment: a smart, cost-effective way to hire and manage distributed teams to get work done in a cost-effective way. Just as e-commerce brought shopping for goods and services into the living room, Elance can give any company, small or large, access to the top talent they need.
We believe more and more companies will adopt the hybrid model of distributed work. Some businesses will have about 30% of staff working onsite and 70% working online. Workers are embracing online work because it offers them independence, one-minute commutes and more control over their careers.
Bryan: How does Elance differentiate itself from the other outsourcing portals?
Fabio: Elance is building the workplace of the future. As more work moves online, businesses and online workers will look for trusted environments that provide the tools and security that they have come to expect from traditional workplaces. At Elance, we are focused on building a platform to help facilitate all aspects of online work: helping match employers and skilled workers, building trust in the working relationship and focusing on compliance to help small businesses securely navigate and thrive as they leverage online work teams.
Bryan: To what extent does Elance make of outsourced talent?
Fabio: At Elance, we are big believers in online employment and every manager across Elance from marketing to IT to customer service includes online workers as part of their teams. At Elance headquarters in Mountain View, we have about 50 workers onsite and a team of over 120 workers online. Our team of Elancers are located all over the world and enable our company to get more work done with less overhead. Some online workers work with us on an ongoing basis and are paid by the hour, like programmers, writers, graphic designers and customer service representatives. Other online workers are project-based and help us with a variety of initiatives, such as conducting market research, translating content, adding specific functionality to our website, or designing an illustration for our blog page.