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Last night I had the chance to attend the first annual Elance Work Differently Summit, held at their corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

As an Elance user and outsourcing nerd, I was excited for the opportunity to visit “the mothership.”

Elance work differently summit

Networking Time

The evening began with open networking time and attendees were able to mingle with each other and with Elance employees. I met some interesting and motivated entrepreneurs, each with their own unique take on the Elance system.

There was also an open bar and a selection of hors d’oeuvres to keep people from getting too hungry or thirsty.

CEO Presentation

The scheduled program opened with remarks from Elance CEO Fabio Rosati. He discussed the tremendous growth of the platform and where they see the future of online work going. (up!)

Despite the recent headlines at Yahoo on banning telecommuting, the global trend is moving toward decentralized workforces and remote teams.

In terms of scale, he mentioned that Elance is on pace to fill over a million jobs this year and process more than $250 million in contractor payments.

Elance CEO Fabio Rosati
Elance CEO Fabio Rosati Presenting

Freelancer Presentation

A successful freelance project manager named Corrina told her story about getting started with Elance and the happier life she’s been able to build since going into business for herself.

It was pretty inspirational to hear about the potential for Elance connections to really make such positive changes in people’s lives.

Platform Features and Enhancements

Two members of the Elance team presented on some improved functionality of the platform and answered questions from the audience. Specifically they talked about:

  • Pre-populated job descriptions
  • Inviting pre-qualified contractors to bid your job
  • A “portfolio” view that is now in Beta
  • Folder options for organizing and managing your account
me with Elance sign
Me in front of the big Elance sign.

Elance Success Panel

Finally, 3 Elance power users held a lively panel discussion on how they’ve used the system to transform their businesses. The consensus was (not surprising for an Elance-sponsored event) that they were able to delivery higher quality results faster and at a lower cost than ever was possible before.

The panelists also discussed feedback on the platform, bidding and hiring strategies, and what to do when things go south.

My favorite part was when one of the panelists openly advocated for virtual assistants, proclaiming everyone needs one, and it’s an amazing feeling to just “let go.” (paraphrasing)


All in all I was happy I made the trip, and it definitely got me thinking about how I can better utilize the global talent pool available on the site.

Where you there? What did you think?

If you want to learn more about the company, please check out our Elance page for more information and user reviews.

A Giveaway

I have a free paperback copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Elance” to give away.  Leave a comment letting me know a funny VA story or anything else outsourcing-related and I’ll pick a winner by April 3rd*.

*Sorry, I can only ship to US addresses.


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  2. Thought I’d give getting a VA a go…signed up to asksunday and it was a nightmare, escalation after escalation, phone call after phone call. If found look at reviews and went with efficise… and I have never looked back or thought about getting another company. Expect for maybe post for some help on Elance.

  3. I found my first VA on Craig’s list using the outstanding VA of a fellow marketer to place the ads. When that was over, there was difficulty with the hand off in that there were no procedures in place for the new VA- even though I had asked the old VA to document as he went. Now, I use screenflow videos to teach new things and put them in a drop box folder called procedures. This is better than what I had but if anyone has a different system, I would like to hear about it.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jennifer! — I use Jing for short training videos and ended up creating a “master document” in Google Drive that links out to all of them but I’ve been meaning to check out Screenflow, but it looks like it’s only for Mac at this point?

    1. The site looks great — they must have done a good job! Cool idea and cool product! Our friends have a newborn who was rocking some shades last time we saw him, I’ll have to ask if they’re Babiators 🙂

  4. We have used Elance for the first time to hire a technical writer. She is very sharp and we are impressed with her work. We look forward to working with her again in the near future.


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