Businesses Hiring More Freelancers

Small Business Labs

No doubt not by coincidence, the company that sponsored this research - Elance  - recently announced a tool to help mid-sized companies do just that.    Elance calls their new tool the Private Talent Cloud and it's a private version of the public Elance platform, allowing companies to create and manage their freelance talent pool. And shortly after Elance, oDesk announced their version, called Private Workplace.

2013 151

Online Talent Marketplaces Continue Rapid Expansion

Small Business Labs

There are several interesting new data points on the increasing use of online talent marketplaces like Elance-oDesk,, etc. work reports from Elance-oDesk, which recently merged. The chart below, from the Elance-oDesk reports, highlights the relative strong growth on online job listings.

2014 136

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Your Business Failed, What’s Next?


For example, Elance-oDesk VP Matt Cooper learned from his first failed venture that he had a tendency to move too quickly with business ideas. There’s no way around it: Failure is not fun.

2022 238

Startups and the Growth of Online Staffing

Small Business Labs

Online staffing firms and marketplaces like Elance, oDesk and continue to report substantial growth in jobs posted, jobs placed and money paid to service providers.   Elance recently reported that over $750 million has been spent on its platform and they are over 3 million registered freelancers.

2013 146

The Emergence of Freelancer Management Systems

Small Business Labs

  Freelancer management systems are different from online staffing platforms such as Elance, Odesk and in that they go beyond just facilitating one-to-one engagements between indidviaul buyers and sellers of freelance talent.    Several organizations currently provide freelancer management systems including MBO Partners , Work Market , Elance-oDesk and On Force.

2014 153

Excellent Presentation Explains Online Talent Marketplaces

Small Business Labs

Online work arrangement platform (OWAP) is Andrew's fancy term for online talent marketplaces like Elance-oDesk,, etc. Andrew Karpie's Online Work Arrangements Platforms  presentation does a great job of explaining the changing ways contingent workers are sourced, engaged and managed by hiring organizations.    It also describes the rapidly growing and diverse online talent marketplace industry.

2014 142

2.7 Million Independents Work in the On-Demand Economy

Small Business Labs

Online talent marketplaces such as, Elance - oDesk, and others. According to a new report from MBO Partners -  Independent Workers and the On-Demand Economy  - about 2.7 million American independent workers report using at least one on-demand economy platform or marketplace as a source of work or income.

2015 168

The Rise of Fixed Term Contract Workers

Small Business Labs

  A new study by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk adds more information on this type of work. According A few weeks ago we reported on the trends that are leading to more workers being on fixed term contracts, which means employment relationships with their employer that terminate after a specific period of time.   According to their Freelancing in America study , 5.5

2014 173

Moonlighting: Booming or Declining?

Small Business Labs

A recent study by the Freelancers Union and Elance paints a very different picture.   The Freelancers Union/Elance report says multiple job holders fall into two broad segments: Moonlighters (14.3   The Pew data comes from a BLS survey that specifically asks about 2nd "jobs"   The Freelancers Union/Elance survey asks respondents a series of questions such as: Do you do any work outside of your primary position to earn additional money?

2014 137

Jinglesmart - Online Project Marketplace for the Jingles Industry

Small Business Labs

  The best known of the firms in this industry are probably oDesk and Elance.   A wide variety of talent can be hired at oDesk or Elance, everything from computer programmers to virtual assistants to writers. According to Staffing Industry Analysts , the online staffing industry is now about a $1billion dollar industry that's growing at "double-digit" rates. 

2012 131

The What, Who and How of Outsourcing… So You Can Let Go


You can advertise for freelance help on sites such as or Entrepreneurs are can-do people. Do-it-yourselfers. You make it happen, you’re up for a challenge , you do it your way. But sometimes that attitude can backfire.

2022 225

Survey: 1 in 3 Americans are Freelancers

Small Business Labs

The Freelancers Union and Elance - oDesk released a study showing that 34% of the American workforce freelances in some form. According to the study, 53 million Americans said they engaged in some form of freelance work in the past year. The study breaks these folks into 5 segments: "Independent Contractors" (40%, or 21.1 million) don’t have a traditional employer and do freelance, temporary or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis. Moonlighters” (27 percent, or 14.3

2014 153

Coworks - A Social Online Talent Marketplace

Small Business Labs

Instead of offering talent buyers a large number of potential hires like an Elance or oDesk does, it connects buyer and sellers of talent  based on personal connections and recommendations. Coworks is a new online talent marketplace with a twist.

2013 170

The Growing Independent Worker Ecosystem

Small Business Labs

This ecosystem includes a wide range of firm types, including: Talent marketplaces : firms like Elance , Odesk and that connect independent workers with those interested in hiring them. The growth of the independent workforce (freelancers, temps, self-employed, etc.) has also led to a growing ecosystem of companies supporting independent workers and the firms that hire them.

2013 153

The Growing Role of Technology Based Talent Intermediaries

Small Business Labs

  The author calls MBO Partners a "work arrangement intermediation platform" that share traits with the online staffing firms like oDesk and Elance. The Two Sides of MBO Partners: Things May Not Always be What They Seem is an interesting article from Andrew Karpie from the Staffing Industry Analysts. It provides a detailed look at Emergent Research client MBO Partners.

2013 131

The Rise of Micro Multinationals

Small Business Labs

  Upwork (formerly known as Elance-oDesk)  is featured in the report and it certainly is focusing on the creation of micro multinationals. A study recently issued by eBay reports that in the last year 190,000 U.S. small businesses that use their platform export to multiple countries and continents. This is up from about 30,000 in 2009. Even more are exporters (meaning they sell their goods or services to at least 1 country outside of the U.S.).

2015 156

Consulting Disruption Leading to Opportunities for Independents

Small Business Labs

 Think of them as a specialized Elance or oDesk that connects independent consultants with buyers. According to well known innovation and strategy guru Clayton Christensen, the consulting industry is on the cusp of disruption. Key quote from his Harvard Business Review article on this topic : We have come to the conclusion that the same forces that disrupted so many businesses, from steel to publishing, are starting to reshape the world of consulting.

2013 137

Is the U.S. Becoming Less Entrepreneurial?

Small Business Labs

  Using contingent labor has gotten easier and more effective due to the growth of online talent exchanges such as Elance and oDesk, improvements in collaborative technologies for managing non-employees and growing numbers independent workers available for hire. There are simply too many people participating in online commerce sites like Etsy, Airbnb, Elance, oDesk, Uber for this not to be true. We think entrepreneurship is alive and well in America.

2014 164

Fiverr Joins Task Rabbit in Targeting Businesses

Small Business Labs

Online talent marketplaces like Elance and oDesk have seen substantial growth over the past couple of years. Fiverr , the online marketplace for people to buy and sell services for $5, recently announced a new platform to better support the "gig economy"   The new platform includes a visually oriented design scheme as well as a number of new analytical tools that allow gig sellers to better manage their Fiverr related business activities.

2013 136

Improving the Job Market With Big Data

Small Business Labs

" This is changing as sites like LinkedIn, oDesk, eLance and others provide job seekers the ability to create profiles that are widely and easily accessible. Interesting article from John Horton at oDesk  on the Digitization of the Supply Side of the Labor Market. It covers the growing role labor supply sites such as LinkedIn and oDesk are playing in making job markets more efficient.

2012 141

The Verticalization of the Gig Economy

Small Business Labs

This industry started with generalist sites like Elance that connect a wide range of workers with people looking to hire help. One clear signal that an industry is expanding is when participants start to specifically target niche, specialized or vertical market segments. This has been happening in the gig economy for a while now, but we saw two interesting examples last week. One comes from the online talent marketplace space.

2016 109

The Growing Importance of Talent Agents

Small Business Labs

   - Online Talent Exchanges such as Elance and oDesk.  Most people think of talent agents and talent agencies only work with movie and sports stars.    Wikipedia, for example,  defines talent agent as "a person who finds jobs for actors, authors, film directors, musicians, models, producers, professional athletes, writers and other people in various entertainment businesses. 

2011 143

Why You Shouldn’t Hire Your Virtual Assistant on

Tips From T. Marie

Places like Craigslist , and Elance. Sites like Guru and Elance are bidding wars, plain and simple. I recently read an article by Ryan Lee called “ The REALITY of Outsourcing and Virtual Assistants ”. He makes a great point about waiting until your business is ready for a virtual assistant rather than simply getting one because some ‘guru’ tells you to in their book(s).

2011 122

The Two Types of Portfolio Careers

Small Business Labs

The rapid growth of "gig" and peer to peer commerce sites - think TaskRabbit, Gigwalk, Fiverr, Airbnb, Uber, Etsy, Elance, etc. - There's no doubt the traditional career path of staying with a single company, or a small number of employers, and rising through the ranks until you retire is no longer viable for most people.   One option that's becoming increasingly common is the portfolio career. Based on our research, this comes in two broad flavors: 1.

2013 138

The Rise of Corporate Independent Worker Talent Pools

Small Business Labs

Last week Upwork (the entity formerly known and Elance and oDesk) announced two new products: Upwork Pro  targets mid-market firms and provides access to to pre-screened, top-rated professional freelancers that meet the specific needs of the hiring firm. Spend Matters' PwC Launches its Online Talent Exchange to Join the Independent Workforce Platform Economy  covers a new initiative by the consulting and accounting giant, the PwC Talent Exchange.

2016 100

Why Are Women the Majority of Freelancers?

Small Business Labs

GigaOm's Women make up the majority of online freelancers, study says covers research from Zinnov showing that women comprise 55% of the workers on online talent sites like Elance and oDesk.   This is consistent with  our research on U.S. independent workers.  We found that women comprise 53% of this group.

2012 154

Coworking in India

Small Business Labs

India is the second largest player in freelancing after the US, according to Elance, an online service that connects freelancers to projects, with average earnings of about $15 per hour and rising. I'm just back from a trip to India where I had the opportunity to visit several coworking spaces. Coworking in India is growing quite rapidly, with more than 100 spaces across the country and new spaces popping up on a regular basis.

2015 146

Are Traditional Jobs Going to Disappear?

Small Business Labs

  A couple of related indicators of this are:  - Firms like Elance , oDesk and MBO Partners - leaders in providing independent workers - have decent numbers of traditional employees. The Forbes article In the Future, Nobody Will Have Jobs  summarizes the growing view that traditional jobs are going the way of the dinosaurs, replaced by an array of contract workers and automation.

2012 137

The Role of Side Gigs in an Uncertain Economy

Small Business Labs

According to Elance, 25% of their global freelancers are side giggers  and the percentage is even higher for their U.S. We've been spending a lot of time looking at side gigs. These are 2nd (or even 3rd) jobs or side businesses started by people to augment their regular employment or activity.   Most people, of course, use side gigs to earn money.

2014 142

Contract Jobs Dominated Job Growth Since 2005

Small Business Labs

The media is also surprised that most of this growth came from off-line activities instead of online platforms like Uber and Elance.  Fusion's Harvard economist: All net U.S. job growth since 2005 has been in contracting gigs  covers a study by two noted academic economists that found all net employment growth in the U.S. economy since 2005 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.

2005 100

Why are There More Non-Employer Small Businesses?

Small Business Labs

 Good examples of this include the growth of talent marketplaces like eLance and oDesk and the ability to contractually access world class business infrastructure through services like Amazon's AWS. Scott Shane's post Should We Count Non-Employer Businesses? raises a number of interesting questions related to the fact that a growing share of U.S. small businesses don't have employees.   He wonders whether or not these businesses should count as small businesses.

2012 139

How to Avoid Being Named in a Fancy Hands Type Lawsuit

Tips From T. Marie

Which begs the question, how ethical is it to take advantage of a situation like the one at Fancy Hands, Fiverr, Guru, Elance and other services that so many have turned to for extremely low cost virtual services? Fancy Hands, the service that assigns virtual assistants to complete tasks at ridiculously low prices is facing a misclassification lawsuit for minimum wage and overtime pay. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

2015 122

The Rise of Online Micro-Job Markets

Small Business Labs

  Elance , for example, has been around for well over a decade.  There's a growing number of online marketplaces designed to connect people who are willing to pay for small tasks to be done with people willing to do them.    Think of them as eBay's for chores, small jobs and other personal and business tasks. 

2011 131

Top 10 Small Business Trends for 2013

Small Business Labs

 Expect more niche online marketplaces like Elance and Task Rabbit to connect independent workers with the organizations looking to tap their services; more educational programs and government support for starting and operating a self-employed business; more services and tools to help manage a solopreneur business; and more coworking and solopreneur-oriented commercial workspaces.  Below is our sixth annual Top 10 Small Business Trends list.

2013 205

Offshore, Team, Solo: A Client's Challenge to get the Help he Needs

Virtual Moxie

You might (again, depending on how you feel about it) choose to let your VA know know that you’d like her to use offshored VAs, or people from Fiverr , or Elance , or Odesk to handle one-off, very specific projects. A new one here at VMoxie… a Pick Anastacia’s Brain question from a client! Henry wrote: I’m so confused.

2012 170

5 Ways Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners Are Bootstrapping Their Companies

Small Business CEO

Accountants, web designers and marketing people can be hired online at places like ODesk and Elance. Starting a small business is hard. And in today’s economy, getting the most for your money often equates to the creative distribution of your financial resources. That’s why so many entrepreneurs and small businesses are inventing ways to bootstrap their operations.

2012 63

Set Yourself Apart from the Competition » Make or Break Moments

Make or Break Moments

I’m familiar with Elance but a colleague who had a similar project told me that she’d had great success with oDesk - so that’s where I started.

2010 100

Four Tips for Monetizing Your Online Marketing Blog

Andrea Kalli

With a few hundred dollars and some hours spent on Elance, you can easily program and design your own marketing tool.

2010 125

A New Way To Think About Bribery-Based Business Models

Small Business CEO

This community interaction mechanism is so addictive that it’s been integrated into Ebay, Amazon, Elance and many ecommerce sites for customer engagement. It seems like every week, I hear about another start-up with a bribery-based business model. Some genius decided that they can pay people to visit their web site, and that this would somehow evolve into loyalty. But sure enough, a few months later, they all vanish just as quickly as they appeared.

2010 56

How to Set Your Copywriting Fees and Earn What You’re Worth

Men With Pens

Another discussion was with an associate who said he saw freelance projects on Elance with bids of $50 for sales letters and $5 for blog posts. Today’s post is a killer, and it comes to us from none other than Dean Rieck , a copywriter I respect for his straightforward attitude and damned smart advice. He’s put together a ton of both in this posts – and it’s all about the money. Enjoy! A couple of recent conversations got me thinking about setting fees for copywriters.

2010 78