Congrats on the merge of Elance and oDesk – long live the free lance economy.
What’s nice about using a free lancer is that you get the expertise you need to get a job done, with none of the overhead of an employee.
Here’s my quick tips on working with free lancers and making the relationship most effective for you and them:
- Have a job description – hire a free lancer like you would a regular employee. Be clear in what YOU want them to do and set expectations and measurements of success.
- Write good headlines – when posting the job description be creatively clear. One of my job postings read “looking for digital ninja”
- Fire fast – if someone is NOT performing fire them quickly. It’s less painful for both of you
- Put up barriers – those who really want to work for you will read your job description; if you ask someone to check out a bio page or something that shows they thought about and READ your job description, that’s good. Some free lancers will fill out every job and not give thought to it. You don’t want these free lancers working for you.
- Appreciate your freelancers – show appreciation to your free lancers and respect them for the professionals they are
- Ensure you are important to your freelancers – if you’re just one of 500 clients, you might not get the service you need from your free lancers
- Seek their advice – if you’ve hired the right free lancer, you’ve hired someone who is smart and can not only do “their job” but also give you advice and input on how to do it BETTER
- Pay fair and pay on-time – you want fair pay right? so do your free lancers pay them fairly and pay them on-time
- Develop a system – if you and your free lance part ways, it’s great to have a system in place so that you can have someone else do their role; maybe you don’t part ways but they are do other things or are managing others – a system will help you add in another person to get the job done.
The new entity will be well-positioned to deliver the most advanced tools for hiring and collaborating online, investing more in technology and providing more opportunities for businesses and freelancers everywhere. The company will have a combined global community of more than 8 million freelancers and 2 million businesses in over 180 countries, with an estimated $750 million in billings in 2013.
“We are merging two great companies that aspire to connect the world through work and create more economic and social opportunity,” said Elance chief executive officer Fabio Rosati.“ Just as Amazon reinvented retail, and Apple iTunes transformed the music industry, we will greatly improve how businesses hire and people work online. This merger will create unprecedented access and flexibility for people to find job opportunities regardless of their location, and will allow businesses of all sizes to more easily access the best available talent.”
“This merger is a landmark in the evolution of work,” said oDesk chief executive officer Gary Swart. “With 2.7 billion people now connected online, people are hungry for more freedom to work flexibly and for teams to come together more easily. The $422 billion global staffing market is ripe for reinvention. With online work growing at least ten times more rapidly than staffing overall, oDesk is thrilled to join with Elance in order to innovate faster.”
The expected key strategic benefits of the merger include:
- Significant investments in technology, including tools for more effective hiring, seamless online collaboration, improved mobile accessibility and skills development.
- Higher quality results for all customers. Combining our engineering and data science expertise will deliver quality improvements including better-matched freelancers for businesses and superior job recommendations for freelancers.
- Accelerated growth and scale. The global staffing market is enormous and is transitioning online. Combined, the companies will be able to help accelerate this transition, empowering businesses and individuals with the flexibility they need to flourish.
Fabio Rosati will serve as chief executive officer of the combined company, and oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will continue in the same role of the combined company. Gary Swart will act as a strategic advisor. The name of the new company post-merger will be announced after the deal closes.