Elance and oDesk have announced that they are merging. Each will continue to operate individually (for now). They have not yet revealed what their new, combined, company name will be. It is expected that the deal will conclude sometime in the next four months.
Elance is a marketplace for online work. It is somewhere that freelancers can go in order to find freelance jobs. Over 1.3 million jobs are posted through Elance every year. The company they are merging with,oDesk, also helps businesses find freelance workers. Cumulatively, oDesk has had more than $1 billion of work completed through it.
Both companies provide very similar services, and it appears the main purpose of the merger is to continue to do what they already do (but more effectively). Freelancers who are using either company right now can expect their profiles, work history, and other parts of their online reputation there to be unaffected by the merger. Clients will still be able to hire, manage, and pay exactly as they had before.
I have the entrepreneurial bug so I’m always checking out the latest news on successful business owners. I love technology based businesses. I salivate over the thought of someday working completely from home. So a few months back I was really impressed with a story I read in Inc Magazine about a teenager making money via myspace. It’s not what you are thinking…… no webcams and all that junk. This young lady was designing backgrounds and layouts for myspace pages. She had been using html since she was about 9 so she knew what she was doing. She started out making layouts for friends then expanded into getting paid. She also offers some layouts for free and makes money off of ads since her website is so popular. She made about $500,000 this past year! Not bad for a “kid” huh? This “kid” made more in a year than most adult Americans make in 10 years. She was able to do it because the tools were available to do so. The internet, cheap computers, and social networks made her business possible along with her ingenuity.
Stories like hers should be an inspiration to young people everywhere. Often, kids would like to have a job but cannot get one for any number of reasons. Either they don’t have a ride to work, don’t have time during the day, or are not old enough to be hired legally. But with an internet business they don’t need permission from mommy government, don’t need a ride from mommy, and can work at night after homework and sports. Obviously not everyone is going to make half a million a year but $5000 – $10,000 a year would seem like a windfall to a young person with no bills living at home. Elance is full of jobs for doing basic research online which would be a good fit for computer savvy students. Even though sites like Elance are very competitive due to overseas workers I think young Americans could compete on price since they are likely doing it for extra money.
I know some people think children should enjoy their childhood so they should not have to worry about jobs until after high school. But there are some that want to work badly so they should have the chance to do so. The kid growing up in a poor home deserves the chance to pull himself up by the bootstraps. And technology opens up another avenue for that person to change his or her life for the better.