All Things Upwork
January 4, 2012 by Gary Swart

Welcome to the new year! As we head into 2012, I want to personally thank all of you for making the past year an absolutely amazing one.
I would like to express how grateful I am to be part of such an inspiring and thriving community. From the thousands of innovative entrepreneurs that are building their businesses on oDesk, to the more than 1.5 million contractors that are taking advantage of the boundless opportunities online work has to offer, I am truly inspired by our incredible users.
Last year, you found new opportunities and incredible freedom through online work. As contractors, you earned more than $225 million on oDesk. You built your own successful online businesses, like Josh Warren, whose web development company aims to surpass $1M in earnings in 2012. You took charge of your careers and set lofty goals for yourselves — a great example is Bernard Vukas, who adjusted his rate to his target of $100/hr and left his home in Croatia to live the lifestyle of a digital nomad.
As clients, you created over 1M new online jobs in 2011. You hired thousands of online contractors to access talent as needed, to tap into skills beyond your existing staff, and to scale your businesses rapidly. You filled your teams with trained contractors to fulfill users’ needs, like online ticket forecaster SeatGeek did. You leveraged online work to expand your businesses aggressively, such as local service site Thumbtack.com’s impressive 150X growth.
As contractors and clients, your work on oDesk supports causes beyond your own businesses: thanks to your successes with online work, we have committed online training resources to Connect to Compete (a non-profit supporting broadband Internet access and training, launched in 2011 by the FCC), created the industry’s first international university program for online work training, and dedicated $1M to support entrepreneurs through Startup America.
This was a remarkable year, and we believe it was just the beginning of a massive shift in how the world works. We are just scratching the surface of Work 3.0, a world where work is on demand, virtual and remote. For both businesses and workers, the opportunities and possibilities here are endless.
As our team continues to work hard in 2012 to make oDesk the best online workplace for contractors and businesses, here are a few ways you can make the most of your oDesk experience this year:
  • Check out some of our fastest-growing categories of work, like mobile development, graphic design and social media. Consider growing your own skill set in these areas, or expanding your team by hiring contractors with these skills.
  • Get guidance from the online work experts on the oDesk blog — learn how to determine the value of online work, get tips on online hiring practices, and find advice on working successfully with people around the globe.
  • Join the conversation about online work in our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter communities. Learn from online work success stories, engage with oDesk team members, and connect with your fellow oDeskers from around the world.
We look forward to all the exciting opportunities 2012 will bring, and we can’t wait to share them with you. Thank you again for your continued support, and may the new year bring you happiness, health and prosperity!
Best wishes for your future success on oDesk,
Gary Swart
oDesk CEO

Gary Swart

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school… read more