BYOC: Bring your own contractor

June 23, 2011 by

New! Bring your own contractors onto oDesk & manage everyone on one platform. oDesk has made it quick and easy to bring any contractor you work with onto oDesk. Manage all your contractors in one place Only pay for hours worked with the oDesk Work Diary and Work Guarantee. Automated payments to contractors anywhere in the world To add your contractor, all you need is your contractor’s email address: Click “Bring Your Own Contractor” from the oDesk Team Room Fill in your contractor’s email address and the terms of your contract Your contractor will receive an email with your contract terms.  They will click to create an account and instantly be added to your team. Have feedback? Visit our community forum post to discuss this new feature with other users. Read Full Article

Smartphone Money: Implementing a Mobile Payment System for Your Business

June 22, 2011 by

Long a payment standard in emerging markets, mobile payments appear poised to gain new traction in 2011. At the same time, it’s become easier (and cheaper) for small businesses and freelancers to process mobile payments using the bare minimum of hardware. This intersection of technology and support means now might be the time for you to embrace a mobile payment option for your business. Read Full Article

Back to School: 45 Online Resources to Improve Your Freelance Skills

June 21, 2011 by

Most of us don't have the extra money or time to invest in returning to college. Thanks to the Internet, you don't necessarily have to. There are online educational resources for every freelance discipline and niche. Magazines, courses, ebooks, webinars, blogs -- all are learning tools that will enable you to grow in your profession, or even branch out and learn something new. Here’s a list of 45 Internet resources, arranged alphabetically by skill set, to help you take your freelance abilities to the next level. Read Full Article

Empowerment in Action: Creatuity Corp.

June 20, 2011 by

We talked a few days ago about how one of the biggest success factors for startups — a motivated, empowered workforce — can be imported to a more established small- or medium-sized business. We ran some of our thinking past Joshua Warren, whose web design firm, Creatuity Corp., both hires contractors and provides its services through oDesk's marketplace. Read Full Article

5 Major Freelancing Distractions and How to Effectively Manage Them

June 14, 2011 by

I’m sure you’ll agree that one of the biggest challenges when working online is distraction. Distractions can vary, from a single email in your inbox to a ringing cell phone, and they can shatter your productivity and focus in an instant. Distraction, according to Dictionary.com, is anything that diverts or interrupts a person’s attention. In the freelancer’s case, there are plenty of online and offline distractions that could steal away his focus and interrupt his productivity. Get rid of these distractions, and you’ll be able to get your projects done and beat your deadlines. Submit to these diversions, and you’ll find yourself procrastinating like crazy. Let’s take a look at 5 major freelancer distractions to get rid of before going into freelancing mode: Read Full Article

Think Like a Startup: 5 Ways to Empower Your Team

June 13, 2011 by

Tiny startups can move metaphorical mountains. How can established businesses get staff not only to work harder and smarter, but to want to work harder and smarter? By empowering them like a startup. Startups rely on empowered workers at all levels of the business, and Zappos, Whole Foods, Richard Branson's Virgin Group and others have thrived on it. Read Full Article

7-Item Contractor Checklist For Finding Remote Work

June 7, 2011 by

You may think that you've got everything you need to win any job - the experience, the skills, and the portfolio to back it up - but the truth is that you may be missing something essential that's keeping you from that goal. And because of that, your potential employer may pass on you in order to give the job to the next contractor in line. Read Full Article

5 Steps to Improve Your Online Resume

May 31, 2011 by

The oDesk profile is divided into several sections, each one with its own unique purpose. One of these is the Résumé, and it is one of the sections that many contractors tend to overlook or ignore. The resume section is actually a valuable part of your profile because it contains information that supports your freelancing title. These include your skills, your employment and educational histories, certifications, and other experiences. It may be a little daunting to fill this entire section up at first, but with a bit of effort and creativity on your part, you can spruce up your resume in such a way that employers would want to hire you on the spot. Here's what you can do: Read Full Article

Finding the Right Long-Term Contractor

May 16, 2011 by

It's no longer difficult to find good remote contractors, but even easier than finding a new contractor is building trust and rapport with one you already know. Any competent contractor should follow your instructions, stick to budget and meet deadline — so how do you identify the potential star that you should invest in an ongoing relationship with? Read Full Article

Establish an Online Presence (Without Paying Much of Anything)

May 4, 2011 by

Having an online presence is not an option anymore. Whether you’re a coffee shop on Main Street or a graphic designer working from that coffee shop, you need an Internet home. Customers are going to look for you on the Web, and if nothing turns up in the search results? Well, they’re likely to move on to a competitor. “But wait,” you protest. “I don’t have the money for a nice website, and I sure don’t want to look like the online equivalent of a junk shop!” Ahh, sweep those protests aside. I’ll show you how to establish a cheap (and even free) online presence and make it look snazzy to boot! The Host With the Most To begin with, you need a hosting company to provide a spot for your web home. These companies sell you space (either by the month or by the year) in which to park your online domicile. Prices run a wide gamut, but here’s a few to check out that are inexpensive but (reportedly) reliable: Bluehost.com ($5.95/month – unlimited storage space & free domain name) Webhostingpad.com ($4.45/month – unlimited storage & free domain name) Greengeeks.com ($4.95/month – free site migration & wind powered hosting) Websites For Hire Often hosting companies offer building tools that allow you to quickly build an attractive website. But if you want more customization or a different look, then check out website templates. These are pre-designed sites that you upload to the host site, then tweak by plugging in the graphics and text you want displayed. It’s a very easy way to make your site look good without hiring a designer. If you’re not very comfortable with HTML or CSS, make sure that your hosting company provides help for uploading the template, … Read Full Article

What to Do When an Employer Goes AWOL

May 3, 2011 by

For a couple of minutes, think of your favorite contract and the awesome employer who awarded it to you. You love the job, you love how responsive and helpful he is, and yet along the way something strange happens. You haven’t heard from him for more than 3 weeks! What should a contractor do when his employer goes AWOL on him? Read Full Article

The Best I Ever Had

April 26, 2011 by

Everyone has something beyond their expertise and skills that they bring to work every day. For some, it's a nonstop positive attitude. Others, the ability to make everyone's workload feel a little lighter. As a contractor, what "bonus" characteristics can you bring to be considered a valuable member of the team? Read Full Article

Go Paperless: 5 Ways to Cut Costs & Eliminate Paper From Your Office

April 22, 2011 by

Ever feel like your desk (and your life) is buried in mounds of paper? Not only are those piles of documents organizational nightmares, they’re also potential money pits. The effort expended in trying to keep papers organized is zapping time that you could instead be using to get productive work done. Maybe it’s time to think about going paperless. Establishing an (almost) paperless office is good for you. It’s also good for our planet. Save money AND become a green crusader by implementing the following 5 tips and their accompanying tools into your existing workflow. Green Nirvana awaits! Create a Paperless Organizational Scheme: You can’t just start scanning documents willy nilly. You’ve got to first decide on a plan for keeping your digital files organized, searchable and properly archived. Otherwise, the paper headache on your desk will simply become the paperless headache on your desktop. Remember these rules: Choose clear & understandable file names Make ample use of folders and subfolders Keep folder size limited. 20 files per folder is a good size. Use software that allows you to search not only file titles, but file content as well. Paperless Toolkit: Once you’ve decided on a organizing scheme, then use a PDF scanner (like Scansnap) and a document storage tool (such as Evernote) to implement it. For more information on this particular software/hardware combo, check out John Chow’s blog post, How to Create a Paperless Office. Use Digital Contracts: Contracts are a vital necessity for every small business and freelancer. (For more info on contracts, check out this past oDesk post.) But trees no longer have to be chopped down to ensure you get paid. Thanks to the E-Sign Act (put in place by Congress in 2000), digital signatures are now considered … Read Full Article