All Things Upwork

Share with Twitter

We have launched our first integration with Twitter. In addition to sharing on Facebook, Buyers can share their job openings on Twitter to get more candidates from their network. Providers can share test results and promote their profile, letting the world know they are ready to work on oDesk. With the oDesk ‘Share on Twitter’ you’re in full control – you decide what you want to showcase on Twitter, and we will not share your oDesk information without your approval. Activate Twitter now! Got feedback? Please let us know what you think in this thread. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

First Impressions Online: Make your written communications count!

Here’s the scenario: You just got a callback on a job interview for a big league position, and you have a meeting with the hiring manager tomorrow afternoon. The ironing board immediately comes out to press your suit into a flawless statement of power. A quick visit to the hair salon turns the mop on your head into an executive-level style. That evening you review your resume and portfolio, making sure both are updated with your latest and greatest accomplishments. You make every conceivable effort to absolutely knock the socks off the interviewer, because everyone knows the cliché: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And yet, when it comes to written communications online—be it for freelance work, full-time positions, or even general inquiries—folks haphazardly shoot out emails or post profiles with nary a proofread. The fact is, sloppy online first impressions are the equivalent of showing up to an interview—or conducting the interview—wearing ripped jeans, a dirty T-shirt, and a baseball cap advertising beer. And yes, these E-impressions matter just as much as the real thing. Like it or not, the text you type isn’t just your flawless business suit, it’s also your perfect haircut, friendly smile, attentive posture, and firm handshake all rolled into one. If that sounds a little frightening, well, it should. If anything, text-based first impressions are even more important than their in-person counterparts, simply because so much rides on so little. On the flip side, introductions though an email or online posting can be immensely advantageous, in that text-based impressions can be endlessly reviewed, revised, and polished beforehand. As such, there’s no real excuse for a poorly-worded first impression, and if you send just such a communication to someone like Jerry over at PSPrint.com, don’t expect to hear anything… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Take the oDesk Challenge – What We’ll Do

Yesterday we announced the oDesk Challenge at TechCrunch50 – and we’ve already received some great questions about what exactly we’re doing for venture-backed startups. Today’s post introduces the process and the oDesk team who will be by your side throughout it. Once a venture-backed company signs up as an oDesk buyer and posts its first job, our team takes over. Just let us know you want to take part in the oDesk Challenge, and we’ll get to work – starting with a brief phone call with you to understand what skills you’re looking for. We’ll then handle sourcing & interviewing candidates for you, and serve up the top 3 candidates for your job within a week. Please visit www.odesk.com/oDeskChallenge for more details! One of these ‘oDesk Challenge’ account managers will find the top 3 candidates for your job Amit Bakshi amitbakshi@odesk.com donot deleate Rebecca Daneault rdaneault@odesk.com donot deleate Josh Breinlinger josh@odesk.com donot deleate Customer Service 22,000 oDesk providers Interact with your customers via phone, email, and chat Hourly Rates $4-15 Graphic Designers 87,000 oDesk providers Do your HTML, CSS, and offline graphic design Average Hourly Rates $10-30 SEO/SMM Experts 43,000 oDesk providers Blog writers, social media account managers, and SEO linkbuilders Average Hourly Rates: $8-30… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

We won a TC50 Audience Choice Award! Thanks for all your help

Yesterday, at 4:30pm, after a long day of demoing oDesk in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit, Michael Arrington dropped by our table to inform us we won an Audience Choice Award and a chance to demo on stage to all 2,000 conference attendees.  We were already thrilled at the warm the reception our product had been getting all day, but this was a truly spectacular opportunity and a great way to end the day. Here’s the demo our CEO, Gary Swart, gave.  The panel of experts consisted of Marc Andreessen, Roelof Botha, Paul Graham, Tony Hsieh, and Marissa Mayer. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our demo table and gave us the chance to earn your vote.  And thanks for everyone who blogged, and facebooked, and especially tweeted on our behalf.  The twitter activity was amazing.  We love these events, as they give us the chance to get in front of users, old and new, and remind us that we’re playing a small part in Changing How the World Works!… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Visit oDesk in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit (and give us your poker chip!)

As we mentioned in our earlier post, we’re thrilled to be in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit this morning.  Here at the conference, every attendee is given a poker chip, which counts as a vote for the DemoPit company the attendee is most excited about.  The company with the most votes gets to present on stage as the “Audience Choice Award.” So, our job is to get you to visit our demo booth, blow you away with our demo, and get you to give us your poker chip!  Please stop by and give us a chance to earn your vote!  (Voting closes at 2:30pm)… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

TechCrunch50: Announcing the oDesk Challenge

We’re excited to be in the TechCrunch50 Demopit this morning, and announce a special offer for venture-backed startups called the “oDesk Challenge“! Take the oDesk Challenge: We’ll help you build an online workteam Venture-backed startups need to do more with less. We at oDesk know this firsthand, and we keep our core team of 26 employees lean by managing an international team of over 80 remote contractors, all of whom we hire, manage, and pay through our own platform. By doing so, we: Access talent anywhere in the world Scale our team of specialists up & down as needed Save as much as 80% on labor cost We’re convinced that the “oDesk way” is the right way for other venture-backed startups, so we’ve designed the oDesk Challenge.  For the first 20 venture-backed startups that join the Challenge by posting their jobs on oDesk, we’ll do the hard work of sifting through resumes, conducting interviews, and hand-picking the top 3 candidates out of over 320,000 providers. We’ll then showcase that top talent for you – if you like one, hire them and get your job done. Our Offer: 1. Be one of the first 20 venture-backed startups to post your job, and let us know you want to be part of the oDesk Challenge. 2. We’ll do the hard work of recruiting and screening, and then hand-pick the top three candidates for you within one week. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Landing a Web Development Gig

Okay, so you’re hip to the World Wide Web and all the techno-programming required to build the coolest virtual environments in E-town. You’ve got game, you’ve got the software, but you’re missing the most vital ingredient of all: Clients. Even the best web-design mojo is merely untapped potential unless you have an A-list of clientele eager for your efforts, and since you’re eager to earn a few greenbacks for your skills, simply showcasing your talent isn’t enough. Successful freelance web developers aren’t just outstanding programmers, they’re outstanding communicators as well. This part of the job can be easily overlooked, but it’s vital to landing a contract, establishing clear objectives, and following through to a successful conclusion. If communication makes you nervous, don’t sweat it. There’s no special method to making it happen, just be open, honest, ask questions when you need to, and don’t be afraid to speak up if something concerns you. If it all sounds a bit intimidating, here are some good tips to help you establish some good freelancing habits. Getting the callback: Regardless who initiates first contact, remember that less is better. The biggest mistake people make when it comes to a first contact situation is going overboard trying to impress. Sending paragraphs of programming languages and software suites you’re familiar with usually just frustrates clients, especially in the current economic climate where your project inquiry is one of 600 billion sitting in a manager’s inbox. Consider what the client is looking for and answer that SPECIFIC need, keeping your inquiry to a paragraph and offering to discuss the project further at their convenience. A portfolio is good, but so is reputation. For developers just starting out, having some sort of portfolio will be the only way you can demonstrate your ability. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

oDesk rolls up its sleeves to help fbFund REV startups

Last week we were fortunate to be invited to the fbFund REV incubator program’s demo day.  For the past 12 weeks, 22 startups with facebook apps were educated, mentored, housed, and funded with up to $100,000 by fbFund (a joint venture by Facebook, Founder’s Fund, and Accel Partners).  We liked what we saw – these startups were innovative, scrappy, and entrepreneurial, and in fact reminded us a lot of oDesk buyers. We wanted to do our part to help out, so we decided to roll up our sleeves to help them find the very best talent on oDesk. We’re pleased to announce that 7 of the 22 fbFund startups have agreed to take our offer, and we’re in the midst of helping them build online workteams on oDesk!  The teams (and newest oDesk buyers) are: Funji is a mobile virtual community for the iPhone and iPod touch, satisfying users’ desire to express themselves and communicate with others in a fun, creative way in mobile devices. The team has more than five years of experience in the mobile market in both South Korea and the US. Gameyola is a distribution and monetization platform for casual Flash games. Flash games currently monetize poorly, but Gameyola solves this problem by providing Flash developers tools to sell virtual goods and to acquire users through social channels. From keeping track of your kids to protecting your identity and getting back your lost stuff, Life360 is the place you go to keep your family safe, secure, and prepared for daily life. Churches create their own social networks on MyChurch.org. They extend their community between Sundays with tools to connect and engage their members. Over 30,000 church… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Health Insurance Advice for the Independent Consultant

As a licensed health insurance agent in all 50 states, I work with self-employed people every day. Whether I’m working with someone who’s new to the world of self-employment or a seasoned pro, I tend to need to reassure them that a little education can go a long way. When it comes to buying your own health insurance, a good understanding of the basics can be the difference between coverage that does what you want, and coverage that leaves you hanging out to dry. If you’re in relatively good health, the individual and family plan market (typically called “IFP”) can be a very good option for you. If your health is an issue, it can be much more difficult to find affordable health care, but not impossible. There are a lot of organizations out there, including mine, that can help you. But, before you start to shop there, you need to know some of the basics: 1. Explore COBRA and alternatives to COBRA: If you’ve become self-employed after leaving a full-time position, you were likely offered COBRA continuation coverage. And, if your health is an issue, COBRA may be your best short-term option. If COBRA’s price tag was a shocker for you, you should know that the government is currently offering a nine-month subsidy that covers 65% of the cost of COBRA for those who qualify. A good primer on COBRA, the subsidy, and your alternatives to COBRA is available www.COBRALearning.com. COBRA typically provides very comprehensive benefits to satisfy a broad audience, but they may be benefits you don’t need. A relatively healthy person may be able to find less-expensive coverage, even after the 65% subsidy. 2. It is possible to get health insurance with some pre-existing conditions: Don’t assume your health will disqualify you. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

New Contest – “Design of the Month”

Here in the oDesk community we have a pretty impressive bunch of designers, if we do say so ourselves.  To celebrate some of the amazing design work being done through oDesk, we thought we’d try something a little different this time around and hold a “Design of the Month” contest for the month of October. As with past contests, the competition is open to all oDesk buyers and will be used to showcase all types of graphic design, including web design, logo & icon design, 3D animation, video editing, illustration and more. If you’ve hired a designer through oDesk, why not show off the results by entering?  The winner will receive $1,000 oDesk credit, a gift card for a new iPhone 3GS, press opportunities and, of course, bragging rights. Voting for the “Design of the Month” will be based on visual aesthetics.  For example, if a web site is submitted, it will be judged on how it looks, not its functionality. So what are you waiting for?  Enter today.  Submissions will be accepted through September 30th with voting to take place throughout the month of October. Let the competition begin!… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Congratulations to our Top 25 Providers for August 2009!

We are pleased to announce our best Providers for August 2009! We have over 250,000 Providers on oDesk, but these ones stood out as the cream of the crop this month, as they performed the most hours of work with the highest feedback rating. They have been given special badges recognizing their achievement. oDesk Buyers, you might want to get in touch with these Providers soon…they just completed assignments and are available now, but probably won’t be for long. Click on their profile to check out their work and contact them for an interview! BEST FREELANCE DESIGNERS Top 25 Freelance Designers for August 2009 were: 1) Jason D. Sr. Graphic Designer | Creative Director 2) Enric I. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Congratulations to iCooking – oDesk’s “App of the Month”!

Congratulations to iCooking, the winner of oDesk’s August App of the Month Contest. iCooking is an innovative iPhone app that provides easy and simple solutions to avoid the hassle of deciding what to cook for dinner. Users can get multi-course dinner menu suggestions, as well as starters, main courses, deserts, soups, browse existing recipes, edit them and add your own. They actively promoted their contest submission, bringing in an impressive number of votes and helping them win a $1,000 oDesk credit and an Apple iPhone 3GS. Runners-Up: SpaceClash SpaceClash is an exciting multi-player on-line role-play game that erases the border between real life and fantasy world. It allows you to play with other people like you, make new friends and defeat enemies. Carpenter’s Helper Pro Carpenter’s Helper Pro is a unique application that offers iPhone users an advanced construction calculator, capable of handling even the most demanding construction projects. With Carpenter’s Helper, you’ll always have the calculating power you need on you, every time you need it. Cirris Cirris brings the classic game of bricks to your iPhone and iPod Touch. But there is a circular twist to this game. Player needs to complete a ring with the falling pieces in order to remove it. All oDesk buyers who completed applications through oDesk were eligible to submit their apps to the contest. Winners were determined entirely by oDesk community voting. We’d like to thank all of the participants in this month’s contest and helping to make it yet another success. Stay tuned for our next contest in which we will be looking for the best design commissioned through oDesk in our Design of the Month Contest. As always, we’d love your feedback so feel free to submit your suggestions… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Perspective of a $2 Million Man

Stature Software started using oDesk in August 2006, only three weeks after it formed. “I realized at the time that the future was with offshore developers,” says partner Gregory Silvano. “My problem was that I didn’t know how to find good offshore developers. … Once I saw oDesk, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for.” Three years later, Silvano’s partnership with Joseph Patalano has grown, with no capital investment, into a business that earns $2 million a year. Relying almost entirely on remote providers, they’re experts at managing online workteams — they have 20 oDesk providers and a smaller number of outside contractors — so we asked them for a buyer’s perspective on provider relationships. Q: You really emphasize long-term relationships with your providers, don’t you? A: “Once we find a provider, we typically keep that provider full-time forever. The second person I ever interviewed was Roman Trotsenko, who now has a dozen developers in his company working for Stature. Originally it was Roman as our developer, and we kept adding more and more to his team.” Q: Besides the specific technical skills, what do you look for when you’re seeking a good provider? A: “Creativity, reliability, English skills, responsiveness. I don’t want to give perfect specs every time. I want the developer to understand our clients’ business and really understand the problems they need to solve.” Q: What’s a fatal mistake that providers commonly make, whether in their profiles or in initial communication with you? A: “Lack of responsiveness is absolutely No. 1. It is probably the only fatal mistake they can make in my eyes. They can always get better at coding and better at the processes. But… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Provider Spotlight (August 2009)

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Kamil, Miranda, Nikita and Jo — you’ve earned this!   Kamil D (Affiliated with DNC.PL) 8 years experiencein PHP5/MySQL, Magento / CakePHP / Google Apps Total oDesk Hours: 1,131 Overall Feedback: 4.99 (Based on 16 feedbacks) Comments: Kamil is a fantastic developer whose professionalism and communication skills make him a pleasure to work with. Miranda R XHTML/CSS/Flash/Photoshop/Illustrator Pro in Seattle, USA Total oDesk Hours: 1,112 Overall Feedback: 4.75 (Based on 13 feedbacks) Comments: Dedicated, Knowledgeable, Detail Oriented, Talented. Nikita P (Affiliated with Rus Wizards) MS SQL DBA & DBD (T-SQL, SSRS, SSIS, SSAS), C# CLR, BIRT/Eclipse ninja Total oDesk Hours: 3,137 Overall Feedback: 4.79 (Based on 4 feedbacks) Comments: Extremely solid. I will be going back to him when we need more DBA help. Jo B Web Content provider & Travel writer, Administrator, Purchasing Total oDesk Hours: 52 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 17 feedbacks) Comments: Excellent work again Jo, professional and the best quality. Spotlight Providers must have earned a 4.5+ feedback score with a glowing comment on an assignment in the past month, have a 4.0+ overall feedback score, an impressive profile, and a high quality individual portrait (not too blurry, no avatars). Only oDesk Ready public profiles are eligible. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Magento vs. osCommerce – Online Stores Mean Business

The past year has been a roller coaster ride for the economy, but tracking open source e-commerce programs over that same time period shows that online sales are still serious business. Here, we take a look at how programmers with skills for two popular choices in open source e-commerce have been faring on oDesk. osCommerce osCommerce has been around a while and  there is a very well established and responsive community to offer support. There are also innumerable ‘modules’ to be found on the OS site, which allow for increased customization and osCommerce’s simplicity and flexibility means these can be easy to add. But the appeal of osCommerce is in its ability to be translated and localized into any language. The structure of the site, written in php and using clear definitions, means all the text seen on an osCommerce store is handily stored in reference files which contain only plain text for translation – minimizing the risk of file corruption by a web page translator. osCommerce has been around a while, but those versed in this area have seen a dramatic increase in job availability over the last year. The number of jobs posted each month requesting knowledge of the platform has risen to over 5 times the number of osCommerce jobs available in July of 2008. Magento This newer store scores highly for its look and overall features. The backend is well organized and most items of concern are thoroughly covered from the get-go, including re-writable URLs (a must for a well optimized online store). Magento also has ‘Store View’ which allows online shop keepers the ability to set up multiple stores – with the same products, at different prices, and even in different languages – from a single admin area. This also… Read Full Article