Clients – Upwork Blog https://www.upwork.com/blog Insights, info and updates about Upwork Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How HVAC BRAIN Successfully Hired A B2B Social Media Pro https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/05/hvac-brain-b2b-social-media-pro/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/05/hvac-brain-b2b-social-media-pro/#respond Wed, 03 May 2017 19:00:16 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39442

When Hiroshi Saito decided it was time to take his company’s social media presence to the next level, he engaged a freelance social media manager with the B2B experience to help his company grow.

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B2B Social Media Pro
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For the past five years, Hiroshi Saito, a serial entrepreneur with a passion for marketing, has looked to the Upwork website to find top talent to support the development of his ideas and businesses.

Most recently, Hiroshi decided it was time to take his current company’s social media presence to the next level: Within a few days was able to find an amazing social media manager with the B2B experience he knows will help his company grow.

Hiroshi is a co-founder and principal of HVAC BRAIN, an online supplier of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) supplies to facilities and institutions such as factories, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and other large buildings. Started in 2012 in Cleveland, OH, HVAC BRAIN now carries more than 60,000 products and services clients across the country.

The company was able to facilitate this growth by enlisting the skills and talents of almost 40 different freelancers over the past few years, including 18 that are currently engaged on some level.

“I appreciate all the help and support Upwork has given our company in sourcing and collaborating with a talented team of geographically distributed freelancers as our company has grown.”
— Hiroshi Saito, HVAC BRAIN Co-founder

Building the infrastructure of the business was the focus of the first few years. Hiroshi leaned on freelancers initially to get the website up and running, with help from graphic designers, web and e-commerce developers, and search engine optimization experts.

Hiroshi’s main focus now is growing HVAC BRAIN’s marketing efforts to connect with more customers and drive sales—which is why he went looking for a social media expert.

Social media management (SMM) is one of the fastest growing skills on Upwork, according to the latest Upwork Skills Index. Not only did Hiroshi need someone well versed in the latest social media tools and trends, but he needed someone with proven success in B2B marketing who could deliver measurable results.

Hiroshi feels he can find talent most efficiently by investing time to search for freelancers he think will be a good fit. After creating a detailed project description, he invites the people he’s identified to apply. For the social media project, he narrowed it down to a pool of 20 qualified freelancers; within a few days, he’d reviewed a number of proposals and set up interviews with the top four freelancers.

One freelancer in particular stood out above the rest, meeting all the tangible and intangible requirements for this critical project—a perfect match to help expand HVAC BRAIN’s social presence.

Hiroshi and HVAC BRAIN are a great example of how a business of any size in any industry can leverage the latest technology trends and skills needed to build a vibrant business that can thrive in the competitive business landscape.

If you are looking for support for your social media efforts, too, Upwork’s Hiring Headquarters has specific insights to help you create a social media job description and how to hire the right freelancer, as well as the latest ideas for harnessing social media and improving your marketing efforts.

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Avoiding Legal Headaches And Confusion When Working With Freelancers https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/10/avoiding-legal-headaches-confusion-when-working-with-freelancers/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/10/avoiding-legal-headaches-confusion-when-working-with-freelancers/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:00:07 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=38461

Is your freelancer an independent contractor or an employee? By law, how you treat a worker, and the project’s requirements, could change them from an independent contractor to an employee. And if you accidentally get it wrong, it can lead to fines and back taxes. For a quick refresher, here are a few classification tips you should know.

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From quick projects to long-term engagements, Upwork makes it easier for your company and freelancers to work together. So you can focus less on finding help, and more on getting your work done.

For independent contractors on Upwork, you can pay in one click. We also make contracting and confidentiality easy with the general contract terms in our User Agreement. If your freelancer should be classified as a W-2 employee, you can use Upwork Payroll to handle employment paperwork, payroll, benefits administration, and HR needs. It doesn’t get any easier.

The first question we often hear is, “how do I know if my freelancer should be an independent contractor or an employee?” We posted several articles on Upwork’s Hiring Headquarters to get you started. But because only you know the unique requirements of your project, it’s your responsibility to classify your freelancers correctly.

By law, how you treat a worker, and the project’s requirements, could change them from an independent contractor to an employee. And if you accidentally get it wrong, it can lead to fines and back taxes.

For a quick refresher, below are a few classification tips you should know:

Treat freelancers like businesses

Freelancers choose to be on Upwork because the platform makes it easier for them to advertise their own business. To prevent misclassification, don’t treat them like temporary employees—treat them like businesses.

Also, because you pay them through the Upwork platform, you shouldn’t need to file a 1099 for your freelancers. As the payment settlement entity, our escrow agent files 1099-Ks when necessary. You can read more about it here.

Upwork simplifies the process and helps me get my stuff done without
worrying about all of the administrative processes. – Daen Tyler, Upwork Client

Know the difference between an IC and an Employee

In the U.S. alone, there are several “tests” to determine your worker’s classification. Unfortunately, they aren’t black and white. Because classification is a balancing act of several factors, it can create some gray area. If you’re unsure, you can check out the IRS 20 Factor Test.

For U.S. workers, the quick-glance chart below shows the general differences between an independent contractor and an employee:

For U.S. workers, this quick-glance chart highlights 10 differences between an independent contractor and an employee. An independent contractor is contracted for a specific project or time period, while an employee works on an ongoing basis and may be terminated at will. An independent contractor decides when and where to work, while an employee has a required work schedule and location. An independent contractor determines how to do the work, process steps, and what tools are utilized; an employee is told how to perform work, in what order, and particular tools to use. An independent contractor does not need or receive skills training, while an employee may be trained and instructed. An independent contractor does not attend frequent meetings or give regular reports, while an employee may do these things. An independent contractor performs work requiring specialized skills that is not the client’s primary service, while an employee may perform work that is a business’ primary service. An independent contractor negotiates and set their own rates, including fixed price amounts, while an employee is paid an hourly wage or salary governed by minimum wage and overtime laws. An independent contractor provides his or her own tools and equipment, is responsible for their own costs and expenses, and bears the risk of loss; an employee is reimbursed for all expenses related to work. An independent contractor markets their services to the public on Upwork or otherwise and works with multiple clients, while an employee may work full-time an exclusively. An independent contractor may delegate tasks to others, while an employee must personally perform their work.

These factors may vary, but for many freelance engagements, the classification should be relatively clear.

Independent contractor do’s and don’ts

Again, remember to treat independent contractors as businesses. You can specify the work you need done and any deadlines, but respect their independence.

Do

  • Do let them decide how much to charge for each project.
  • Do require they pay their business expenses.
  • Do allow them to choose their own work location, methods, and work hours.
  • Do permit them to work for other clients.
  • Do let them delegate tasks to their subcontractors or employees.

Don’t

  • Don’t provide tools or equipment to do the work.
  • Don’t train on skills needed to do the work.
  • Don’t specify process steps or work methods.
  • Don’t include them in regular or frequent meetings, calls, or activities that aren’t relevant to their project.
  • Don’t require work that’s not specified in an agreed-upon contract.

Have a proper contract in place

Your contract doesn’t need to be extensive, but you should clearly lay out key project parameters. Generally, your project description (included in the job post) serves as an important part of the contract. For more:

  • Check out this video on creating contracts on Upwork.
  • SHRM offers a helpful contract template.
  • You can also use the Service Contract terms in Section 8 of Upwork’s User Agreement. The User Agreement automatically covers your engagement, unless other terms are agreed to by you and the freelancer you’re engaging. And as long as the provisions don’t change Upwork’s obligations or restrict Upwork’s rights under the Terms of Service.

Use Upwork Payroll for W-2 employees

Sometimes, you may need freelancers to work onsite, during specific work hours, and so on. Other times, the work specifications place them in the potentially dangerous gray area between independent contractor and employee.

If you’re unsure about classification, or you want more control over how your freelancer will work, use Upwork Payroll. Hiring a W-2 is a complicated and risky process, but we make it easy for you by taking care of payroll and benefits administration. With Upwork Payroll, a staffing agency on the platform becomes the worker’s employer.

When you use Upwork Payroll, hiring a W-2 employee becomes almost as easy as engaging an independent contractor. What’s more, you’ll save time and money—up to 40 percent compared to traditional staffing agencies.

More help is just a click away

Find more helpful tips and insight in the Hiring Headquarters. Explore videos on how to find the best freelancer and articles on everything from the latest technology trends to marketing best practices. Check it all out here >

 

Disclaimer: This article doesn’t address all legal or tax issues for freelancers, and it cannot and should not be relied upon as legal or tax advice.

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Scaling Your Business with the Hybrid Cloud https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/scaling-business-hybrid-cloud/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/scaling-business-hybrid-cloud/#respond Thu, 04 Aug 2016 18:08:34 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=38084

Hybrid cloud solutions are becoming increasingly commonplace, allowing businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the cloud’s flexibility and scalability without sacrificing performance or security. Learn more about the hybrid cloud and how you can use it to support your business needs with these recent articles from Upwork's Hiring Headquarters.

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The cloud is one of the more impactful innovations to catch fire as of late, and it’s spurring companies to move key aspects of their core business operations online. But while cloud technologies and models gain momentum—Gartner predicts the public cloud service market will reach $204 billion this year—many companies are also using internal, on-site private clouds.

Private clouds can be an effective option for companies in highly regulated industries or those with strict workflow needs. However, these solutions lack the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud, and you need to have the resources to keep them running smoothly and securely.

There is a third option that bridges that gap: the hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud solutions are becoming increasingly commonplace, allowing businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the cloud’s flexibility and scalability without sacrificing performance or security. These articles from the Hiring Headquarters—Upwork’s resource for businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs—offer a great introduction to help you get started.

What Is the Hybrid Cloud and What’s All the Buzz About?

The hybrid cloud allows you to move data between an external public cloud and your own internal private infrastructure while keeping sensitive data separate and secure.

Hybrid Cloud: A Brief Intro” serves as an excellent primer that goes into greater detail about what the hybrid cloud is, how it works, and the resources you need to put it in place. It also highlights special considerations for moving to a hybrid cloud setup—as well as several examples of how it’s used in different industries.

Here are three key reasons to consider moving to a hybrid cloud model.

1) Stability – Having the ability to interface between public and private cloud services ensures your most vital operations and functions can always remain accessible for your on-site operations.

2) Flexibility – Businesses whose products and services change frequently benefit from the scalability and flexible nature of the hybrid cloud. It can free companies up to try new things without having to overhaul their existing infrastructure.

3) Security – A hybrid cloud lets you tap into the advantages of public cloud services while keeping critical data secure in your private cloud.

Putting the Hybrid Cloud to Use

Data storage is a major challenge for many businesses, especially e-commerce sites and visual effects studios who run data-heavy operations; their needs can shift wildly from month-to-month and season-to-season.

Cloud bursting—on-demand rental of virtual storage and processing power—has the potential to solve this challenge, though this advanced hybrid cloud application presents its own challenges.

Cloud bursting lets businesses quickly ramp up their existing private cloud infrastructure by tapping into extra resources from the external public cloud on an as-needed basis. This cuts down on the need for additional infrastructure and ongoing maintenance when you only need the boost for a limited period of time.

Is Cloud Bursting Right for You?” explains how the process works and offers behind-the-curtain insights into whether it’s something you can put into play for your company. It identifies several challenges that businesses can potentially face, and suggests a range of resources that can help with planning and implementing cloud bursting.

Additionally, the article outlines useful team roles to have in place to ease you through the process and ensure a smooth transition to the cloud.

Want to learn more? The Hiring Headquarters has additional tips, expert articles, and resources to help you navigate the world of online business.

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What Freelancers Look for in an Upwork Project Description https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/upwork-project-description/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/upwork-project-description/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=38063

Finding the right freelancer for your project doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. With just a little proactive effort, you can have your needs met on time, on budget, and to the high standard you’re looking for.

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You’ve decided your business can benefit from the skills of a talented freelancer. That’s great news! Finding the right freelancer for your project doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. With just a little proactive effort, you can have your needs met on time, on budget, and to the high standard you’re looking for.

We asked Upwork’s Facebook Community to tell us the most important things they look for in a job description. The resounding response was that job descriptions should be detailed, define expectations and deadlines, and include a realistic and clearly stated budget.

Here is a sample of what some of our freelancers said:

“1) The company’s industry 2) Time zone 3) Detailed task description and attachment of examples 4) Beginning date and deadline of project, or if it will be ongoing.”
Roselly Monegro

“Details of the work, allocated rate, a clear photo of the client in their profile, and a verified payment method.”
Hazel Ramos

“[I look for a] complete job description, company background, detailed description of products and services and client expectations.”
— Eyom Ragay

“[Clients should include] their preferred rate. This way, freelancers can immediately decide whether to apply or not. This would help freelancers be more strategic in spending their connects.”
— Jaíme Alejándro Salvatóre

The more details you include, the more information freelancers will have to work with when submitting their project proposals. This not only helps them be more strategic with their Connects, it also helps you, the client, receive proposals from freelancers who are best suited for the work. It is a time saver for both parties and will put you well on your way to a great hiring experience!

For more useful tips on how to make your freelance hiring experience the best it can be, see

Editor’s note: Responses edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. The statements above are those of their authors and do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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Tips for Optimizing Your Distributed Engineering Team https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/distributed-engineering-team/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/distributed-engineering-team/#respond Thu, 07 Jul 2016 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37566

For companies keen on optimizing productivity and agility as they grow, using a distributed team model is an excellent starting point. But what if you're already using distributed teams and want to boost their efficiency even further? See tips for optimizing your operation and getting the most value out of your distributed team.

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For companies keen on optimizing productivity and agility as they grow, using a distributed team model is an excellent starting point. But what if you’re already using distributed teams and want to boost their efficiency even further?

These articles from the Hiring Headquarters—Upwork’s resource for entrepreneurs, executives, and freelancers—offer tips for optimizing your operation and getting the most value out of your distributed team.

Shorten Dev Cycles by Combining Complementary Business Practices

Sometimes, a powerful way to streamline operations is by pairing complementary business practices. Such as combining Agile development and distributed engineering teams—both are lean approaches for tackling software projects. The combination helps companies increase productivity while engaging resources around the globe. The result: faster production cycles, concurrent coding, and the ability to continuously deploy with fewer roadblocks and less burnout. Read more.

4 Tips to Effectively Scale Your Distributed Engineering Team

You’ve built a distributed engineering team that’s working together smoothly. This could be one to 100 people located anywhere worldwide. Now you’re ready to increase your success and scale your team. A common mistake is trying to remain the information hub. In the beginning, everything naturally passed through you, but as your team grows, this practice may slow work down, lengthen decision times, and put more stress on you. Instead, use a more scalable approach by empowering other members to make decisions regarding everything from the product to adding new members to the team. See more tips.

For more about building and optimizing a distributed engineering team, check out articles on the Hiring Headquarters.

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3 Ways to Enhance Your Business Success https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/3-ways-enhance-business-success/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/3-ways-enhance-business-success/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37470

Ready to try something new and plant the seeds for fresh opportunities for your company? These tips from the Hiring Headquarters will help you grow in the right direction.

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The secret to business success isn’t about uncovering an instant win button to solve your challenges and gain loyal customers in one swift move. It’s more about developing a multi-faceted approach and honing your company into a flexible, primed-to-thrive operation from the ground up. The values and practices you instill into your brand early on can make all the difference to its long-term success.

Ready to try something new and plant the seeds for fresh opportunities for your company? These tips from the Hiring Headquarters—Upwork’s resource for entrepreneurs, executives, and freelancers—will help you grow in the right direction.

Master the Art of Communication

Effective communication, both within your company and through your external brand messaging, is one very big piece of the puzzle for any successful business. Getting your message across and doing so in a way that informs and inspires others can have a strong impact on your entrepreneurial world.

Public Speaking: 5 Ways It Improves Your Business Success (Even If You Never Talk in Front of a Crowd)” looks at some of the many reasons to embrace public speaking as a tool for both personal and business growth. It underscores the role communication plays in business and why improving your ability to get your message across effectively will help to set you up for maximum success.

Communication is vital to numerous tasks, from PR and marketing to instilling confidence in your team and expanding your brand. It’s one skill worth fine tuning for many professionals.

Craft Your Company Culture

Taking an active role in shaping your company’s mission and values—instead of letting it grow in whatever direction it naturally unfurls—can help avoid pitfalls that come from uncertainty and unclear decision-making. Beyond that, setting a clear direction can help drive innovation and set the tone for your overall operation.

The 3 Steps to Building a Winning Company Culture Like Facebook’s” explains what company culture means to your business and outlines some of the benefits that purposefully defining it can offer. Additionally, it provides a three-step process to help you shape your company culture and keep it in line with your ideals over time:

  1. Evaluate yourself – As founder, the core of your being essentially is the cornerstone of your company. Taking time for self-reflection can give you greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses you bring to your organization.
  2. Outline your company’s story – Creating a succinct version of your company’s ideal story—proactively deciding how you want people to see your company—can then guide how you shape your culture. Bonus: This story can also help inform your marketing, interviews, and other promotional efforts, too.
  3. Evaluate your story over time – As your company evolves, take moments to revisit your initial vision and see how close your day-to-day operations are aligned with this ideal. This can help identify important course corrections so your company can stay on track.

Maximize Your Customer Service

What’s the key to a successful business? Happy, loyal customers is a great place to start. Satisfied customers can make or break your company, and many brands that make customer service a top priority reap the benefits through repeat clients, a positive reputation, and strong social buzz. The good news? Customer service can easily connect into many facets of your business without adding tons of work to the pile.

6 Ways to Happier, More Loyal Customers (with Less Work)” showcases how great customer service can set you apart from the competition and help build goodwill for your brand. It also shares insights into what customers really want and how improving your customer service can boost income and marking naturally over time.

Among the tips outlined in the piece are a few suggestions for helping to improve your customer service with minimal effort.

  1. Embrace good service across the organization. By adopting customer service as a top priority for your company, you help instill it as a defining quality within your business culture.
  2. Use technology to improve efficiency. Popular tech tools can consolidate many different customer service channels, making it feasible to offer better service without maxing out available resources.
  3. Go for the “wow factor.” Being willing to go above and beyond to ensure your customers are left with a positive experience can be well worth the effort and expense.

Visit the Hiring Headquarters to find more tips and articles to set your business up for success!

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The Benefits of Distributed Teams https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/benefits-distributed-teams/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/benefits-distributed-teams/#respond Thu, 02 Jun 2016 19:03:44 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37345

Building a distributed team lets a brand access a broader range of talent from around the globe to complement and enhance operations. It's a model that's steadily gaining traction with the rise of workers who want more flexibility.

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The days of relying solely on traditional on-site, nine-to-five workers are dwindling for many companies that want a more flexible approach to diversifying their workforce.

Building a distributed team lets a brand access a broader range of talent from around the globe to complement and enhance operations. It’s a model that’s steadily gaining traction with the rise of workers who want more flexibility.

Want to learn more about this dynamic model? These articles from the Hiring Headquarters—Upwork’s resource for entrepreneurs, executives, and freelancers—will answer your questions and bring you up-to-speed on some of the benefits.

Distributed Teams 101

Incorporating a team of distributed specialists into the mix can be a great way to scale your business in a cost-effective way. If you’re new to the concept of working with remote workers, it’s worth taking a moment to understand what the distributed team model looks like and how it can benefit your business.

What Is a Distributed Team & Is It a Good Fit for Your Company?” starts by answering several basic but important questions about this hybrid approach to expanding your team. It explains what a distributed team is and how it fits into the evolving landscape of cloud-based growth. This includes a breakdown of reasons why you might consider including freelancers in your current projects or plans for future growth.

In order to help you determine whether the distributed model is a good option for your company, the piece also offers a few insights into what types of organizations can benefit the most from it, including:

Companies that need to scale upward fast. Finding freelancers is often faster than traditional hiring methods, and you can scale your team to meet growing demand over a short timespan.

New companies that are just getting started. If you need skilled team members to help out in key areas as you get up and running, the distributed approach can be a great springboard.

Businesses with specific skill needs. Filling skill gaps in your organization is easier when you have a more diverse pool of experts to draw from. Using the distributed model means you’re not just limited to local candidates.

Myth-busting Misconceptions About Working With Online Teams

It’s true: Working with remote freelancers is different than working with on-site workers, but it’s a shift many companies are gravitating toward as they grow.

Whether you’re lobbying internally to get upper management on-board with a distributed model or are simply curious about the realities of contracting with freelancers, it’s helpful to be armed with the facts.

3 Common Myths About Online Work & Easy Ways to Dispel Them” covers some common misconceptions people have about working with online teams, and offers key insights to help dispel myths that might be holding you back from using them. If you’re skeptical about distributed teams, these important takeaways might help change your mind.

  1. Distributed teams are not the same as outsourcing. Working with freelancers isn’t about finding the lowest bidder to tackle a project. It’s about finding niche experts, working collaboratively, and using good communication to get a high-quality end result for your business.
  2. Engaging freelancers is much faster than hiring staff. The average time to start working with a freelancer, from first communication to bringing them onboard, is about three days. Normal hiring processes can take up to a month or more.
  3. Freelancers are trustworthy additions to your team. Professional remote workers are accustomed to self-management and getting things done without constant supervision. Building strong relationships with your freelance team members helps create trust and camaraderie that can benefit everyone.

Eager to expand your business with freelance experts? Visit the Hiring Headquarters for the latest articles and insights!

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Announcing New Perks and Requirements for our Top Rated Community https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/top-rated-freelancer-update/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/top-rated-freelancer-update/#comments Wed, 01 Jun 2016 19:00:10 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37316

It’s been just over one year since we introduced the Top Rated program on Upwork to highlight and reward the highest performing talent. Here's a look at some of the things Top Rated freelancers and agencies have earned, as well as new improvements based on the community's feedback.

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It’s been just over one year since we introduced the Top Rated program on Upwork to highlight and reward the highest performing talent. We’re excited to announce improvements based on your feedback.

You’ve told us that you want more work and more opportunities to grow your freelancing businesses and we’ve designed these updates to help you make that happen.

Over the last year, we’ve seen the Top Rated program help drive invitations and contracts to the best freelancers and agencies. Although it’s already helping the community find more work, we are improving the perks to make it even more beneficial.

Through consistent excellent delivery for their clients, Top Rated freelancers and agencies have earned:

  • An exclusive Job Digest email to make it easier for you to find attractive opportunities. If you’re a Top Rated member, check your email settings to make sure you receive it.
  • Exclusive Top Rated Office Hours, including webinars, small group discussions, and one-on-one sessions with Upwork team members. The details, dates, and times are posted on the Top Rated forum.
  • The ability to exercise more control over your Job Success Score. In rare cases, you can request to remove one job from your profile and Job Success score.
  • The opportunity to host Top Rated Events in your city. We’re piloting this in June, and hope to expand to community members everywhere later this year to give you the opportunity to meet other great freelancers in your area.

To recognize new exclusive members of Top Rated agencies, we extended the Rising Talent badge to those freelancers who have at least 60% of their profile completed. This applies to new agency members or members who haven’t yet completed enough projects to have their agency’s score reflected.

New Requirements to Achieve Top Rated Status

Many members of the Top Rated community have expressed concern with inconsistencies they’ve noticed in the performance of other professionals in the program. We’ve also heard clients share the same concerns. With this in mind, we’ve added an additional requirement to ensure that Top Rated talent consistently meets the highest standards of professionalism and work quality for their clients, making the badge even more prestigious.

In addition to the original requirements, freelancers and agencies must now maintain a Job Success score of 90%+ (or Rising Talent status) for 13 of the last 16 weeks. Freelancers and agencies who have maintained high scores over time are far more likely to deliver great quality work for their clients on an ongoing basis.

You can track your progress toward the Top Rated program on your My Stats page. Existing Top Rated freelancers and agencies will have 90 days to meet the new requirement standard.

We aim to make the Top Rated community even stronger so its members can grow their freelancing businesses through Upwork, and clients can continue to expect outstanding work when they see the Top Rated badge.

We hope you enjoy these new perks and we look forward to even more of your input as we continuously grow the program. Share your thoughts and feedback with us in the community forums. Until then, happy anniversary!

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Creating Ebooks for Extra Income and Marketing Reach https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/create-ebook-extra-income-marketing-reach/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/create-ebook-extra-income-marketing-reach/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37319

Ebooks can be a useful way to help deliver value to your audience, generate additional income if you choose to sell your work, or fuel your brand's marketing efforts. These articles from the Hiring Headquarters offer tips on how to design, sell, distribute, and create compelling ebooks that can help enhance your profile and reach.

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Thanks to the digital publishing revolution that’s been gaining steady momentum in recent years, sharing compelling content through ebooks has never been easier.

Ebooks can be a useful way to help deliver value to your audience, generate additional income if you choose to sell your work, or fuel your brand’s marketing efforts.

For content-driven businesses, ebooks can be an essential tool and they’re easy to incorporate into your plans once you know how to get started. These articles from the Hiring Headquarters—Upwork’s resource for entrepreneurs, executives, and freelancers—offer helpful tips on how to design, sell, distribute, and create compelling ebooks that can help enhance your profile and reach.

Tap Into Unexpected Ebook Marketplaces

Major online ebook marketplaces like Amazon’s Kindle store and Apple’s iBooks offer well-established options to distribute your ebooks. However, connecting with new audiences through alternative platforms is a useful approach if you want to expand your efforts in new directions.

How Creatives and Marketers Can Sell How-Tos and Ebooks on Etsy” explores how Etsy’s platform and built-in enthusiastic audience can be an untapped boon for ebook authors. The article specifically suggests crafting ebooks geared toward helping Etsy sellers overcome key challenges they face in building their own businesses, including areas like writing, blogging, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, online marketing, bookkeeping, and more.

Going several steps further, the piece offers suggestions on how to best tailor your ebooks to gain maximum traction within the Etsy ecosystem and raise visibility for your brand through effective marketing. It recommends keeping ebooks short, straightforward, and easy-to-follow, while targeting creative entrepreneurs and offering a free lead magnet to grow your mailing list.

Capture Book Ideas Quickly With Audio

Sitting down to pen even a short blog post can be daunting challenge for some. Nobody wants to stare at a blank page and wait for inspiration to strike. Fortunately, there are a lot of different options to help get your thoughts written down. If you’re not a writer by trade, consider this technique to get started: Use an audio recorder to “talk out” your book ideas, then have them transcribed. This is also a helpful approach if you want to capture your expertise and insights, then pass them to a skilled writer to weave into top-notch content.

How to Record Audio Files Effectively for Transcription” explains how you can get audio quality that’s high enough to make transcription a viable option for ebooks and other written projects. Common pitfalls like overlapping speakers, low input signals, and background noise can ruin an otherwise useable recording, and the article provides tips and techniques to help you get the kind of audio that will make your ideas shine.

Design an Attractive Ebook

The look of your ebook—both how it’s presented and how it’s structured internally—can be a huge factor in determining whether your target readers will buy and get lasting value from it.

Taking care to ensure your ebook is accessible, attractive, and user-friendly to readers is an important part of the process. While bringing in an ebook design expert with the skill to put everything together correctly is a smart move for first-time creators, it’s also worth understanding what works and what doesn’t for your own quality assurance.

5 Tips for Creating a Winning Ebook Design” delivers tips to help make your ebooks stand out. It highlights effective use of color and typography, proper organization, ways to incorporate social media, and the value of a clean, simple cover design. It details why poor design can make your ebook unappealing, even if the content itself is first-rate.

Eager for more insights into creating and distributing compelling content to amplify your brand? Head over to the Hiring Headquarters for more information.

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Tips for Leveling Up Your Business https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/level-up-your-business/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/level-up-your-business/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37264

There are plenty of opportunities for companies that want to get an edge on the competition, from tailoring your branding and bringing in the best talent, to finding ways to improve your efficiency. Here's a look at a few of your options.

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How do you stand out in a sea of other high-quality businesses in your industry? It’s a question faced by many entrepreneurs and startups eager to carve out a niche in the online realm.

The encouraging news is there are plenty of opportunities for companies that want to get an edge on the competition, from tailoring your branding and bringing in the best talent, to finding ways to improve your efficiency.

These tips from The Hiring Headquarters—Upwork’s resource for entrepreneurs, executives, and freelancers—will point you in the right direction when it comes to taking your business to the next level.

Look Beyond the Resume

Resumes may still be a widely-used tool for evaluating prospective additions to your distributed team, but their usefulness for pinning down the actual skill level and value of top prospects is waning. A freelancer’s work history and established reputation can be far better indicators of their qualifications.

To Hire the Best, Companies Need to Move Beyond the Resume” explores why innovative companies are taking a more hands-on approach when expanding their distributed teams.

It discusses the value of getting third-party feedback from others who’ve work with the professionals you’re considering, and considers how online reputations can affect the hiring process. Among other tips, the article also recommends giving candidates a paid test project to see what they can do, then use the results to help determine their fit for future projects.

Learn to Amplify Efficiencies

Running a smooth operation isn’t just about having a network of skilled contingent workers to complement your in-house expertise. That helps, of course, but anything you can do to improve your business operations will help you get ahead.

Efficiency is often the cornerstone of many successful companies, which is why it’s useful to find ways to streamline your processes and ramp-up productivity across the board.

From managing the nitty-gritty aspects of communication and workload delegation across your team to testing your products and fine-tuning your marketing, there are tons of tasks that can be done more efficiently when you have the right tools in hand.

10 More Tools to Boost Your Business’ Efficiency” offers recommendations of both downloadable and cloud-based software tools to aid many different facets of your business. The article focuses on cost-effective options that are ideal for companies spread across multiple locations or that work with remote freelancers. It also builds on another list of excellent picks you’ll find in “Stay Agile with Collaborative Tools.”

Make a Big First Impression

If you’re launching a new startup, considering how you want to shape your company’s identity is a critical component of a successful launch. Even established businesses prepping for a major pivot can benefit from fine-tuning their image in a few areas. After all, public perception can play a huge role in spreading the right message about your business.

Corporate Identity: Look Like a Million Bucks (or More)” examines the importance of having consistency across your messaging, your logo, and other important aspects of the public persona your brand puts out into the world. It offers tips and on naming (or rebranding) your business, ensuring your logo is on-point, and other ways to fine-tune different facets of your public-facing imagery.

Looking to find more ways to level-up your business or brand? Head over to The Hiring Headquarters for more insightful articles.

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