Startup Resources

Brand-Building 101: The Five Brand Habits of Successful Businesses

November 26, 2013 by

Creating a strong brand—one that’s positive, representative and recognizable—is essential for any company hoping to gain a leg up on its competition. That lesson may seem like business 101, but brand-building is much easier said than done. In this article for The Huffington Post, oDesk VP of Marketing Jaleh Bisharat presents 5 ways to strengthen your company's brand. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

The World Doesn’t Need Another Silicon Valley

November 11, 2013 by

It seems every emerging startup hub worldwide aims to recreate the unique entrepreneurial conditions of California's Silicon Valley. But is that possible—or even advised? In his previous column for, oDesk VP of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper interviewed Jon Bradford, the managing director of Techstars London about why entrepreneurs should think more like athletes. In his latest article—part II of that interview—Matt and Jon discuss how startups might actually benefit from being located outside Silicon Valley, and how other entrepreneurial hubs shouldn't necessarily aim to be the next Silicon Valley. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Four Things Managers Must Give Their Teams

November 7, 2013 by

As a manager, you are only as good as your team. Attracting all-star talent is just the first challenge (though it's certainly a formidable one)—from there you have to make sure these A-players you've brought on board are engaged and given the environment they need to thrive. Otherwise, you will lose them as quickly as you hired them. Admittedly, that's easier said than done. So how do you create a work environment where your team members can thrive? It comes down to 4 key things. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Entrepreneurs Should Think More Like Athletes

November 5, 2013 by

Visualizing success is a powerful thing. For athletes, it is an essential part of training, alongside practicing the strategies and techniques that will bring them that success. Could the same hold true for entrepreneurs? If the success of the American startup ecosystem is any indication, the answer is yes. In the latest post for his column, oDesk's VP of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper interviews Jon Bradford, the managing director of Techstars London, who discusses how visualizing success can play a significant role in startup outcomes. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Why Your Developers May Be More Productive Working Remotely

November 4, 2013 by

“There’s an uninterrupted brain state you have to go into when you’re coding, and it requires an uninterrupted train of thought. Interruptions are very disruptive to developers when they’re in that brain state. So one of the major advantages of working remotely is that you’re not being subjected to constant interruptions; any of our developers will tell us that. It’s a clear advantage to not be in the office.” It can be argued, therefore, that developers working remotely are more productive than those in the office. Not convinced? This might change your mind. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

My First Job: It All Started with Selling Sneakers

October 31, 2013 by

Whether your first job was stocking grocery shelves, scooping ice cream or mowing lawns, it's likely that the value of what you learned about the professional world was far greater than the money you earned. For oDesk CEO Gary Swart, his first job—selling sneakers and sporting goods at the University Shop—brought many lessons in learning fast, working smart and being a catalyst of change. In this post for the LinkedIn Influencer program, Gary remembers his first job and explains how he still carries with him many of those lessons. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

How to Quit Gracefully: 4 Tips for the Consummate Professional

October 22, 2013 by

The first step toward your next career opportunity is leaving your last one. That, however, takes a delicate skill: knowing how to navigate your exit in a way that bolsters rather than busts your reputation. A professional departure matters more than ever, as the frequency of job changes is on the rise. Meanwhile, it's easier than ever for employers to assess you—one quick LinkedIn search can reveal common contacts whose opinions may make or break your next opportunity. So how do you leave your job gracefully? Here are four less-discussed tips on how to exit like a pro. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Why Coworking Is on the Rise

October 17, 2013 by

Work is no longer a place. Telecommuting, freelancing and online work have been growing for years, and the lines between our professional and personal lives are increasingly blurry. We make dinner reservations from the office, and take our conference calls from the dinner table. As work becomes less routine and more results-focused, people are coming back together to foster collaboration based around results. A movement is taking shape—the rise of coworking. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Show Me the Money: 8 Tips on Securing Startup Funding

October 15, 2013 by

You’ve built what you think could be the next best thing—the product everyone needs, only they don’t know it yet. In order to take your company to the next level and bring your product to market, you need funding. I've been at this juncture, learned lessons the hard way from past startups, and also helped oDesk raise four rounds of financing. How to raise funds is one of the main things entrepreneurs ask me, so with the advantage of hindsight I thought I'd share some tips on startup funding. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The “New Professionalism”

October 2, 2013 by

Being a linchpin for that company didn't prevent me from getting a pink slip. That was the day I stopped believing the promises of the Old Professionalism. Rather than go hunting for a job similar to the one I'd had—a type of job that was quickly disappearing—I started my own business. Four and a half years of self-employment have taught me that there's more financial security (and fun) in creating my own livelihood than in relying on someone else to pay my salary. Running a business forced me to develop certain habits, and those habits now provide more long-term stability for my family than busying myself making someone else rich. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

oDesk CEO Gary Swart: 7 Things I Learned from Startup Failure

September 23, 2013 by

My former company, Intellibank, was sort of like Dropbox done wrong. You’ve probably never heard of Intellibank, because it came and went like so many startups do, but it was a promising company with smart people. We raised money and could have been the next big thing, but it never happened. Why? Though Intellibank was not successful, I don’t view my time there as wasted. From the mistakes we made, I learned what not to do — and from there, I’ve arrived at some essential truths that can lead to startup success. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

How to Build a Disruptive Business: Analyst Sangeet Choudary Weighs In On Where To Focus

September 19, 2013 by

Sangeet Choudary is a widely published technology analyst and innovation consultant. His popular blog Platform Thinking analyzes disruption and innovation in digital markets; he also contributed to the book “Managing Startups,” is a mentor at several incubators and accelerators, and serves on the advisory boards of prominent startups like SkillShare. We caught up with Choudary to hear his thoughts on how to build a disruptive business; "platform thinking" and why it's important; and disruptive innovation, especially as it relates to entrepreneurs and marketplace business models. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Way You Work: oDesk Client Chris Clegg on How to Hire Online

September 12, 2013 by

Chris Clegg founded Portland Marketing Analytics in 2010, and decided to experiment with online work to see if this new way of working could help grow his business. He quickly discovered that oDesk was more cost-efficient than a traditional staffing agency and more effective than going through a recruiter, so he began to use oDesk as his go-to pool for talented professionals. Three years later, his company’s revenue has increased every year, and it’s now on track to become a multi-million dollar company. He told us, “I couldn’t have done it without the support of oDesk contractors.” En route to success, Chris developed his own list of online work dos and don’ts. Here are four of his favorite tips on how to hire online and get to work. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Other Side of Remote Collaboration: Learnings From Eastern Europe

September 9, 2013 by

oDesk Interaction Designer Shipra Kayan has worked with oDesk’s distributed development team for almost four years, collaborating solely over email, shared documents, Skype chats and Google Hangouts. She has gotten to know many of these developers quite well after talking to them on almost a daily basis for years, but had only physically met the handful of developers who have visited the oDesk office. Shipra wanted to change that. With the goal of experiencing firsthand what the development team—and all of our users—do every day, she set out on a trip to Macedonia and the Ukraine to work side by side with many of oDesk’s core developers. She has been faithfully documenting her experience and reflections on her blog; here are some of our favorite excerpts. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

oDesk VP Matt Cooper Shares 5 Steps to Becoming More Marketable

September 4, 2013 by

The world of work is changing fast, leaving a wake of frightening uncertainty that's especially daunting for those of you early in your careers. We're facing an unemployment rate of more than 7%, an online landscape that turns simple daily actions into permanent reputations, and a world so fast-paced that the next in-demand skill may not even exist yet. How can you help yourself stand out? In a column published today for Inc., oDesk Vice President of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper provides 5 steps to becoming more marketable by bolstering your current skills and developing new ones. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

5 Tips for Building Your IT Infrastructure From Scratch

August 21, 2013 by

Successful businesses rely on a multitude of hardware, software, and service solutions to power their operations. But without prior IT experience, putting these products in place can be a daunting task. So how do you find and implement the right IT systems for your company? We talked with oDesk’s own IT Manager, Gordon Thomas, on how to approach building up an IT infrastructure with a long-term, sustainable strategy in mind. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

How to Foster a Work-Hard/Play-Hard Culture with Blended Teams

August 19, 2013 by

These days, it’s easy to think that adding a ping pong table or instituting Hawaiian Shirt Fridays is enough to create the work-hard, play-hard culture that has served companies like Google and Facebook so well. But in reality, it takes more than superficial perks to truly invigorate your company’s culture and transform it into a workplace where passionate people are knocking down your door trying to find out how they can join the company. It can be even more challenging to create this kind of culture when key members of your team work remotely, but that’s actually when it becomes most important. BusinessBee's Elli Bishop helps you get started with four critical tactics that will energize your business and establish a vibrant culture, fostering high productivity and record-breaking results. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Only 4 Dimensions That Matter In Hiring (& Why You’re Probably Evaluating Them Wrong)

July 23, 2013 by

We're excited to announce that our CEO, Gary Swart, has joined the LinkedIn Influencer program! His first post was published today, about the only 4 dimensions that matter in hiring (and the surprising 2 that matter the most). Check it out here to find out why "you can teach a chicken to climb a tree, but you're better off getting a squirrel in the first place." Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends: Why Millennials Are Disrupting the Workforce

May 30, 2013 by

Millennials will be the ones to save us all. Why? They are more entrepreneurial than ever. They have to be, because they are making their way in a world that no longer offers safe, stable career paths and in turn offers volatility and uncertainty. They need to be that and more — including opportunistic and constantly evolving — to have the best odds of closing the current talent shortages, and to disrupt work for the better. If they succeed, that will benefit us all. Read Full Article