How-To: Build Your Employer Reputation

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Contrary to popular belief, reputation is not only important to those looking for a job – employers can benefit from having a good one as well. A 2013 CareerBuilder behavior study (which surveyed 5,518 job seekers and 2,775 hiring managers in the US and Canada) found that 90 percent of job seekers believe that culture and reputation are key factors in making a company attractive. This simply means that cultivating a good business brand matters.

Employers with good track records get first pick at the best talent, which in turn translates to successful projects. If you’re an employer and you haven’t been getting enough job bids, or you’re just not getting the right talent, you might need to work on your reputation. Here are some tips to help you get a head start on the competition.

Have a website.
According to the CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of job seekers use search to to evaluate employers. Having a website allows you to communicate your company’s values and objectives. It also helps solidify your image and legitimize your work and your operations.

Maintain social media accounts.
A good 62 percent of employment applicants check social channels to ensure employer and job authenticity. They utilize social media to find out about you and your brand, so maintaining social media accounts is one of the most important things you can do for your reputation.

Complete your profile.
At Freelancer.com, your profile page is the first thing freelancers see when they want to check on the validity of your projects. Having an empty profile can give off the impression that you may be new to the site, or worse, a scammer. Make sure that you have a well-written summary and subheading, and show that you know what you’re talking about. Make your profile page as comprehensive as possible – just don’t post sensitive or personal information about you and your business for security reasons, of course.

Make good project descriptions.
Attract talented people by having good project descriptions. Make sure you communicate your objectives in the clearest and most concise manner possible. Be straightforward about how you want the project to happen and provide enough information for applicants to get the picture. People will also keep tabs on you if you post interesting projects, which will contribute to your overall image as an employer. Here’s our guide to writing a good job description.

Do excellent work.
Never expect less than the best in all your projects and business endeavors. Strive for excellence in everything, and your workers will follow suit. Remember, people will always want to help or join forces with those who have a reputation for doing great work.

Success Story: Writer Earns Big through Translation Services

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Michelle Diamond moved to Israel from South Africa and soon found herself assisting a neighbor with English content writing. Within a few short months, she had a content writing business (writingsense.com) and was writing for a variety of clients on different topics and styles such as blogs, product descriptions, press releases, etc.

She joined the world’s largest outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace Freelancer.com to increase business opportunities. The experience gained from the global exposure helped her business, and a new service was added to her company’s portfolio: translation services.

The client, a casino, needed some of their English websites translated into German. She was initially given one website and then based on the quality and service, the client then provided an additional 5 websites to translate. The website was approximately 12,000 words and would be offered as a language option on the client’s existing websites.

After weeks of searching, she found a German translator on Freelancer.com. “Thomas was extremely professional and thorough, and I could tell this from the first proofreading job he did for me,” describes Michelle. “He was very clear in explaining the errors found in the work we sent him to proofread and he is efficient and delivers as promised.” Since then she has hired him as translator for several other projects.

For US$1,670, she had three casino websites perfectly translated from English to German. The client was so impressed with the quick turnaround time and the high quality that they gave her other websites to translate. “Being able to provide a top-quality translation service opened other doors for us since our casino client passed on our information to other clients.” From this referral, Michelle has two new clients providing regular translation and content writing work.

Are you in need of content writers and translators? Post a free project today and we’ll match you up with thousands of quality freelancers available at your disposal!

Living the Freelance Life: What to Do When Work is Slow to Come By

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Freelancing doesn’t bind you in any way to a company on an eight-hour, five-days-per-week basis. It has convenient pros such as getting ahold of your time and working at your own pace. There are drawbacks however, such as the fact that sometimes, you don’t have a lot of work. After all, freelancing by definition means there is no fixed work and income.

There are hours or days when work gets scarce that you start panicking and wondering if you can get by until the next bill cut-off. These slow periods affect every freelancer no matter how awesome they are. When work is hard to come by, don’t sulk or brood, and most importantly, don’t panic. There is a reason why you chose freelancing in the first place –- it’s because you know that your skill set is in demand globally and you’re assured of a platform where you can always find jobs, such as Freelancer.com.

Now, how do you make your time worthwhile during these slow periods? Take a look below at some of the things you can do when work is playing hard to get:

Update your profile/portfolio. You tend to forget about these when you are too preoccupied with getting things done. Take the downtime as your chance to think through what you have accomplished and then update your profile. Since your business is online, make sure you keep your name and what you do out there so you will be easily found by prospective clients.

Learn a new skill. Get ahead of the pack by learning a new skill. It will increase the job categories that you can bid on, which will in turn increase your work chances and earnings. From learning how to use photo or video-editing software to programming using a new language, the possibilities are endless. This allows you to stay updated with the changing technologies that are fundamental to your chosen career path. Learning new skills is not that difficult now since, you can enroll yourself in free or paid courses online.

Sort through your emails. These days, the majority of professional correspondence is done through emails, which can pile up really quickly. Create and label folders to organize your emails for easy reference and delete the ones that aren’t worth keeping. Also keep an eye out for emails that you have put off for later; these might be jobs that you skipped because you were busy at the time.

Revamp your work space. Feel refreshed by decluttering your work area and moving your stuff strategically so you can feel more efficient and organized. Try to add some cheer too – you can repaint the walls, change the curtains, and place an indoor potted plant near your desk. A positive change from a dark, stuffy area can do wonders for your productivity.

Help someone out. Even if you won’t profit from it, try to help someone. Visit forums that focus on your interests, especially those related to your area of expertise. Not only will you establish a good name in an online community, but you also learn from people’s different experiences. It can also pave the way for future collaboration and partnerships.

Practice some fun brain exercises. Instead of worrying or thinking of what might have been, focus on de-stressing yourself by practicing some brain exercises that don’t only effectively pass the time, but also improve your focus and memory.

Run errands. You might be forgetting some important tasks such as managing and paying your taxes, tuning up your car, buying groceries, taking your pet to the vet, etc. Don’t hole up in your little home office, bidding your day away. Remember to attend to the little details of everyday as well.

Keep going. Having free time is fun, but do your best to stay productive as well. Find new ways to make project proposals. Target specific bids and see how you do with them. Experiment on how you approach your bids so you can gauge what works best. Don’t stop looking for and trying to get the projects you want. With patience and perseverance, you’ll land that next job in no time.

Don’t let anything slow you down. Even if you’re not working on any projects, you can still keep an active and productive life. Use your willpower and motivation to move through the slow times.

“Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
-Leah LaBelle

Secret to Success: Make Real Friends

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Starting up as an entrepreneur or a freelancer isn’t easy. Harder still is going at it alone.

Doing business entails its own problems and risks, along with new things to understand. The same can be said with doing away with boring desk jobs and cutting the cord on nine-to-fives — there will be hardships along the path to security and success.

However, no one ever said you should remain untethered. Making business connections will mean some perks but it won’t speak the right volumes to many. Do away with defining friends as only for “business” or “professional” reasons. Instead, try making real friends and get into discovering what the person is all about. People will work with those they trust and those who they know won’t cheat them of their hard-earned bucks. They also generally work better with those they know are hungry for growth and success.

The next time you meet a freelancer, why not do a little interview? What is five to ten minutes of your time in exchange for getting to know your potential partner? Ask questions that will help make you decide on how much autonomy you are willing to give the freelancer.

Likewise, if you’re a freelancer, ask your employer questions. An exchange of small details should help you align your insights with what the employer needs, and will also help you find the best way to work along both your terms.

Take some time off “business” and get to know the person on the other end of the line. That person isn’t a machine churning out orders or a robot that automatically churns out work.

In this day and age of digital hyperconnectedness, do not forget that people are people with their own devils they deal with everyday. Make friends. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

7 Ways to Have a Lucrative Full-time Freelancing Career

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A lot of people dream about having a full-time freelancing career, yet few ever follow through on the idea. It’s a scary thought to leave the security of a 9-to-5 job after all, and it’s even scarier to jump into a strange, new world.

If you’re considering becoming a full-time freelancer, take heart in the fact that a lot of people have made the jump and are all the better for it. It’s a risk indeed, and yet it is one that has the potential to be rewarding in the long run. Contrary to popular misconception, freelancing can be lucrative. Like all things though, it just takes work. Here are some pointers on making your full-time freelance career as beneficial as possible.

Be prepared to work hard.
Freelancing is essentially time freedom, but you should be willing to do more than the standard eight-hour job. Since you don’t have restrictions on time, you can work as long as you want. Work hard and show your employers that you’re worth the investment.

Ensure that you have multiple income sources.
Don’t rely on just one company or one employer for your income. You’ll earn more when you utilize your multiple skill sets to get several jobs. It also helps to have more than one job at all times to serve as backup in case a job folds.

Build a reputation.
Reputation is one of the most important things that you, as a freelancer, should look after. Find a niche and make it your own. Become an expert in your particular field. You’ll find that the jobs will start coming to you instead of the other way around.

Widen your network.
Make the effort to get to know people in the industry. Join freelancer communities. Make friends at coworking spaces. Attend events and connect with other people. This will open yourself up to more work, either from employers you meet or fellow freelancers who can send new jobs your way.

Price competitively.
At the start of your freelance career, you may have to do things at very low prices or even for free just to gain experience. Putting together a good portfolio may take a while, but you will start getting more jobs over time. When you reach the point where you can put a price tag on your work, make sure that you have the right number. Do your research and ask around to help you determine your rates. Be mindful of overpricing, but be careful not to sell yourself short also.

Spend time and effort in marketing yourself.
A lot of freelancers forget that an important part of this life choice is exerting the effort to sell yourself.  Get your name out there. Fire up your social media accounts or start a blog and share your freelance experience. Find online forums and join in industry-specific discussions. People will be more than willing to hire or refer you for jobs if they’re familiar with you or they feel like you know what you’re doing.

Do terrific work.
Lastly, try your hardest to do your best work for each project or job. Always give 110 percent, do more than you’re expected, and don’t shy away from working overtime if you have to. Great work will ensure repeat offers and rehires for you, which in turn translates to money in the end.

How-To: Write a Good Job Description

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Posting a project is a breeze at Freelancer.com. Click on the Post Project tab. Select the kind of work you need from the work category drop-down menu. Enter the project name, the skills required for the project, and the description. Click on the project type, select your budget range, and you’re done. It’s that easy, and you’ll get bids in a matter of minutes, but why aren’t you getting quality bids? The answer lies in your job description.

The project description is where you discuss what the job is all about. It’s your chance to give prospective freelancers an idea of what to expect from you, as well as what you expect from them. Sometimes freelancers and employers go into a project with conflicting ideas on what should be done. Avoid starting a project off on the wrong foot. Here are our top tips for writing a good job description.

Give an introduction.
If possible, provide a brief background of yourself, your company, or the project. This will help freelancers know exactly what they’re getting into. You don’t have to spill the beans on confidential stuff. Even just a general overview of what you or your company does – maybe even just the industry the project is related to – will do.

Be as detailed as possible.
People say the devil is in the details, and it’s true. So many things can go wrong with one missing detail. When you’re writing a job description, make sure that you have all the project facts straight. If it’s going to be done in chunks, make sure you list down all the levels, along with what you expect from each phase or part. If you’re hiring by the hour or for ongoing work, offering a commissions-based position, or forming a team, include those details in your description also.

Give examples.
Underneath the description box is a space for you to upload files. Tack on samples to your project page for bidders to take inspiration from. Post articles, graphics, or code from past projects – just make sure you post your own original files. If you’re concerned about sharing confidential details, avail of the “Private” upgrade to hide the project details from search engines and users who are not logged in.

Be clear.
Lay out all the facts and be direct about it. Beating around the bush can lead to confusion, so it’s best to go straight to the point. It’s your project, so don’t be afraid to say what you want.

These tips should help you come up with a sharp, thorough, and helpful job description. Try these out and post a project!

How Contests Help You Get Stuff Done

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So you’re just about ready to launch your startup and only have a few more things to cover, like, say, your logo design and maybe your calling card layout. Yes, it will be pretty simple to log in to Freelancer.com and post a project, get it done, and print it out. Or, you can post a contest instead.

Contests are opportunities to crowdsource projects. This lets you access a wider spectrum of ideas and insights. It promotes friendly competition among freelancers as well. In simpler terms, you get more options for about the same costs as hiring a freelancer for a project.

Contest by Uuncut
Contest by Adminize
Contest by Cups & Lids
Contest by SEVENTWONINESIX

At the same time, if you need ideas for that next big thing, why not ask 13 million people for their thoughts on just about anything and everything?

We asked some of our users who love hosting and joining contests and here’s what they had to say:

“Contests are great because you have a bit of creative freedom to really test your skills,” said Danny who just won a contest for making a logo.

“Contests allow me to get options at the fraction of the cost,” said Ervin, after asking designers to create a mockup of his website. He continued “Had I spent the same amount of money on just one freelancer, I wouldn’t have had the option of being able to draw from the best aspects of each of the entries.”

Host a contest here.

Living the Freelance Life: Keeping Track of Your Finances

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It can be quite easy to lose track of your finances when you’re a freelancer. You don’t get a fixed salary every month. Your income comes from multiple sources. You don’t have a company that automatically deducts taxes and contributes to various funds for you. You are your own accountant, business manager, and financial consultant. You have to watch over your money and do everything yourself.

All these things can make anyone want to sweep it all under the rug, but don’t let yourself get intimidated by the numbers. Take charge of your finances by creating your own financial game plan. The trick is to simply know exactly what you earn and break it down according to your needs and lifestyle. It will take some getting used to, but being able to manage the money you earn will make your freelance venture a truly worthwhile one. Here’s our hefty guide to finance for freelancers.

Take stock of your earnings.
As a freelancer, there will be times when you don’t know when you will be paid, how a check will come in, or where money will come from. Despite the uncertainty, you still need to take stock of your earnings. List down all your sources of income – regular jobs, if any, as well as the projected payments from upcoming projects. Having it all laid out in one place should give you an estimate of how much you earn every month. This will be the basis for all your financial plans.

Take precautions to ensure that you get paid.
Landing new gigs and waiting for the first paychecks can always put you on pins and needles when you’re a freelancer. How will the client pay you for the project? When will you get paid? Bank transfers are tricky to set up especially on an international level. Set up an account with Paypal, Skriller, or any other secure payment facility to make the payment process convenient for both you and your client.

It also helps to set up a milestone payment scheme with an employer before a project begins, since it lets you request advanced payment for the first stage of the project. This should help you avoid the risk of not getting paid after you’ve finished the entire project. Freelancer.com has a milestone payment feature that you’ll get a lot of use out of.

List down your expenses.
It’s hard to get into the habit of listing down everything you spend money on, but once you get the hang of it, it’s practically a walk in the park. Every time you pull money out of your wallet, just list it down. This habit will give you a clear picture of what exactly you’ve been spending your precious cash on.

Use a small notebook for this, or try expense tracker apps like Mint or Toshl. Are you spending too much on drinks after hours and pricey dinners? Are all those mid-afternoon coffee runs putting a strain on your budget? Is your sneaker addiction putting you in the red? You’ll soon realize just how much cash is coming out of your pockets.

Create a budget.
Once you know how much you’re earning and what your expenses are, you can create a budget that suits your lifestyle. Put in your basic needs first – groceries, rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation. Then plot in your other bills, such as insurance and credit card payments, along with your savings for the month. Allot money for the things you want – like a fund for that new gaming computer you’ve been wanting – only after you’ve set aside the required amounts for your obligations.

Having a set budget doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun though. If anything, a budget will show you exactly how much you can live it up without overspending until the next month rolls around. Being able to rest easy knowing that you’ve paid your bills will give you space to splurge a bit.

Track your hours.
Freelancer time is valuable time. When you’re being paid hourly for a project or job, take note of your work times. Each hour means money! Use apps like the Freelancer Desktop App to log your hours.

Pay your bills.
Bills are an unsavory but also completely necessary part life. Forgetting to pay them can wreak havoc on your budget, not to mention cause you a lot of inconvenience in the long run. If you’re the forgetful type, use services like Check – which alert you when everything is due – so you won’t ever miss a bill. Online banking helps as well. Not having to physically submit bill payments will save you a ton of time and effort.

Save for a rainy day.
The freelance industry can be very unpredictable – one day you have a project, the next you don’t – so prepare for a time when you might not have a job to fall back on. Try to have at least three to six months’ worth of earnings safely tucked away to live on in case you lose your job or encounter an emergency. It’s always best to be prepared for anything.

Open separate bank accounts.
Having multiple bank accounts may seem too much, but it will keep you from spending money you want to save for a rainy day. Put your savings into one account, your retirement fund in another, and you’ll find that it’s a lot easier for you to forget that you have money to spend.

Invest in your future.
Plan for the future and consider taking out insurance plans, such as health, disability, life, and automobile. Make it a point to set aside money for your retirement too because no one else will do it for you, and if you have extra money, invest in mutual funds or stocks to get the most out of your precious cash.

Make it a goal to be debt-free.
Believe it or not, some people actually lock their unopened credit card bills in a drawer, hoping it will all go away. It won’t. It’s best to deal with debt sooner rather than later. Try to pay a bit above minimum every time, and you’ll eventually get to the end of it.

Don’t forget your taxes.
Not having an employer to deduct your taxes automatically from your paycheck means you have to do your taxes yourself. Have a set schedule to work on it, and see if you can make quarterly payments so that they won’t feel as heavy as making a yearly one.

Keeping track of your finances and getting the most out of your earnings isn’t as complicated and tough as it looks. Just stick to your budget and live within your means. You’ll find that your hard-earned money can go a long way.

5 Brain Exercises to Practice on your Free Time

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Having the freedom to choose the time to work or take a break is a blessing for freelancers. More often than not, some actually find themselves lounging more than they usually would if they are working on a full-time, 8-hour shift. During these hours of idleness, you can still keep your brain active by doing simple brain exercises. Not only are these great pastimes, but these are also avenues for sharpening your memory, clarity, and alertness.

Below are five practices to train and exercise your brain:

  1. Playing mentally stimulating games – Completing Sudoku and crossword puzzles aren’t only mentally challenging but also fun. It is a nice companion to a hot cup of tea that will relax and prepare you for the next set of freelancing work. If you want to increase the difficulty level, set an astonishingly impossible deadline in solving a jigsaw puzzle. You will be surprised at the lengths your brain can reach when pushed to the limit.
  2. Telling stories – This can be a good way to start an engaging conversation that may bear fruit to exceptional ideas. Telling yourself stories can also be quite amusing when you’re alone (no matter how silly it sounds). Your stories can root from anything, but the best are those that lie deep in the crevices of your brain, waiting to be illuminated. Reminisce your most joyous moments and you may even find yourself inspired.
  3. Reading random articles – There is always a niche available for you to read lots about. Technology, fashion, current events, and travel websites are all over the Internet — you won’t run out of worthwhile articles to read. If you are the type who is a ‘read-all’ person, there’s ‘Wikipedia: Random’ for you. Stumbling on random articles allows you to learn something new everyday.
  4. Meditating – Meditation exercises the brain the same way as running exercises the body. During a meditative state, your brain strengthens its ability to focus, and substances that help you sleep and alleviate depression are released. Coupled with meditation are breathing exercises that increase the flow of oxygen in the body, which releases toxins during exhalations.
  5. Exercising – The most common yet very effective way of keeping your brain in tip-top shape is to keep your body healthy. The resulting increase in heart rate leads to better oxygen circulation and a release of hormones that provide a healthy environment for brain cell growth. If you are not keen on solving complicated puzzles or don’t feel comfortable talking to yourself, you can always rely on physical exercise. In general, what is beneficial to the heart works for the brain as well.

There are a lot more ways to exercise your brain, but these are the easiest to accomplish, especially if you are taking a short break from tedious computer work.

Achieving Team Spirit in a Freelance Environment

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With outsourcing on the rise and freelancing numbers increasing by the minute, today’s workplace has become a diverse, global environment. Employers who have hired freelancers now have to manage people from different cultures, countries, and walks of life. Most are now facing the challenge of managing global teams and getting them to collaborate effectively.

Working with a team made up of freelancers who are used to complete autonomy can be a challenge. However, it’s not as difficult as you may think. There are ways to achieve team spirit in a freelance environment. Here’s how:

Introduce the idea of team spirit early on.
Tell freelancers that they are joining a team as soon as they’re hired, or even during the selection or hiring process. This will make it clear to them that they will not be working alone, and will prepare them for collaboration with others.

Find time to connect virtually.
Regular meetings will be a big help in making team members feel like they are part of something. Online video calls that let people talk to each other face to face will make it seem like the team is actually together. Find a time that will work for all time zones involved and try to hold virtual meetings weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.

These meetings will provide team members the opportunity to do status updates, discuss problems, and lay out future plans. They will also be able to get to know and be at ease with each other, which will in turn help them in figuring out how to work together in the best way possible.

Don’t be too uptight with these meetings. Take a few minutes to just hang out with each other. Talk about your action figure collection. Ask how the kids are. Share workout tips. Have fun while being productive at the same time.

Create teams within the team.
If you are handling a large team, break it up into small groups. This will give people ownership lets them have a sense of responsibility over their respective parts in the project and they will exert more effort in producing great results.

If you’ve taken the time to build a connection between you and the members of your team, you won’t have to micromanage them. By working together, they will be able to catch each other’s mistakes without you having to go through everything.

Use collaboration tools.
Collaboration tools are great ways to get people to work and communicate better, as well as do things faster. There are a ton of free programs out there that can help you and your freelancers get organized, track tasks, schedule meetings, and contact other team members. The Freelancer Desktop App, which tracks project hours, is one such tool.

All of these things should help you get that team spirit going among your freelancers. Got a suggestion? Tell as about it in the comments.