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Achieving Success in a Crowdsourcing and Freelancing Economy

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Crowdsourcing and freelancing has quickly become a norm in business processes, which is why more and more entrepreneurs, businesses, and professionals are taking it up. As thousands upon thousands of skilled professionals enter into this type of work, it is important to know the difference between crowdsourcing and freelancing, as each practice has qualities that make it unique.

Crowdsourcing obtains services, ideas or solutions through contests or other online interactions. This allows project holders to gather a pool of ideas and award the best entry or entries.

Freelancing, on the other hand, is along the lines of self-employment or contractual work. Companies or businesses will work with a professional on a per-project basis or in whatever casual capacity, without permanently hiring the freelancer as part of their company.

Despite the different natures of crowdsourcing and freelancing, there are still little things you can do to make sure your experiences with both are a great success!

Here are 5 tips for winning contests and bids:

1. Carefully read the contest brief or project details.

It’s absolutely fine to be excited about getting started, but to be sure you’re hitting the bull’s-eye, take some time to read through the contest brief or project details. It’s important to understand the requirements so that you can produce something that will grab the contest holder or employer’s attention.

2. Clarify objectives with the contest holder or employer.

Use the messaging system to find out more information about the contest or project. Clarify the questions you have in mind – but make sure these are relevant questions and you’re not just bugging the contest holder or employer.

3. Copyright infringement is a big NO-NO.

Especially for design-related contests or projects, only use images which you own and have copyright over. Once the site has confirmed copyright infringement, this may result in immediate disqualification of the user from contests or being banned from the site all together.

4. Competence and professionalism is key.

Do some research so that you are well informed about what the contest holder or employer is looking for. The more you understand and know about the project, the higher your chance of nailing it. Have nothing substandard about your submissions; instead, be creative and original. Make sure you send the correct files to avoid hassle, delays or bad feedback.

5. Complete all requests on time.

When a project holder asks for revisions even before declaring a contest winner and you’ve agreed to submitting it on a certain date, meet that deadline submissions or you might lose your chance of winning the contest.

The same goes for projects. Fulfilling agreed submission dates for samples or demos is one way to impress an employer and show them that they can trust you with their project.

Now that you have read this blog, you can apply these techniques in your next contest or project!

Carry Freelancer right in the palm of your hand – on Android!

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It’s here!

After weeks of testing, we’re thrilled to announce that Freelancer Messenger the App for Android is now available! Download the app, and get in touch with employers or freelancers while on the go.

Work made easier

Freelancer Messenger is perfect for discussing projects and receiving instant notifications.

Send or reply to messages via inbox, or add attachments across all your projects, straight from your phone!

Swiping right takes you to the Contacts List – view all the employers or freelancers you’ve worked with or are currently working with! Those that you are currently working with will be displayed prominently on the top of your list.

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What’s a Freelancer app without the ability to award or accept projects? To view project details, simply swipe down – and from here, awarding or accepting a project is just a tap away!

Now, you don’t have to worry about touching base with your employer or freelancer when you’re away from the workplace – carry Freelancer.com right in the palm of your hand!

Get it on Google Play now.*

*iOS users, stay tuned – we will soon be releasing the Freelancer Messaging App on the App Store!

Featured Freelancer Friday: Atif Shehzad

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Atif Shehzad (djdesign), right.

Name: Atif Shehzad
Freelancer Username: Djdesign
Location: Lalamusa, Pakistan
Member Since: 2007
Skills: Graphic design, SEO, Web design

ON FREELANCING:

Why did you decide to be a freelancer?

Freelancing exposes me to a bigger market, in just one platform! This is very convenient for me.

What are the things that make you happy as a freelancer?

Freelancer.com’s Milestone Payment is an excellent way of knowing if an employer or freelancer is serious, if they’re willing to use it. The terms and conditions help in proving if a freelancer has worked for an employer well. Lastly, I like the independence it gives me, with flexible working hours all year-round!

ON WORK ETHICS:

What’s your strategy in winning a bid for a project?

I bid only on projects that I am confident that I will be able to complete. As much as possible, I reply to all messages from clients as soon as possible, and I try to accommodate various types of employers by applying flexible working rates and hours.

What are the tools that you use at work that helps you finish a project or increase productivity?

I use several tools, including SharpReader, which informs me as soon as a new project is posted.

ON INSPIRATION:

Where do you get inspiration?

I get inspired thinking of how I started freelancing. My cousin’s friend used to work on Freelancer.com a couple of years back, and he recommended it to me. I tried it out, and after a few years, I left my job and have freelanced full-time!

If you could describe your freelancing experience in one word, what would it be?

Unbelievable!

Retailers Strike Back With SalePlate

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As the retail market competes with online sales in a bid to recapture customers enticed by convenience and better prices, one man decided to give retail a better fighting chance. Greg Dodd, an accountant by profession, recently released the SalePlate app, the first in his “Retail Fights Back” campaign, to counter the growing online shopping trend.

Designed with simplicity, SalePlate allows retailers, especially small businesses, to upload deals for the day from either a smartphone or computer, which shoppers can instantly access via their smartphones. The app provides a means for retailers to attract customer traffic back to their brick-and mortar-stores and to take advantage of up-sell opportunities—at a price of a cup of coffee, commission-free, and unhindered by typical ad placement constraints like time and number of runs. The deals can go live in under three minutes.

Consumers, on the other hand, can download the app for free. SalePlate allows customers to locate stores that have listed special deals directly from their smartphone. These special deals, listed by category, will display within 5 kilometers. By using the map function, the customer can even access deals from anywhere in the world.

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“Consumers want to have the social experience of shopping,” explains Greg in a press release, “whilst utilizing their time to find exactly what they are looking for at the right price.”

So, how was Greg able to provide such an affordable app? Through Freelancer.com, the world’s largest outsourcing site, of course.

“At a previous job I heard about Freelancer® through a colleague who had used the site,” he reveals. “In that job I utilized Freelancer® for two projects satisfactorily, so, of course, Freelancer® was my first thought for SalePlate.”

After a week of thoroughly reviewing the portfolios of the 22 freelancers who placed bids on the project, he chose Hieu from Vietnam. “He seemed open and honest, especially with the price. He didn’t offer a ridiculous low ‘bait’ price and then increase it. His portfolio was impressive and he was more than helpful and quick with suggestions to enhance my app.” Greg was so pleased that he has recommended Hieu to other businesses. “He also provided all the support I needed in the months following completion.”

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Since the app’s launch on August 22, they have close to 300 downloads using Facebook, their sole promotions medium, and 20 deals have been uploaded by individual retailers, three of which are interstate. “The feedback has all been positive and the common theme is that it is simple and why hadn’t anybody thought of it before.”

Citing ease, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, Greg recommends Freelancer® to his friends: “Most start-ups have a limited budget and the ease of dealing with a remote contractor using Freelancer® makes it a totally viable option.”

AviationShake Set to Stir Up Aviation Recruitment Scene

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“Jay and I are both smitten with the industry,” says AviationShake co-founder Mike Beaton. “For us, it’s not just a job, it’s a life.” A pilot by profession, Mike and his partner Jay Markowiak, an account executive for an aircraft ground handling company, created an East-London startup that seeks to remedy some of the recruitment pitfalls in the industry by providing essential skills training for aviation graduates and professionals.

“It’s a fact that graduates from aviation management courses—both at the baccalaureate and masters level—have surprisingly little real-world knowledge of the industry,” Mike reveals. “We’re hoping to educate graduates on the realities of the industry, as seen at airports across the world today. ”

With AviationShake, the pair intends to prepare applicants by running workshops on writing CVs and managing interviews to improve their marketability and increase their chances of advancement. “Great candidates get lost in the noise. We’re hoping to give these people a better chance by teaching them how to market themselves properly, how to network within aviation, and how to conduct a fruitful job hunt after graduation.”

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“The name has all the right associations—we’re ‘shaking up’ aviation; we’re a path to getting that new job ‘handshake’; and we’re taking something relatively tried and tested and adding our own ingredients (kinda like a milkshake).”

To kick-start the venture, the company needed a visual identity that would make it stand out in the industry. Mike abandoned the idea of hiring the services of traditional providers. Although they considered it, it lacked the creative input they were looking for and many of the contracts limited them to only three to four designs based on their brief, with two to three revisions. “This didn’t suit us one little bit, seeing as we both consider our brand and image incredibly important. We wanted more options than this.”

And options they had—a full 213 of them—on Freelancer.com, the world’s most preferred outsourcing marketplace. Instead of doing a project posting, he staged a design contest. “We thought a contest would provide more valuable results for us than a simple job listing,” he says.

In the end, Satgraphic came up with the winning bird-and-airplane logo. “They came up with a concept that we were a personality-driven startup—which is exactly right—and then worked on extrapolating what our two personalities would look like in a graphical context.” He further adds that they liked the dynamism the design offers—the base design can be applied in various ways. “There was also this implied progression, which aviation goes through at some stage, from watching birds fly to being involved in large commercial jets. The levels on which this identity felt right are limitless—and we grow fonder of it every day.”

Going into this contest, Mike adhered to only two rules: every design gets feedback and feedback should be critical but supportive. When he first discovered the contest feature on Freelancer.com, he reviewed a fair number of the other contests to see if the quality of work was up to scratch. “I was amazed by the quality of work on display and realized very early in this process that we could really get what we wanted in this format, and the best way to ensure that was to be very involved from the outset,” he advises.

“Freelancer.com provided us with fantastic value for money and an excellent platform for our design contest. It is easy, exciting, and fruitful,” he concludes. “Without Freelancer.com, we almost certainly wouldn’t have the identity we now have, and we’d have paid a lot more for the privilege. I recommend the site to my peers who are looking for development or design work.”

Featured Freelancer Friday: Salma Noreen

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Name: Salma Noreen
Freelancer Username: sn66
Location: Attock, Pakistan
Member Since: February 2012
Skills: Website Design, WordPress, HTML, PHP, CSS

ON BEING A FREELANCER

What are the things that make you happy as a freelancer?

Freelancing gives you freedom! Work schedules depend on both the freelancer and the client’s needs most of the time. On my part, it’s more of: The more you need, the more you work! Since I joined Freelancer.com, I have more time to myself, family, and friends while still being able to commit to working. Freelancer.com has given the ideal solution to individuals who are self-confident, creative, and independent – people who work at their own pace.

What are the most challenging things in freelancing?

Every new project is a new challenge. But the most challenging aspect is to maintain the same work flow even with different schedules. I have no schedule for work, and I think that generally, freelancers shouldn’t have a fixed schedule. Sometimes I work until morning, and sometimes I am able to finish work before night. It’s unpredictable, but you have to keep up.

ON WORK ETHICS

What’s your strategy in winning a bid for a project?

It’s very simple. Before bidding, you have to understand the client’s requirements. Once you do, the solution you will provide should be given in a brief but detailed way. It should be kept in mind that long proposals are often ignored, so it’s very important that the bid should be brief and to the point.

Pricing should not be according to the average bid, but fairly based on experience and solutions, but cost-effective at the same time. If the bid contains these qualities, I think it deserves to be a winning bid.

How many hours a day do you spend working? How do you break up your day?

It’s difficult to determine how many hours are spent for work in a day, since I’ve stopped looking at a watch when I started freelancing! It’s totally dependent on the client’s requirements. If it’s urgent, then I can work until the morning after, but if not, then I work for a couple of hours in a day only. So that would range from 3 hours to 16 hours a day.

In my opinion, success isn’t measured in the number of reviews, but by the client’s satisfaction with the work done.

ON INSPIRATION

If you could describe your freelancing experience in one word, what would it be?

LIFE, or Luxurious Ideal Factional Environment.

An environment which is ideal for everyone, because everyone can work at their own pace at Freelancer.com, which is a highly trusted and reliable platform. The good payment system and communication platform, with its Support Team, are the factors that make it luxurious as well. But the environment is also factional, because there is still some competition among freelancers despite them being a large community.

What does it take to be a successful freelancer?

It takes passion, honesty and hard work to be a successful freelancer. Understanding the requirements of a project and being committed is another important factor in getting the client’s trust and satisfaction. The real success isn’t getting good reviews, but knowing that the client is happy.

Freelancer.com Scavenger Hunt 2014: We Hunted, Hustled, and Emerged Victorious!

The 2014 Freelancer.com Internet Scavenger Hunt has just concluded after a two-week period, with over 45,000 registrants and more than 16,000 submitted entries! This year’s highly anticipated internet scavenger hunt required participants to complete tasks from a list of 150 cryptic questions and challenges based on internet pop culture and more.

After careful examination of all the fantastic entries we received, we have finally selected the list of Freelancer champions who will share in US$30,000 worth of cash prizes!

Are you ready? Drum roll, please…

The Running Hunts emerge victorious in the 2014 Scavenger Hunt

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This creative and determined group of film producers, comedians, entrepreneurs, technology investors, and a World Series Poker champion from the USA, managed to hunt down adult film star Ron Jeremy and get him to do an encore performance of his Wrecking Ball parody, music legend Sir Tom Jones to complete a task, and comedian Carrot Top to ask him to quit comedy and look for a job at Freelancer.com instead! A well-deserved victory, earning them US$20,000!

Running Hunts’ team captain Emily Jillette (wife of American magician, illusionist, comedian, musician, inventor, actor and best-selling author Penn Jillette), a full-time mom, golfer, philantrophist, and scavenger hunt enthusiast, was always confident that this was right up their alley.

“This contest combined all the things I love – creativity, sleuthing, conniving, connections and comedy!”, she adds.

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Her team includes Perry Friedman, a former software engineer and presently an avid poker player and entrepreneur. Terrence Williams, who was in Australia for the scavenger hunt, has worked as a producer, director, and production manager for shows in Las Vegas and in other countries, but is now focused on app development and has hired freelancers on Freelancer.com. Emery Emery is also in the team, a veteran stand up comedian who is now working in film and television production as a producer, director and editor. Completing the roster is Cyan Banister, an entrepreneur and angel investor.

Filipino team Cyber Paul bags second place

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Closing in on second place is team Cyber Paul from the Philippines, who decided to step out of their comfort zone to do “something crazy and adventurous!”

He gathered his friends and family to join forces, and use their network of contacts to help them accomplish the cryptic challenges.

Their team leader, Paul Agabin, is the CEO of an outsourcing company called Essays.ph, and has also done a multitude of projects with Freelancer.com. He says he dedicates this victory to Bukito Agabin and Sheila Agabin, as his team is awarded US$5,000.

His takeaway from the Internet Scavenger Hunt? “Think outside the box, and never underestimate your competitors!”

A Global roster wins our Special Categories

The Special Category winners are awarded US$1,000 each, and here are the victors for each category:

1. The entry that best promotes and supports the charity of their choice goes to Team Diamond Kings for enlisting the help of professional rugby player Louis Ludik to promote womenforwomen.org and Animal Ambulance. The team participants hail from South Africa, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and India.

2. The best quality video that promotes their team, the entry, and the Freelancer.com Scavenger Hunt is awarded to Team Awesome17 from Romania for their Epic Split Parody!

3. The entry that makes use of mainstream media goes to GuerillaGorilla6 from Malaysia, for utilizing local radio station FreeFM to tell their story.

4. The entry that goes viral on social media goes to Team Faust with participants from Serbia and Montenegro, for bringing their logo around the world!

5. The entry that has the coolest celebrity endorsement goes to Team Running Hunts from the USA for enlisting Ron Jeremy, Tom Jones, Carrot Top, and many more!

A big salute from Freelancer.com to everyone who emerged as champions in this year’s Scavenger Hunt! We’ll see you again in the next one!

For the Love of the Game

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Most commonly associated with hobbyists and fantasy fiction enthusiasts, miniature gaming is a form of face-to-face wargaming that uses figurines to represent troops, vehicles, and terrain in simulated battle scenarios. As 3D printing technologies become more affordable, fans of the genre are able to build prototypes more quickly and efficiently than ever before, opening up worlds of possibilities for funding and customization of new products for the market.

In this conversation with Freelancer.com, two members of the Freelancer® community, a freelancer who’s down on his luck and an employer looking for a qualified 3D artist found something in common: Adler Romero’s and Richard Delorme’s love for games led them to a rewarding partnership.

FL: The Freelancer® platform matches employers with skilled freelancers and over the years, has helped both sides find what they were looking for. In your case, how has the platform helped you?”

AR: I was out of work for about 2 ½ months, the reason being my previous work, 3D visualization for architecture, severely slowed down and the company started to cut the hours. I was looking everywhere for work. If I had not been able to find anything, I probably would have been kicked out of my house. With Freelancer®, I had made US$2,500 by the end of my first project commissioned by Richard of Rosa Miniatures and Garden (RosaMG).

RD: I was looking for a 3D artist for my upcoming miniature games and found Adler who did an outstanding job. Prior to Freelancer®, I used the work board at the local college, but have been unsatisfied with the work of the two students who responded. I also posted a job announcement with the local job board and had no qualified applicants.

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FL: Please tell us more about the game and the role Adler played in it?

RD: The Hive Queen and Country universe is played both as a Victorian sci-fi role-playing game, Stars of Empire, and tabletop miniature wargame, Hive and the Flame. This game was written by Terry Sofian about 15 years ago and has a small but a loyal fan base. Rosa Miniatures and Games, a company I formed in July 2013, is developing a new miniature line for use in both game settings (in 15 mm and 25 mm scales) using 3D printing.

AR: My part was to digitally sculpt the creatures based on the concepts that were given to me.

RD: He was given 25 highly detailed drawings of alien bugs to be used in the game. Adler adjusted quickly to the difference in drawing for the screen and for the 3D printer, and was open to modifying his designs to meet production limitations.

FL: Adler, this is your first time dealing with 3D printing; was the adjustment difficult for you? How did you convince Richard that you were the right person for the job?

AR: It was not a hard transition. I have a digital sculpting background from my game art degree. To make the sculpt I used “Zbrush,” a program I’m very comfortable in using. I knew it was used for many different disciplines including modeling/sculpting for print. I have many digital creature sculpts on my website that Richard saw, which convinced him that I was the perfect candidate.

RD: That and he communicated very well. The original game producer Aerolyth Enterprises is very pleased with his work that they specifically requested a rehire or direct hire to work on future projects. He impressed Terry Sofian and we will be using him for the Venus and Mars expansions (lots of exotic creatures); but before that project I have asked him to do some traditional miniatures of British, Canadian, Indian Army, and American soldiers, as well as some American Vivandieres, highly regarded women soldiers that cooked, did laundry, ran the commissary that provided rations, and acted as nurses/field medics and sanitary commission.

FL: Speaking of games, both of you seem to share the same passion albeit on different sides of the fence.

AR: I went to school for game design, and specialized in character and creatures art. So the chance to work in this field and choose my own work as a freelancer is a big plus.

RD: Tabletop wargaming is a hobby for me. I have been a tabletop gamer since high school, mostly historic with some fantasy and sci-fi games.

FL: What can we expect from both of you? What do you intend to do next?

AR: As Richard said, I will be rehired by RosaMG very soon to work on human figures for their miniature line. I couldn’t have asked for a better employer, and it’s all thanks to Freelancer.com. I also have started my own company, P-Tor Studio, which specializes in games, animation and architectural visualization.

RD: We have since posted projects and held contests on Freelancer.com for our other requirements. We’ve also recently wrapped up our video for our Kickstarter campaign.

A Pint of Brew

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In 2009, two twenty-something gentlemen formed a website and a monthly beer club that now has in excess of 200 members. Their goal: promote the wide range of flavours and styles offered by craft beers. To date, the club has sampled 192 different beers. Two years later, to expand the range of microbrews they sold, they opened a bottle shop that now stocks over 550 craft beers from Australia and overseas.

In this chat with Freelancer.com, Richard Kelsey, half of the team behind Beer Cartel, talks about what makes craft beer the preferred beverage at dinner parties and backyard barbeques and how using the Freelancer® platform has enabled them to use their funds wisely and concentrate on the core of their business.

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How would you define craft beer?

Craft beer, also known as boutique beer, is brewed in limited quantities without the support of a much larger mainstream brewery. It uses the highest quality ingredients to create full-flavoured beer that is purchased more for the quality, aroma and taste rather than for the marketing behind it.

Why would beer drinkers prefer craft beers over mainstream brews? What does craft offer that mainstream beers do not?

In simple terms, the taste. Mainstream beers are mass produced, more with the aim of selling significant quantities than creating the highest quality beer. The mainstream beers typically have a very short brew cycle (just a few days) and are made to be consumed in large quantities rather than enjoyed in smaller amounts for their quality and flavour.

Craft beer, in contrast, has a very wide flavour profile—it can be matched with any type of food, and actually matches with food better than wine. There is a beer to suit every occasion and ones that will really open your eyes to the range of flavours available.

How would you describe your experience on Freelancer.com?

Cost-effective, smart, a leg-up. Freelancer.com is a highly cost-effective solution for any process that can be undertaken by an external party. It saves you time and gives you a leg up against competition.

Freelancer® allowed us to complete tasks such as SEO, advertising design, and Excel macros for stock management, among others at a much cheaper and faster rate than if we were to have bought these services within the direct Australian market. As a result it gave us funds and time to dedicate to other areas of our business.

Since using Freelancer.com, how much have you grown as a business?

We have been using the platform for two years. Each year, we have had about 50% growth which we’ve been very happy about. We attribute 20% of this growth, which was achieved via SEO, advertising, product description creation, image sourcing and editing, and stock management, to Freelancer ®.

To date, how much have you spent on services using the platform? If these services were done locally, how much would it have cost?

Our estimate is that we have spent AUD 5,000 on Freelancer.com over the past two years. Were this work conducted locally we estimate it would have cost AUD 50,000.

Were there challenges while using the site? How did Freelancer.com work with you to address them?

The main challenge was becoming familiar with how the website and the creation of projects worked. This, however, was relatively simple thanks to existing projects on the site that were used as a template and the ability to talk to Freelancer® staff online, which meant queries could be responded to as they happened.

There was also the issue of confidence—that the selected freelancers were capable and could deliver. Thankfully, we were able to use the freelancers’ profile and the feedback that past customers had left to give us confidence in their ability.

What’s next for Beer Cartel? Any plans on brewing your own brand soon?

At the moment it is continuing to increase the range of beers we sell in-store and online. We see this increasing by another 100-500 beers over the next 3-6 months, and then continuing to grow further beyond this. As far as brewing, we leave this to those who are experts in the area although we are looking at working with a local brewery to have a collaboratively brewed beer hopefully sometime in the next six months.

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