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Desktop App: Where You Strengthen Employee-Employer Trust

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Freelancers rejoice! Did you know that the Freelancer desktop app can track hourly progress on your projects, help you earn more, and ultimately build employee-employer trust? Our data analysis from April to June 2014 shows that freelancers who logged in with the desktop app and used it to track their working hours earned an average of 88% more than those who didn’t. That’s because the desktop app can efficiently monitor your work and allow your employer to verify it. As a result, establishing trust between you and your employer is quick and simple!

How exactly can the desktop app help you earn more?
Once you log in to the desktop app, it takes note of the time you started working until the time you stopped — an effective strategy in monitoring your work milestones. You don’t have to deal with manual timekeeping anymore and just focus on your work. Therefore, you get a higher chance of turning over high quality output and impressing your employers more because you are able to concentrate on your tasks rather than keep tabs on your work hours.

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Aside from that, the desktop app takes a screenshot of your work in specific time intervals, which your employer can easily access. This is tangible proof of your work milestones and it shows them where you are with regard to meeting work expectations. It’s very important to meet your employer’s work expectations because that helps them realize your value, and in the process, you gain their trust.

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The desktop app can solve trust issues
Trust. The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Lack or absence of trust may be one of the major issues that can arise in the freelancing world. It can be very difficult to trust an employee to do his or her work if you don’t have the right verification tools. With the element of face-to-face interaction gone, employers need to come up with a strategy that can help them monitor their employees’ output.

Good thing the desktop app can solve this problem! The screenshots bridge the proximity gap between employer and employee. It eliminates trust issues and provides an efficient venue for employee-employer convergence. When you log in on the desktop app, trust is not just established between you and your employer, but you get the opportunity to maintain it too. By using the app and building employee-employer trust, the chance or probability of getting repeat work increases, ergo, you can count on more future projects!

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If you don’t have the desktop app yet, now is the perfect time to download it. Use it now to earn more money and build employee-employer trust! It is now available in Linux and was previously made available in Windows.

Living the Freelance Life: Avoiding Social Isolation

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Freelancing can be a lonely career path. When you’re a freelancer, you get jobs that are mostly autonomous. You don’t get to work in an office with people around. You rarely ever have meetings, and when you do, they’re usually held virtually. You don’t have access to an office water cooler or lunch room either, where people usually mingle around to exchange a word or two.

According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report (which surveyed 1,491 freelancers in more than 50 different fields and professions), at least 2% of the respondents cited combating isolation as one of the challenges they face in freelancing. After all, it’s easy to find yourself isolated when you work alone, from home, and don’t have to deal with actual people to do your job.

When you feel the walls starting to close in, and you don’t know the sound of your own voice anymore, it’s time to find your way back to the outside world. Loneliness is not something to be taken lightly – it can bring your productivity down, make you lose interest in your job, and may even lead to more serious issues. Here’s how to avoid being lonely in this solitary profession.

Stick to a schedule. Having the utmost freedom and control over your own time is one of the great things about freelancing. However, it can also have you working on projects at all hours of the day and night. Set a time for work, and give yourself time to live after. Having a schedule will give you the space to be a part of the world – to touch base with people you care about, and, more importantly, yourself.

Remember to stay in touch. Just because you work virtually or from home doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in contact with your family and your real-life friends. Make the effort to stay in touch. Meet a friend for an afternoon coffee break. Have dinner with your parents or siblings once a week. Schedule regular date nights with your significant other. Go out and find new friends. Find people you already know on Freelancer and connect with them. It is tempting to stay cooped up in front of a computer day in and day out, but everyone needs human contact once in a while.

Consider co-working spaces. If you miss the feeling of working in an office, coworking spaces may be for you. These shared working spaces have sprouted all over, giving freelancers and road warriors the option to work on solo projects in an office setting, but with the company of kindred spirits. These places usually offer complete workspaces with computers, Internet, and even coffee, as well as the opportunity for social interaction and collaboration with like-minded people.

Make time for the fun stuff. After hours, give yourself a chance to unwind and relax. Take up a hobby or two. Read books. Cook up a storm. Play the guitar. Watch movies. Learn origami. Rediscover old interests and find new ones. Keep loneliness at bay by staying busy and having fun at the same time.

Go out and do things. Make it a point to venture out of the house from time to time. Work out at the gym. Window-shop at the mall. Sign up for a cooking class. Have a pint at the pub. A change of scenery can help awaken your senses and recharge your weary mind. If you’re getting tired of your house, pack up your laptop and work somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a library, a park, a café. If it helps you get work done, then it’s a good thing.

Freelance work doesn’t have to be lonely. Banish the blues with the right amount of activity, social interaction, and time management.

Tips for Writers: 5 No-Nonsense Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block

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Writer’s block is the bane of most wordsmiths. It afflicts those who put pen to paper, and frustrates even the most prolific of authors. It’s a condition that stops the flow of words and brings writing to a grinding halt.

When you’re a writer – especially one on a deadline – the sudden onset of writer’s block can easily cause a feeling of dread. An empty white screen or a blank piece of paper can mean all the difference between keeping a job and losing it. If you’re feeling that your well of ideas is starting to dry up, don’t panic. Here are some no-nonsense tips for dealing with writer’s block.

1. Just get started. Most times, writer’s block strikes right at the beginning of a project. Titles, headlines, leads, and introductions are often the hardest to figure out. Instead of getting derailed straightaway, skip to a part of the project that you already know. Start on the body and come back to the head later. The important thing is to get the gears turning.

2. Set a schedule. Writers have creative minds that don’t want to be tied down by things like timeframes and deadlines. Don’t let a set writing schedule intimidate you. It can actually help you nudge your brain into being productive by giving it a routine to go by.

In an interview with Neil Gaiman, Stephen King talked about how having an everyday writing schedule keeps him happy as a writer. “I sit down maybe at quarter past eight in the morning and I work until quarter to twelve and for that period of time, everything is real.   And then it just clicks off. I think I probably write about 1200 to 1500 words. It’s six pages. I want to get six pages into hardcopy,” he said.

3. Find the best writing conditions for you. Every writer is different. Some need peace and quiet to write, while some like to listen to loud rock music when typing up words. Find what works for you and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if you like writing in a comfortable nook, or you need a cup of tea to think. If it helps you write, do it.

Take a cue from JK Rowling, who wrote Harry Potter in a café. “It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think.”

4. Don’t let stumbling blocks defeat you. There are times when you’ve reached the middle of an article and a dilemma presents itself. Instead of getting discouraged and letting your project go to waste, look at it as a challenge. Find ways around the issue rather than force it aside. Be flexible. Sometimes, letting things take an unexpected turn could be the best thing to happen to your work.

5. Go easy on yourself. Don’t let insecurity get the best of you. Giving in to a bout of self-doubt can hinder the writing process. Just write what you feel like writing. When you’re done, that’s when you let your editor, or your client, or yourself snip, cut, and reword anything.

John Green deletes about 90% of his drafts. “I just give myself permission to suck,” he said.

Writer’s block can be a hurdle, but it’s not a curse. Use it as motivation to work even harder and make your writing even better. Neil Gaiman put it best when he said, “But it’s probably more honest to think of it as a combination of laziness, perfectionism and Getting Stuck. If you’re being lazy, don’t be. If you’re being a perfectionist, don’t be. And if you’re stuck, figure out where the story went off the rails, or what you got wrong, or where you need to go deeper, or what you need to add to make it work, and then start writing again.”

Ready to start writing? Check out Freelancer.com’s Writing & Content projects and show writer’s block who’s boss. 

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!

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.

Understanding Fees and Charges

Joining Freelancer.com is FREE. Set up a profile, upload a portfolio, browse available jobs, and make up to 10 bids per month at no cost at all. Once you accept an Employer’s offer, you will be charged according to your membership level. Freelancers only pay a 10% commission ($5 minimum) when they accept a project.

You can reduce these fees, and access special features to help you manage your job search by taking advantage of our membership upgrades. There are 4 paid membership plans to choose from – Basic, Plus, Standard, and Premium – starting at only US$4.95 a month. Users who’ve never had a paid membership before can even try a Basic upgrade cost-free for 30 days!

See the complete list of benefits for each membership tier below:

Optimize your business potential with our membership plans

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*For Hourly Projects, Freelancers only pay the 10% commission fee when each invoice is paid. There is no minimum dollar amount.
**Full-time Projects are exempt from ALL project fees.
***Applicable taxes will be added as required by law. Australian users pay a 10% goods and services tax.

How to Pay

To pay for membership upgrades or project fees, simply deposit sufficient funds into your Freelancer.com account using any of the accepted methods — Credit Card, PayPal, Moneybookers (formerly Skrill), WebMoney, Wire Transfer and many other regional banking methods. When you make a deposit via credit card or PayPal, your Freelancer.com account is automatically enrolled in a preapproved payments program for future deposits. This allows automatic deductions from your PayPal or credit card account to cover fees charged to your Freelancer.com account and keep you from having a negative balance.

There are small fees to cover the costs of mediating the transactions. For most deposits, there is a fixed fee of US$0.30 plus 2.3% of the deposit amount. Direct deposit incurs a fee of US$15, and WebMoney a fee of 2%. If ever you need any assistance with the calculations for your deposits, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Support Help Desk, or learn more about our fees and charges.