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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.

What to Do When You’re New to Freelancing

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Freelance contracting is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reasons. With economic crises and unstable job markets worldwide, it makes sense to use your skills and talents to build a business of your own. Freelancing offers motivated individuals the opportunity to do just that, while offering a host of other perks, like being able to set your own work hours and holiday schedule. However, it’s not without risk, so it’s important to know the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Self-Marketing – Any successful freelancer will tell you that a lot of time, energy, and money go in finding quality employers in your niche, establishing rapport with them, and soliciting work for your business. With a network of over 8 million potential employers the world over, Freelancer.com provides a way to clear this first major hurdle in a freelance career.

Quality Employers – One of the biggest challenges in freelancing is overcoming the fear that an employer will refuse to pay for the work you’ve done. The truth is that there is no shortage of dodgy characters looking to take advantage of independent contractors plying their trade without the benefit of an expensive legal team behind them every step of the way. There is a real likelihood that you will cross paths with these sorts at some point.

At the same time, there are ways of weeding out the unsavory types, and Freelancer.com makes it a lot easier to do so. Check the Employer’s profile. While there’s no guarantee that the information In the profile is accurate, there are often enough details to give Freelancers a general idea of what they’re dealing with. An empty profile might mean the Employer is new to the site, or it could mean that the Employer has something to hide. Profiles with incorrectly used industry jargon, or poorly worded or incoherent summaries deserve some suspicion. They might indicate that the profile was deliberately falsified. At best, it might forewarn that the employer in question may prove difficult to communicate with.

You can also look at a user’s reputation rating and read feedback left by other Freelancers about their experiences working with that Employer. Feedback, when available, is indispensable in providing an overview of an Employer’s interactions with past contractors. Be cautious about accepting work from Employers who are new to the site and don’t have any feedback yet. It pays to know as much as possible about an Employer before entering into a contract.

Clarifying the Terms of the Project – The best time to get clarification about the project details is before you accept the work. Make sure to read the project description carefully, and contact the Employer to resolve any questions or concerns before you commit. It’s especially important to make sure you and the Employer are on the same page regarding deadlines, payment schedule and method. The last thing you want to do is accept a job with several crucial details left unknown. Not only do you risk not being paid, but failure to complete the work to the Employer’s standards – unspoken or not – could mean negative feedback in your profile.

If you find yourself in the position of having accepted a job without first nailing down all the details, well, it’s better late than never. Contact the employer as soon as possible to get the clarification you need. If you have to back out of a project or revise the delivery date, there’s a much better chance of being able to do so gracefully and without burning bridges if you take care of it before either of you has invested too much time and effort.

Making Big Projects More Manageable – Depending on the size of the project, you may want to consider breaking the work up into manageable chunks. Not only does this give you reasonable objectives to achieve instead of one large task to accomplish, but it also gives you the opportunity to establish a payment plan with your Employer so that you can be paid in installments rather than risking completing the entire project and having the Employer walk away. Freelancer.com even offers the option of using the Milestone Payments system so that Employers can reserve funds and label them according to the milestones you agree on. Since the money has been set aside for the project, you can feel good working toward each milestone, and the Employer can feel confident being able to give a stamp of approval at each stage of the process before releasing payment.

Our aim at Freelancer.com is to encourage new freelance contractors and help them build successful businesses. These tips can help you establish strong working relationships and build a solid reputation as a service provider in your field(s).

Good luck and happy freelancing!

Register as a Freelancer Today!

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!

Benefits of a Membership Upgrade to Freelancers

Get your money faster with Express Withdrawals
Withdraw directly from your Freelancer.com account to your bank account. Right now Express Withdrawals are only available in Australia, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, the Philippines and US, but we’re in the process of expanding this service to other areas.

Reduce your project commission fees
Save money with every project you award or accept.

Get more bids
Increase your opportunities to win projects!

Follow your favorite Employers
You’ll know exactly when they’re hiring, and when to bid!

Bookmark projects you’re interested in
Never let an interesting project get lost in the shuffle! Bookmark it and come back to it later.

Add extra Skills to your Profile
Don’t let any of your talents go to waste! Give a more comprehensive skill profile and be eligible for more than 10 times more job opportunities!

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.

In addition to the membership-based project fees, Freelancers have the choice of customizing their bids on a case-by-case basis by choosing from several Bid Upgrades. The cost of upgrading your bid varies from as little as US$1 to sponsor or highlight a bid. See the full list of bid upgrades and their prices here.

Looking for Work?

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From flexible hours, control of your workload, to work-life balance, people are finding tonnes of great reasons to do freelance work online. Getting started as a free agent and finding your first job is far from being a daunting task, in fact, it can be very simple.

Freelancer.com has over 600 job categories and thousand of projects being posted daily. Be it graphic design, IT, technical writing, or Microsoft Office, you’ll surely find work for your field of expertise.

Here’s how it works in 5 easy steps:

1. Search projects from all over the world.
Browse through countless projects on the site and carefully review the details. When you see a job post that you’re interested in, proceed to step #2!

2. Bid.
Here’s your chance to get the job. Make sure you give a fairly competitive price at a time span you can certainly stick with. Use this initial communication with the employer to prove why you are the best freelancer for the job. Read the project brief thoroughly and provide a detailed bid. It can also be beneficial to show the employer some relevant examples of previous work.

3. Employer creates Milestone payment.
We strongly discourage working on a project without the employer initially creating a Milestone payment. Milestone payments serve as protection in case of a conflict between an employer and freelancer and also make sure that you are both working towards the same goals on the project. Prior to getting started, ensure that the employer sets up a Milestone payment!

4. Work starts.
Doing an exemplary job and promptly communicating with your employer will earn you outstanding ratings and feedback – which employers check when deciding which freelancer they should award a project to. Having good reviews will help keep projects constantly coming in and increase your chances of previous employers re-hiring you for future work.

5. Get paid!
Once the employer is satisfied with your work, you get paid. Freelancer.com does a weekly payout via Paypal, Moneybookers, our Freelancer.com Debit Mastercard (usable in ATMs everywhere), and Wire Transfer. Millions of dollars are paid out every month to freelancers from around the world.

By working as a freelancer online, you get to work on the types of projects that you want, at a time and place that you want! This unparalleled job flexibility even lets you increase your client base globally and will open doors to new opportunities. What are you waiting for? Start the freelance career of your dreams on Freelancer.com!