Building a Blog: From the Ground Up

August 10, 2010 by

Whether to drive business, expose your expertise or keep an ongoing personal narrative, blogs have become the de facto publishing method for much of the content we consume on the web. Here are the key steps to building your own blog - from concept to reality. Read Full Article

Who Will Succeed in the Future of Work?

August 3, 2010 by

By: Ed Gandia The opportunity for freelancers to make a great living doing what they love has NEVER been better. I’m not saying it to pump you up. I’m saying this in response to the scarcity, fear-based mentality I’m continually seeing out there. A mindset which can be summarized as follows: The economy sucks Jobs and opportunities are scarce Everyone is scared No one is spending money Therefore, I can’t make a good living doing what I love to do   Hogwash! Here’s the thing, folks. This economy demands a different level of thinking. If you want to survive and thrive now and in the years ahead, you have to change your game. You have to look at your passions, skills, value and markets differently.You have to think long and hard about what makes you different. What kind of value you bring to the table. Who could benefit from your skills, knowledge, talents and experience. Because if you think of yourself as JUST an artist, graphic designer, writer, photographer, videographer, developer, engineer or virtual assistant who delivers the same time of work to the same target markets… you’re toast. You’ll be playing a game that has no winning end. A game filled with daily struggle, fear and scarcity thinking. In his wonderful book Career Renegade, Jonathan Fields explains this better than anyone. He writes: "The simple truth is you can turn nearly any passion into a big, fat heap of money. However, it often requires mining aspects of those passions you never knew existed or bringing them to life in markets and ways that defy the mainstream." Jonathan offers example after example of real people who took their passion in a different direction. Most of them simply redeployed their talents in markets that were willing to pay more, or in … Read Full Article

Code Repository Basics

August 2, 2010 by

Software Configuration Management, Source Code Management, a Code Repository, Version Control or Revision Control--while they all have distinct meanings, they’re all variations on the same theme--a centrally managed location for your software project's code and documentation to live through out it’s life-cycle. Read Full Article

oDesk Celebrates (and Rewards) Big Ideas

July 27, 2010 by

We usually offer tips on improving your remote-work techniques, but this time we wanted to step back and just appreciate how cool remote work really is. Consider this your summer break (unless it happens to be winter where you are), and check out our new Future of Work video. It's the story of a guy who takes his own "big idea" and builds it into a successful business, with the help of a talented woman he'll never meet in person. It is a story oDesk users live every day, but it’s still pretty incredible! So, what's your "big idea"? How are you making that dream a reality? Tell us on Twitter, and we may help you get it off the ground. You have until Aug. 10 to tweet your elevator pitch using the hashtag #futureofwork. Got more detail than 140 characters allow? Add a link to any progress you've made so far. We're going to pick the three best ideas and award each person a $250 credit to hire on oDesk and help make their dream come true. Check back here on Aug. 12 to see who won! You’ve already joined the movement — now spread the word, and tweet us your big idea! Erica Benton brings nearly a decade of experience as a small business owner, freelancer and independent contractor to her position as the editor-in-chief of the oDesk Blog. Read Full Article

Protecting Your Clients: Online Security for Remote Contractors

July 26, 2010 by

Being a remote contractor has its benefits--like not having a boss, working in your pajamas, and all the insane things that we say we could do (but never actually do them). However, with this freedom comes great responsibility. Security. Keeping your client’s data secure is top priority, a serious error could result in losing your hard-won reputation or --in extreme cases-- a lawsuit. Read Full Article

Freelancing on the Fly: International Travels

June 29, 2010 by

Working and traveling can be both exhausting and rewarding. Whether you’re traveling for pleasure, but simply can’t afford to drop all of your clients, have work that requires you on site in a location abroad, or some combination of the two, you’ll need to balance the rigors of travel with the demands of your work and the local attractions. Read Full Article

6 Steps to Hire Outside Your Skillset

June 28, 2010 by

There inevitably comes a time when you need to hire someone whose skills are so far outside your comfort zone, they may as well be speaking Martian during their interview. Here are a few key steps to help smooth the way when hiring outside your skillset. Read Full Article

Top Blackberry Apps for Remote Workers

June 23, 2010 by

Last week we shared the Top Android Apps for Remote Work. This week, we’ll touch base with Blackberry devices and outline a few that should aid in your device’s usability and your productivity. These apps can hopefully keep you productive when you're left with only your smallest gadget. If you’re a Blackberry user, we'd really enjoy hearing which apps you've found invaluable! Read Full Article

Tax Tips You Can Use NOW

June 22, 2010 by

You might feel like your heart is still pounding from getting your 2009 tax return completed on time, but the truth is it's never too early to start thinking about your 2010 tax return, especially if you are a freelancer. Read Full Article

Quality Health Insurance for Contractors, Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs

June 14, 2010 by

Being an independent contractor comes with a lot of benefits, including the freedom to work when and where you want.  Until now, those benefits didn’t usually include affordable health insurance options. But, that all changes today.  oDesk is now making health insurance available to all of our U.S.-based users. On behalf of our members, we have negotiated pricing, plan offerings and a streamlined approval process that outstrip other plans generally available to individuals. “By providing access to health coverage options, we're lowering a key barrier faced by many people that aspire to the freelance lifestyle, and enabling them to focus on building successful careers.”  – Gary Swart, oDesk CEO There are 3 types of plans available. For more details see: Wellness plan - day-to-day health care plan with guaranteed issuance, low deductible and up to an annual maximum benefit of $20,000 including hospitalization. Catastrophic plan - coverage for major medical care, including hospitalization with an annual maximum benefit of $1 Million Comprehensive plan - combine the Wellness and Catastrophic plans to get comprehensive coverage. Life insurance with critical illness coverage is also available with no physical exam as an additional option on any of the 3 offered plans. oDesk is committed to supporting both companies and individuals in the new, emerging “contract economy”.  Access to affordable, quality health insurance is an important ingredient to building successful, long-term contract careers, and we’re proud to be taking the lead in offering these types of benefits options to our users. You can read about the plans at or you can call 888-895-2440 to speak directly with a benefits consultant (available 8am to 6pm PDT). Got feedback for us on the plans? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or share them with our Community! … Read Full Article

Rundown of Rapid Prototyping Tools

June 10, 2010 by

Getting what you want out of a technology project starts with knowing what you want. One of the best ways to explore your problem is by building many quick and dirty (even non-functional) prototypes, and using this discovery process to refine and perfect your idea. Read Full Article