oConomy

Outsourcing: The next generation

November 5, 2007 by

Steve Lohr’s recent article in the New York Times on hiring tutors from India (Hello India, I need help with my math) shines a spotlight on the increasingly popular trend of outsourcing consumer services. The article focuses on one offshore tutoring company and also touches upon the practice of hiring virtual personal assistants. We’ve seen this trend reflected in our marketplace as well. Take a look at the numerous Buyers on oDesk who are currently seeking personal assistants. These assistants can help busy professionals with a variety of different tasks, including managing databases, preparing documents, taking calls, and booking travel arrangements. Already there are more than 2,000 providers on our network available as “personal assistants.” What is particularly startling about the trend highlighted in the New York Times is that many of these new outsourcing clients are young. Really young. They’re kids seeking homework and exam help from tutors working on the other side of the globe. This next generation is primed for a working world without borders. Computer savvy, comfortable with communicating online and already experienced in the world of offshoring, by the time this generation hits the workforce, there will be no hesitation in finding outsourcing solutions. They won’t hesitate to look for creative ways to outsource their business tasks and personal lives, leading to further growth in the outsourcing realm. We have one thing to say: Generation Y (and beyond), oDesk will be ready for you … Read Full Article

oConomy

Home, sweet home

November 1, 2007 by

According to a recent article by Hispanic Business magazine, the practice of homeshoring — hiring people who work from home — is skyrocketing. The magazine estimates that there are about 150,000 home-based “agents” working for companies in the U.S. today, a number that could reach 300,000 in 2010. If you’re considering outsourcing solutions, homeshoring offers some advantages. Your providers are working in similar time zones, which may make it easier to communicate. Additionally, according to Business Week, employees who work from home may be more loyal than on-site employees. To read more, here are some articles we’ve selected you may want to peruse: 1. Fortune: Commute to work in 30 seconds 2. Management Issues: Homeshoring is where the heart is 3. Seattle Post Intelligencer: ‘Homeshoring’ means that call center might be in someone’s bedroom 4. Small Business Trends: Homeshoring and its impact on small businesses 5. HR and Homeshoring Blog 6. Outsourcing Times: Offshoring vs. Homeshoring 7. IT Business Edge: Homeshoring helps companies improve customer service 8. Arbor Law Blog: Is Homeshoring the new offshoring? 9. Christian Science Monitor: Outsourcing comes home 10. CNN – How to earn more from home 11. CNET –  Homeshoring to trump offshoring? If you are looking for some providers, check out this search for U.S.-based oDesk providers. Happy home (agent) hunting! … Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The skinny on outsourcing buzz words

October 26, 2007 by

Offshoring, Homeshoring… Seems like these days you can add -shoring to anything and make it a buzz word. But what do all of these terms mean? Here’s our little guide to the world of remote work: Outsourcing – Asking an expert (or a firm with experts) outside of your company to do something for you more efficiently and in a more cost-effective way than if you were doing it yourself. Companies outsource all sorts of tasks, from software development to network administration to graphic design. But outsourcing isn’t limited to business tasks — my personal favorite is the guy who outsourced his dating life. Should you do it? Perhaps you’re thinking about redesigning your website. Could someone with more technical expertise do it better? Offshoring — Essentially the same thing as outsourcing, except that this refers to when the work or product is done by someone in another country. But Thomas Friedman would agree, if someone can get quality work done better and faster, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in Minnesota or Moldova. Should you do it? Establishing a clear communications strategy is the best way to ensure your offshored projects will be successful. You’ll have to consider time zone, language, and cultural differences. Nearshoring — Much like offshoring, but instead of outsourcing to people anywhere in the world, outsourcing to people who are working nearby (in a nearby country, for instance). Some companies want to work with providers who have a similar culture, share a similar language or are in the same time zone. Should you do it? Depends. If working with someone in the same time zone is essential, this might be the thing for you. Homeshoring — Outsourcing your work to someone within … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Buyers: Manage Multiple Credit Cards

October 24, 2007 by

What is it? Buyers can now manage multiple credit cards on oDesk and can decide which card will be used for billing. Buyers can also set up a Backup card in case their Primary card fails. Why did we do this? When a Buyer’s Primary credit card fails, either because it has expired, there are insufficient funds or it has been canceled, oDesk suspends the Buyer’s account. In order to avoid any account delays, oDesk recommends that Buyers add a Backup credit card. We will only charge the Backup credit card if the Primary card has failed. Read more about Primary and Backup cards here. Provider and Buyers will also notice a new look for this section, including a new “Your Balance” box. Learn more about the new format of \”Your Balance\” and what the terms mean. What does it look like? We hope our new credit card management options will make it easier to manage your account! … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Named Rising Star in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 Program

October 23, 2007 by

As anyone who has been watching the oConomy Facts tab on our homepage will know, the oConomy has been growing rapidly.  It wasn’t until yesterday, though, that we learned just how fast our revenue growth has been when compared to other young companies.  We’ve been named a Rising Star on Deloitte’s 2007 Technology Fast 500.   A special category, the Rising Star list ranks the 20 companies that have been in business a minimum of three years, but less than five years, that showed the highest percentage of revenue growth over the past three years (2004 to 2006).  Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 is a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America. We love winning awards.  We’re gunning to win a spot on the Fast 500 list once we’ve been around long enough to be eligible, so please keep the feedback coming and let us know what we can do to better serve you.  Thank you! … Read Full Article

October 2007 oNews

October 23, 2007 by

Welcome to our monthly newsletter! This is where we share new features, our perspective on outsourcing, homeshoring and offshoring topics, star providers, success stories and interesting discussions. This month: Round of Applause oDesk Perspective Success Stories Provider Spotlight Features Launched Discussion of the Month State of the oConomy Providers 25,624 Jobs(currently open) 1,888 Earnings(last 90 days) $3,677,699 Rates by Feedback $16.43 $16.17 $14.8 Round of Applause Kudos to all of the providers who got their first oDesk job in September! The oDesk community has continued to grow steadily and more providers are finding great jobs. 327 providers from 33 countries, including Argentina, Egypt, Australia, Jamaica, Japan and Turkey started working for the first time in the oDesk network this August. These 327 providers have already racked up 9,353 oDesk hours and over $125,716 in just one month! A special round of applause to the top new providers by total earnings: Dhruvraj Z., Prodan A., Michelle A., Vladimir G., Eugene M., Vinod S., Dedy P., Banibrata B., Michael T., Anthony R. Want to see your name listed here next month? Apply to job openings. An oDesk Perspective Effective Interviews Though the newest member of your team may not be walking in the door tomorrow, hiring a freelancer to become part of your business is often like hiring another on-site employee. oDesk’s multiple tools, including enhanced provider search, skill tests and feedback rating system can help you find quality candidates, but the interviews you have with the providers will ultimately allow you to make your final decision. To help you streamline your interviews, we’ve compiled a few points to guide you through … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

10 New Skill Tests Available

October 18, 2007 by

We’ve just released 10 new online tests aimed at providers with graphic design skills. We currently offer a variety of different tests used by providers to certify their skills for technology and business practices. Read more about the online testing program and how you can add bling to your profile. Click on the links below to take the tests or go to the My Tests tab in your Provider Console. Adobe Fireworks CS3 Adobe Flash CS3 Adobe Illustrator CS3 Adobe Photoshop CS3 Corel Draw X3 Corel Paint Shop Pro XI Corel Ventura 10 Macromedia Director MX 2004 PageMaker 7.0 Quark Xpress 7.0 Please let us know if you have feedback on any of our tests to help us improve the quality of our skill test offerings. We have a feedback feature that allows you to submit issues, concerns or errors with the test. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Upfront Payments

October 17, 2007 by

What is it? You can now request upfront payments on Fixed Price jobs. When applying to a Fixed Price job, you may specify what percentage of your bid you want paid before starting a project. Why did we do this? There were many providers who expressed concern about working on fixed price jobs without the payment guarantee we were able to offer on hourly jobs. Allowing providers to request a payment upfront helps them bid with confidence by knowing that if they are hired, the Buyer is willing to make a payment before the project starts. What does it look like? Here is the new Fixed Price application page: Some things to consider: Build your reputation – Buyers are more likely to consider making an upfront payment to very experienced providers with good feedback. If you are new to oDesk or you have yet to receive any feedback, consider bidding without an upfront payment request to increase your chances of getting the job and building your oDesk reputation. Be Reasonable – If you ask for too much upfront, you could reduce your chances of being considered for the job. Upfront payments are intended to promote provider confidence when they are working with new buyers on fixed price jobs, so only ask for enough to make you feel comfortable in starting the project. Set expectations – If you request an upfront payment, make it clear in your cover letter what the Buyer should expect from you before they schedule another payment. For example, you could request 50% upfront payment for completing the first phase of the project, and tell the buyer you expect the other 50% upon completion of the entire project. Buyers will likely want to know how much work product they will receive for the initial payment, … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

New Job Search

October 17, 2007 by

What is it? oDesk has enhanced the job search page to improve your job hunting experience. Now you can search Buyers by feedback or by the number of total jobs completed. With oDesk’s improved search capabilities, it will be easier to find the job you’re looking for. We have also moved the entire search window to the left column so you can see more results on the page. Why did we do this? While Buyers had the ability to search for providers by feedback or oDesk work hours, prior to this feature, providers didn’t have the same options. We’ve created a way for providers to evaluate and compare potential Buyers through several parameters. What does it look like? Here is the new job search page: We hope this will help you land the job you were looking for! … Read Full Article

10 tips for an eye-catching profile

October 17, 2007 by

So you’re a freelancer at an online site with 25,000 providers to choose from. Seems like it might be hard to stand out to prospective buyers. Here’s my advice: Spell-check for goodness sake. There is no faster way to look unprofessional than to have “poorgrammer” as part of your title. Links, and links, and links. Whenever you can – show links to prior work, prior companies, anything to give the reader a better idea of who you are and what you’ve done. Be creative with your title. You have about 0.1 seconds to make an impression when your profile first appears in search results. Better have some standout keywords in there. Be creative, be fun, be a “java ninja” or a “php rockstar”. Upload a picture of yourself. While your coding ability may have little to do with your appearance, every buyer I’ve ever asked has told me that the pictures gain their attention. btw, logos don’t have the same effect. Prove your skills. If you can, take online certifications. Take oDesk tests, or Brainbench tests, or pursue a certification from Zend, MS, etc. Prove your identity. Check out some of the online tools and sites for getting a stronger online identity. Beenverified.com has an embeddable online ID verification. Don’t forget your keywords. Think as if you were a buyer. You’re looking for a professional just like you. What keywords would you use in your search? If you know some unique skills, put them in your profile. It’s not going to hurt and it will increase your profile views. Set reasonable expectations. You may not find Google recruiting at oDesk today , but you may find some outstanding long-term clients. Set the right expectations … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

25,000th Provider Joins oDesk Network!

October 16, 2007 by

Every once in a while we hit a milestone at oDesk that makes everyone in the office stop and say “wow”. This morning we noticed that the 25,000th provider was going to join the network. We watched as the numbers approached this important milestone… And here she is, our 25,000th provider: Samantha K., welcome to oDesk! Samantha and our extensive network of providers will find a variety of cool and interesting jobs on oDesk. Just browsing through the job posts Buyers have put up in the last few days, I found a job listing for a music video, one to write courses for airplane pilots and one calling for PHP/MySQL/HTML experts to create a graphics design website for a banner and magnet company. It’s neat to see all of the creative ways people are using our site. To give you a sense of our growth, approximately 80 providers join our network each day. Our base of affiliate firms is also growing: currently, about 1,500 providers in our network are part of affiliate firms. In the last 90 days, oDesk providers have made nearly $3.6 million. But we’re really not just about the numbers. People working in the U.S. and abroad have found job opportunities they would have likely not found locally and Buyers have seen great results. Here are some of the feedback comments Buyers posted on our site today: “Shibu B. (of the Affiliate Firm Cabot Solutions) did a great job on this project and produced all deliverables on time. We’ll definitely work with him again in the near future.” “Kostya is an excellent PHP developer and I would be happy to hire him again.” … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Music to our ears

October 15, 2007 by

Dmitry Sokolovksy, our QA master, is also a bayan guru, which is a type of accordion. He recently brought his accordion to the office and played a bunch of his favorite songs. Some really impressive finger work, I’m sure it helps in typing fast on the computer Check out this video: I hope you noticed: The scary cat pictures My South Asian bobble-head The wink – Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Got Bling?

October 14, 2007 by

Does your profile have any bling? We launched some new icons just a few weeks ago to feature the best performers on the online tests. Check out all the new icons and how to get some on your profile: Go for the gold! Top provider in each test gets one. Silver for 2nd place. Bronze for 3rd place. For any provider scoring in the Top 10 percentile. For any provider scoring in the Top 20 percentile. Keep on taking those tests! The competition is heating up as almost 30,000 tests have now been taken by oDesk providers. We’ve already heard from a few providers that they have started receiving more interview invites with the icons in their profiles. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Password Update

October 10, 2007 by

We’re upgrading the security of our site in efforts to better serve and protect all users. As part of this ongoing initiative, we’ve introduced a higher standard for password strength. In order to bring all of our existing users up to the new standards, you will be redirected to the change password screen after you log in. Thanks for your cooperation. Read Full Article

oConomy

Earn $250 – How big will the oConomy be in Q4?

October 8, 2007 by

Our friends at Predictify launched their service earlier today and we’re giving it a whirl.  Predictify is sponsoring an oDesk-related poll to help predict how large the oConomy will be in Q4. Those of you that frequent the oDesk homepage have probably noticed that the oConomy is growing faster than ever – nearly $3.5 million in the last 90 days!  You can see total provider earnings for the last 90 days on the “oConomy Facts” tab of our homepage. Make your prediction for total provider earnings for the period from October 1st through the end of the year. The most accurate predictors will split a pot of $250. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Refer friends to oDesk and earn money

October 3, 2007 by

oDesk has just launched a User Referral Program to reward existing users for referring friends and colleagues to the site. What is it? When you refer a new user — either a Buyer or Provider — and he or she spends or earns $1,000 on oDesk, we will pay you a one-time reward of $50. There are no limits on the number of friends you can refer. How can I join? You are already enrolled! The new “My Referrals” tab in your My oDesk interface allows you to: invite individual friends through email embed a referral link or banner in your emails, websites and blogs The “My Referrals” tab also gives the details of all referral activity, including the total rewards earned and the amount earned through each individual referral. Read more >> … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Buyers: Print individual invoices

September 19, 2007 by

The Account Activity Tab offers complete visibility into your financial transactions on oDesk. However, many buyers have told us you need to be able to print official invoices for each transaction. Now you can. Go to your Account Activity Tab. You will see that the Ref ID column for all of your Hourly and Fixed Price transactions is now linked. These links generate a PDF invoice for each individual transaction. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Wins Web Marketing Association Award

September 18, 2007 by

We’re blushing  Today we received the Standard of Excellence Award in the Professional Services category from the International WebAwards.  oDesk received high marks for its innovation, design, content, technology, interactivity, copy-writing, and ease-of-use. Produced by the Web Marketing Association, the International WebAwards names the best Web sites in 96 industry categories and sets the standard of excellence for Web site development. The best part is that we’ve been working on a major update to the oDesk user interface that should make oDesk even easier to use.  The new interface will be available very soon. -Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Limits Increase Immediately

September 12, 2007 by

Increases in weekly limits will now take effect immediately! No more waiting until the following Monday to get back on a regular work schedule. Any decreases in weekly limits will still take effect the Monday after the limit change. How will it work going forward? Please note that the 2 overtime hours in the example above will not be billed, but any hours worked after the limit change will be billed and paid as regular hours. Buyers can change weekly limits at any time from the My Assignments tab. Why did we do this? Back when we first planned this feature, we thought the best approach would be to enforce all changes in the next week. We felt that would be a fair approach to allow buyers and providers to agree on expected weekly workloads and not allow for frequent and erratic changes in weekly limits. However, a number of buyers have used the limits in a manner we did not fully expect. On initial hire, the buyers may set a relatively low weekly limit and raise it once they feel more comfortable with the provider. Frequently, these increases are happening within just a couple days after the start date. So, we’ve changed the functionality to allow increases to take effect immediately. We believe this is a win-win feature for buyers and providers. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Launches Facebook Developer Skills Test

September 11, 2007 by

This morning we announced the launch of a Facebook developer skills test.  The test is the first and only skills test designed to help businesses hire the most talented Facebook application developers.  See the full release here. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a rapid increase in Facebook development job opportunities.  The test provides a great new tool to oDesk buyers who want another data point to evaluate a developer’s Facebook-book development skills.  As is the case with all of oDesk’s 103 skills tests, you can easily search the oDesk provider database to find providers that have passed the test. If you are a provider with Facebook development skills, you can take the test for free.  Upon test completion, you can choose whether or not to display your score on your profile. And while we’re talking about Facebook development skills, it’s also worth mentioning that our friend, Dave McClure, has announced an interesting new conference that will be of interest to Facebook developers and those that love them.  Graphing Social Patterns is a conference for developers and marketers on how to build and distribute apps for the Facebook Platform.  … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Email Job Alerts

August 29, 2007 by

oDesk has just launched email Job Alerts. You can now receive daily email alerts for all new jobs posted on oDesk that match your profile categories. Setting up Job Alerts: Be sure to update your categories to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of your favorite job opportunities on oDesk. Update Your Categories Now>> … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Gary’s interview with Red Herring

August 17, 2007 by

As a winner of the Red Herring Top 100 award, we were invited to interview with Red Herring TV and discuss how we are making it possible for SMBs to access talent around the world. Here’s the clip of Gary’s interview with Sean Wolfe in Red Herring’s snazzy new studio. Go to Red Herring TV’s website. – Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Job & Provider Categories

August 14, 2007 by

oDesk has launched a new job category system that improves provider search and job search. With this change, all oDesk providers and job listings will be classified into one or more of our new job categories. This system gives oDesk providers one more way to be found by oDesk buyers and one more way to search oDesk job listings to find the opportunities that are right for you. Posting a Job with the new category system: You can now narrow your job and provider searches based on the categories that interest you. Use Advanced Job and Provider Search to narrow searches by category: Providers: To add yourself to a job category: We have already categorized all providers that had skills listed on their profile, but we encourage all providers to login and make sure you add all of the categories for which you would like to be found. We hope these new features make it is easier for the right people to find each on oDesk. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

See Your Finances with the Account Activity Tab

August 14, 2007 by

Since we launched the new billing and payment system, the most pressing request we have had, from buyers and providers alike, has been for greater visibility into your financial history on oDesk. We are pleased to introduce the Account Activity Tab. How can I use the Account Activity tab? See what you owe and when the payment is due See past statements Analyze your oDesk spending by provider, affiliate, or transaction Download your activity to .csv for analysis in Microsoft Excel To check out the Account Activity Tab, look under My Account. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Four Hour Work Week

August 3, 2007 by

Tim Ferriss, an enterprising entrepreneur that claims to work only four hours per week, recently published a book about how he does it. It’s an interesting read. We’re not entirely convinced he only works four hours per week but he offers some sound advice on streamlining operations, being more productive, and enjoying the life you have now instead of waiting until retirement. One of the keys to success that Tim recommends is outsourcing anything that can be done for less than half of what it would cost you to do it yourself (or that you don’t know how to do yourself). He includes everything from typical business activities like customer service, web development and administrative tasks, to checking email, cooking and even online dating. Tim is new to oDesk but we introduced ourselves to him last week, and he’s going to test us out. He included oDesk in a recent blog post about Extreme Personal Outsourcing€? and we hope to hear more from him in the future. In the meantime, if you’€™d like to learn more about how you might be able to save some time at work or outsource your love life, check out. Read Full Article