The Way We Work

Getting an SBA Loan for Your Small Business: Part I

February 19, 2013 by

Growing a small business — even with the amazing tools available to the modern business owner — can be a challenge, and one of the biggest challenges is often finding the money to power that growth. As the owner of an oDesk-based business and someone who recently completed the process of applying for (and receiving) a Small Business Adminsistration (SBA)-backed loan, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned. Here are three steps to get you started in the SBA loan process. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Talent War: Winning the Game by Changing the Rules

January 31, 2013 by

Americans are living two contradictory economic realities. The unemployment rate is at 7.8%, and people across the U.S. are still struggling to find work. But business owners and recruiters, especially in Silicon Valley, tell a different story—one of a vicious “War for Talent.” It is extremely difficult to recruit high-caliber talent, especially when heavyweights like Facebook and Google are competing for the same people. So what is a startup to do, faced with such stiff competition and limited resources? If you can’t win the game, change the rules. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Virtual Assistants (and How to Avoid Them)

January 17, 2013 by

The decision to hire a virtual assistant for the first time is a big one, and one that—done right—can dramatically improve your life. But working with a virtual assistant isn’t as simple as pressing an “easy button” and walking away. For many people, hiring, delegating, and managing are entirely new skill sets to learn and master. This article won’t turn you into a pro overnight, but will give you some insight into five very common mistakes people make when hiring virtual assistants, and how you can avoid them. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Keeping Your Body Happy While You Work: Ergonomics 101

December 26, 2012 by

‘Tis the season for working while traveling. We’ve all been there, sending out one last email before the flight attendant tells you to turn off your mobile device, or finishing a report from the train terminal. These days you can find people logging into work from just about anywhere, but that doesn’t mean we’re impervious to the damage that sitting all day or staring at tiny type on a monitor can do to our bodies. We’ve pulled together a collection of quick and easy ergonomics tips that you can implement in your daily routine to keep those muscles and joints from complaining. Read Full Article

Online Work Tips & Best Practices

Think Outside the Administrative Box: 7 Key Tasks Your Virtual Assistant Can Do For You

December 17, 2012 by

When it comes to virtual assistants, a common misconception is that they are just virtual secretaries for you or your business. While they can certainly perform that kind of work — from processing emails to addressing holiday cards — the truth is they can be more than that. Much more. In fact, if you limit your virtual assistant (VA) to traditional administrative jobs like playing gatekeeper, booking travel, or setting appointments, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Here are seven out-of-the-box tasks a virtual assistant can help you with. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Latest Coveted Business Address: ‘Global Nomad’

December 10, 2012 by

Although his home is in northern New Jersey, Jay Shapiro's preferred business address is “global nomad,” as he runs his business — mobile app development platform Infinite Monkeys — from a laptop with no fixed address. Often it’s from his lake house in Canada, but occasionally it’s from his custom-built motor home — a carbon-neutral, heavily modified Ford F650 he calls the “EcoRoamer,” in which his family tours the world. “With the advent of online project management tools and access to a huge talent pool, we could assemble a team with all the skills you could possibly need to build a company," he says. "We have staff literally spread across six continents. They are an incredible team that brings us a level of skills and cost-efficiency we could never get in the past." Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Beyond Tech: Agile for Anyone

November 28, 2012 by

National Public Radio (NPR) was facing an innovation challenge: In five years, they hadn't produced a single successful new show—but had spent millions on failed experiments. Agile—traditionally for web and software development—is transforming the way NPR does radio programming: As one blogger describes, the philosophy that products should be released early and iterated often means new programs are essentially in public beta. As NPR’s example illustrates, the principles that define Agile can transform your business, whatever industry you're in. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

A Voyage into International Event Planning

November 26, 2012 by

Planning an international event is certainly not easy — at least, that’s what I thought as I planned two large events in Bangladesh and the Philippines for oDesk this year. I had never been to Bangladesh or the Philippines, nor do I have relatives there. Plus, in addition to planning the events from 7,000 miles away, I was working with a rather conservative budget. At first this project seemed extremely daunting and nerve-wracking, particularly when one event was estimated to have 1,000 attendees! But with a little prep and on-the-ground support, I’m happy to say that these events were a success. We had excellent feedback from our members and we learned a lot about contractors, their countries and ourselves in the process. As a result, I wanted to share my experiences to help future event planners. I won’t sugarcoat it, it does involve a lot of work. But with the tips laid out here, I hope you can benefit from my experience. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Beyond Orientation: Successful Online Team Onboarding

November 13, 2012 by

Many clients simply give new hires a brief orientation process and a workflow manual to read. But taking it one step further with an extended onboarding program—like intense job orientation—can be a powerful tool for integrating new hires, especially when the team is distributed around the country or the world. Here are some strategies for making new hires as successful as possible through a thoughtful onboarding process. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

“Straight-Shootin’” Insights from oDesk’s Events in Texas

October 18, 2012 by

The oDesk team recently traveled down to the thriving startup hub of Austin, Texas, to host both a client user group and a Contractor Appreciation Day (and to have some really great barbecue). We met with an extremely entrepreneurial and passionate group of both clients and contractors, who had some great insights to share about how to build a business on oDesk. Here were the top three highlights. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Hosts Panel on “Talent Wars” Moderated by TechCrunch

October 15, 2012 by

Last week, oDesk held a panel in San Francisco on “Talent Wars: How Startups are Fighting Back,” discussing the critical role of talent to growing startups as well as the approaches startups are taking to build successful teams. TechCrunch reporter Colleen Taylor moderated the panel featuring Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk; Kevin Harvey, General Partner at Benchmark Capital; Rob LaFave, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodzie; and Sandra Miller, Managing Director of New Venture Development at Singularity University. The panel confirmed that many businesses are finding it extremely difficult to access the right people, and that the problem is especially acute for startups — which are in dire need of talent in order to grow, but do not have the resources to compete with large companies. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

How Results-Focused Management Empowers Remote Teams

October 2, 2012 by

Many organizations have revolutionized their culture, embraced remote work and fostered spikes in productivity by embracing a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). Best Buy pioneered the methodology, which is now being practiced by both the private sector and public sector. In this article, Charles Brian Quinn, president of Highgroove Studios, talks about his company's experience implementing ROWE. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Small Town Living, Big Town Talent

August 22, 2012 by

Tom Rupsis moved to a small town in Montana so his kids could be close to family. But the beautiful scenery and small-town charm did nothing to alleviate hiring challenges for his growing IT consulting business. He needed to fill several technical positions, but found most applicants minimally qualified for the job. His situation is not unique: While studies have shown that rural residents generally live happier and less stressful lives than their urban counterparts, they also have their challenges. One problem that significantly affects businesses in smaller communities is “brain drain”—the flight of technical talent from rural areas to urban centers. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Truly Lean Startups Use Online Contract Developers

July 30, 2012 by

The Lean Startup methodology is a great way to launch your new business idea as quickly and efficiently as possible. The practice has also spawned the Lean Software Development concept, which focuses on developing software in a lean manner—primarily by eliminating all forms of waste in the development process. However, the truly cutting-edge lean startups are taking it to a new level by using teams of contract developers to develop not only their web presence but also their product itself. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Meeting of Minds: Balancing Collaboration With Individual Creativity

July 25, 2012 by

Research shows that we tend to collaborate better electronically than we do in person—when the conditions are right. Otherwise, brainstorming as a group instead of on our own can be a lot less effective than reputation might lead you to believe. Applying these three methods for collaboration can elevate your team's brainstorming from time-wasting to creative dynamite. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

How To Move Your Business Forward By Hiring Online

July 12, 2012 by

Mark Buskuhl runs a small business in addition to his full-time job. But he didn’t want Snapshot Pod, which offers rentals of a more modern version of the classic photo booth,. But he didn’t want Snapshot Pod to look like a side project to potential customers. Working with contractors from all over the world, Buskuhl was able to “create a professional and high-end face for my business in a very cost-effective way." Read Full Article