Startup Resources

More Lessons From a Bootstrapping Disaster

April 3, 2014 by

Bootstrapping wisely means asking tough questions and prioritizing activities that are essential to your business development. oDesk VP Matt Cooper describes his early efforts with Soggy Bottom Canoe and Kayak Rental — a venture started with his uncle in the backwoods of Mississippi — as "an unmitigated disaster." But it was an experience with valuable lessons that stuck, which he recently explained in a post for Inc. magazine. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Why We—Uh, I—Freelance

March 4, 2014 by

When it comes to why we freelance—in other words, why freelancing has become a more and more popular choice across the country—I cannot answer for everyone. The fact is, there are many different reasons why people freelance. Some of these reasons include flexibility; work specialization; finding one’s optimal trade-off between money and other non-pecuniary values; even “sticking it to the man.” Deciding to go freelance is a very personal decision (one, I believe, that a freelancer makes almost every day). Therefore, I can only really speak about myself and my own journey into freelancing. So here it goes. Read Full Article

Digital Nomads

The Digital Nomad Revolution

February 10, 2014 by

With the advent of new technology and growing Internet access, a rising percentage of the workforce is embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. They are no longer confined by geographic location or the need for a traditional office space—instead they use the collaboration tools at their fingertips to communicate with their employers from almost any remote corner of the globe. Read Full Article

Online Work Tips & Best Practices

How to Hire an Awesome Developer on oDesk: Part I

January 23, 2014 by

I've been using oDesk for almost two years now—hiring for various types of profiles and skills, from multiple locations around the world—and it's been filled with a lot of ups and a few downs. When I was new to oDesk, I didn’t really know how to properly evaluate freelancers. What's more, it's always difficult to evaluate a skill you don’t have yourself. As a result, my turnover rate was pretty high. After a lot of trial and error, I fixed my process. I can now say confidently that most of the freelancers I'm hiring are awesome, and I believe they enjoy collaborating with me. After all, hiring the right people and managing them well are skills that only become more important when hiring online. So how can you have the same result? Check out the steps below for guidance on how to hire an awesome developer on oDesk. Today I'll go through the first three tips, and stay tuned tomorrow for the next three. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

How to Sell: Finding the Right Approach for Your Business

January 17, 2014 by

Now more than ever, companies need to understand the nuances of how and why people buy products or services. Is an as-simple-as-possible buying process the best way to convert prospects? Or do they need a full consultation with an expert before making a decision? In his recent Linkedin column, oDesk CEO Gary Swart advises businesses to answer these fundamental questions before creating a sales plan. Read Full Article

Online Work Tips & Best Practices

Making the Leap From Freelancers to Digital Agency

January 16, 2014 by

How can a few entrepreneurial friends—each doing their own thing—take a leap and launch a digital agency together? Making such a big change is a lot easier when you already have paying clients and a full pipeline of leads. When it came to getting Matchnode, our Chicago-based digital marketing agency, off the ground, we already had both—thanks in large part to oDesk. Learn how Matchnode evolved from an idea among friends to a viable business. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

The Next Silicon Valley is Closer Than You Think

January 13, 2014 by

Researchers found that cities known for supporting “anchor institutions” like large companies and well-funded universities (e.g., Boston, Mass.) employed significantly more technology inventors, but they were not producing a proportionally larger amount of citation-weighted patents. What’s the takeaway of these findings? The best cities for technology innovation have a varied ecosystem, with at least one large institution and many smaller companies. oDesk’s own VP Matt Cooper takes this discussion one step further in his Inc. column, arguing that the rise of online collaboration tools has rendered geographic location all but moot. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

For Productivity, Stop Crushing It & Be the Tortoise

January 10, 2014 by

Here we all are at the beginning of 2014 with shiny new backpacks full of resolutions, goals, plans, and projects. What thought process and workflow will you use to meet your goals? What if you started hitching your creative pursuits to the habit of consistency not flashes of brilliance? What if you invested only fifteen minutes a day, six days a week, regardless of how you felt? What if you gave yourself permission to be the humble tortoise, not the glamorous hare? The industrious ant, not the swashbuckling grasshopper. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

7 Habits for Successful Women in the Future of Work

January 2, 2014 by

It’s no secret that females in the corporate world come up against some unique challenges, and there’s no better resource for us than other successful businesswomen. oDesk VP Jaleh Bisharat offers her own advice to women in this article from her Huffington Post column, writing about general best practices as well as tips for how to keep yourself relevant in an ever-evolving marketplace. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Big Idea 2014: More SMBs Will Be Started Than Ever Before

December 31, 2013 by

In his recent LinkedIn column, Gary predicts that more small businesses will be launched in the upcoming year than ever before “because it’s easier than ever to do so.” Citing more accessible, on-demand technology, as well as a positive shift in investors’ attitudes towards entrepreneurial endeavors, he makes a compelling case for an uptick of small business growth. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Year in Review: Insights From oDesk Execs in 2013

December 30, 2013 by

From the controversial Yahoo remote work announcement to new research on the next generation of workers, we’ve found plenty to talk about in 2013. Over the past year, oDesk executives have shared their thoughts on these topics and more, many drawing from their personal experiences to explore the rapidly shifting world of work. In revisiting 2013's archives, we've pulled together this list of articles; glance through to see the discussions we’ve shared this year! Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Looking For a Client Holiday Gift? Try This First.

December 16, 2013 by

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you’ve been tasked with finding a suitable holiday gift for your company’s high-priority clients. oDesk VP Matt Cooper recommends forgoing a physical gift and instead treating clients to a meal. In his recent column for Inc., he explains that a holiday lunch will not only help strengthen the trust between you and your customers, but it will also give you a chance to hear first-hand opinions from your most valued clients. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Discovering the Truth Using Team Culture Surveys

December 12, 2013 by

Any manager worth their salt understands that they must create a work environment that empowers their employees to succeed.The more puzzling question, however, is how to best measure something as abstract as that organizational environment. In this LinkedIn column, oDesk CEO Gary Swart discusses how a mostly anonymous team culture survey is one of the best way to gauge employee satisfaction and ability to be effective. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Happiness Formula: 4 Keys to Job Satisfaction

December 10, 2013 by

There is no silver bullet for job satisfaction — it varies wildly depending on everything from age and educational background to introversion/extroversion and ambition. Despite these individual differences, oDesk CEO Gary Swart believes there are four fairly universal keys to happiness in one’s job: 1) impact, 2) growth and development, 3) financial reward, and 4) work-life balance. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

From Soggy Bottom to Silicon Valley: Bootstrapping Lessons From a Startup Disaster

December 6, 2013 by

Let’s say your startup is underfunded. How can you triage your branding needs? How do you identify and prioritize the most essential marketing initiatives? Correctly answering these questions can help your company stay afloat during the initial bootstrapping phase; failing to do so, as oDesk VP Matt Cooper learned the hard way, can cost you dearly. In his recent article for Inc. magazine, Matt details the lessons he learned from a failed boat rental business he started with his uncle. Read Full Article

Online Work Tips & Best Practices

PreScouter CEO: Building A Great Remote Team On oDesk

December 3, 2013 by

What does it take to build a great remote team? Within two years, our Illinois-based startup, PreScouter, has pulled together a team of 50 freelancers from around the world—all recruited and managed through the oDesk platform. PreScouter’s mission is to expose the world to inventions that would otherwise be lost; we don’t just introduce technology to our clients, we use it to fuel our own business growth. How? Using the best practices we’ve learned to find the right professionals and keep them engaged. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Brand-Building 101: The Five Brand Habits of Successful Businesses

November 26, 2013 by

Creating a strong brand—one that’s positive, representative and recognizable—is essential for any company hoping to gain a leg up on its competition. That lesson may seem like business 101, but brand-building is much easier said than done. In this article for The Huffington Post, oDesk VP of Marketing Jaleh Bisharat presents 5 ways to strengthen your company's brand. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

The World Doesn't Need Another Silicon Valley

November 11, 2013 by

It seems every emerging startup hub worldwide aims to recreate the unique entrepreneurial conditions of California's Silicon Valley. But is that possible—or even advised? In his previous column for Inc.com, oDesk VP of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper interviewed Jon Bradford, the managing director of Techstars London about why entrepreneurs should think more like athletes. In his latest article—part II of that interview—Matt and Jon discuss how startups might actually benefit from being located outside Silicon Valley, and how other entrepreneurial hubs shouldn't necessarily aim to be the next Silicon Valley. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Four Things Managers Must Give Their Teams

November 7, 2013 by

As a manager, you are only as good as your team. Attracting all-star talent is just the first challenge (though it's certainly a formidable one)—from there you have to make sure these A-players you've brought on board are engaged and given the environment they need to thrive. Otherwise, you will lose them as quickly as you hired them. Admittedly, that's easier said than done. So how do you create a work environment where your team members can thrive? It comes down to 4 key things. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Entrepreneurs Should Think More Like Athletes

November 5, 2013 by

Visualizing success is a powerful thing. For athletes, it is an essential part of training, alongside practicing the strategies and techniques that will bring them that success. Could the same hold true for entrepreneurs? If the success of the American startup ecosystem is any indication, the answer is yes. In the latest post for his Inc.com column, oDesk's VP of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper interviews Jon Bradford, the managing director of Techstars London, who discusses how visualizing success can play a significant role in startup outcomes. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Why Your Developers May Be More Productive Working Remotely

November 4, 2013 by

“There’s an uninterrupted brain state you have to go into when you’re coding, and it requires an uninterrupted train of thought. Interruptions are very disruptive to developers when they’re in that brain state. So one of the major advantages of working remotely is that you’re not being subjected to constant interruptions; any of our developers will tell us that. It’s a clear advantage to not be in the office.” It can be argued, therefore, that developers working remotely are more productive than those in the office. Not convinced? This might change your mind. Read Full Article