Category: Business

Top 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Start Using a Freelance Marketplace

Top 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Start Using a Freelance Marketplace

Top 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Start Using a Freelance Marketplace

What better reason could there be for why you shouldn’t wait to start using a freelance marketplace except that Upwork has just recently published a press release on the 20 fastest-growing skills for freelancers in Q3 2017.

Think about this: More than one in three workers – reportedly 53 million Americans are now freelancers. That means that regardless of whether you are a Small- to Medium-sized Business (SMB) or a Fortune 500 corporation, you have ready access to independent contractors with a shipload of skills and talent who are looking for freelance jobs online.

There are many reasons that companies are beginning to look at the benefits of using a freelance marketplace for outsourcing needs. Let’s look at the top 6 reasons:

Save money

Using freelance marketplaces is a way for companies to save on expenses like wages, overtime, benefits, space and more.

Hire teams quickly

When hiring teams or individuals from a freelance marketplace, you have wide diversity in the number of freelance profiles, portfolios and feedback that you can review to ensure you are making a wise choice.

The number of categories and sub-categories from which you can choose freelancers from are wide and varied. There are categories like IT, Web, Mobile, Design & Multimedia, Office & Administrative, Project Management and many more.

Enjoy flexibility with scaling up or down

SMBs and Fortune 500s can now enjoy the flexibility of adding or lessening the amount of people needed to work on projects or jobs as dictated by client and customer demand. Look at your major holidays where you will need extra manpower (especially Thanksgiving, Christmas and marketing campaigns). Add and subtract independent contractors easily and quickly – even right now!

Hire the right person for the right job

Using the freelance marketplaces allow companies to get the right talent – globally. Sometimes it’s possible that a company may need a talent or skill that is difficult to find within the local market or geographical region. With the large numbers of skilled workers in the marketplace, companies are much more apt to find just who they need for the job.

Get projects completed on time and efficiently

Managers can decide on when they want a project completed. They can set up the project with one deadline date or multiple milestone dates. They can also require status reports to be kept abreast of the freelancer’s progress. In addition, the major freelance marketplaces usually provide robust reporting for review.

Have flexible payment methods

Freelance marketplaces do their best to provide the employer (or buyer) a safe platform during hiring, working and paying. Some of them like Upwork or Guru take this one extra step by providing an escrow system. This helps ensure that the employer only pays for work done that has been received – and approved. In addition, many places have timers that ensures the employer only pays for time worked.

So act now. Don’t wait any longer to start using a freelance marketplace to complement your existing staff. You won’t regret it.
Pam Lokker is a skillful writer and proficient virtual assistant. Borlok Virtual Assistants is the place to get global expert Virtual Assistant services with quality and on-time delivery.

Revised 12/23/2017
What Are Five Key Things a Company Should Look For When Hiring a Freelancer Writer

What Are Five Key Things a Company Should Look For When Hiring a Freelancer Writer

What Are Five Key Things a Company Should Look For When Hiring a Freelancer Writer

If the time has come for your small business to outsource, there are five key things a company should look for when hiring a freelance writer. First of all, let me explain what a freelancer is.

According to Wikipedia, “A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is a person who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long-term.” Another term that is sometimes used interchangeably with freelancer is independent contractor.  You can usually find good freelancers through freelance marketplaces like elance.com or odesk.com, as well as other places.

The freelance industry has changed a lot in the past few years. The types of jobs have become much more versatile with independent contractors being accomplished web developers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts, freelance writers, software developers, administrative support personnel, and many more. Just recently I discovered this statement in Forbes, “The freelance economy is the future of work. At least, that’s how the labor market sees it. An estimated one in three Americans—or 42 million people—is a freelancer.” (2/11/2014, Why the New Freelance Economy is Great For Your Small Business”)

That means there are a lot of skilled workers out there, but you do need to be careful to do your research. So let’s take a look at those five key things I mentioned earlier that will increase your chances of finding a freelancer that you will be happy with.

  1. Experience as a freelancer – I highly recommend that in your search for a person that will work with your company as a new hire, that you establish in your interview just how long they have been an independent contractor. Especially on the freelance marketplaces, there are loads of individuals claiming to be a freelancer but they are brand new at it. No, I’m not saying that you can’t hire a newbie freelance writer, but I am saying that you will have greater success with someone that has been a freelancer for a while.
  2. Experience in his or her field – An experienced writer that has been freelancing for a given amount of time will have knowledge that newbies won’t have – knowledge, for example, for the best way to research on the Internet, what the best sites are to use for reports, and more. Just as in a full time or part-time job, how much history does the writer have to support that experience? Have they been writing for their own or other business owners’ websites or blogs? Does the individual have samples that can be shown to you?
  3. Skill proficiency – Before going to the interview with the freelance writer or copy editor, you should have a good idea of the types of skills the potential new hire will need to fulfill the job requirements. Has there been any effort to continue education in the writing field? Does the writer have any certifications?
  4. Is the individual dependable? This one might be a little difficult to gauge, but you can do it. Here are a couple of ideas. Does the individual have references on company letterhead? If through a freelance marketplace, has the freelance writer received positive feedback, negative feedback or no feedback at all? Does the feedback show that an individual provides excellent service and on-time delivery?
  5. Does the freelance writer charge reasonable rates? – Well, first of all, do you know what reasonable is? Are the rates charged hourly, per piece or bundled at a fixed price. Once you uncover that information, you can then do your homework and find out what the going rates are for your location. How is the quality of the content? If the content is first-rate, then the individual may charge a little more. But, you’re not going to want to pay an unreasonable rate if the content is full of spelling, grammar or punctuation errors.

This list of five key things that a company should look for when hiring a freelance writer is by no means a complete list. There are other things to consider such as is the individual a team player, is he or she an excellent communicator, does the individual provide excellent customer service (Yes this is important; after all, you are their customer). But if you keep the above in mind, you should be well on your way to getting a great freelance writer.

About the author: Pam Lokker is a skillful writer and proficient virtual assistant. Borlok Virtual Assistants is the place to get global expert Virtual Assistant services with quality and on-time delivery.

SMB Change Management – Why You Should Embrace It

Small Businesses have so much going for them, and I applaud every single one of you for being entrepreneurial in spirit. You have taken the first step to fulfil your hopes, dreams, and goals. But, what would you do if you were suddenly confronted with change? SMB change management is not for the faint of heart. Would you embrace change or run from it? Continue reading “SMB Change Management – Why You Should Embrace It”

Steve Jobs Left the World Reeling In Shock

Steve Jobs Left the World Reeling In Shock

Revised 6/2/2017

Steven Paul Jobs, the computer tycoon of the computer industry is no longer with us, but his memory will last forever in the hearts and minds of Mac users, iPhone users, iPad users, and much more.

Steve Jobs was both a computer inventor and entrepreneur. Born in 1955 in San Francisco, California, his driving purpose was to develop products that were both functional and elegant; and he did just that which earned him the respect and honor of computer users everywhere.

It was devastating for the world to hear that Steve announced that he was resigning as CEO of Apple due to not being able to carry out his normal duties due to the ravages of pancreatic cancer. He also announced at that same time that he would remain as chairman of the board.

October 5, 2011, will long be remembered as a sad day. The family announced that Steve Jobs passed away peacefully in his sleep. As you go to Wikipedia today, you will be met with a black and white picture of Steve showing off the iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference. In addition, you get a full biography of this truly amazing entrepreneur, businessman, inventor, and industrial designer.

As you read Bill Gates’ statement on The Gates Notes, you come to realize how much Steve Jobs meant to fans, colleagues, competitors, and just anyone he came into contact with. “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor.  I will miss Steve immensely.” – Bill Gates

We couldn’t agree more Mr. Gates. His effects will carry on for many, many years. We are very honored to have been graced with the incredible knowledge that he possessed. We are also very lucky to have been the recipients of the wonderful technological gadgets that he passed our way.

Rest peacefully, Steve Jobs; and thank you.
Pam Lokker is a master writer and a virtual assistant professional who enjoys writing. While we are not currently taking on new clients, Borlok Virtual Assistants, LLC has been the place to get global expert VA services with quality and on-time delivery for many years.

Strip out Overused Consultant-speak Speech in Content

Strip out Overused Consultant-speak Speech in Content

Why is it that when we see a word or phrase that we really like that we grab it and use them forever? Do you ever stop to think about the words you are using in content? Are they overused and full of consultant-speak speech? Well, let’s check out some words or phrases to consider stripping out of your content.

Strip Out Overused Superlatives

What the heck are superlatives? I don’t use them. Are you sure? Do you really know what a superlative is? Let’s check out Dictionary.com for some help.

1. of the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme; extreme: superlative wisdom.
2. Grammar . of, pertaining to, or noting the highest degree of the comparison of adjectives and adverbs, as smallest, best, and most carefully, the superlative forms of small, good, and carefully.
3. being more than is proper or normal; exaggerated in language or style.

Let me give you five examples from random sites that I looked at:

• the biggest benefit
• the best managed
• need us the most
• the most notable
• the least promising

You can use these words – occasionally – but try not overdo it, okay?

Strip Out Overused Buzzwords

Buzzwords are overused a lot in content, even to the point of distraction. Buzzwords are usually trendy words that are specific to a certain group. For example, in the Information Technology (IT) industry, common buzzwords are SBS, MSP, VAR. In the Virtual Assistant (VA) world, one might speak of EA or VA or PA. Be careful that what you are talking about can be understood by the person it is intended for. Spell it out as I have done with IT or VA or leave it out.

Other types of buzzwords that are just used too much are popular words specific to a particular industry. Have any of these examples cropped up in your content writing?

• Thinking outside the box
• value-added
• alignment
• win-win

If you tend to use the words above, you would be better served to use alternative words in your content or leave them out altogether.

Strip Out Pronoun Overabundance

There are better ways to write proposals than using an overabundance of ‘I’, ‘you’ and the rest of the pronouns. In my opinion, it doesn’t show any creativity and is extremely boring. Quit it!

You want people to read your content, right? Well then, now is the time to strip out overused consultant-speak speech in that content. Get rid of overused superlatives and buzzwords and leave the pronouns back in your office

Pam Lokker is a skillful writer and proficient virtual assistant. Borlok Virtual Assistants is the place to get global expert VA services with quality and on-time delivery.

A Small Business Can Benefit From Outsourcing

A Small Business Can Benefit From Outsourcing

A small business can benefit from outsourcing. Now the business owner might think that freelancing is a thing of the past due to large corporations outsourcing most of their help overseas. But, that’s simply not the case. There is plenty of work nationally, plus you can outsource overseas yourself by outsourcing in Canada, UK, Australia, and lots of other countries.

Benefit From Outsourcing

So is there a way a small business can benefit from outsourcing? Yes, there are three specific ways to go about it:

1. Identify the tasks you can outsource

What do you have on your plate right now that you can have someone else take care of, thereby freeing up time for you — things like transcription, article submission, copywriting or copy editing and much more. Make a list and then prioritize them.

2. Systematize tasks

Before you give work to a freelancer, you want to make sure that you write up your instructions so they are clear. One problem I see with clients all the time when they are outsourcing to me is that they skip steps. Not every freelancer will try to fill in the missing step. They will sit there and say “I can’t do that; it doesn’t work.” Be complete and concise in writing out what you want your freelancer to do and avoid any misunderstandings up front.

3. Don’t wait until your workload demands that you get extra help immediately.

The time to go through the process of finding freelancers is now before you end up with a short deadline. Check out the major freelance marketplaces. Need some more encouragement as to how a small business can benefit from outsourcing? Check out this article: Recap on the Benefits of Becoming a Virtual Assistant.

Are there other avenues you can pursue to find good, honest freelancers? Sure there are. If you travel a lot and attend a lot of conventions or seminars, keep your eye out for virtual assistants that may be there, as well. Another option would be to search the internet under keywords like outsourcing, freelancing, virtual assistants, and a wide variety of others such as benefits, freelance marketplace or independent contractors.

Being proactive and taking a look at what you can outsource now, organizing your possibilities, and then looking for good outsource possibilities now will save you time and money in the long-term. Do you need a jump start at making that list? According to this article, Outsourcing: Three Keys to Outsourcing Success by Janet Attard, “When you are a one-person or micro-sized business you not only have to create the product or do the income-producing service, you also need to answer calls from customers, make sales calls, get a website set up, get active in social media, send out invoices, do the bookkeeping, keep marketing your business, and do a whole lot of other things, too. To keep up with it all you could easily work 12 to 14 hours a day , 6 or 7 days a week.” Does that help to kick start you?
Pam Lokker is a skillful writer and proficient virtual assistant. She is co-owner of Borlok Virtual Assistants — the place to get global expert VA services with quality and on-time delivery.

Provide a Comprehensive Customer Service Experience For Your Client

Provide a Comprehensive Customer Service Experience For Your Client

The mainstay of any virtual assistance business is your clients, wouldn’t you agree? If that’s the case, why don’t more of us provide excellent customer service? Without customers, you can’t sell product and /or provide services; therefore you can’t make a profit. So let’s give them the customer service they deserve.

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