A new month means new Skill Tests here at Elance HQ, and if you’ve been patiently waiting to show off your knowledge on a series of newly available skills, now is your chance. Don’t forget, Skill Tests are always free here at Elance, so if you’ve got a little spare time, give it a shot. Believe me, it can make your profile page really stand out from the rest. And without further ado:
Adobe Photoshop CS4, one of the new tests added this month, isn’t just any run-of-the-mill year-over-year upgrade. Adobe has made some major changes on the exterior paint job as well as under the hood. Some of the new features include (warning: technical jargon ahead) a new “Adjustments Panel”, a “Masks Panel”, extended depth of field, fluid canvas rotation, significant upgrades in 3D object handling, content-aware scaling (very neat), smoother panning and zooming, and more. One more thing: Photoshop CS4 is the first ever version to fully support 64-bit processors (Windows only — Apple fans will have to wait until CS5).
Work at your own schedule. Get comfortable at the workplace of your choosing. How much work and how much money — you call the shots. You are the boss. This all may sound tantalizing to the business-suit wearing nine-to-fiver, but there are a number of things to consider before diving head first into the freelancing pool. We've asked Ilise Benun, co-founder of Marketing Mentor, to give us her insights on living the life of a freelancer.
“I know how to do X, so I’ll just make a business out of that and life will be good.”
You probably said that to yourself when you first thought about freelancing. But if you’re totally new to the concept or have been toying with the idea a little while now, know this: It isn't quite as easy as it seems.
If you’re serious about taking advantage of the “freedom” inherent in freelancing, the only way to make it work is to be realistic, because unrealistic expectations can cause extreme disappointment. So if that’s your aim, read on and take a look at the real world of freelancing; it may save you a lot of time in the long run.
Myth #1: You’ll be a creative (or techie, or other professional) running a business. Reality: Being a successful freelancer starts with the right mindset. You must see yourself as an entrepreneur providing services, not a designer, developer, writer, or any other skilled professional making money from your skill or talent. This is a subtle but important distinction. If you see yourself as a professional who provides services, or, better yet, a solver of problems, you’ll realize that what you do commercially for others is based on their need. And focusing on the needs of the market — instead of on yourself — is a direct path to a thriving business.
Myth #2: You’ll be free to do whatever you want. Reality: Freedom is a double-edged sword. In theory, it’s true that you are free to do whatever you want, however, some of those things that you don’t want to do – like bookkeeping and marketing – are essential to the survival of your business. If you ignore them, you may singlehandedly undermine your own success. You are certainly free to do that, but it’s not a very good idea.
Elance, the leading site for online work, today releases its April edition of the "Elance Online Work Index", ranking the hottest skills in-demand on the Web today based on data from more than 100,000 jobs posted on Elance over recent months.
The April Online Work Index reveals that IT and marketing skills continue to dominate the online work landscape as the Top 10 graphic clearly demonstrates.
Beyond the general demand for technology and marketing skills, businesses are clearly chasing domain expertise in open source technologies, help with delivering world-class user experiences, and insiders with savvy working with social media.
Open Source on the Rise: The overall trend of businesses migrating to open source technology solutions is stronger than ever with PHP (#1) programming now topping the Index followed closely by MySQL (#2). Demand grows for a variety of other open source skills including Joomla (#18), Drupal (#48 - up 10 spots), osCommerce, (#49 - up 20 spots), Ruby on Rails (#73 - up 27 spots), and Linux (#74 - up 13 spots).
In the dog-eat-dog competitive business jungle where digital-ubiquity transcend time and space, the fundamental ideology underpinning business operational efficiencies are changing so fast it's enough to make your brain's CPU crash.
Translation: If you’re not getting work done online, you better get on it, pronto.
But, even though you have too much to do and not enough time to do it, sometimes it's not easy to know where to start when it comes to lining up experts to help you get it all done. We’ve brewed up a list of 100 jobs that will give any business owner 100 easy places to get started.
Don’t have the time to invest in one of these projects? That's the whole point. Every single item listed can be completed with the help of an expert Elance provider. Easy money.
Some of the movers and shakers on the list include:
Website Design:If you don’t have a website for your business, you need to get with the program. In most cases, customers and prospective clients expect you to have a website even if they don’t actively use it or refer to it. It may sound odd, but recent research shows that most people assume that a company with a website is larger and more stable than a company without one. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to build an effective website. Focus on growing your business while a skilled provider creates the look and feel of your site. Site design is one of the most popular jobs online today. You can have a new site designed or give an existing site a makeover in just weeks or even days. Just make sure your site is an extension of your corporate identity; you’ll spend money creating it, so be sure it works for you.
You're deploying a custom Drupal platform to a major website and the deadline is approaching. You're crafting innovative and effective marketing campaigns for an up-and-coming Web 2.0 startup. You're burning through almost 100 Excel spreadsheets of seven-figure digits for a high-profile accountant. You're a well-oiled machine running at the speed of light.
You're living the fast-paced life of online work.
At some point, everyone needs to recharge — even those with the biggest batteries. What do you do to slow down, unwind, and get away from it all? I've asked the experts (you) to fill us in on what rituals work best to come back feeling fresh.
Frederick Pohl, Web Developer, Pohl Media — "We like to go to the beach and the Springs, go to the park with our daughter, and enjoy cooking on the grill a lot — being in the sun. Music is an essential part of unwinding and helps to regain focus too. I always go back to traditional art, pencil drawing, and printmaking, which were my early beginnings in art."
Julie K. Welch, Writer, Jane Content — "I typically work 70-80 hours per week, so in order to unwind, I take several mini-trips throughout each quarter — 2-3 week long trips. Then I participate in a variety of local charitable and social activities. In the evenings, I also attend yoga classes and run. Overall, I work to balance everything I need to get done within a week while minimizing stress."
Calling all self-proclaimed ASP.Net, Amazon Web Services and Twitter experts! We've added 9 brand new tests for you to strut your professional stuff. And, in case you missed last month's announcement, skill tests are now absolutely free. Added this month are:
I've spent a lot of time of late talking to employers and helping them through the proposal review and selection process. One of the things I'm finding is that many prospective clients like to search Elance for providers based on specific requirements, and proactively invite selected providers to submit proposals. But, what to look for when reviewing an Elance profile page?
Here are techniques to help you quickly – yet thoroughly – evaluate each Profile to determine which provider is the right fit for your work.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever hesitated when listing your job on Elance when you’re confronted with the decision to pay the $15 bucks to list your job as “Featured”?
You’ve no doubt seen Featured posts on the site (note the shading with the snappy corresponding purple label), as they certainly do stand out from the rest of the listings, but have you ever wondered what other benefits those job listings have?
Wonder no more. Here are a few tidbits as to what makes these posts a favorite for some of Elance’s most successful job posters.
Carla White is an advocate of daily expressions of gratitude and began keeping a gratitude journal last year. She believes that reflecting on her day and jotting down all the thing things she is thankful for has changed her life dramatically – for the better.
Wanting the world to share in her experience, Carla took the concept of a gratitude journal into the iPhone/iTouch world and created a new application available in the iTunes Apps store today – Gratitude.