Finding freelancers simplified

How to find a freelancer? Where can I find a web developer? Is there a place where I can find graphical artists? Finding the answers to these questions is getting increasingly easier and more complex at the same time. It seems not so long ago the main channels for finding freelancers were the same as for finding new employees – job ads and networking – not any more. The main channels for reaching out to vast freelancing community are now online freelancing directories or freelancing marketplaces. Great sites like odesk.com, elance.com, guru.com and many others taking over from monster.com and indeed.com.

Many of the directories enjoy a large community of freelancers and vendors of varies sizes, an impressive number of customers, and a huge volume of transactions. As a matter of fact the transaction volume for many of the marketplaces has been growing at exponential rate.  The stats are truly amazing. Needless to say such a lucrative business attract many players and inevitably creates a new challenge for both customers and providers – which marketplace to use? Which directory is better for finding freelance writers, which one is for graphical artists and where to find those illusive RoR developers?

A few years ago I created a list of 25 best places to find a freelancer, fairly soon the list grew to 50 some entries, and become notably less helpful. To make it a bit more useful I added Alexa rating and it worked for a while. However recently I got a few comments on quality of the list – it was missing some good sites, Alexa rating was dated, and so on. That called for updating the list and that what I just did with help of my virtual assistant Yesha from Cagyan de Oro City, Philippines. She did an outstanding job cleaning up the list verifying links and rating in just a few days. BTW, I found Yesha on oDesk, she was one 40+ people who bid on my project within a couple hours after I posted it.

Anyway, the list is now updated with new entries and ratings. I also formatted it slightly different – you will now see a list with “the best 25 places” that links to three other list—full list of sites sorted by the Site Name, the same list sorted by Alexa and the same list sorted by Alexa US ratings.

As usual, feel free to comment and suggest new entries. I will update the list in ~12 months from now.

down-to-earth guide to offshore outsourcing

About a year and a half ago I came up with a crazy idea – to approach a couple publishers with a proposal for a book on outsourcing. Not too original or novice idea, there are plenty books out there, yet, I thought I could put together

something better. The first publisher I approached was The Pragmatic Programmers an agile publishing and training company started by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, the authors of famous The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. Needless to say the name of my blog had something to do with the choice of publisher. To my astonishment they accepted my proposal and awarded me with a contract for a full size book. I was told that getting a book contract from the first proposal is akin to winning a lottery, so I was honored, excited and… apparently clueless.

What I did not know is that the prize in the lottery is a package of hard labor, countless hours, and ongoing frustration. Even though so much material was already in place I found myself in writing and re-writing for days, weeks and months. This “hobby” on a top of full time job became a considerable burden, nevertheless after 9 months or so I produced ~450 pages of what I thought was great material. Nope, not great and far too much of it, I was told by my reviewers. From that point on my writing changed to a code-test-refactor dance with my editor doing the testing. And that was far more complex than producing the original pile. Hopefully the results would be worth the effort.

So far I am happy with much more concise content, roughly 250 pages, that reads far better than original, is better structured, and caters to the audience I always had in mind, not just to an exact replica of myself. Alas, I’m still far from seeing the light in the end of the tunnel – there are more reviews coming up and some of them may require a significant reshuffle of content / structure and dramatic changes in wording. When I complained to my editor about time it’s taking to get the book out and how profound the last change request were she said that one of the authors has been through 3 technical reviews, three managing editor reviews, two publishing editor reviews, and the book is still WIP… Basically, brace yourself, we are just starting :)

Yep, writing is not blogging and is not for the faint of heart, nevertheless I am already thinking about the day the book will be out. More so I decided to create an email sign up list for those interest in the book. I used wufoo forms to create it – pretty nifty SaaS from the same crew that created surveymonkey. I used their free offering and was quite impressed with what it had to offer. Anyway, the book is going to be a down-to-earth guide to offshore outsourcing based on my experiences and those of my friends and colleagues, and information from books, industry publications, and outsourcing blogosphere. Chances are if you like my blog you will enjoy the book as well, and more so find it easier to read, navigate and chockfull of information. So go ahead and put your name / email in this form. I will be happy to let you know when the book is ready for your eyes. BTW, you also can apply for a role of “technical reviewer”. My publisher is looking for ~10 people to do the next round of reviews. The reviewers will need to read the book, reply to a simple survey, and provide any feedback they might have, in return reviewers get a free copy when the book is published.