13 Tips for Becoming a Rock Star Freelancer

13-Tips-for-Becoming-a-Rock-Star-FreelancerA couple days ago I received an email from my friend’s son, a relatively junior web developer who was looking for ways to make money and build experience working as a freelance developer on Elance or oDesk. Some of the questions he asked me were in line with questions I hear many times:

  • How can I get my first project given that competition is extremely high and I have no reputation/ rating?
  • What can I do to keep my clients happy and coming back to me?

Here are a some of the tips I gave to him, hopefully you will find them helpful: Continue reading

How to Find Great Developers on Freelancing Sites Like oDesk, Elance or Guru

How-To-Find-Great-Developers-on-Freelancing-SitesFinding good developers has never been easier! Hundreds of thousands of first class developers are waiting to bid on your project.  Submit your idea to our marketplace and have dozens of qualified developers bidding on your project in just a few hours.   Some of the brightest minds from all over the world have come under one roof to offer their services for rates as low as $8 an hour!…    NOT!

While the above commercial sounds great, the old adage is still correct – if something sounds too good to be true it most likely is.  No world-class developer is going to work for $8 an hour.

Great Developers are Hard to Find

The good old days of $5 Ph.Ds. are long gone and never coming back. As a matter of fact someone once said, “What makes them good old days is a great imagination and a bad memory.”

Yes, the world is not yet completely flat and there is a significant difference in standards of living and that can greatly affect the rates offered by developers. Take a look for example at the comparison here. Today the difference between the average web developer in India and the USA is staggering. So it is conceivable that you can find some solid developers that are charging their average local market rates through market places like Elance or Freelancer (see, here for a comprehensive list of freelancing marketplaces).   It is also conceivable that in order to compete better that developer will reduce his or her rates. But let’s examine the chances… Continue reading

The Mystery of ROI for SEO Campaigns

ROI imageThis blog used to attract a lot of visitors and then due to circumstances beyond my control I had to shut it down for almost a year. When I was finally able to bring the blog back to life a large portion of the traffic was lost, various popularity rankings were down, and I realized that restarting would be even more complex than what I had to go through when starting from scratch a few years ago.

I had to undergo many pains including inevitable investment in SEO, a potential bottomless money pit, and the first question on my mind was its financial impact, budget I need to allocate, and the ROI to expect.

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How to Find Someone to Build an App

How-to-Find-Someone-to-Build-an-AppA few days ago an old friend of mine called me with a question that I’ve been asked many times before. It typically goes something like this: “I have an idea for a great app, but I don’t know anything about programming. How can I find someone who can develop that app for me? And, I don’t have much money to spend on it”.

Jane (the friend of mine) is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience. She is great at her craft, but has zero knowledge about building software, outsourcing, and building apps. I wasn’t completely sure where to start when answering her, because there are actually a lot of questions behind the question here, and to answer all of them in detail would require me to practically write a book! In this post I will attempt to answer this very question without going into every detail so I can keep this at a blog post appropriate length.

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“Outsource it!” is now in beta

A couple days ago my first full size book went into beta and is now available at the publisher website – http://pragprog.com/book/nkout/outsource-it. I feel very happy and relieved that the book is finally out, writing it was far more challenging than I’ve ever anticipated. At the same time I feel happy and proud, proud to be one of the authors of the pragmatic bookshelf, the group of technology writers that earned respect across very broad and demanding technical audience.

It will take a little while before the book hits the shelves of Amazon and other bookstores, but you don’t have to wait and get your e-copy of it today. While the book is in beta your comments and suggestions would be taken quite seriously and could result in changes and additions to the content, hopefully making the book even better. I am not sure how long the beta would take but hopefully much less than it took me to get here –

Roughly two and a half years ago I came up what seemed a great idea at the time – compile my blog material into an easy to read eBook. In a couple months I produced the first volume that was dedicated to making decisions on whether and how to outsource. In a short order I received substantial feedback that made it apparent that just recompiling the blog and doing surface level clean up won’t add too much value, and probably was not worth the effort. Continue reading

Outsourcing SMO

Search Media Optimization / Outreach has become one of the most popular traffic building activities to outsource. And paraphrasing comment on my previous post, when it comes to finding a qualified needle in a freelancing haystack SMO is even more challenging than SEO and others activities alike. First, a couple words on typical aspects of SMO, here are just a few things that you can consider:

  • Building Twitter follower crowd and posting ongoing tweets to the community you’ve created
  • Creating Profiles on Social Networks, generating “friends”, update of status / spam friends with info
  • Creating SM advertising campaigns using follow / vote / fun tools
  • Bookmaking the target using sharing engines such as StumbleUpon
  • As well as traditional resources such as forums

Each of these activities present a fairly easily outsourced task, at least it appears to. For example you can create a mascot for you’re your service. That mascot can have its own twitter page. Using variety of available tools and offshore labor you can

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Outsourcing Blog SEO

I had several interesting discussions about blog SEO outsourcing with a few of my friends a colleagues. I think some highlights of those discussions deserve a full size post or two. Since we are talking about blogs I just have to start with some classic points. Trisha Okubo did a phenomenal job covering those in her almost classic “Blog Your Brand”

In case you did not read the presentation, here are the main points:

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