If you are a small business owner looking to outsource something you either don’t have the time or the skills to do, or if you are a freelancer or contractor looking for work, then I highly recommend checking out oDesk.
oDesk is an online marketplace that unites Providers (freelancers or contractors) with Buyers, people looking for skilled workers to fill specific tasks or needs. The needs of Buyers and the range of skills featured by the freelancers is very diverse, so there is probably something for just about anyone looking to outsource a job or make a little extra cash.
oDesk – bringing freelancers and businesses together
What is oDesk? oDesk provides a venue for Buyers to list jobs and Providers to list skills and services. oDesk receives 10% of the transaction in return for hosting the venue and providing a rating system for the freelancers and series of checks and balances to safeguard both the Buyer and the Provider. More on this in a moment.
Who is oDesk for? Basically anyone who is looking outsource personal or business tasks, or any freelancer or contractor with skills to offer.
Benefits of using oDesk – Buyer’s perspective
oDesk brings together thousands of freelancers and contractors with a wide variety of skills and price ranges to fit the needs of your task. Simply open a free account, list a job, review the bids, interview the applicant, hire the best fit for your job, and get results. There are no listing fees or ongoing fees and you only pay when you hire someone. You can also submit jobs to be completed at an hourly or fixed rate, so you know what your rough costs will be before you accept a bid.
Reviewing applicants. You have access to a lot of information when hiring a freelancer on oDesk, including the Provider’s oDesk ratings, work history, examples of past work, and list of current assignments. oDesk also offers over 140 online skills tests freelancers can take that show their proficiency in various skills such as computer programming, software programs, SEO, various technical skills, and the English language (many freelance workers are overseas).
Hire contractors – not employees. This is a major item for small business owners. The oDesk terms and agreements stipulate all work sourced via the oDesk platform is contracted work and under no circumstances constitutes employment. That means you aren’t liable for any employment taxes, benefits or other issues that arise from hiring employees.
Benefits of using oDesk – Provider’s perspective
Freelancers and contractors can offer their services at the rates they desire and can bid on any job they are qualified for. This allows the freelancer to bid for jobs based on their skill level, availability, and hourly rate and only accept the jobs they have the time and expertise for. This is great for those who want to work from home, or get a part time job to keep skills fresh or earn a little extra money.
Guaranteed weekly payment. Freelancers also have guaranteed payment for their hourly work. oDesk uses an online software program called the oDesk Team application to track worker’s progress. This is in place to protect both the Buyer and the Provider.
What kind of services do oDesk users provide?
Just about anything you want or need – technical skills, web or logo design, programming in various languages, article writing, and more. Here is a small sampling of the skills you can find on oDesk:
- Web Development: Computer programming (26 programming languages/formats listed), custom coding, eCommerce, project management, user interface design, etc.
- Design and Multimedia: Logos, graphic design, audio visual production, 3D modeling and CAD, and more.
- Writing and Translation: Technical writing, Article writing, Website content, Copywriting, translation, and more
- Software development: Desktop applications, gaming, software plugins (including custom WordPress plugins), mobile apps (iPhone, BlackBerry, Google Android, etc.), VoIP, etc.
- Customer Service: Phone support, customer service, tech support, etc.
- Sales and Marketing: Press releases, advertising, SEO, SEM, Public relations, online surveys, and more
- Network & Information Systems: Database development and management, network support and more
- Business Services: Accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, financial planning, etc.
- Virtual Assistants
Overall thoughts on oDesk
I love it. I have outsourced a lot of things for my small business in the past, but usually to people I had a direct relationship with or through a friend of a friend. This is the first time I have gone onto the marketplace to solicit bids for technical or design work, and I am happy with the process and the results.
I will definitely use oDesk for future needs, and I have no problem recommending it to both individuals or small businesses looking to outsource specific tasks, or freelancers who are looking to make a little extra money. I think there is something for everyone and at just about any price level. Sign up for a free oDesk account to get started.