Work 3.0: How The Employment Model Needs to Change

With the economy still struggling to recover, key indicators of economic performance are largely focused on traditional employment — we are fixated on how many people have managed to find on-site, single-employer jobs. But is this an outdated perspective?

Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath would say so. In a recent blog post for Harvard Business Review, McGrath questions the pervasive assumption that “regular” employment is always the most stable and desirable. She writes, “Many of the assumptions about society that we take for granted are based on the notion that relatively stable employment relationships are the norm. When will our thinking catch up with the new reality?”

Anyone looking for a job or tasked with hiring must wonder what this means for them.

The reality is that the traditional employment model has dramatically shifted and evolved. The “regular” job market may never make the comeback that so many job seekers hope to see, and this makes people anxious. The uncertainty associated with adopting a new model is often uncomfortable, but, in this case, it doesn’t have to be — never before has global talent been accessible in such a quick, lean, and scalable way.

BOUNDLESS OPPORTUNITIES

The new employment model is here: Work 3.0. In it, work is on demand, virtual and remote — and it is just getting started.

Take Thumbtack.com for example. This marketplace for local services is a small shop with just a handful of full-time employees. Based in San Francisco, Thumbtack competes against all of Silicon Valley for talent; from Google, Facebook and Zynga to the next hot venture-backed startup, they’re all gunning for the same top-tier talent. Instead of spending all of Thumbtack’s recent funding on the high salaries and plentiful perks that top local talent demands, they opted to keep their in-house staff light, expanding instead by adding 120 online team members scattered around the world. The business has since experienced 150X growth, while keeping its costs remarkably low.

The tremendous growth of online work has changed the way businesses hire talent and structure their workforces, allowing them to build teams that cross borders, time zones and skill sets. But it also yields opportunity for people around the world to tap into global demand that far outpaces the needs of local or even national markets.

In the Work 3.0 model, people are no longer limited to the jobs available within commuting distance. Graphic designers in rural Tennessee have the same access to jobs as graphic designers in New York or London. This elimination of geographic boundaries can refresh perspectives and development in new and interesting ways. It also means that individuals have the freedom to choose which projects interest them most, as well as when, where, and how often to work.

In addition, this shift actually leads to a happier and more productive global workforce. A recent survey from Harris Interactive found that U.S. workers would make serious sacrifices to be able to telecommute — 34% would give up social media, 25% would give up their smartphones, 17% would give up a raise and a remarkable 5% would even give up their spouses.

THE FUTURE OF WORK 3.0

Online work continues to grow by 70 percent year over year, and the technology that supports it continues to improve. In 2012, it is predicted that more than 6 million online jobs will be posted, representing more than $1 billion of work performed via the Web.

And while past improvements in broadband access and collaborative technology got us to where we are today, further enhancements to the mechanics behind online work — improved Internet access and speed, advanced algorithms that help match businesses and workers, and enhanced global payment systems, to name a few — will help further speed the adoption of online work and make even the late adopters comfortable with leveraging the Work 3.0 model.

At a certain point, after adoption has hit a critical mass, I believe technology will have improved so much that online work becomes a seamless, integrated part of everyday life — a life where hiring someone online for a task is as natural and intuitive as “Googling” information you wish to know.

Traditional jobs may never return to pre-recession levels. But it has become apparent that in the next few years, we will make up for those jobs — and exponentially more — through online work.

Work 3.0 has only just begun.

Note: This article was written by Gary Swart, the CEO of oDesk and has been posted here with his permission.

Are you new to freelancing and need help?

If you are new to Freelancing and you are wondering from where you should take a start. I am sharing a list of freelance projects websites or online freelance market places. All you need is a computer with internet connection and obviously you need to have few skills to find work on these websites. If you are good at programming quickly, can design, can write content then you are likely to get success through these websites

http://www.vworker.com

http://www.odesk.com

http://www.guru.com

http://www.freelancer.com

http://www.getacoder.com

http://www.elance.com

Simply setup your profiles, upload your portfolios, bid on projects, setup your payment methods and get started.

Happy bidding and good luck with your freelancing career.

Top 5 Ways to Turbo Charge Your Freelancing Career

As the CEO of vWorker.com, I have close contact with many of the 300,000+ freelancers who use the site to earn a living. I’ve seen virtual workers of all temperaments, nationalities and ages. But the thing that always strikes me is how there seem to be two distinct types of freelancers.

The first seems to enjoy a charmed life. It’s not unusual for such a freelancer to be brand new to the site and yet win not just one, but several jobs in the first few weeks. They enjoy great success, build up repeat business and enjoy an easy and constant stream of projects and income.

The second struggles for weeks just to win their first job, and don’t understand what they are doing wrong. Then when they finally do wine one, they don’t manage the project properly and have numerous problems with it and their employers. They usually end up with a dissatisfied client and no chance of getting repeat business, and have to start all over again at square one.

I’m writing this article to help you be the former type of freelancer, and avoid the fate of the latter.

1. Successful Bidding

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes for a minute. You’ve just posted a job on vWorker.com to create your asp.NET company website and are evaluating bidders. Which one of these bids would make you want to correspond with the bidder further?

Bid #1:

Description:
Hi, I’m Andre Jones and I’m an expert in the following:
a) Web site design
b) PHP
c) ASP.NET
d) Java/Javascript
I also am a fantastic photojournalist and marketer.
Here are example of my work:

http://example1.com

http://example2.com

http://example3.com

Please see my resume for more details. I’m looking forward to working with you!
Bid amount: $2,000

Bid #2:

Description:
Hi, I’m Andre Jones and I have 5 years of experience in ASP.NET.
I read through your description and think this is going to be an excellent way for you to attract new clients.
What kind of security did you have in mind for this project? The reason I ask is that, I can build whatever you want. But I don’t want to quote you the price of the equivalent of a “limosine” if you are really looking for an economy car. For instance, are you expecting a special admin section that only you can access, or will it all be public?
Bid Amount: None

Who will the employer prefer? It’s not even a close competition. 99% of employers will respond back to bid #2, while deleting bid #1. Why is there such a difference? The main problem with bid #1 is that it gives off the foul stench of a copy-and-paste spam bid from an amateur. Bid #2, on the other hand, comes across as engaging, interested, enthusiastic and competent. Look at the differences:

  1. Bid #1 has listed every skill he has, including most that are not asked for in this project. Why would the employer care about this? He’s making the classic mistake of talking about what’s interesting to himself (his skills) rather than what’s interesting to the client (how he can help the client solve his problem). Bid #2 on the other hand shows respect for the employer’s time by only talking about the relevant skills.
  2. Bidder #2 showed the employer that they actually read the description by asking specific questions about it. Pertinent questions compel a person to answer them. Bid #1 on the other hand has no questions and is not compelling. Incidentally, it is so generic that it gives the impression it was probably spammed to everyone on the site with similar projects (and it probably was).
  3. Bid #2 expressed enthusiasm for the project itself. When an employer has to choose between two equal candidates: the more enthusiastic has a huge edge. Note that he did this in a sincere, honest and specific way. He didn’t throw out platitudes (which can be even worse than not saying anything at all). So if you can do this sincerely, then it’s a powerful tool. If you’re not sure about this, then don’t take a chance of doing it incorrectly.
  4. Bid #1 put in a $ amount on their first bid. This is usually a huge red flag to any knowledgeable employer. 99.999% of the time, there’s no way someone can make an accurate bid without getting additional information. This reeks of a freelancer who is too inexperienced to realize how bad this is. Bid #2 didn’t make this rookie mistake.

(Insider scoop: Speaking of bids, I’ll give the readers of this blog who use vWorker an exclusive “scoop” on an upcoming feature that will be of interest to you. Currently when you make a bid (say $1000), the vWorker fee is deducted from that. But in a few weeks, that will change and instead we’ll raise the amount the employer escrows to cover the fee. So if you bid $1000, you’ll get $1000 and you no longer have to worry about the fee during you bid. See vWorker updates for info on this when it becomes available.)

Alright! You’ve followed the above tips and you’ve now won the bid! Working properly during the project is the key between a client who comes back to you over and over again for a long time, and one who can’t wait to get rid of you. The key is to remember to think long term.

2. Managing client expectation

Even on a very well laid out project, you can expect 10-15% of a contract to be unclear. This means you will have to work out the details during the project. Go through the project at the beginning to find these areas and get them hammered out.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring things, or worse: getting no input from the client and instead implementing them in the easiest way possible and hoping the client won’t notice. Communication is key to working out these issues and avoiding an unhappy client later.

3. Managing deadlines

Deadlines are real and should be treated as such. But every human being misses at least one deadline in their lives. If you can’t make a deadline, don’t wait until the day before and say “Oh, by the way I won’t make it. Sorry, dude!”. The last-minute surprise (when you’re expected to be finished) can cause your employer a premature heart-attack, and cause you to lose all credibility.

Instead, you should be communicating with them constantly during the project. As soon as you notice you are behind schedule (weeks before), let them know and let them know why (i.e. “we ran into xyz because it was more complicated than expected”). With advanced notice your employer can often make other arrangements.

And never just say “Oh it’s going to be late,” and not say when you think it *will* be done. Just like you don’t like to be left in limbo…neither does the employer.

These are all small but important things that make the difference between keeping your client’s trust or losing it completely and never working for them again.

4. Uploading deliverables

Disputes happen… even to the best of freelancers. They key is to be prepared so you can avoid problems when they do occur.

For some reason, many freelancers hate uploading their work to the vWorker site. Yes it does take a little more time to do this. But ask yourself this: would you rather do that, or would you rather lose the funds for the project you worked so hard on, simply because you didn’t take the time to do this simple task?

On a site like vWorker we guarantee that you will be paid if you complete the project to the contract, on time and in the industry expected manner. However, without the upload, you have no proof of what and when you delivered. And without that, we cannot enforce that guarantee and you can end up not getting paid. So you can easily avoid the entire situation by just uploading the deliverables. Then you are fully protected in a dispute and can get paid for the work you did.

5. Repeat business

You finished the job and have a happy client! Congratulations! Now that you’ve earned their trust, you can look forward to a recurring revenue stream from future projects. However, many people don’t think about how to save money by structuring that repeat business properly.

For example, if you won your first project from the employer via an open-auction pay-for-deliverables project, we charge a 15% vWorker fee. On repeat projects, the employer skips bidding, which saves us money (bandwidth costs, advertising to bring in bidders and employers, etc.) and we pass that savings on to you. The key is to make sure the employer posts the project to you as a “one-on-one” project. This cuts the cost to 12.5%. On a large project this can be a significant savings. If you both trust each other so much that you can forgo escrowing, you can set it up as a bonus and only pay 10%! And there are other ways to save as well.

Once you’ve established trust with the employer, you can have the switch from pay-for-deliverables to pay-for-time (PFT). In PFT, you clock into a timecard and are guaranteed payment for every hour you work. This is a really good deal compared with PFD, where any cost overruns (or bad estimates on your part) are your responsibility. On top of that, the fee drops to just 9%! So this is a fantastic way to give you more flexibility AND save money at the same time.

And on all the above options, you can drop the cost by another 2.5% by asking the employer to use a preferred payment method (snail mail check or wire). These are cheaper for us to process, so we pass it on to you. Note: Once the bidding change I talked about earlier is in place (in a few weeks) we expect employers will be much more likely to use a preferred payment method, because they will actually see the difference (will not have to escrow as much).

Using the above tips, you can have a very successful freelance career. I hope these tips were helpful!

Note:  This post is written by Ian Ippolito, CEO and founder of vWorker.com and has been posted here with his permission.

A complete guide to Freelancing

There are many online market places such as odesk, guru, scriptlance,getacoder, freelancer, elance and vworker but I will focus on VWorker.com and Odesk.com only. So I will be discussing how to

  • Setup profiles on vworker and odesk
  • Comparison of vworker and odesk (Arbitration/Mediation, Escrow )
  • Fixed Price vs Hourly Jobs on Odesk
  • How to use Team Room (Odesk) and RAC Time Card (Vworker) for hourly jobs.
  • How to get your first job (Tips for getting your first job on odesk/vworker)
  • Setting up payment methods (Payoneer, Moneybookers, Western Union etc)

So if you are new to freelancing, this probably will help you setup profiles, bid on projects and earn money. You can have a look at my profiles on worker and odesk.