GetACoder Blog
  The World's Simplest & Safest Marketplace

Archive for July 2011

Jul/11

15

Writing Plain Language

If there is one thing that writers and the technically minded freelancers out there have in common it is the ability to completely confuse people with complex sentences or nearly indecipherable jargon. For a lot of clients this can be a problem, and that ultimately translates into trouble for the contractor. While there are some terms out there that cannot easily be hashed out writing in plain language will make the lines of communication between you and your audience clearer and well defined. This means your client or even a general reading audience will have no trouble following your ideas. By writing in plain terms you can be understood without sacrificing meaning or context.

When it comes to business, clarity is always your best asset and a way to ensure that you have a consistent source of income. Using plain language is the best way to gain access to the attention of your audience and the easiest way to address their needs. When you writing proposals for jobs on GetACoder you need to have a perspective on clarity. Plain language is meant to convey transparency, lucidity and succinctness; to make sure that you are understood as quickly as possible.

Plain language is typically used in technical or legal language and replaces all needless or verbose language. You are meant to be clear an avoid being wordy at all cost as it will often help you explain very complicated subjects without sacrificing your ability to refine concepts. One noted type of plain language is Simplified Technical English or STE which limits the type of words that are used and standardizes all the language used in a piece of writing. STE is typically used in manuals, but it has a place in many fields of professional writing and any good freelancer will recognize its obvious utility.

Be aware that every industry has its own variation of STE so depending on what field your client or audience is in you will need to do a bit of research to supplement your efforts at plain language. However, there are some components that are universal in all types of STE. For example, noun clusters are to be restricted to no more than 3 words, sentences should be no more than 20 words long, paragraphs should have no more than 6 sentences, and jargon and slang should be avoided.

Once you have a grasp on this form of writing trimming the excess off of a professional communication or article will be much easier. Also, you will be able to distil your work to its most effective essence.

James Thomas has been a professional blogger for three years and an add writer for two years. He has won several awards for creative and journalistic writing including the equivocality.net Writers Travel Scholarship. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in English and will be attending Oxford Brookes University to complete a Masters degree in publishing in th fall of 2011. James is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · ·

Jul/11

14

Freelancing, Outsourcing, and Paying Taxes

There are many freedoms to enjoy in the freelance and outsourcing industries, but some things never change, and one of those things is paying taxes.  Paying taxes when you are a freelancer or outsourcer, though, is much different than paying taxes when working a typical job, because it is the freelance or outsourcing contractor’s responsibility alone to make sure that taxes are being paid.  Furthermore, the penalties for not paying taxes will be the responsibility of the contractor as well, and those penalties can be pretty significant.  While some outsourcing sites will help contractors set up to have taxes taken out, for the most part contractors are left to their own devices.  This is why it is important to understand the tax obligations of the freelance or outsourcing contractor.

Know How Much a Contractor Can Earn Before Having to Pay Taxes

When it comes to income there is a certain amount that a freelance or outsourcing contractor can earn before even having to pay taxes.  For different geographical locations the rules are different so it is important to be sure what those income guidelines are, before deciding not to pay.  Many beginning contractors find that they fall into this category in the beginning of their freelancing or outsourcing careers, but just as many skip out when they shouldn’t, and this can be a costly decision.

Know What Deductions are Available to Contractors

For those contractors that do find that they must pay taxes it is important to know which deductions are available to them.  While some of these deductions will be based on how much a contractor earns, others can be used by almost any contractor.  These deductions can greatly reduce the amount of tax that a contractor ends up owing to the government, and in some cases will even allow for a return.

Know How Contractors Should Go About Filing Taxes

Many contractors find themselves very confused about how to go about paying their taxes, and for that reason some do not even pay them, which as stated before can be costly.  Some contractors will receive forms stating how much they have earned in a year, but those that do not can still file their taxes.  It is important to keep a clear record of income in order to be able to bring it into a tax office to file taxes at the end of the year.

Nobody likes paying income taxes but it is a very necessary evil, even for GetACoder freelance and outsourcing contractors.  Knowing how to get started will result in less stress when tax time rolls around at the end of the year.

Michelle Lynn Schmeer is a student at American Public University, with five months left before she will earn a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  She has been freelance writing for more than three years and has been writing about a variety of topics, including health supplements, business, communications, and travel, just to name a few.  Michelle lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.  She enjoys reading, being outdoors, and cooking. Michelle is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · ·

Jul/11

13

3 Things You Should Never Say

In order to build a strong relationship with GetACoder providers, there are certain things that you should never do.  Working remotely requires a different type of relationship in order to be successful.  This is most notable when you compare how you commute with a freelancer versus an employee that you see in your office every day.  Here are a few things that should never say to a freelancer.

We need you to use software XYZ, can you get it?

If you are in the interview process, then setting prerequisite software isn’t always a bad idea.  At minimum it will tell you that they have experience with it and can accomplish whatever task you need taken care of.  However, if you are in the middle of a project, it is presumptuous to assume that they will always have what you need.  Plus, if you are telling them about this after the project has already began, they have not included the costs and additional time needed to buy and learn how to use the software.  Even more problematic is that you are putting the financial responsibility of purchasing the software on the freelancer.  They don’t work in your office, which means that they are buying this software with their own money.  If you want to destroy the relationship with your freelancer, then make them spend additional money to complete your project.

Change of plan, we need this done in the next 24 hours.

Another thing that you can’t do is expect your freelancers to change their schedule at a moment’s notice because you want them to.  Most freelancers will be working on multiple projects simultaneously and have already created their work schedule to ensure that every client receives a completed project by the agreed upon delivery date.  If you would do this do a regular business, there would be some type of “express” fee and it is normally a huge rate increase.  Unless you plan on paying your freelancer double, you can’t move up the deadline at a moment’s notice.  If you do need to get a project completed much sooner than previously expected, then talk to your freelancer and come to a mutually beneficial solution.  If they can, they will work with you, but if they can’t – keep in mind that you are the one who is trying to change the original agreement.

“This Project Should Be Easy”

If there is one thing that will irritate most freelancers, it is when you tell them that something should be easy, but it really isn’t.  This has two negative effects.  First, it proves to them that you have no idea what you are talking about.  This will make it much more difficult to outline what you actually want because they will try to read between the lines to determine what you are really asking for.  Second, it automatically sounds like you are trying to talk them into giving you a lower rate.  This will quickly push away more seasoned freelancers.

John Henderson has been a freelance writer for more than 3 years.  He specializes in creating content that is designed to provide various search optimization engine benefits while also engaging website visitors and boosting conversion rates.  He is continually expanding his portfolio with a variety of additional SEO services, while also cultivating an ever-growing stable of his own websites and blogs. John is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · ·

Jul/11

12

3 Sites to Help Sharpen Your Skills

Being an online freelancer can be a great way to keep a flexible schedule and work for a wide range of employers located all around the world. Making sure you’re always at the top of your game is very important to make sure you can compete with all of the other freelancers found online.

Just take a look at the number of people available at any given time GetACoder. You can literally find hundreds of professional experienced writers, programmers, graphic artists, developers and more.

To keep up with the new trends and sharpen your skills in order to provide the highest quality of work and boost your pay, consider the three top online sites to help with a wide range of skills:

Quick and Dirty Tips

Quick and Dirty Tips is a great site that offers many quality tutorials for writers that are simple and easy to understand.  Not only do they show clear examples of grammar and other writing tips but they offer a wide range of information that can apply to others who do other work online as well.

There are several experts on the site who give tips and tutorials for many different skills from online marketing, sales, technology and even health and fitness. Not only will you be able to sharpen your writing skills but you can also learn about new technology, marketing techniques and how to organize work for a happy and productive work week.

Tuts+

Tuts+ is a  fantastic tutorials site that has a database for everything web and computer based. Learn about all of the new methods and skills associated with programming, web development, audio and video production, vector illustrations, PSDs and more.

This site is perfect for anyone wanting to be a technological “Jack of all trades” to get the most job opportunities on GetACoder.

Life Hack

Mainly geared towards students, Life Hack is actually a great resource for anyone wanting to learn moreabouttechnology, communication, management and more. With hundreds of tips from dozens of professionals, it’s a great place to learn new skills that can be applied both online and offline.

More than just tutorials and general working tips, you can also learn how to deal with stress, how to maintain good health without burning out from work and other mental and physical health related articles that applies to anyone in the working world.

Eva has been a freelance writer for over 4 years and has experienced the different struggles associated with working as a freelancer and hiring freelancers for different jobs online. She writes and illustrates children’s books in her free time and enjoys learning new trades from her travels abroad. Eva was an English teacher in Japan for over 3 years and has recently returned to her home in Toronto where she works for an online SEO company and continues her freelance writing part time.Eva is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · ·

Jul/11

11

Up Close And Personal

Let’s face it, without networking you have no contacts. Without contacts, your fledgling freelance career will always be weighed down by lack of work which will eventually cause you to sink and scurry back to the less than appealing world of ‘normal’ employment. There are always networking opportunities if you look hard enough. While it is possible to connect with employers online, meeting face to face is more likely to spawn long lasting lucrative contracts. There are a variety of networking meetings for freelancers that take place in a number of cities around the world. If you happen to live near one, start preparing yourself accordingly in order to avoid the inevitable inability to speak which comes with profound nervousness.

First Contact

First and foremost, you need to have a slew of ice-breaking lines that can begin a conversation. It is a fact that the first 15 seconds with any new person is the most difficult. The majority of the time, the conversation will flow once the initial period of awkwardness has passed. It is a good idea to seek out someone who looks as out of place as you feel and begin talking to them. Just ask simple questions relating to their business or whether they have ever been to a meeting like this before.

Promote Yourself

Once you have chatted with a few people to make yourself comfortable, it’s time to start offering your freelancing services. When a business owner asks you what you do, have a quick, decisive, yet informative answer ready. You are there to gain more contacts and hopefully more business so it’s time to sell yourself. Make sure you have a supply of professional business cards to hand out which should clearly state your name and contact information. There are dozens of online sites which provide a professional business card service for a low cost. After procuring a contact’s business card, jot down information about what you discussed. This will help start another conversation should you get in touch with them.

Although there are a host of profitable jobs in the safe haven that is GetACoder, you cannot expect to succeed infreelancing unless you have engaged in several face to face networking meetings. As talented as you may be, most companies will not feel comfortable delegating responsibility to faceless entities. There is only so much you can find out about an online employee. By speaking in person, you will make the employer more comfortable now that they are dealing with a real person. As long as you make a good impression, expect far more challenging and profitable contracts in the future.

An excellent writer, proficient in a variety of topics, Patrick Lynch has four years creative writing experience, which began in the National University of Ireland, Galway where he received a grade in the top 10 of his writing seminar.He is an editor for the University journal, ROPES, and is also a content writer for venusdatingmagazine.com, thirdage.com and kenetixcreativecontent.com. His fluent writing style has received high praise from several quarters. This, coupled with his attention to detail and propensity to complete a project well within any deadlines set, ensures that whomever hires him will be an extremely satisfied customer. Patrick is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · · ·

Jul/11

8

Foreign Currencies and Freelancing

There is no way to separate the way the world works from your freelancing business plan. Every time you log onto the net you are swimming in a sea of information from several countries and if you are looking to make a living as a freelancer you will need to work for clients from all sorts of countries. GetACoder supports clients and freelancers from all over the world, providing projects and contractors to anyone who needs them. Every freelancer needs to be aware of how a foreign currency can affect their bottom line and the jobs they choose to take.

The exchange rate you are going to deal with is based on just how strong your own currency is in the global market, more specifically when compared to the currency of the client’s country. A common mistake a freelancer can make when quoting price is to make an offer that is not based around their currency. For example, if you are working out of the United States and you have a choice between a client in the United Kingdom and one in the Ukraine it would be better to lean on the UK. Also, make your estimate in the denomination of the stronger currency, it will make your offer more transparent and if you are dealing with a client with a strong currency they will be more accommodating.

Working out of a country with a weaker currency will make you a more appealing prospect, but do not negotiate from a weak place, ensure you are getting a fair amount for your work. That being said, there are advantages of working under a depressed currency, especially if you are paid through PayPal, you can deposit foreign funds directly through you bank and depending on their conversion rate save money on the transaction. Clients are also aware of some of the benefits that can come with working with a freelancer with a depressed currency as in most cases they will be able to benefit from the situation monetarily.

Never use this situation as an excuse to lower expected pay. Simply because the exchange rate tips in the client favour does not mean that they have all the cards. As a freelancer you have a responsibility to the client, but at the end of the day you must make sure that you are being paid what your time and effort are worth. Look at the work load and do some research as to how much people in that country expect to be paid for that job and make your rate lean as far as possible in that direction.

If you find a job you are suited for and the clients currency is valued below yours you need to expect some heavy negotiating if you want to take the job at all. Always play fair to protect your reputation but be realistic. Typically if you can prove yourself as a coder, designer, or architect then any client will pay what you are worth but if they won’t its best to move on.

James Thomas has been a professional blogger for three years and an add writer for two years. He has won several awards for creative and journalistic writing including the equivocality.net Writers Travel Scholarship. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in English and will be attending Oxford Brookes University to complete a Masters degree in publishing in th fall of 2011. James is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Jul/11

7

Why Outsourcing is a Growing Trend

Those individuals that keep up on growing trends in business will see that outsourcing is one of those growing trends and there are a number of reasons why.  Outsourcing involves contracting work outside of the business itself, to other companies or individual freelancers, and there are numerous benefits to both sides of the practice.  Even though there are benefits that go along with outsourcing though there has been a great deal of opposition to the practice, with various reasons sighted.  Most often people tend to think that outsourcers undercut more experienced individuals, but this is hardly always the case.  In fact, some individuals outsource because they do not have staff with the necessary skills to complete certain projects.  In many cases when opponents to the outsourcing industry consider why outsourcing is a growing trend they will be able to realize the necessity of the growing practice.

Growing Need for More Employees but Nowhere to Put Them – One of the biggest reasons companies outsource work is the fact that there is a growing need for more employees, but not necessarily anywhere to put them.  With advancements in technology comes the need for additional employees with skills that other employees may not have.  Businesses have the option of moving their location to one with more space, but this can be costly compared to outsourcing the work to someone outside of the office.  Hiring someone who works from home, or in another office, means being able to keep a business where it is already located.

Excellent Ways for Businesses to Save Money – In addition to not having the space to put additional workers some businesses also enjoy the savings that come with outsourcing some of their work.  When an individual is employed in an office there are a number of costs that go along with it.  Such things as equipment, utilities, health benefits, and paid holidays are all costly obligations for businesses employing workers in an actual office setting.  By outsourcing work these expenses are avoided but the work is still getting done.

Wider Variety of Skills – Finally, with the ever-growing technology in the world, outsourcing gives companies the option of employing a variety of skills.  In some situations a business may only need to utilize a certain skill on a periodic basis.  Outsourcing allows these businesses to do this without having to pay someone full-time.

Although there are individuals who will abuse outsourcing in one way or another, the overall consensus is that businesses, GetACoder buyers, and contractors benefit from the practice.  This will begin to be noticed more and more as the outsourcing industry continues to grow at the pace that it has for the last few years.

Michelle Lynn Schmeer is a student at American Public University, with five months left before she will earn a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  She has been freelance writing for more than three years and has been writing about a variety of topics, including health supplements, business, communications, and travel, just to name a few.  Michelle lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.  She enjoys reading, being outdoors, and cooking. Michelle is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Jul/11

6

How Freelancers Stay on Top and Meet Every Deadline

When it comes to freelancing, you are either on time or you’re late, there is no middle ground.  Nothing will get you negative feedback on GetACoder faster than missing a deadline.  The best freelancers will tell you that missing a deadline is simply unacceptable because it shows that either you don’t care or you didn’t know enough to take on the project in the first place.  Either way, it ends up making you look bad.  Here are a few simple tricks to make sure that you are always on top of your game and meet every deadline.

Track Your Productivity

The most important thing that you can do is track your productivity.  If you don’t know what your rate of work is, then how can you expect to meet every deadline?  If you write 2 articles an hour, then you can’t expect to complete a 50 article project in 2 days.  If it normally takes you a week to create a website template, then you don’t want to accept a project that only gives you 3 days.  Tracking your productivity helps you meet every deadline in two ways.  First it helps you decide whether or not you should apply to a project.  Second, it helps track whether you are improving your output.  It is easy to sit in front of your computer and say that you were working for 8 hours, but that doesn’t mean that you actually got anything done.  Tracking your output will keep you on top of your game as well as help you find ways to improve.

Be Realistic

Another way to make sure that you meet every deadline is to be realistic when accepting projects.  A lot of buyers are fairly flexible in terms of the completion date, but you cannot promise to deliver on a set date and miss it.  If you have problems meeting deadlines, regardless of the reason, start building in a few buffer days.  If you normally complete a task in 3 days, then let the buyer know that it could take up to 5.  That way if something happens or you just don’t get it done in the normal 3 days, you still have extra time before you miss the deadline.  Don’t hesitate to let buyers know that while you normally deliver in 3 days, it can take up to 5 or 7.  As long as they are aware of how long it could take, they won’t get upset if it takes 4 or 5 days.

Take a Day Off

It is easy to get so caught up with your deadlines that your work starts to suffer.  You will start spending more time working, but accomplishing less. If this starts to happen, don’t hesitate to schedule in a few days off to get refreshed. Everyone needs a day off now and then, even if they work from home.

By implementing these 3 strategies, you will be able to start meeting your deadlines as well as increase the number of projects that you can accept.  Always track your productivity, be realistic when setting deadlines with buyers, and never hesitate to take a personal day when you need it.

John Henderson has been a freelance writer for more than 3 years.  He specializes in creating content that is designed to provide various search optimization engine benefits while also engaging website visitors and boosting conversion rates.  He is continually expanding his portfolio with a variety of additional SEO services, while also cultivating an ever-growing stable of his own websites and blogs. John is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · ·

Jul/11

5

Tips for Good Research Online

If you are new to the freelance writing world and would like to start off on the right foot with new employers, it’s important to provide high quality work with the most accurate information you can find. Not only will it reflect your professionalism but it will also give you a better chance for high ratings and repeat work.

While the internet is the most popular source of information and the first research tool that most people choose first, it’s important to find the best and most reliable sites for gathering your research information.

With billions of different sites available right at your fingertips, it can be very easy to stumble upon sites that are outdated or have a lot of incorrect information. When you don’t know where to look, you could be providing your employer bad information that may reflect poorly on your work performance and rating on GetACoder.

At times, employers will provide you with links to sites that you should use as a reference but for those employers who leave the research work for you, there are a few tips to remember when searching through content online.

Educational Sites

Good educational sources online are generally listed as .edu and .gov and are a very good place to start since there is generally a particular grade of information that’s posted on these sites.

Other sites that are known for their high level of facts and wide range of information would be trusted names like TED, Discovery, PBS, History, HowStuffWorks and the ever popular National Geographic.

News Sites

Although there are hundreds of different news sites available from every corner of the world, it’s important to check how reliable the site and news names really are. Depending on the information that you are researching, whether they are related to a particular country or not, look up the popularity and rating of the site before choosing to get research there.

Remember, many news sites have their own agenda, so their information will always be skewed, so first try some of the more trusted news-related sites like BBC, Reuters, Wired and Time.

Reference Materials Online

Try some of the well-known reference sites online for good information based on a wide range of topics. Online, youhave access to hundreds of reference sites that are known to have up-to-date information.

Among the trusted names you can try Wikipedia, Oxford, Merriam Webster, Encyclopedia Brittanica and About.com.

While there are many more sites that can offer wonderful information, it’s important for you to check where the information is coming from. Try to avoid personal blogs from random people and don’t waste your time searching forums because most of the time they will end up a bust.

Eva has been a freelance writer for over 4 years and has experienced the different struggles associated with working as a freelancer and hiring freelancers for different jobs online. She writes and illustrates children’s books in her free time and enjoys learning new trades from her travels abroad. Eva was an English teacher in Japan for over 3 years and has recently returned to her home in Toronto where she works for an online SEO company and continues her freelance writing part time.Eva is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · ·

Jul/11

4

What does the New US Privacy Bill Mean for Outsourcing?

April saw US senators John McCain and John Kerry introduce a newly proposed privacy bill that has many businesses and marketers up in arms.

This new US Privacy Bill is aimed at cracking down on the sharing of consumers personal information. However many, including the Direct Marketing Association worry that this will do serious damage to the marketing industry and even have a major negative effect on brick and mortar retailers.

New privacy disclosures that could be required to be delivered at the point of sale, limits on data collected and the prohibition of tracking could well be a huge slap in the face to US businesses just as they are struggling to fight back from the recession. This clearly makes little sense, especially considering the many far more apparently urgent government issues at hand. Well, that is unless you are Facebook who has publicly backed the bill after recent meetings with President Obama. Facebook sees the elimination of many other forms of marketing along with the certain exceptions that they believe will leave them as one of the few big play in online marketing a huge benefit.

There is certainly nothing wrong with protecting consumers. Though it should come out of a genuine concern for the consumer and perhaps address the biggest threats like security risks in the banking industry and the fact that the credit bureaus are free to sell any one’s most personal information on a daily basis.

Depending on the final version of this bill, and if it is passed as well as if individual states institute their own regulations US based marketers and business could face some challenges. This includes potentially putting a halt to many mobile marketing campaigns and tools in the works which have already had thousands and millions invested in them as well as making it hard for some to get access to low cost leads of take advantage of highly profitable joint ventures.

However this is all fantastic news for the world of outsourcing and GetACoder. Why? If brick and mortar sales areaffected, they will simply migrate online. At the same time businesses who rely on these types of marketing will simply take it offshore where they are not regulated by the US government. Great news for freelancers and especially great news for businesses who have already begun outsourcing and who will have the edge on those scrambling to get involved.

Tim picked up the travel bug at a young age from his missionary parents. After building several million dollar enterprises he is now a freelancer, business consultant and professional writer who has adventured through much of Europe as well as North and South America. Thanks to outsourcing Tim has now joined the ranks of those living the jet set lifestyle as an international nomad on the constant exploration of new sights, sounds and tastes. Tim is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

· · · · · · · · · ·

<< Latest posts

Older posts >>