Archive for September, 2015

33 Freelance Sites to Explore for Freelance Assistance and Jobs

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

freelance sites

Small businesses need freelancers for the flexibility they offer versus permanent employees. Solopreneurs, especially, need to employ experts as they are needed and freelance sites are the best places to find them.

Freelancers need contracts and having work from multiple companies provides more income security than simply working for one company. Signing up with a freelance site gives a freelancer a marketing channel until he or she has built up a personal network of contacts.

Companies use freelance sites because of the large number of expert talent they find there. They know they are likely to find someone with the skill set they need.

General Freelance Sites

Upwork

In August 2015, Elance and Odesk merged to create Upwork. This site works well for employers because of its size and the range of jobs you can have done. There are many high-quality freelancers on Upwork.

The rating system means you can see what previous employers think of the freelancer you are about to take on. Upwork works for freelancers because of the escrow payment protection system and the large number of jobs available.

Guru

Businesses can find U.S.-based freelancers with skills in many areas on Guru.

Employers like the breadth of freelancers that are available and the time-tracking system that was introduced in 2015. Full-time freelancers must upgrade to a paid account, which reduces the number of spurious applicants for jobs.

Freelancers like the escrow payment system and the way Guru handles U.S. tax reporting for them.

Freelancer

The third of the “big three” freelancing sites is Freelancer. Employers can find freelancers with skills as diverse as article writing, website building, and graphic design.

Small businesses like Freelancer because of the staged payments that are available and the on-site communications with freelancers. Freelancers like the site because of the large number of jobs offered and the secure escrow payment system.

CrowdSite

There are two ways your company can use CrowdSite.

First, you could create a 140-character ‘shout’ describing your project and see who responds, choose one person and negotiate a price and delivery details.

Or, you could launch a design contest, receive scores of entries, choose the best one, and negotiate the finer details with the winner.

You pay for design contests up front. Freelancers can enter design contests in the confidence that, if they win, the payment has already been made or they can bid and negotiate for project ‘shouts’.

Fiverr

From article writing to website and logo design, you can find every service on the planet for $5.50 at Fiverr. The quality you get is very good for the price, but you will have to pay extra charges in many cases to get the service you require. Freelancers often use Fiverr to establish themselves in their niche and it is very easy to set up as a service provider on the site.

PeoplePerHour

One of the smaller freelancing sites is PeoplePerHour. Small business owners can find a great range of freelancers on this site and can employ them for a trial hour before committing to a longer-term contract.

Employers only pay a deposit to start a freelancer working, though the full contract amount must be paid to release the work. Freelancers love the range of jobs that are available and the escrow payment system.

Mechanical Turk

If your business needs many tiny tasks completed, Mechanical Turk is the freelance site you need. This is an Amazon site where small businesses can post very small tasks that only take a few seconds or minutes to do.

Small businesses can outsource all the thousands of tiny tasks that are reducing productivity and have them done for a few cents each. Freelancers like the simplicity of the jobs being offered.

Freelanced

Small sites like Freelanced offer more basic services. Freelanced is essentially a messaging board that freelancers pay to access. Small business users find it very simple to use and there are no commissions to pay to the website.

Payments are made direct to the freelancer without any compulsory escrow service. Freelancers like the low-cost monthly subscriptions and the flexibility they have to use third-party escrow services for new employers.

Rat Race Rebellion

If your company has positions that could be filled by someone working from home, then Rat Race Rebellion is worth checking out.

For employers, the process is as simple as just sending an email with a job description. There are no charges either for employers or freelancers. Freelancers do need to be cautious because contracts and payments are entirely off-site and there is little pre-screening of jobs that are posted.

FlexJobs

If you have a skilled or professional vacancy where hours, location, or conditions are flexible, then FlexJobs might be the perfect answer for your company.

Posting a job is free, though you have to sign up. You can also pay for preferential placement of your freelance or flexible job. People looking for flexible work pay a small monthly fee. This fee ensures thorough screening of all vacancies.

FlexJobs also searches the Internet for professional-level flexible jobs, which makes the freelancer’s job a little easier.

Freelance Writing Jobs

Online Writing Jobs

Every small company needs writers to produce professional-quality copy. Online Writing Jobs is a good place to find those writers. Writers are pre-screened and require industry-specific expertise before they are accepted, so you know you are hiring the right writer.

Any articles go through a two-stage editing process before they are sent to the employer. Writers who have some authority within their niche can earn a regular income. Payments are sent weekly by check or PayPal.

DailyPosts

You can have articles written for your company by qualified subject-specialist writers at Daily Posts. This is a British company that employs writers from the U.S. and around the world.

All articles are checked by two editors before they are sent to you. Freelance writers can apply to Daily Posts and will find as much work as they can handle at fair rates. Payments are sent out weekly by PayPal.

Canadian Freelance Writing Jobs

If you want Canadian writers and are prepared to pay fair rates, Canadian Freelance Writing Jobs is the site you need. The site is free to both employers and writers, so it is ad-supported. Only job ads that pay a fair rate are accepted. Canadian freelance writers can get themselves on the site by applying and placing a link to Canadian Freelance Writing Jobs on their own sites.

Textbroker

Small business owners can use Textbroker to have paragraphs or articles written mainly by U.S. writers. Textbroker has the advantage that you can specify the quality of the writing you want and only pay higher rates for important articles. Freelancers know their payments are secure and that they will be paid higher rates as their writing skills improve. Payments are sent by PayPal.

Freelance Journalist Jobs

JournalismJobs

If your company issues press releases, then a journalist is the ideal freelance employee for you. JournalismJobs is the place to find the person you need. If you are a qualified journalist looking for freelance work, then you should register with the site and post your resume.

MediaBistro

If your company is looking for a journalist, consider placing a job ad on MediaBistro. This is a jobs board for journalists. Most of the jobs advertised are full-time, but journalists are known for their flexibility and it is worth using the board to reach professionals. There is a fee to place a job ad. Freelancers with journalism qualifications can post their resumes for a monthly fee and can apply for job posts on the site.

PitchMe

Your small business can find a journalist to write articles using PitchMe. You sign up, describe the articles you need, and journalists pitch you their ideas. You accept one, pay the site and the journalist is paid when you accept the finished article. Freelance journalists can apply to Pitch Me, but membership requests are individually vetted to maintain quality.

Freelance Visual Arts

EnvatoStudio

FreelanceSwitch has merged with EnvatoStudio to form a freelance site that is primarily focused on graphics, website design and programming. Small businesses can find the freelancers they need to design business cards, develop apps, find writers for press releases and blog posts, all on the same site. Freelancers love the compulsory escrow payments because they guarantee payment for work done.

Aquent

If you have had difficulty finding good freelancers using traditional freelancing sites, then Aquent might suit your company better. It is a combination of freelancing site and international temp agency. Businesses can post short and long-term vacancies in digital, design, social media and marketing fields. Freelancers like the higher rates of pay than are available on most freelancing sites.

ArtWanted

If your small business is looking for original art, then ArtWanted is the place to start. You can browse through artists’ pictures posted for sale or as samples. You can commission the perfect digital or traditional artwork by your preferred artist. Freelance artists can sell their work through ArtWanted with a 15 percent commission charge, or through their own arrangements without a commission fee.

Freelance Graphic Design

99Designs

Design contests are one way for a company to receive many proposals from graphic designers and still have a reasonable bill. 99Designs is one site that hosts graphic design contests.

You may be sent 50 or more design proposals, but only the designer you choose as the winner gets paid. Freelance designers choose which competitions to enter and know their payment is secure before they start work.

DesignHill

If your company needs a logo, stationery design, or a website, then a DesignHill contest is a good way to get proposals from many different graphic designers. You see up to a hundred draft proposals, choose one to finalize and only that designer is paid. Freelance graphic artists choose what contests in which they compete. And they know the DesignHill escrow system assures them of payment.

Computers

Computer Assistant

No small business can afford to run its own IT department and there is no need to do so when freelance IT specialists are available. Computer Assistant lets you register on the site and post your problem. Local freelance computer experts bid on the job. Freelance IT specialists who are called to customers’ premises to fix problems without taking equipment away should apply to Computer Assistant for work in their areas.

Freelance Coding and Web Development

GetACoder

When your business needs a coder for a website redesign, an app, or database development, you can hire one on GetACoder. You can specify local coders or low-cost international code experts and get the job done at a price you are happy with. Freelance coders are charged a commission by the site and every payment is made in advance using an escrow service.

FreelancerMap

Coding experts and IT professionals are in high demand and are often difficult to find. FreelancerMap is a site where experts, and the people who need them, meet up. There is a monthly or annual subscription required that lets you post jobs and see the applicants for those jobs.

Skilled freelancers can sign up at Freelancer Map for a small monthly fee. There is a free account, but inbox access is limited.

Smashing Jobs

If you need a code expert to launch a new app or WordPress plugin then consider Smashing Jobs. You will need to pay for your job ad. Skilled freelancers should consider applying to Smashing Jobs because there are many well-paid, full-time and freelance jobs available. Payments are arranged between freelancer and client.

Freelance Miscellaneous Jobs

SkillBridge

If your small business needs an expert manager, then SkillBridge is the place to look. The freelancers for hire here are special. Some are former corporate vice-presidents or executives and they know their jobs. Consider bringing in a Skillbridge freelancer to manage an important project or to work alongside you for a few months.

Tutor.com

The best training process is to teach others what you know. You could encourage your employees to apply to Tutor.com. Subjects required include Law, Management, Accounting and Microsoft Excel. Your employees would be paid by Tutor.com.

Any freelancer with knowledge in these subjects can apply. The only requirements are simple tests, a fast Internet connection, and a background check.

iSpeakUSpeak

The iSpeakUSpeak site is aimed at freelancers whose first language is English and who have an ESL/EFL teaching qualification. The site matches each freelance teacher with students who want to learn English at their own pace. Freelancers are paid through the site.

Arise

Customer services are such a massive drain on a small company that it makes sense to outsource them. Arise acts as a clearinghouse for customer service issues and directs work to qualified freelance personnel.

Services offered include industry-specific solutions such as outbound-calling, account verification and technical support.  Any freelancer interested in working with Arise will need to form a company and have an email address at that company rather than a free email, like with Gmail or Yahoo.

JusAnswer

No small business can afford to waste money on legal advice. JustAnswer means you can get the answers to the questions you need quickly.

All experts’ qualifications and expertise are checked before they are allowed to answer questions. The service is a paid one but will cost you less than a visit to a local professional. Qualified freelancers can make a regular working with Just Answer to answer questions in their fields of expertise.

Update Legal

If your legal practice requires extra staff, then Update Legal can provide the qualified staff you need on either a temporary or a permanent basis. Legal freelancers will be attracted by the wide range of benefits available, including medical insurance and a 401(k) program.

Uber, Lyft, Sidecar

Your business could reduce travel expenses by using Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services rather than normal taxis. Sidecar gives you a convenient way to outsource time-crucial deliveries and removes the need for your own delivery service.

Any freelancer with a clean driving record and no criminal history can apply for work through Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, using their own vehicle to earn extra income.

Airbnb

If your company is hosting clients or visitors from out-of-town then using an Airbnb apartment rather than a hotel room can create a favorable impression and save a few dollars too. The apartments are let by their owners to short-term tenants. Most cities have Airbnb apartments of all sizes. Anyone can rent their residence through Airbnb very simply. All payments are handled by Airbnb. The tenant pays the Airbnb fee, the cleaning fee, as well as a security deposit.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for services or planning to provide them, these freelance sites will give you plenty of the right places to start looking.

Searching Image via Shutterstock

This article, “33 Freelance Sites to Explore for Freelance Assistance and Jobs” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgaria’s Anti-Corruption Council to Present Sectoral Anti-Corruption Plans by end-October

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Sectoral anti-corruption plans in the spheres of healthcare, energy, agriculture, transport, tax administration and customs authorities, are to be ready by end-October, according to a decision of the National Council for Anti-Corruption Practices announced on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s meeting of the Council was closed.
The preparation of sectoral anti-corruption plans was included in the new strategy for the fight against corruption in the period 2015-2020, according to the press office of the government, as cited by investor.bg.
The completed plan for preventing corruption at Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry, which was first presented on Tuesday, was discussed during Wednesday’s meeting of the Council.
Deputy Interior Minister Filip Gunev presented Wednesday the measures taken by the Interior Ministry in the sphere of fighting electoral corruption, including the identification of high-risk persons and polling stations and the creation of a monitoring system.
Wednesday’s meeting featured a discussion on the achievements of the special inter-departmental anti-corruption unit.
The National Council for Anti-Corruption Practices was established in May 2015 to coordinate anti-corruption policies and the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy by pooling the resources of the prosecuting authority, the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
The prosecuting authority announced that charges had so far been pressed against 12 magistrates, including 8 judges, 3 prosecutors, and 1 investigating magistrate, and that 161 inspections had been opened on complaints and tip-offs for offences committed by magistrates, of which 88 had been wrapped up.
The representatives of the prosecuting authority made clear that 8 magistrates (6 judges, 1 prosecutor, and 1 investigating magistrate) had been brought before court, 10 pre-trial proceedings against senior public officials were underway, indictments had been submitted against 4, and 22 inspections had been launched.
It was announced that the next meeting of the Council would include discussions on the sectoral anti-corruption plans, on opportunities for civic education on the fight against corruption, and on the ethical standards for the public sector developed by the Center for Prevention und Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (CPSCOC).
Apart from the National Council for Anti-Corruption Practices, a new anti-corruption unit is to start functioning as of 2016. The new entity will unite the Bulgaria’s Conflict of Interest Commission, the Center for Prevention und Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime, and a unit of the National Audit Office specialized in checking property declarations of politicians.

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Oil rebalance at risk, says energy expert

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Inventories and output need to fall, says Gary Ross of Pira Energy research group

Airlines in it for the long haul

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

THERE was some brief excitement in the aviation world earlier this week, as rumours swirled about the fall of a dubious industry record. On a trip to Silicon Vally it was suggested that Narendra Modi, the president of India, was going to announce the launch of the world’s longest non-stop plane route: an Air India flight between Bangalore and San Francisco, a journey of around 8,700 miles or 18 hours. As it turned out, the route India’s flag carrier has planned is the 7,670-mile journey from New Delhi to San Francisco. That will last a paltry 16 hours.

For fans of long plane journeys (and who isn’t?) it has been a rollercoaster year. In August, Emirates announced the real deal: a 17-and-a-half-hour, 8,590-mile slog between Dubai and Panama, which will begin flying next February. That will easily beat Qantas’s Flight 8 from Sydney to Dallas, which is the currently the world’s…Continue reading

Devaluations didn't work

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

THE term “currency wars” has sparked a vigorous debate within the economics commentariat. The term was coined by Brazil’s then finance minister, Guido Mantega, in 2010 when the real was moving sharply higher, a nice irony given the real’s recent falls to record lows. Some saw it as a negative development, talking of beggar-thy-neighbour devaluations designed to grab a bigger share of world trade; eventually, this was a zero sum game since all currencies cannot devalue. The counter-argument was that, on the contrary, this was positive for the world economy. Countries were easing monetary policy, either by cutting interest rates or adopting quantitative easing, and the aggregate effect would be to boost global demand. Parallels were drawn with the 1930s when developed countries abandoned the gold standard and those that devalued first, recovered most quickly.

A new (privately circulated, so no link) note from Stephen King, the senior economic adviser at HSBC, argues that the 1930s parallel is incorrect and that, currently

attempts by individual central banks to boost growth and inflation via currency depreciation have been collectively…Continue reading

Russia Says Its Warplanes Launch Strikes on Islamic State Targets in Syria

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Russian warplanes have launched presision strikes on positions of the Islamic State group in Syria, the Defence Ministry in Moscow said on Wednesday.

Targets included military equipment, communication centers, motor vehicles as well as munition and fuel depots of the jihadist group outlawed in Russia as terrorist organization, TASS quoted the Defence Ministry official representative Major- General Igor Konashenkov as telling reporters.

Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, Chairman of the Defense Committee at State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, told TASS on Wednesday that Russia will give preference to ground attack aircraft, in particular Su-25, as well as reconnaissance aircraft.

Fighter-bombers and helicopters can also be used, according to Komoyedov.

He also said that Russian ground troops in Syria will be only needed to protect airbases used by Russian warplanes to carry out strikes on Islamic State targets. 

 

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Build a Website for Free: How to Get Started

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

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Build a Website for Free

A 2015 study reported that small- and medium-sized businesses see more success from their websites than from any other channel, which makes it remarkable that more than half of small businesses still do not have an online presence.

If the technical side of building a website seems daunting, small business owners today have an array of free and easy-to-use website builders to help bring their businesses online. Created for the non-technical user, these tools provide out-of-the-box templates that let you point and click your way to a new website.

Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Visualize Your Website and Identify Your Needs

Take a moment to think about what your website will look like. It often helps to get really simple and take a notebook and pencil and sketch it out. Do you just need a basic one-page flyer for your business? Or, maybe you’d like to create a multimedia marketing and sales hub? Most free website builders are great tools if you want to start with a few simple pages, but also offer the option to upgrade to a more premium package for additional features and functionality as you scale your website. Generally, options included in a free package versus a premium package will vary by provider, so knowing what you require now — and what you might need later — will help you to narrow down your list of potential website builders.

Take a look at the comparison below to get an idea of what to expect when selecting a website builder:

Build a Website for Free

2. Register a Domain Name

Your domain name is not only the Web address for your site; it is also your online identity, so it’s important to register one that best represents your business and brand. Some website builders will suggest you skip this step and offer to host your site on their domain, but sending customers to your own registered domain name will help you achieve the following:

  • Build your business’ brand
  • Launch a central place on the Web for customers to find you, even if you switch website providers
  • Create a memorable address to use for marketing
  • Establish a company-branded email through the domain name

Try to come up with a domain name that represents your business name and choose a domain extension that is highly recognized and credible. Many experts recommend using a .com or .net domain since they are the standards for doing business online, and offer the high recognition and credibility that are important for a small business website.

For inspiration, use a name suggestion tool such as DomainScope.com to search for available domain names. Be creative and keep in mind a more descriptive version of your business name — one that includes your location, creatively highlights certain aspects of your business, or includes popular search keywords — may be the most successful in getting customer attention.

When you finally have that great idea for a name, head over to an accredited domain name registrar to register your new Web address. Many companies that sell domain names also offer website builder services, or you can connect your already-registered domain name to the tool you select.

3. Select the Right Website Builder

Research, research, research. Start by doing a search on ‘free website builders’ on your favorite search engine. Look at your list of requirements and choose two to three website builders to compare. Keep in mind the features offered in premium packages, as you may need to use them as your needs grow with your business. Not all tools are created equal, and selecting the right builder for your website will save you time and frustration down the line.

Ready to get started? Download Verisign’s Building a Website Checklist.

Web Construction Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Build a Website for Free: How to Get Started” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Employers’ Associations Report Irregularities in Bulgaria’s Energy Sector to Chief Prosecutor

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The heads of four employers’ associations submitted tip-offs with the prosecuting authority for three types of irregularities in the energy sector.

Vasil Velev, Chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), Bozhidar Danev, Chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), Tsvetan Simeonov, Chair of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), and Kiril Domuschiev, Chair of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (CEIBG), told Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov on Wednesday that the elimination of the flaws identified by them could result in a reduction in electricity prices.

Tsatsarov, as cited in a media statement of the BIA, reminded the chairmen of the four organizations that a working group including representatives of the Energy Ministry, the State Agency for National Security (DANS), and the prosecuting authority was investigating potential offences in the sector and vowed that the results of the probe would be published in November.

One of the tip-offs concerns offences committed by renewable energy plants, including photovoltaic plants which functioned at night and plants from which electricity was bought before their official launch, conflict of interest over the actual ownership of renewable energy plants, and a failure of regulatory bodies to exercise appropriate control and hold the offenders responsible for their actions.

The four organizations suggest that the prosecuting authority notify the competent US bodies about the privatization of the two thermal power plants in the Maritsa Iztok Complex, AES-3C Maritza East 1 EOOD and ConturGlobal Maritza – East 3, currently owned by US investors.

The tip-off related to the two US-owned thermal power plants says that they concluded unfavorable deals for electricity supplies which also violated EU competition rules.

The third signal involves an alleged breach on the part of the Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (KEVR). On July 31, a decision was published on the website of the energy watchdog, which was subsequently replaced with another version, which was more favorable to photovoltaic plants, according to the four employers’ organizations.

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Rio eyes NSW coal exit with stake sale

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Reshuffle likely to make it easier to sell other Hunter Valley assets

Russian Aircraft Strike Opposition Targets in Syria

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Russian warplanes have launched their first strikes on Syrian opposition targets, FoxNews and Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The airstrikes,carried out by a “couple” of Russian bombers,targeted fighters near the city of Homs, located about 100 km east of a Russian naval base in Tartus, according to a senior US military official, FoxNews said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the airstrikes targeted positions of the Oslamic State group, al-Qaeda or other forces opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

More to follow

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