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QI-009: Online Freelance Contractors Help You Go Further, Faster | Interview with Matt Cooper, VP of Enterprise for oDesk

No matter how smart, capable, or hard working you are, at some point you are going to need help turning your great idea into reality.  In today's show my guest is Matt Cooper, the Vice President of Enterprise for oDesk, the largest global freelance platform out there.  Matt and I talk about what a freelance contractor is, how you find them, how to choose and manage them once you do find them, as well as things to watch out for when hiring and working with a freelance contractor.

Overall, I am immensely satisfied with the concept of freelance contractors and only wish it existed the last time I started new companies, way back in 2000.  It was because of my positive experience with the concept that I decided to invite someone from oDesk to come on the show. 

In Today's Expert Interview You Will Learn About:

  • The concept of freelance contractors, how they work, and how they can help you.
  • The changes in the global workplace that enable freelance contractors to thrive as a concept benefitting both the contractor and the client.
  • The types of talent that make practical sense to hire as freelance contractors.
  • How they get paid.
  • Tips and things to watch out for when recruiting and hiring a freelance contractor.

Introducing Today's Expert on Freelance Contractors

My guest today is Matt Cooper, VP of Enterprise at oDesk, an online place for contractors and clients to come together to, basically, get work done.  With about 3 million contractors around the world to help you, oDesk, like its major competitor Elance, is a great way for quiet innovators like us to get access to talent needed to help turn our great ideas into reality. 

I feel very privileged to have Matt as my guest today.  He circles the globe speaking to companies and professionals on oDesk, talent management, and the future of work – and today he’s with us!  He’s spoken at TechWeek, eAsia, DeveloperWeek in San Francisco in 2013, the World Bank (February 2013), Startup Weekend New York and also been featured in the New York Times, Staffing Industry Analysts’ blog, and on Good Morning America.  As we go through the interview you’ll learn more about oDesk and some of the ways I’ve used it and you can too. 

I am delighted Matt was able to join us on the show today.  His thoughts and advice are worthwhile and he's welcome back here anytime.

How Freelance Contractors Help With My Great Ideas

I make heavy use of freelance contractors myself and it's had a positive impact on my business ventures today.  Whether I am simply at the stage where an idea is still in my head and I wanted some help with market research, or perhaps further along into the nitty-gritty where I needed help with all those little projects and details it takes to get a new venture off the ground, at some point we all need people to help us.  I've found freelance contractors are a great option worth considering. 

When it comes to hiring talent, the reality is often times you simply need a specialist or expert for a project or short-term engagement.  In fact, it may not even make sense to have them on your payroll, assuming you even have a payroll yet! 

For example, I hired professional voice talent through oDesk to help me with that "I've got a great idea" voice montage I use to start every episode of the Quiet Innovation podcast.  I obviously don't need to keep professional actors on my payroll when that's all I needed them for. 

When I needed logos and related artwork for the Quiet Innovation site and podcast I started by sponsoring a so-called "design contest" over at 99designs. This is where you offer a cash "prize" which is awarded to the winning designer.  By doing that I received hundreds of ideas to consider. 

I liked the 99designs approach to logo and other design work far more than the typical routine of hiring a graphic artist locally and looking at only the handful of designs they come up with. Oh, don't forget the hurt feelings or tension that can arise if you really don't like what they've come up with – Ugh!  So long as you are respectful in your online interactions, you get little of that from the 99designs artists. 

Working with 99designs also cost so much less and was such a positive experience that I went on to sponsor a second design contest for a second logo.  Based on my experience, one of my sisters did the same thing for a business she was just starting at the time. 

Once I had the art work in hand, I then went back on oDesk to find a graphic artist to help me create video animations of one of my logos I use for a different website I've not yet launched. 

Currently, I am recruiting writers on oDesk to help me with some content I'm assembling for yet another of my projects.  Lastly, since about December, I've had a young guy doing data entry for me every week. 

The fees for using oDesk and Elance are about the same, but it does appear oDesk has a larger universe of contractors to choose from.  That's both good and bad, depending on your perspective.  Currently, I only make use of oDesk myself but that's because I've just not had need to go beyond that one platform.  Having said that, because so many people I respect speak highly of Elance, I am comfortable including an affiliate link to them as well. If anything, it gives you two options instead of one for finding your own freelance contractor. 

Here are my affiliate links to oDesk, Elance, and 99designs —

A World of Talent Ready to Work

Visit 99designs.com

Reminder:  Making a purchase through these links does pay me a small commission for which I am most grateful.  The price you would pay is the same regardless.

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