The Difficulties Of Working With Freelancers

As I mentioned in a recent post, I started a serious babies website, and while the initial reaction has been great, I want to take it up a notch. Through Facebook sharing only, we manage to get about 300 visitors to each new image. It’s great, and the parents of the baby do a great job sharing, but not everyone is as excited as sharing someone else’s baby as I think they should be. And after the initial bump, traffic drops back down. To build a sustainable site, we need a reason for people to come back to the site, not just when we post to social media channels.

We’re Redesigning The Site To Be More Social

We know we have a great idea, we just need better execution. So instead of having one image and having people share a pictures of a baby, we’re going to turn this into a meme-type site, where users can caption each serious baby with their own caption, and share that. You could have one image with multiple captions, and people will be able to share their captions, not just the images themselves. You’ll be able to see what others are captioning, which ones are most popular, and it will be very easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, something we have not explored yet.

Elance Is My First Stop For Programming Needs

As usual, I went on Elance.com to find someone to help with the redesign and the coding. I had a pretty good idea of the functionality and I still wanted the main colors to be baby blue and pink, but I wasn’t stuck on exactly what borders and trim, so I was open to suggestions. I waited a few days for the bids to come in and settled on a team that had a very cheap price, just over $100. For what I was looking for, I was really excited. And they said it would only take a week! It was perfect, so I awarded them the job and we started talking. We had a skype phone call and they started designing. I liked their ideas, but it was very difficult to communicate as English was not their primary language. After some back and forth where I was misunderstood and they did extra work because of it, I decided that we should part ways before getting too deep. They did help me with the design, so I offered a bit of money for that, but they declined saying that if they didn’t complete the job, they didn’t want my money.

OK, back to the drawing board. I went back through the other submissions, looking for someone that wasn’t quite as cheap but that had excellent communication skills. And I wanted someone with good design, so after a little back and forth, found my second group to help, for $150 to do everything I needed. They were in the UK, so language was no barrier. Very quickly, they surpassed what the previous group had built, and then started working on some of the new features. I had to make some corrections and then things started to slow down. I got less response, and they were building it according to their own specifications, not mine, and they ignored my feedback. I tried getting everything back on track by describing exactly the functionality I wanted and the flow that would be very user-friendly.

This is where we ran into trouble. They started saying that what I requested was more work. I’m ok with pushing them to complete the job, I was not actually asking for anything new, just a more use-friendly way to navigate through the site. Instead of getting a thank you message, it would bring users straight to their completed caption, and I wanted the caption text split into two lines dynamically instead of having characters squeezed into one unreadable line.

Negotiating and More Negotiating

It became apparent that they wanted more money to complete the project, but we had already agreed on one price for the project, not an hourly rate. They were also not looking for an additional $25, rather they quoted another $150. To me, they built the easiest parts of the sites and then quoted more for the more time-intensive issues. I did not like that, so I tried to argue back, but they stopped being available on Skype. Soon, I just wanted to salvage what we had, and find someone else to complete the project.

Once again, I went back to Elance, this time listing exactly the changes the site needed, 5 in all, and in perfect detail. There could be no mistaking what I wanted. I got a quote of $100, which I think is reasonable. I went back to the UK company and while I hate to pay for half a job done, offered $75 for the work they did since I’d have to pay someone else to fix it, going over my intended budget. They declined and removed all traces of their work from the test server. For some reason, they’d rather get paid $0 than $75, so that was that.

Finally, I went back to my third elancer, we agreed on $150 to start from scratch, and I gave him exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it, along with some screenshots I had. It took me 3 freelancers to find what I was looking for, but I guess the third time was the charm! We’re just about done with the site, I’ll do some testing, and then we’ll launch the redesign for everyone to use!

Tips For Using Elance

Elance has been a great resource for me, it looks like I’ve spent nearly $2,000 on the site over the past several years, and I keep going back for more. Typically, the price can’t be beat, and despite some initial issues, the finished product always comes out the way I want. My best suggestion is to have a document stating exactly what you want. The more detailed, the better, because if you have any disputes later, you can point to the document and show that it was agreed upon from the beginning. Also, find someone who is on a similar schedule as you, or at least someone who has a schedule that overlaps yours. I’ve worked with people in India before and it’s been great because when I am home, they are working, and we can chat via skype about the latest changes. Then, when I wake up, I can see the work they’ve done and make suggestions for when they get back to work.

Do you use Elance or another online service to complete projects for you? What have your experiences been like?

Selling structured settlements – have you considered these issues?

Structured settlement is a financial arrangement in which a person receives his compensation in an injury case in the form of payments over a period of time. This is very different from the receipt of lump sum amount received in the form of compensation. Most common with injury related cases, structured settlements serve the purpose to pay an amount of money to the injured person over a period of time so that the beneficiary can meet any medical expenditure as well as maintain a certain standard of living.

The reasons why one would sell structured payments, and the manner in which it is done

Though structured settlements guarantee one with a lot of financial security but many people feel that despite the benefits, they would rather sell their structured settlement and settle for a lump sum amount. Rising costs of living, unemployment costs as well as rising educational expenses – all these are the various reasons why people would want to sell their structured settlement and receive a large amount instead of periodic payments over time. If a person wishes to do so the he or she contacts a funding company so that it can arrange a transaction of the legal nature by which the owners of annuities can sell a portion off or the entire structured settlement and receive a lump sum amount. However, before carrying out such a transaction he or she must take a look at a number of issues and consider them thoroughly before taking a decision.

1. The legal documentation associated with structured settlement agreement

Before selling his or structured settlement every person must make sure that all the documentation in relation with the original structured settlement is in order and in possession with the person. It is a very important task to ensure that every legal paper which proves that the structured settlement belongs to the aforementioned person and the amount of compensation that he would receive from it is gathered and arranged in order. In absence of any legal paper, any funding company can create numerous problems and deprive you of your rightful amount. It must be kept in mind that these are the papers which make you the owner of the structured settlement.

2. Determination of monthly inflow as well as outflow of cash

Before selling off your structured settlement you must make a proper and comprehensive list of the money which flows in and out of his or her account every month. This issue must be considered critical and with immense care since you are trying to determine the amount of money you would require every month to meet your expenses. If done wrongly, this may affect your entire future. While preparing of this list one must take into account every expense which he/she has to meet every month as well as any income which he/she has so that the net amount of money required by him or her every moth can be computed properly.

3. Take into consideration the future expenses

Another very important issue to be considered before selling any structured settlement is to lend some thought to the various expenses which would crop up in the future. One has to take into consideration the inflation rate as well to determine the amount since with passage of time the expenditure’s amount would increase as well. So be it educational expense or house mortgage payment or car loan payment one has to take into contemplation every future expenditure that he is planning to make and accordingly take a decision as to whether he wants to sell his structured settlement and receive a lump sum amount or is he better off receiving a periodic payment over time.

4. Finding a reputable firm

The next issue which must be considered by a person wanting to sell is structured settlement is to find a good and reputable firm that would not cheat him off his money. There are many fraudulent firms who would simply take away your money from you and leave you with less than what your right is. So it is very important that a proper research be conducted and then the firm be chosen.

5. Understanding the terms and conditions

This is probably the most important issue of them all as if you fail to understand any terms or condition you might lose money. It is highly essential that one makes it a point to understand every term and condition enlisted in the selling agreement and be sure that he/she is comfortable with them. In any case if he does not get any particular detail he must call upon the firm and ask them to make it clear for him or her.

After contemplating all the issues mentioned above one must keep in mind that the selling process of a structured settlement would take on an average 60 to 90 days but in some circumstances it can even take longer.

How to Choose the Right Career

How many times have you heard someone complain about their job over and over? How many times have you done it?

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your entire life. Especially if you don’t want to be a miserable person stuck in a dead end job that you hate.

Unfortunately, looking far into the future and choosing a career presents many challenges. However, if you take the time to really think about what career best aligns with your goals and ambitions you’ll have better success at choosing the right career for you.

Here are 4 tips to help you choose the right career.

You Have Objectives

When it comes to choosing a career there are usually two options.

Option A is choosing a career that you don’t necessarily enjoy but that brings in the big money. Option B is a career that you love and can see doing for the rest of your life.

Everybody is different. Some want to work for good money others want to follow their passions. There’s nothing wrong with either one of these choices. You just have to figure out what you really want.

You (At Least) Mildly Enjoy What You’re Doing

Have you ever heard the saying “passion turns into profit?” The statement isn’t always correct but it is true that if you hate your work others will outshine you.

Even if you choose money over passion you need to at least mildly enjoy your career. If you hate your chosen career then your work is not going to be up to par with that of your peers. However, when you enjoy what you’re doing you don’t mind spending time going the extra mile. Most of the time repeatedly going that extra mile is going to mean exponential career growth.

If you’re working primarily for money be sure to choose a career that at least somewhat excites you.

There’s Room for Growth

Nobody wants to work a dead end job. When choosing a career make sure there’s room for growth.

Can you move up in your company? If you’re self-employed is it feasible to expand your client base? These are very important questions to ask yourself before determining the right career path for you.

If you’re following your passion then career growth might not be on your agenda right now. Unfortunately in a few years from now that might change. You need to not only think about the present but also the future of your chosen career.

You’re Thinking Long Term

Finally, you need to think long term when choosing a career path.

Will there be jobs in this field ten, twenty, or thirty years from now? Will you still enjoy this career in a decade from now? Will you earn enough money to support your family? Will you earn enough money to save for retirement?

There are so many considerations to take in when you are choosing your career path. This shouldn’t be a ‘wing-it’ type decision.

You need to look at your current skill set, hobbies, and financial needs. Once you nail your objectives and take some time to figure out your calling you’ll be set to choose a career.

How did you go about choosing your career?