Freelancing can be a roller coaster ride if you are not aware of the flip sides of the business. And if you are an oDesk agency owner, you have your job cut out.
Managing a group of professionals and getting them to work together under your flagship oDesk agency is no mean task, not to mention the task of managing clients, deliveries, sales and operations, marketing etc. which can quickly weigh you down if you don't have your maps chalked out correctly.
Add to it responsibilities like managing compliance with the oDesk platform for your self and your employees oDesk profiles and the sheer number of competing freelancers, and you have a beast to control.
If you are an oDesk agency or a freelancer planning to form an agency, you may simply get overhelmed with the sheer stature of things you need to knock off before you hit any success being an oDesk agency.
As an 11 years oDesk veteran ( I have bootstrapped 2 and helped build 3 successful agencies on ODesk ), I have a few tips to share which I have summarized below as the 11 holy rules of making your oDesk Agency rock!
1) Do your homework :
If you hadn’t been good at completing your homework at school, you would know what it’s like being scolded. The only difference here is that in our case, you won’t simply get away with scolding. You may have to pay penalties too, sometimes to the tune of your entire business.
As with any business, it is needless to say how important it is to get your legal and statutory compliance met. However, in our case, it’s also strongly recommended that you have also read and thoroughly understood the compliance criteria of the platforms (oDesk , elance etc.) you are going to bank your business upon…because if you do not…you may actually end up being nonchalantly locked out and deserted by these networks for failure to meet their T&C. More on that later..
Another blind spot for start-ups that may work against them is not budgeting their expenses properly and missing on certain crucial aspects that need financial attention such as sound infrastructure, workplace and employee safety, workplace commutability, security of your assets, IP rights protection, software licenses etc.
e.g. there is no harm getting CCTV cameras or security alarms installed at your premises right from the day one. The benefits of it far outweigh the costs of installation. It only takes one burglary to put your business off its feet especially when it is in its most nascent stage.
2) Start small, aim smaller:
For people aspiring to do business through online platforms, I have always advised them to aim for small business which they can deliver with value and then build on the relationship. It necessarily does not mean that you compromise on your hourly rates. It just means accepting tasks which may be smaller in size than what your ambition allows for. Keep in mind that a client is more than the sum total of his business. He is potentially a good will ambassador of your business to a foreign land that you may not have direct access to. Plus he may have references of his own too. The key to building business through these platforms is to build it incrementally.
**edited for Community Guidelines**
Thanks so much for sharing the advice, we appreciate it! I've edited the bottom half of your post here, as we do not allow the posting of contact information here in the Community. We appreciate you sharing your tips here on the forums, and the conversation that follows.
Also, I'm moving your discussion thread over to the "Freelancers" category, as it could prove helpful for a lot of users there as well.