We are pleased to announce the relaunch of our blog, with a brand new design and fresh content. We will be featuring interviews, survey results, articles from guest experts on various fields and much more – watch this space!

Check out the new blog and don’t forget to subscribe using RSS if you like what you see and would like to stay in touch! If you have already subscribed to the old blog (i.e. this one) you will need to re-subscribe to the new one.  Subscribe to our new RSS feed now >>

Related URLs:

New Blog: http://blog.peopleperhour.com

New RSS feed: http://blog.peopleperhour.com/feed/


We thought we’d share with you a great video of an interview of Fabrice Grinda, Co-CEO of OLX, Inc. – a free classifieds site with revenues of $10million – and a keen investor who has backed 33 other companies to date, including PeoplePerHour.com.

Hear about the challenging 10-year journey of entrepreneurship from a man who risked everything for his business only to fail completely, but who then got back on his two feet to become an utterly successful business man.

Fabrice admits to “stealing” the brilliant ideas of other start-ups, beginning from that of eBay, all the way to craigslist, which holds the concept of his current business, OLX. Amidst a humouristic and cheerful atmosphere, Fabrice explains his business philosophy and reveals his 9 demanding criteria for investing in a business.

So, if you’re interested in someday becoming a successful entrepreneur, or even if you’re merely someone that appreciates a man who persistently “picks himself up again” until he achieves his goal, then you’ll love this video.

View video >>

We’d love to hear your comments and your thoughts.

Anita Benge, is one of our highest rated providers in Accountancy, awarded 32 projects on PeoplePerHour.com. In her blog, she shares her experience in Accountancy and tells you what you need to consider if you are starting out a small business. So read on if you want to hear from an Accounting expert.

“I have been in the accountancy industry for the last 12 years. Last year I decided to go it alone and start my own accountancy business. Throughout the years I have on numerous occasions been told by prospective clients “All my profit goes towards paying my accountants bill and I still have a huge tax bill to pay”.

My philosophy is: – if I can save you money on your tax bills my bill will be covered by your savings and you get to keep your profit.

When a new business starts out it can be very daunting. Questions running around in your head what accounting system should I use? Do I need an accountant? Where can I go for advice?

As a start up business is it is not nessacary to splash out and buy the best software out. You can use anything from a simple Excel Spreadsheet to the recommended software by accountants Sage Accounts. If you would like the headache of your bookkeeping taken away from you a bookkeeper would be the way forward. A bookkeeper would have their own software so this would reduce the initial out lay of software. A good bookkeeper can cost from £8 to £15 per hour depending on your area.

You should choose your accountant by the time you trade. Your accountant should be there all year round and not just once a year. Your accountant should be in contact with you twice a year. You should also check if there is any additional cost for phone calls and email correspondence as these costs can add up and there will be not unexpected accountants bills. Accountant’s fees are very varied but, do shop around for the best deal. Always check who will be caring out the work as there will be a different fee structure to the level of qualification.

There is help out there for business. The Business Link is a great website with loads of information. The Inland Revenue hold free workshops to assist with form filling, how to use their online system and much more. If in doubt your accountant is there to help.”

More than five million people are working from home after finishing their day job, according to new research published this week.

The survey, commissioned by the world’s biggest office products company Staples, and carried out by Enterprise Nation, the UK’s largest website for home based business, confirms that the ‘5 to 9’ trend is spreading across the country.

Of those 5-9ers questioned, 50% said their business was growing and over 60% expected to be going full time within the next 12 months.

Enterprise Nation Founder Emma Jones said: “We were amazed by what we found. Although we knew there had been a tremendous growth in home business, we had no idea that much of this was coming from the 5 – 9 trend.

“What’s particularly significant is that the current economic climate is the impetus behind this trend. For some people it’s about increasing their income to cope with a partner’s redundancy while others felt uncertain about their future career prospects and wanted to make sure they were better placed if they lost their job.”

There’s also the added attraction that building a business at night and weekends from a spare room is low risk and low cost, allowing people to increase sales, confidence and cashflow, whilst holding onto a salary.

“In a recession people often set up their own business as a way of taking control of their own life again. But the current downturn is so severe that people are being more cautious, hanging onto their full time jobs and testing the water first before making a decision. This clearly makes good business sense.”

The survey also highlighted that 72% have considered giving up their day jobs to spend more time on their home business.  When asked what would make them leave their job, 42% said it was the only way they could grow their business while 32% said it would be when they could afford to.

Staples commissioned the research after noticing a shift in shopping patterns with more people visiting their stores after 5pm.

Yetunde Ige, Staples Head of Marketing said: “Clearly this trend is something that we’re interested in as our stores are open late. As a result we are looking to launch a 5-9ers club, which will reward people shopping after 5pm and hopefully be a real benefit to those trying to start a business in their free time.”

Trendwatching.com – one of the world’s leading trend firms – has picked up on this phenomenon. Its monthly report confirms: “A recession induced need for cash and an ever-growing infrastructure enabling individuals to act as part-time entrepreneurs, are fuelling concepts that help ordinary consumers make money as well as just spending it.”

A free copy of ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ is available at www.enterprisenation.com

Every so often, a plaintive cry will be heard from a service Provider, wondering why their bids are not being accepted. The implicit  – and wrongful – assumption is often that competition from excessively low bids is making their services uncompetitive.

We dug in to find out the truth. Whilst low bids may be a frequent occurance, it seems that the quality  of the bid is in fact what determines a winner. And so that you don’t take our word for it we asked one of our most successful bidders Claire Shiels who’s won over 50% of the bids she’s placed on the site to become one of our highest earners to tell us how she does it:

“As a relative newcomer to PeoplePerHour.com, I have nevertheless managed to secure a number of clients.  Having a great deal of professional experience in a wide range of industries certainly helped to win my first project, but you can certainly improve your chances of success by following these tips:

1. Be realistic – many providers bid for inappropriate projects or create an extensive list of unrelated skills.  This gives the impression that they do not have any expertise in a certain area, so stick to one area of work you know you can do well.

2. Make the effort – in your bids, make sure you tell providers how your skills and experience match what they are looking for, what similar work you have done in the past and why you stand out from the crowd.  Make sure your punctuation, spelling and grammar are correct and check over your bid before you send it.  An extensive portfolio always adds excellent support to a bid.

3. Be sensible about price – the buyer who chooses someone offering a ridiculously low bid over someone more skilled and experienced is unlikely to send a stream of work your way.  Be careful or you could end up working flat out for little money.  Offering excessively low fees can devalue your reputation and turn many buyers off.

4. Create a full profile – a full, relevant profile is much more convincing to a buyer than simply saying “Choose me”.  Give a couple of paragraphs if you can.

5. Create a relationship – engage with the buyer from the beginning.  They will normally want to build up a good working relationship with someone who they can depend on for experienced, honest advice and can discuss ideas.  Research their firm if you can and explain not only how you can match their needs but also put your own ideas forward if appropriate.

6. Play by the rules – flouting the PeoplePerHour.com rules, perhaps by including contact details or encouraging buyers to contact you whilst bidding is still open will more than likely alienate you from other providers as well as buyers .  You also risk a ban from PPH.

If you are serious about sourcing work on PeoplePerHour.com, you have to approach the task as a job interview, each time you make a bid.  Project hunting takes time and effort, and a great deal of both needs to be invested by you to make a success of your freelancing career.

Since signing up with People Per Hour in December 2008, I have taken on fourteen clients in this way, many of whom now offer me repeat business on a regular basis.  My workload is now such that I have been able to successfully launch my consultancy, Claire Shiels Marketing, full-time – showing that with a mixture of professionalism and realism, PPH can indeed provide much more than mere pocket money.  It may well act as a springboard to a whole new career.”

Buyers often get frustrated when they don’t get quality bids for their project listing. We’ve done some research and we quickly realised that the quality of bids tehy recive is  directly driven by how good their project brief is . We have asked one of our top rated bidders to give us some Tips as to what constitutes good bid. Emily Cagle is a marketing and communications consultant and has won a high proportion of the bids she’s placed largely because she’s been selective in which projects to bid for

As a provider on Peopleperhour.com, I read dozens of job listings per week but often the project description isn’t terribly clear, so it’s hard to fathom exactly what the buyer is looking for.

While this might present a challenge to the service provider, the main victim of the vaguely worded project listing is the buyer themselves, who not only risks receiving dozens of irrelevant bids, but might even go so far as to accept a bid from a provider who has a false notion of what is required.

Make the title count

The first step to attracting quality bids is to make the most of your listing’s exposure in the ‘Latest Posts’ section on the front page of Peopleperhour.com. This feed only displays the first 30 characters of the project title, so it’s wise to keep your title below this mark and get straight to the point. For example, rather than writing ‘Help needed with sales letter for accountancy firm’, you could write ‘Sales letter (accountancy)’.

Be specific

When it comes to the project description, bidders will find it much easier to price up a project if you are explicit about what’s involved. So, for a web design project, for example, aim to explain how many pages are needed, what functionality the site must have, whether you will need a logo and so on.

Outline required skills

If you any specific skills requirements, such as being able to work with a particular piece of software, you should list them and state whether they are essential or preferred. It is also worth mentioning what industry your company operates in, as this can attract bidders with useful experience. For example, an accountant who already understands the typical transactions of a firm in your sector might be better placed to give industry specific tax advice.

Sell yourself

To attract strong bids, you should also consider giving some details about your company’s achievements and reputation. Just as with any job, people may be more inclined to apply if the company has an appealing profile.

Set a realistic budget

It is also important to be as realistic as possible about your project’s budget. If your budget range is very low, you may not attract the standard of provider you are looking for, and if it is unnecessarily high, you might find people bid higher than they otherwise would. If you have time, research what constitutes a realistic budget before submitting your listing. Alternatively, choose the ‘Prefer not to disclose’ option and judge what constitutes a reasonable price based on the bids you receive.

Clarify with bidders

Finally, remember that all bids come with a private message board that allows you follow up with providers and ask for more information, so if a bid looks great, but doesn’t answer those last minute questions that have arisen since you posted the project, ask them! A good provider will be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail before asking you to accept their bid.

Emily Cagle is a marketing and communications consultant

Choosing to be self-employed. Why do we do it? More control over our careers? Yes. More money? Hopefully. Better work/life balance? Definitely. According to a recent poll conducted here on PeoplePerHour.com, a massive 59% of respondents stated that finding a happy medium in the work/play debate was a major factor in their decision to shun the trappings of ‘normal’ employment. But if new research is to be believed, many of us are simply swapping one headache for another, risking health and home in our desire to seek a self-employed fortune, forgetting what drove us to make the decision to quit our 9 to 5 jobs in the first place.

Professor Richard Scase, a business expert, recently went on record to say that, by 2015, he believes some 30% of the workforce will have non-permanent jobs. The UK truly is a nation of wannabe shopkeepers, it seems. And yet, it appears that the choice to become self-employed is far from an easy one for many of us, more of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. New research commissioned by Orange Business Services clearly demonstrates that we are increasingly aware that being a freelancer is no bed of roses: a detrimental impact on health is now the fastest growing concern when deciding whether to start up a business of our own. 34% of respondents believed that starting a business would negatively affect their love life; 33% felt it would damage their quality of sleep; and 33% believed it would make them more aggressive. Yikes. But with analysts at the Institute of Directors claiming that one in five of the UK workforce will be freelance by 2025, it seems that massive numbers are still putting potential wealth before health. Did you know that the largest UK company classification is businesses with 0 employees, with a whopping 3,262,715 companies run single handed?

The majority of those who decide to make the leap into self-employment do so in the full, eyes-open knowledge that setting up a new business or even working alone demands full-time commitment, both of time and resources, and yet the sacrifices we make in choosing to be self employed are not limited to our health. UK based accounting software company Kashflow commissioned a survey of 400 UK small business owners, asking them what sacrifices they had made in order to ensure their companies are successful. 32% said that they often forego family time, the demands of work leaving them struggling to attain that ever-elusive work/life balance. It’s harsh but true: faced with the responsibility of paying the bills, with no regular salary and an increasingly unsympathetic bank manager on speed dial, over 26,000 individuals went bankrupt or had an IVA last year alone, crippled by lack of funds and increasingly strict red tape governing small businesses. 21% of small business owners surveyed said they had increased their personal debt levels and were relying more on credit cards. 18% of small business owners said that they now have less disposable income and hadn’t had a holiday in years, while 5% bemoaned their lack of social life. No money and no spare time definitely do not make for effective work/life balance, especially as it is the increasingly impatient families of small business owners who are left to deal with the fall out as the business becomes the number one priority due to the risk and investment tied up in it.

So what is the solution? Is the only answer to rejoin the ranks of commuters and one-hour-lunchers? Ask the majority of freelancers and the self employed and they will shudder and answer with a resounding “NO”! We are, it seems, willing to accept that there may well be a substantial time lag between making the leap and living well, as long as the journey between these two phases isn’t too long. And, yup, this is where the old chestnut of good planning comes in. By no means exhaustive, make sure you’ve ticked most of these crucial boxes before you go and tell your boss what you really think of him.

1. Do I want to be a freelancer?

Be honest, can you do it? Do you really want to do it? Why? Do you have a support network? How much are you willing to invest, both time and money? You know the potential benefits but do you know the risks? Do your research.

2. Know your market

The worst thing you can do is merrily enter into a market that’s already saturated with what you do/where no freelancers operate. Effective market research is essential in finding out if there actually are people out there who want what you offer and who, crucially, will pay you for delivering it.

3. Have a business plan

Every, and I mean every, business needs a plan. At its simplest level, where are you now, where are you going and when and how will you get there?

4. Company formation

Know the rules and laws about company formation. Fundamentally important.

5. Finance

Finance isn’t just about how to pay the bills, it’s about having a back up plan, a get out clause. Investing in the services of an accountant is crucial if you have decided to establish a limited company. So is insurance. Make sure your accountant is fully up to date on the changes being made to small business taxation.

6. Spreading the word

A portfolio of what you do will stand you in good stead. Make it simple and stylish. Advertising and networking are ever-changing beasts. Become media savvy and watch and learn from how the successful people in your field made it to the top.