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News for February 2013

Working Remote: 3 Reasons Why It Works

Working RemoteIn light of the news Yahoo has taken the ax to working remotely from home, we want your opinion. Does working remote make a person more or less productive?

Opinions will obviously differ and there are probably some strong ones favoring each side. Yahoo’s HR department says “speed and quality are sacrificed when working from home.” But studies, and our own experience here at Spotlight, show something quite different.

Below is an infographic showing a number of benefits to working remotely; both for businesses and employees. Here are 3 reasons why we find working remote to be beneficial at Spotlight.

  • Extra Productive – All people differ in the times and work environments they are most productive. Working remote allows every employee to work at the times they are most productive. While getting to work first thing in the morning may be productive for one person, it may not be productive for another. For example, some software developers prefer to work at night. So why not let employees work when they can be the most productive for the business?
  • Employee Happiness – Giving employees the freedom to make their own schedules while working remote makes them more satisfied. No longer do employees have to worry about making it to that doctor’s appointment or arranging for someone to pick up the kids. Working remote allows you to shift your hours so you can pick up your kids AND still get those tasks for the day done. Using Spotlight, we give our employees full freedom to do personal errands as long as they take the 5 seconds needed to update their status and availability.
  • Cost Savings – The cost savings are huge both for our business and employees. We don’t have to pay those overhead costs of building rent and all the utilities that go with it. That allows us to put the money towards development of Spotlight, keeping our employees happy, and marketing. It allows us to use the extra cash for things that are really important for a startup. Working remote gives our employees cost breaks too. Take the rising gas prices for example. In my previous job, I was driving 45 minutes each way to work every day. Working at home now, I save about $400 a month in gas and wear on my vehicle. It’s almost like a small salary in itself!

It’s hard telling what events led Yahoo to make the decision in not letting employees work from home. But the benefits of working remote are pretty clear. Just look at the infographic.

Want to learn more about how Spotlight increases productivity for your project teams that work remote? Visit our website or contact us to learn more!

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.

 

Posted: February 28th, 2013
Categories: Virtual and Remote Teams
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: 3 Comments.

Spotlight Partners with Seed Spot to Help Startups

Seed SpotSpotlight Software has partnered with local Phoenix incubator Seed Spot to assist their ventures with software development planning and execution. The partnership includes a one-year free subscription to Spotlight, consulting, and mentorship for all ventures that are a part of Seed Spot.

Seed Spot is a nonprofit incubator founded by Christ Petroff and Courtney Klein Johnson that is focused on supporting Arizona’s most innovative social entrepreneurs. Backed by a network of community partners, they strive to build a community to support entrepreneurs in their startup endeavors. They launched in July 2012 and received an overwhelming 191 applications. 16 of those applicants were selected to the Venture Program and an additional 40 were selected for the Community Program.

To be eligible for the venture programs at Seed Spot, all companies must demonstrate a social impact, generate less than $500,000 in revenue, and reside in the state of Arizona. The programs offer the ventures all the necessities to be successful, including office space, education through an 18-module curriculum, mentorship, ability to interact with a network of successful local entrepreneurs, and the opportunity to secure funding.

Featured in several prominent media outlets, such as Forbes and AZ Central, Seed Spot is garnering nation-wide attention. Other cities have already begun reaching out to them, hoping to implement Seed Spot’s model into their own area to promote entrepreneurial growth. A documentary is being planned for the fall of this year, outlining the Seed Spot story from its onset.

Spotlight looks forward to working with Seed Spot and assist in building the entrepreneurial community in Phoenix. For more information on Seed Spot and their Venture Programs, please visit their website or contact them.

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.

Posted: February 25th, 2013
Categories: Entrepreneurship and Startups
Tags: , , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Friday Findings: Success in Virtual Agile Teams

Every Friday, Spotlight will publish a blog article with links to articles and news relevant to managing remote project teams, the overall globalization of the world’s workforce, and some entrepreneurship mixed in. We hope you find some quality information and maybe even learn a thing or two to get a discussion started with your colleagues.

Happy Friday! This week we have 10 articles all related to the Agile development process using virtual teams. Virtual Agile teams are becoming very popular in businesses and can be just as effective as in-house teams.

The Findings

  • Project managers should now look towards adopting virtual project management as part of their set of skills. This article discusses why you can’t avoid virtual project management going forward.
  • Agile projects require frequent communication among the team, product owner and stakeholders. But how is it facilitated in teams that are not co-located?
  • Even large, virtual teams are turning to lean and agile management for their projects. PMP David Rico takes a look at key processes and techniques for success in virtual Agile teams.
  • The key to success in virtual Agile teams is open and frequent communication. This article discusses how creating a communication plan for a virtual project team can increase chances of success.
  • Sandeep Joshi from MSDN Magazine looks at obstacles faced in using Agile in a virtual team environment and how to counter those obstacles.
  • This article looks at some real-life examples of virtual Agile team environments and the keys to making Agile work in these scenarios.
  • IBM developer works looks at making Agile work for geographically distributed teams. Take note of the links at the bottom leading you to actual strategies that can be applied for virtual Agile teams.
  • Peter Varhol of Technology Strategy Research talks about installing Agile in distributed teams. His advice in making a virtual Agile team successful? Making communication as seamless as possible.
  • Looking to implement Agile and Scrum into your virtual engineering teams? This article takes an in-depth look at implementing the Agile and Scrum process into engineering teams distributed in multiple locations.
  • Rally software discusses 7 tips to making life better for your virtual Agile teams when they can’t get together. Having open, frequent communication is a big part.

Are there other topics you are interested in relevant to virtual software teams and Agile development? Leave us a comment and we’ll do the research for you!

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


5 Tips for Project Managers Leading Freelance Teams

Managing Freelance TeamsMore and more startups and small businesses are using Elance and oDesk to hire freelance teams for software development, design, and other types of work. It’s low cost and offers access to talent that may not be available locally. This trend towards more freelancer project work will increase the chances a project manager will have to manage a virtual team.

Let’s look at 5 tips for project managers in leading a freelance team to successful project delivery.

Ensure the right fit

Always start off small. If you are a project manager for a new freelance team, you want to ensure they can deliver, but also that you can work and communicate together. Start off with a small project to gain this understanding and see if you hired the right team.

This project can be a single, small project or a chunk of a larger one. Have them deliver all the goals of the small project to better gauge their skillset, teamwork, and ability to communicate. You will learn key characteristics of your new freelance team to determine if they are a potential long-term fit. Better to do it right off the bat like this then realize half way through a major project that they aren’t the right fit.

Breaking down a project also can help you gain more insight into the scope of the project. You will think more thoroughly about the deliverables and timeline. This practice will also help determine whether you indeed do have one major project or if it needs broken down further for better efficiency.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

At Spotlight, we take this to heart. Frequent communication is a must in any project team and even more important within a freelance team.  You want to be on the same page with your freelancers at all times on the project. This prevents those last-minutes surprises from popping up and helps you keep track of team members.

Frequent status updates through the day help a project manager monitor their team. This can be as simple as a quick email or using an app such as Spotlight’s status control to let them know team member availability and what tasks are planned for the day. The advantages are two-fold: it keeps the project manager on top of their freelance team and they don’t have to constantly be requesting updates on the project from members.

And don’t forget the daily scrums. We still practice this every day with our freelance team and make it no more than 15 minutes. It keeps everyone aligned with each other and can often bring light to challenges quickly. Team members will often collaborate even further offline when an issue is brought to the table. It encourages even further communication.

Make expectations clear

One of the biggest issues you often hear about using an outsourced or freelance team is lack of accountability. Sometimes this is the team member’s fault and other times, it’s because expectations weren’t laid out at the beginning. Clearly communicate your expectations of the team and hold them accountable.

A practice that has worked for us is to send a daily progress report at the end of each day. This report is sent to the project manager of the tasks done for the day and those being worked on tomorrow. Our team members spend only a few minutes creating this report and it’s great insight for the project manager.

Keep your team motivated

As a project manager, keeping your freelance team motivated can be a challenge without physically being together. Motivation often has to come in the form of rewards and recognition. If a team member goes above and beyond, recognize them to the whole team via email or whatever form of communication you use. Send a gift or bonus from your part of the world to let them know they’re appreciated. I’ve even heard of managers ordering from a restaurant near the team member’s house and having it delivered to buy them dinner
Also, make sure you have an open door policy in case members of your freelance team have issues. Give them your personal cell phone number to call in case of emergencies. It creates a sense of unity within the team and builds trust between you and the members.

Be flexible

Time zones, differences in culture, and various work schedules are all challenges to making a freelance project team successful. That’s why being flexible is important. Having some understanding of their culture and holidays will prepare you for those days when they aren’t online for those reasons.

This also goes back to the status updates throughout the day. Practicing this keeps you informed when team members have doctor’s appointments, need to go to the bank, or anything else like that. You don’t have to wonder where they are and it keeps a flexible schedule that works. It also contributes to employee motivation and happiness.

Conclusion

This is just a short list of some project management tips when leading a freelance team, but they can get you started on the road to success. It just takes a little adaptation to your management style to make it a smooth transition.

Are you a project manager who has had to make this transition? Leave us a comment with your experience and other tips!

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


How to Know WHEN to Outsource Software Development

When to OutsourceWe often preach about the benefits in hiring a virtual software development team. A business can gain a competitive advantage when they decide to outsource software development, whether it be to freelancers or a team acquired through an outsource services company. Lower cost and access to more talent can get you an awesome app that doesn’t break the budget.

The benefits are pretty obvious. But WHEN is the right time to outsource software development? The timing of decisions like this is important, especially for entrepreneurs.

For every company, the right time to outsource software development is going to vary. It will depend on several factors such as cost and how well your software scope is defined to name a few. Here we look at three considerations that will influence your decision of when to outsource software development:

When you need an expert

If you or your team are not experts in coding on a specific platform, save yourself the time of trying to make it work. It will be cheaper in the long run to find a freelance expert or outsourced team who can do it right in about half the time.

Using an expert will often produce quality code that is easily scalable for changes down the road. You usually have one shot to do a development project right or it will end up costing way more than the allotted budget. Define a budget and timeline for the project and work with the expert closely to get it accomplished. But always remember to vet your potential expert thoroughly first.

When you can’t afford not to

Entrepreneurs and startups live and die by the burn rate. But your business’ first app or website is too important to not spend a little money. Often your entire marketing plan or the whole business revolves around the two. So how do you keep the burn rate low and still get the app or website that you want? Hire an outsourced software development team.

Startups have two choices when developing their first app: hire a company locally or outsource. Using an outsourced team or freelancer will save you money while still getting the product you envisioned. They work hard to get your requirements done in about half the time. A local team trying to offer this same thing is often not affordable for a startup, so cut your losses and go outsourced.

When your scope is clearly defined

So you know you need an expert. You know you can’t afford to hire a company locally to see your software development project through. Now, ensure your project scope, requirements, and ultimate vision are clearly defined for the potential outsourced team. This will make it easier for the development team to quickly get right to coding.

Hiring a team before this step is done will come back to bite you. More time will be spent by the team trying to figure out what you want than actually coding. Have a clear set of requirements that outline the goals you want to achieve, not how to get there. Software developers have a knack to create software in ways that may have never even crossed your mind. So give them the necessary materials up front and let them do what they do best.

Conclusion

Making the decision to outsource software development is the first step, but actually knowing when to do it is equally important. Some people say startups should be outsourcing from the minute the business idea is born. This may work, but just make sure to do your due diligence beforehand. If you see the need for another level of expertise, want to minimize cost, and have your project goals clearly outlined, you are ready to make the call.

This process can be a bit overwhelming for the first time entrepreneur. If you need assistance in hiring a virtual software team to create that vitally important first app, Spotlight’s team can help. We’ll take you all the way through the hiring process and show you how the Spotlight app helps you manage your virtual team and project. You can increase the success of your virtual software development projects by contacting us today.

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


Friday Findings: Lean Startups & The New Workforce

Every Friday, Spotlight will publish a blog article with links to articles and news relevant to managing virtual project teams, the overall globalization of the world’s workforce, and some entrepreneurship mixed in. We hope you find some quality information and maybe even learn a thing or two to get a discussion started with your colleagues.

Happy Friday! Today we share stories on Agile being used for things other than software, the lean startup, and the face of the new workforce.

The Findings

  • The Agile framework can apply to many different situations and business strategies. Now it’s even being applied to family life.
  • How does a news site continuously deploy code without regression testing and still be reliable? The Guardian takes a look at real-time QA when continuously deploying new code.
  • Brian Bozzuto from BigVisible puts an interesting spin on Agile development by helping his kids build their wooden train set.
  • A lean startup require fast development, often producing an MVP (minimum viable product) to verify assumptions you have made about your target customer’s problem. But don’t confuse a ‘beta’ release with an MVP.
  • Intuit CEO Brad Smith sits down with Eric Ries and discusses what the most important questions are for a leader to ask in a lean startup company. Some good advice for leaders of lean startups.
  • 2012 was a record-breaking year for the project-based workforce with Elance generating $200 million in earnings. Meghan Casserly of Forbes shows how freelancers are the face of the new workforce.
  • oDesk CEO Gary Swart discusses the future of work and some lessons he learned in building one of the world’s largest freelance marketplaces.
  • We’ve preached before that communication is one of the most important things in making virtual teams work. Here are some communication tips for working with virtual teams. (Tip: Try Spotlight!)
  • In case you missed our blog post from earlier this week, we take a look at the parallels between entrepreneurship and the Spartan Race. Both of them are tough at times, but the remembering the road you took to reach your goal is an awesome reward.
  • Arizona State University Venture Catalyst, the startup unit for the university, recently won a grant from the Blackstone Foundation in New York to pilot a new concept for creating entrepreneurial teams. Lots of exciting things happening in the Valley startup scene!

Are there other topics you are interested in relevant to virtual software teams, Agile teams, or entrepreneurship? Leave us a comment and we’ll do the research for you!

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.

Posted: February 15th, 2013
Categories: Friday Findings
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Entrepreneurship and The Spartan Race: A Comparison

Spartan RaceSpotlight CEO Vincent Serpico took part in the Spartan Obstacle Race this past weekend in cold, wet conditions (yes, even in Phoenix). A lot of preparation and training at the Rock Star Boot Camp helped him master all the obstacles in the race. Rock Star is no regular boot camp as the sense of team camaraderie and encouragement from other members makes the experienced unmatched.

While entrepreneurial software development and the Spartan Race are two completely different things, there are parallels between them. Both are hard, require a lot of preparation, and have a sweet reward.  You will pivot and have to make quick decisions in both. But when it’s all said and done, you can look back and truly appreciate the journey to reach your goal.

So how do the two compare? Let’s take a look at the analogs between the Spartan Race and entrepreneurial software development.

Hire the Right Team

Both require that you have the right team around you for success.

In software development, you must decide whether to hire a team or do it yourself. It’s also important to ensure the right team is hired. Do they align with the vision of your application and business goals?

The Spartan Race is similar. Will you train with another person at the gym, go to a boot camp, or hire a personal trainer? Or will you do it on your own? Often a team approach is better for encouragement and motivation on those days you need something extra, just like in entrepreneurship.

Plan Ahead

Planning is essential for both.

Entrepreneurial software development requires planning at the beginning so your team knows what to develop and when. This keeps the team focused on the goals of the project. Sure, changes will be made to the requirements of the project but the overall goal is planned for at the start.

The approach to the Spartan Race requires planning well ahead of the race date. What kind of training is going to benefit you the most? Having a clear plan of what kind of training you need to focus on and how you are going to do it is key to a successful race day.

Manage Progress

Keeping track of your progress helps you stay on track towards your goals.

Entrepreneurship is a special scenario where you are building a business from the ground up. Making sure you are staying on track and making progress from day to day is important to a successful business. If you don’t know you’re progress, you can’t make the right decisions to be successful in the future.

It’s no different with the Spartan Race. Monitoring your progress to ensure you are becoming properly prepared as race day approaches will make the whole experience that much better. Because you definitely don’t want to start the race and realized you should have trained more.

Accountability

Team accountability is key in getting the things accomplished that you set out to do.

In entrepreneurial software development, accountability is key for delivering a successful project. You and your team need to be accountable for what is being developed and the delivery schedule. If anyone slips up, the whole project can be derailed.

Getting up early in the morning to train for the race can get old. This is where your individual accountability comes in. Are you keeping your training regimen in tact? If you belong to a boot camp, are you training mates encouraging you? Not holding yourself accountable and missing a day or two of training can make the race experience quite painful.

Communication

Great communication with your team creates a synergy that can lead to new ideas and motivation.

Software development is a process that requires everyone to stay on the same page. Constant and open communication makes sure of this so everyone is moving in the same direction. Collaborating with your team helps identify solutions to complex problems and resolve issues that pop up quickly.

Communication isn’t only between you and another person. When training for the Spartan Race, you have to listen to what your body is telling you. Overtraining happens quite easily so if your body is telling you to hang it up for the day, then hang it up. If you have a trainer, communicate with them daily on your training, how you are feeling, and concerns. They have the expertise to help you out.

Pivots Happen

Things out of your control will force you to pivot and adjust no matter what.

During development, changing requirements or market conditions can adjust your course. It happens all the time. Being able to properly pivot for these adjustments will keep your project in tact and on the timeline towards delivery. Thinking about this ahead of time and developing software that is scalable will make pivoting easy.

When training for the race, certain parts of your body will respond better than others. This is where you may need to adjust your training routine. You may need to start focusing more on endurance or agility if they aren’t coming quite as easily. Maybe your strength is coming along great, but it’s causing your flexibility to suffer. This is where you may need to pivot.

Spartan Race

Reaching Your Goal

That day you reach your goal, whether it’s software delivery day or race day, is rewarding. You can look back at all the hard work and the path it took to get there.

Entrepreneurial software development takes a lot of twists and turns. Some days are stressful and you often have to work long, odd hours. But delivery day, when your project is complete and you can see your developed application, is so sweet. You know how much work was put in and that’s often the reward, not the compensation you get from it.

Training for an event like the Spartan Race requires dedication and a lot of desire to keep you going. You put your body in uncomfortable situations and have to find time to keep training among everything else going on in your life. But like entrepreneurship, when that day comes and you’ve finished the race, the level of gratification is unmatched. You know how much work was put in and the path it took to get there.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, entrepreneurship can be compared to any difficult event that you have to prepare for and work towards a goal. The road can be long with good days and bad but when you reach that goal, whether it’s your millionth customer or a successful exit, you look back and know that you accomplished something that not a lot of people have a chance to. The experience of starting a business from the ground up and making it a success is the reward. And no money in the world can compensate for that.

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


The Year of the Freelance Marketplace

remote work on laptopIs the traditional office disappearing? Maybe not completely, but the Global Online Employment Report from Elance shows that it’s not as prevalent as it once was. As Elance puts it, 2013 could really be “The Year of the Freelance”.

Obviously the freelance industry is booming. Overall, the number of businesses that hired on Elance in 2012 went up 54% over the last year. But more importantly for us, the largest increase was in the software development and design skill set. Consider these numbers straight from the report:

  • Mobile app developers for Android are up 146%
  • Mobile app developers for iOS are up 132%
  • HTML developers and designers are up 149%
  • PHP experts are up 108%
  • CSS designers are up 103%

This shows that finding freelance talent for software development and design projects is indeed the hot ticket right now. Hiring freelance not only allows you to find the best talent to create your software or website, you can often find it at a lower cost than locally. Elance has helped take the geography limitations away from your hiring search.

That’s great but 2012 is over so what’s in store for 2013? More of the same and then some! Along with the Online Employment Report, Elance also released their Predictions for Online Work in 2013. One major change for 2013 is the addition of ObamaCare, which will entice the number of full-time employees to quit their corporate jobs. This will triple the number of people working online in 2013.

Companies will also hire twice as many online workers in 2013. This gives companies the flexibility to hire only when they need to. Software development projects come and go, where once a project is finished, there may be some down time for a while. Instead of paying a full-time team while the lull is in effect, companies can look for freelancers only when they are ready and it makes sense financially.

Hiring and managing a freelance team of software developers and designers can be a bit of a daunting task for a first time business owner. Elance offers abundant talent in all skillsets but it’s often hard to know where to start. Questions arise like “How do I know which freelancer to hire?” or “What is the best way of keeping in contact with my virtual team?”

Communication and accountability are the keys for virtual development teams in ensuring the project is done right the first time. Our team at Spotlight Software works entirely virtual and preaches these two points all the time. The Spotlight app provides the needed platform for both of these through status updates, setting current availability, and daily progress reports. Unanswered emails and lots of phone calls are eliminated with Spotlight.

If you have experience working with a freelance software development or designer team, leave us a comment about your experience. Need help finding the right people to complete that first app for your business? Contact a member of our management team, we’d love to help.

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


Friday Findings: Startups, Agile Development, & Freelance

Every Friday, Spotlight will publish a blog article with links to articles and news relevant to managing virtual project teams, the overall globalization of the world’s workforce, and some entrepreneurship mixed in. We hope you find some quality information and maybe even learn a thing or two to get a discussion started with your colleagues.

Today we cover several things on startups, agile software development, and the state of the freelance market from Elance. Preview: The freelance market is booming.

The Findings

  • When building a startup around an app, there are certain situations where you should only build a MVP and release to the masses. But there are also situations where the MVP may not be the best approach. Here are 3 reasons not to build a MVP.
  • The first step in building a successful startup is a business idea. But how do you know if your business idea will translate to a successful business? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself when testing an idea.
  • As an Agile software developer, there are many things that need to be considered when looking for the right employer. Here are 10 questions an Agile developer should ask potential employers.
  • Elance released their Global Online Employment Report recently and as expected, the industry is booming. Elance calls 2013 The Year of the Freelance.
  • A new Agile team faces its fair share of challenges in getting started and being productive. Rally Software lists the top 10 mistakes made by new Agile teams and how to remedy them.
  • With Agile development, software release schedules are compressed into weeks and even days. CIO discusses 3 ways to be more Agile with software shipping decisions.
  • The benefits of mobile-enabling the employee for any sized company are plentiful. Wipro looks at employee self service in the mobile environment. For even more information, download their document on the huge benefits of enabling the mobile employee.
  • A great article from George Anders at Forbes magazine on how great leaders communicate. Lots of tips that apply to everyone in the business world in some way.
  • Here is an interesting piece of news showing Google’s grip on Silicon Valley. An $82 million airport just for business executives?

Are there other topics you are interested in relevant to virtual software teams, Agile teams, or entrepreneurship? Leave us a comment and we’ll do the research for you!

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


The Freelancer Movement: How to Survive

The rise of the freelance workforce is a movement that will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. Elance just acquired their two millionth freelancer. Other online talent marketplaces like oDesk are growing at rates of 60% per year. Stats like those are the reasons Spotlight targets the freelance space and virtual project teams.

Working as a freelancer requires an entirely different mindset than traditional full-time. You manage every single detail yourself. Those things that are usually handled by an employer are now your responsibility. Not only do you have to tend to your work for at least 40 hours a week, you have to keep track of things like insurance, taxes, your own office and the list goes on and on.Freelancer's Bible

The Freelancer’s Bible

So how does a freelancer do it? Enter The Freelancer’s Bible by Sara Horowitz.

Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, writes on her experiences from working in the freelance marketplace for over two decades. The book is “a road map, a reference, a survival guide” to working independently and not losing your sanity.

The Freelancer’s Bible has something for freelancers at all levels from beginners to experienced. It’s broken down into 5 parts that takes you from getting started all the way to managing your business successfully.

Communication is key

As Horowitz mentions in the book, a freelancer becomes successful by building a network and maintaining quality relationships. The key to building good relationships, whether virtual or in-person, is the ability to communicate.

That’s why our team at Spotlight stresses communication so heavily among our contracted developers. Freelancers, especially in software development and design, have to adapt to changing requirements constantly. The only way to compensate for these rapidly changing conditions is to be in constant communication with all parties involved.

Effective communication leads to successful projects, which leads to a quality relationship with the client to help with referrals for new business. It all comes full circle.

Freelancing has indeed become an alternative to a full-time job. What used to be a stepping stone to working full-time has now become a viable alternative that can be lucrative. Using The Freelancer’s Bible to develop a good strategy and building the right network, working on your own terms is a ripe opportunity.

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.