10 Best Blogs for Freelancers and Independent Contractors

Wednesday, Jul. 16th 2014

Ask a Freelancer Perhaps my favorite freelancer blog, Liz Andrade, this self-proclaimedinternet nerd and crazy cat lady” writes helpful blogs including ones on becoming a freelancer, finding clients and how to use social media to increase your business.

This Freelancer Life Fairly new but informative, this digital magazine is written by freelancers and is available on iPad, iPhone and Android.

Fab Freelance Writing Angela Booth’s blog has great posts for freelance writers, particularly online freelance bloggers.

Self-Employment Tips for Independent Contractors This is actually a blog post from Kathrin Tschiesche on tips for independent contractors. If you don’t mind giving out your email address, you can also download a free ebook “Working as an independent contractor.”

Guerrilla Freelancing This is a robust blog written in a fun, “tongue-in-cheek” style.  Offers freelancers tips on gaining quality clients, setting pricing and getting paid on time!

Freelance Educator Tips from Creative Education A blog for teachers; it has posts about becoming a freelance educator and how to use social media to better your career.

Society of Professional Journalists Blog for Freelancers As the name suggests, a freelance blog just for journalists.  This one is updated often and features advice from staff but also guest bloggers.

Escape from Corporate America Pamela Skillings left a lucrative 12 year career as a marketing exec to start her own consulting business “Skillful Communications” in 2005. She offers blog posts with tips on how to begin a successful freelance career.

All Business Blog This small business blog has some great posts for IC’s including Becoming an Independent Contractor: Taking the First Steps and 10 Tax Tips for the Self-Employed.

Freelance Shack: This blog has a wealth of information for freelancers including how to brand and market yourself, how to generate more leads and how to increase your rates.

Read about the quickly emerging Task to Talent Workforce: The “Gig” Economy (and why this is great for you!).

Posted by Shannon Moynihan | in Freelancers, Independent Contractors, Task To Talent, Workforce Solutions | Comments Off

We will be at CompTIA ChannelCon 2014 in Phoenix Aug 4-6

Tuesday, Jul. 15th 2014

Members of the OnForce team will be headed to Phoenix, AZ this summer to attend CompTIA’s ChannelCon, set for Aug. 4-6 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.

ChannelCon is a big annual training and partnering experience for the IT channel. We like this show a lot because it gives us an opportunity to meet with OnForce Pros as well as OnForce Buyers. It’s also a great forum to learn about the latest training and resources offered by CompTIA.

“I look forward to this event each year because it allows us to engage with current OnForce members. These conversations help us identify new needs of pros and buyers and improve the way we connect our talented OnForce network of professionals with our service buyers,” reports Don Anderson, OnForce Workforce Solutions Director.

Both Don Anderson and George Derrico, our SVP of Sales, will be on hand in OnForce Booth #509. Be sure to stop by to chat with them.

Also, as a ChannelCon exhibitor, we are able to give you free admission to the show floor.  I encourage you to Click for Free Registration using our promo code: CC14OnForce (because admission is normally $250).

Posted by Shannon Moynihan | in Media, PR & Events, Pros Community | Comments Off

Platform version 5.60.4 release

Tuesday, Nov. 12th 2013

v 5.60.4 – released Nov 12 2013

The OnForce team will be releasing an update to the platform tonight. Here’s what’s new:

Are you making it easy to understand the requirements of your work? Are you providing clear and easy-to-follow instructions? In a fast-paced on-site environment, how quickly can service professionals extract important information from your job description?

As a service buyer, improving the readability of your work orders helps the service professionals you work with to quickly and completely understand job requirements and instructions — saving time on site, reducing errors and missed steps, and leading to better overall service.

OnForce service buyers can now apply rich formatting to their work order description, instructions, and terms of agreement fields, making the scope of work and service instructions easier to read, understand, and follow. With our easy-to-use formatting toolbar, you can add any of the following formatting and styling options to your work order text:

  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Numbered lists
  • Bulleted lists
  • Horizontal rules

Some tips for improving work order readability:

Avoid using all capital letters

Part of the way our brains make sense of printed text is by recognizing letter shapes. Because capitalized letters are all the same height, we actually have to work harder to distinguish between them. A study in the American Journal of Psychological Research concluded that using capital letters for emphasis actually decreases reading comprehension. What to do instead: Use bold or italics to emphasize important details and highlight critical steps or procedures.

Break up large blocks of text

Presenting job details in large blocks of text increases the amount of time required to read and decreases comprehension and retention. It’s much easier for our brains to assign meaning to what we read when visual characteristics, such as lists and spacing, are used to help us understand how the information is organized. What to do instead: Use section headings, spacing, and horizontal rules to organize your work order into smaller, more manageable sections. For example, maybe you want to provide instructions for what a Pro should do prior to going on site, while they’re on site, and when they are closing out the job.

Want more help?

Our support and account management teams are here to help you if you need pointers on how to structure an effective, easy-to-read work order.

Posted by Scott Epple | in Product Release | Comments Off

Top Three Ways to Deliver Exceptional Service

Monday, Aug. 12th 2013

Guest blog by George Harris, VP of Business Development at OnForce

Whether you’re a managed service provider, an OEM, a VAR, or even a full-service company in the 3rd-party arena, achieving exceptional service is always a top part of your organizational mission. Although your product or service may be very different from the company down the street, that goal remains the same.

As George Harris, VP of Business Development at OnForce says, “There are a hundred ways to bake a cake, but some taste better than others.” How can you make sure that your efforts are resulting in a robust, tasty strategy? Here are Harris’ picks for top ways to garner exceptional service.

  • With a certified, qualified tech trained on a specific product. When bringing in a tech, look for one trained by a manufacturer or who’s been through a formal training program — that way, they understand how a product is being used. Also, glance at work history and get a sense of a tech’s skills and knowledgebase. You want someone who can keep pace with innovation, and supplement existing skills with fresh ones in order to stay sharp in today’s rapidly changing business marketplace. So, find indications of that in a tech’s experience.
  • Bring in a tech who understands the business environment in which your product or service is being used — knowing the details of a product is crucial, but a tech should also be savvy about how that product is affecting your business or your industry.
  • Increase your company’s “soft skills” by utilizing techs who have exemplary listening and problem solving skills, as well as true passion for their work. A successful IT consultant will be flexible when on a project, dealing with unexpected issues and seeing solutions instead of problems.

Focusing on these types of strategies helps a company operate with lower margins, keeping costs in line, Harris notes: “You have a workforce that’s available now through an online platform, which helps mitigate most of the concerns through a strong vetting process, verification of certification, background and drug testing, performance reporting, and insurance, so why not make the most of that?”

Poor Attendance Leads to Poor Results

Thursday, Aug. 8th 2013

By Terry Stockham, Human Capital Advisor at OnForce

According to The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, the definition of absenteeism is:”Habitual absence from work, thought to reflect employee demoralization or dissatisfaction.”

Absenteeism at work is not only about the direct costs related to an employee’s absence (sick pay, overtime, etc.), but also about the related effects that ripple throughout the organization. Here are just a few examples of the extended impacts of poor attendance:

  • Safety implications: working short-handed, hiring inexperienced temporary staff, or relying on overworked employees on overtime can all lead to increased accidents and downtime, as well as have a negative impact on cost and profitability
  • Productivity loss: because of reduced staff, your company may shorten certain processes to get things done
  • Quality compromised: product and service defects tend to increase when you do not have sufficient staff; also, employees already working a full schedule and asked to put in additional hours tend to make more mistakes
  • Performance loss: high-performing employees with good attendance will gradually become disengaged and their performance will suffer as a result of carrying shifted burdens and workload, especially over an extended period of time
  • Employee turnover: poor attendance may eventually lead to more high-performing employees leaving, compared to low-performing employees. Over time, this dynamic can drastically impact your organization on multiple levels and inhibit its ability to meet the needs of customers in a quality-driven, sustainable, and profitable manner.

As you can see from these examples, attendance issues are reflected not only with employee cost, but also have cost and performance impacts that can affect your entire organization and your bottom line. While attendance is a relatively complex issue with no single solution, there are things you can look for in your organization such as:

CULTURE: Take a hard look at your culture and how employees are treated and recognized for performance. Do you have a culture of inclusion and collaboration rather than “command and control”?

TALENT: To borrow Jim Collins’ phrase: “Are you getting the right people on the bus…in the right seats?” Work environments, cultures, and jobs change over time. The right person, in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things is crucial. Conversely, mismatches result in disengagement and poor attendance.

RECOGNITION: Pay and benefits come to be perceived as entitlements to an employee in a very short time. They are important, but not true motivators. Look at how your organization recognizes the contributions of employees. It is human nature to desire and seek acknowledgment of successes and performance, which is why recognition is a cost-effective way to get lasting results with positive impacts to the bottom line.

JOB STRUCTURE: Review how your jobs are structured. Maybe it’s time for a change. Does the structure of the job challenge and motivate the employee? Does the employee feel he/she can make a difference in his/her current role? If the answer is “no,” it is time for a change. Some jobs may need to be restructured or redesigned to improve employee satisfaction with the work. If this does not help, some duties may need to be outsourced or fulfilled via an appropriate contingent labor model.

If your company has an attendance problem, the key is to act quickly, before it negatively impacts your entire organization.

Posted by Diana | in Human Resources, Labor Networks, Workplace | Comments Off
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