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4 Unexpected Challenges that can Come When Working with Freelancers

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Running an online business has it’s pros and cons. One of the many benefits however, is having the ability to hire freelance workers and virtual assistants around the world to complete tasks for you. Such tasks usually outsourced to freelancers include content creation, social media management, design work or anything else that you might be able to teach and automate. No matter what it is you are using freelancers for, they are a vital part of the entrepreneur and business process.

At the same time, while more entrepreneurs, businesses and brands are looking to outsource and hire freelancers over in-house staff or employees, millions of jobs are being automated and outsourced in the process. A new report from The Register shows just how far the global economy has come and how jobs are quickly changing around the world. IBM, which is one of the largest employers in North America, has a growing number of employees contracted from both India and Bangladesh… and they aren’t alone.

Entrepreneurs are finding the process of locating, hiring and retaining talent from outside their home country easier than ever before thanks to new platforms designed to put these groups in touch. As wonderful and amazing the concept of hiring and using freelance workers might be, there are always going to be some unexpected issues and problems that arise in the process. Here are four unexpected, but still fairly common problems that new and established businesses run into when they work with employees outside of their home country.

Payment

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to payment, but we’ll start with wages themselves. How much do you offer, and what is a fair rate to be charged? These are some of the first questions you’ll face as an entrepreneur, and you’re not alone. The truth is somewhere between “you get what you pay for” and “offer a living wage”. Payment also varies depending on where your freelancer is from, and what the actual work is they are going to be completing. Currency exchange rates, value of service and a host of other variables mean that what you pay for in one country might get you quite a bit more in another. A good example of this can be seen in India right now and how they are seeing an extra level of taxation on all payments leaving the country — which can hurt both the freelancer and client.

The best advice to offer is to gather some data on what the going wage is for what you’re asking. Look at sites that offer the kind of content or service you want and see what they charge. Also be sure to review existing job postings and query candidates that interest you about their salary levels. Often, you’ll find freelancers want work and can be flexible with rates if you agree to certain conditions. Many freelance writing jobs sites and marketplaces will have all of these options in place and readily accessible.

Location

The primary method you’ll use to pay freelancers is what’s known as a digital wallet (like Paypal or Payoneer), and most allow for an international money transfer to many but not all countries. If your freelancer works in a country that isn’t serviced by that provider, then you might have a hard time retaining his or her services. Not every wallet and payment processor can do currency conversions to any country, and some will outright refuse working within a particular country. You don’t have to look very far to find horror stories of what can happen if you don’t pay your freelancer, but you shouldn’t have a problem with this if you ask questions ahead of time.

This is something we’ve all too commonly see in the world of affiliate marketing and e-commerce when trying to sell or promote products out of the US. Sure, there is going to be demand for your product or service, but if you don’t accept the right payment methods, all of your efforts will be in vain.

When working with a freelancer, see if they have a preferred method of receiving or transferring money. In most cases, Paypal is one of the most common solutions, but there are other options to explore as well.

Rates and Fees

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you transfer money, it’s your freelance contractor who ends up footing the bill in many cases. They may be able to write off or recoup some of those costs, but a vast majority of that money is just lost to third parties. There’s not much you can do to cut those middlemen, but you can work with your freelancer to find a solution with reduced fees. Some employers will even go so far as to handle currency conversion on their own. Certainly a nice and welcome gesture, but not a requirement.

This is actually just another factor in the overall pricing of hiring freelance workers out of country — it’s going to be cheaper! Personally, I will often eat any charges that might be passed along to the freelancer or VA, and it’s usually something that should be negotiated on beforehand. Another thing to consider is using any of the major freelancer writer marketplaces like TextBroker or Contentmart. Not only are they providing the service and making sure both parties are happy with the work and transaction, they are also dealing with any foreign payments and transaction fees as well.

Unless you’re looking to go above and beyond to retain proper talent (more on that in a moment), you’ll be fine if you offer to try and cover some of those fees or find some other way to help out.

Ownership Over Work and Content

Let’s face it… if you are outsourcing anything to a freelancer or virtual assistant in another country, you are probably paying well below average U.S. rates. While this isn’t a problem in itself, it does offer the opportunity for things to occasionally go wrong. One such issue could be the inability to stay in contact with your freelancer, receive the work you’ve paid for, or even having your content, work or relations taken advantage of.

It’s one thing to work with a company or service provider within your country and have everything go smoothly. It’s another when things go bad. Usually you would have the option to hire an attorney and take legal action for such damages against someone working in your same country. However, when you start working with virtual teams or freelancers in other countries, it’s pretty much all up for grabs. Not only would the process be a thousand times harder to take action on and win, it would also be much more costly in the process.

The lesson here is simple… don’t delegate out work that could jeopardize your business or come back to hurt you later on.

Final Thoughts

If your goal is to acquire and retain top talent, then paying attention to these important details is a crucial step for you to take as a business owner. You won’t need to ask around for too long to find someone who has hired the wrong kind of talent. Retaining a good freelancer is worth the struggle of making sure they can get paid without eating too much in fees.

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Black Friday is always a great time to take advantage of the huge holiday sales rush. Not only is this true with retail locations, it’s also MASSIVE for online businesses and shopping as well.

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Over the past two decade, Zac Johnson has lunched hundreds of websites, thousands of ad campaigns and has also taught his students how to make millions of dollars in the process.

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Quick and Effective Tips to Maximize Speed of your Website or Blog

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Few things are worse than when you click over to a new website or blog, and then it’s loading slow as anything. With everyone having an extremely short attention span, and so many options for other websites and entertainment online, a fast loading website is a must for every blogger, brand, or business on the internet.

There are also many benefits associated with a fast loading site, beyond just user experience. Google is now penalizing sites that take too long to load, and boosting up other sites that a mobile-optimized and running super fast.

Depending on how technical your design or WordPress skills might be, the process of speeding up your site and maximizing it’s optimization might vary. To help with this process, I’ve listed a few of the best working methods below.

Optimize your Homepage to Load Quickly

With the homepage being one of the most vital parts of your website or blog, you should be doing everything possible to make sure it loads quickly. Different things can be done to speed up your homepage such as lowering the number of posts on the main page, minimizing applications and widgets from third-party sites, and also optimizing your images so they are either loading as a smaller sized file or through a CDN service. It’s also a good idea to use an SEO friendly theme or template, as these are more often cleaner with their coding and already optimized right out of the box.

Use an Effective Caching Plugin

If you are using a CMS like WordPress or blogger, then using an effective cashing plugin can contribute nicely in the process of making sure your site is loading as fast as possible. Since caching is an apparatus for a temporary storage of web pages to diminish bandwidth and to improve page loading performance as well, it saves the server’s time to make web pages load faster. Caching plugins are easy to install and use. All you need to do is perform some research online to see which plugin is best for your site, then click a few buttons to have it installed right within WordPress. Once this is done, it’s usually just a matter of copying the account number of your CDN and letting the hosting provider and WordPress plugin do its work.

Use CDN (content delivery network)

We’ve already referenced content delivery networks or CDNs, a few times now. The way these solutions work is that they host a version of your site on their server, and then loads the content from another server that is closest to that individual’s location. More and more site owners and bloggers are using CDNs not only to improve page load speed but to provide users with a great experience to make them stay longer on the website. Also mentioned earlier, this can help with how well a site ranks in Google, while also moving your site above the competition. Moreover, if one of your server locations is overloaded due to huge traffic and visitors, then users can automatically be switched to a new server location to enjoy fast loading website experience.

Improve Your Hosting Plan

If you have a slow loading website or blog, it’s likely due to your hosting plan. If you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and making money in the process, you should definitely upgrade from a shared server. Shared hosting is often fine for new site owners and bloggers, but as your site gains more attention, backlinks, and traffic, it will also likely be using more server resource. On a shared server, your site is also sharing the server resources with many other sites — sometimes hundreds, or even thousands! Upgrading your hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated hosting package can greatly improve the performance of your site as well. So, if you are still using a cheap web hosting plan with an average price below $5/mo and receiving massive traffic from search engines, then it would be the right time for you to upgrade your hosting plan with a better one to speed up your website loading speed.

Use Optimized Images

Big images take up a lot of space and resources when it comes to loading data from your site. This is especially true with very high-quality images. While these images are going to play a big role in the beauty and engagement on your site, there are still ways to optimize such large images so they load faster and put less stress on your server. There are many plugins are available that can drastically reduce the file size of an image without reducing the quality. Image optimization will not only help you boost website load time but will also save disk space for more files and media. If you really don’t want to overload your website with plugins, then you can also use online image reducer apps and software to optimize image before uploading to the media library of the site.

Minimize HTTP Redirects Requests

How and where content is being loaded on your site can also affect its overall performance. You may need to use redirect requests to redirect the web browser from one URL to another. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to do this, such as to specify a new URL location, to track visits and clicks on the site or to connect different elements of the website with each other. Since redirects might be necessary to enhance overall UX of the website, you should only be using the redirect requests that are most important because excessive redirect requests can have an ultimate impact on the loading speed of your website/blog.

Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging

When browsing the internet, few things are more annoying than accessing a slow loading website. It’s hard enough to get someone to visit your site, let alone stay for a few seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave right away because your site isn’t loading as fast as it should be.

Follow each of the simple and effective site speed optimization tips above to make sure your site loads as fast as possible, ranks higher than the competition and also doesn’t disappoint your audience when they hit your site.

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7 Examples of How to Rank Higher in Google for Your Name

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Your name is important and when someone searches for it online, you want to make sure they find your correct information. This isn’t just about reputation management, it’s also about looking your best and delivering a great first impression.

The key thing to remember here is no matter what someone is searching for online, they are likely going to start with a simple Google search. Since most people share their name with hundreds or even thousands of people in the world, having your content rank for your name might be quite a challenge. This is especially the case if you share a name with a popular celebrity, politician or well-known personality.

The good news is that when it comes to ranking for your name in Google, anything is possible. Implement each of the seven methods below into your content creation and marketing efforts to see your own site and content start ranking higher for your personal name.

Create a Website or Blog with YourName.com

The most effective way to rank in Google for your name is to simply create a website or blog and have the domain as your personal name. ZacJohnson.com is a perfect example of this.

It’s not just about creating a site and putting it out there, it’s also about making sure the site acts as your main hub for everything you do online. This means you should be creating original content for the site, linking to your social media profiles and also referencing back to your site when contributing to other sites or getting quoted/referenced.

zac_johnson_-_Google_Search

Once you have a platform in place, it’s something that will continue grow and develop with your personal brand over time — while also gaining in authority and SEO power as well.

Promote Your Social Profiles

Speaking of social profiles, Google loves to rank sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter right at the top of their search results. Depending on the competition around your name, your social profiles might already be ranking at the top of Google, even above your own websites.

You can see an example of what currently ranks in Google should you search for “Taylor Swift” below.

 taylor_swift_-_Google_Search

With millions of sites and new content pieces covering Taylor Swift every single day, it’s her social profiles (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) that continue to dominate the search rankings.

This same method works for all names and not just celebrities. If you want your social profiles to rank higher, just keep sending more links to them using a variation of your name as the anchor text.

Boost Profiles and Authority Sites

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, ranking at the top of Google for your name is important if you want to deliver the best and most accurate information. If you are having trouble ranking your own site or want to focus on ranking other high authority content in addition to your own, this is a perfect option to explore.

For example, let’s take a look at Warren Stephens, who is an entrepreneur and has multiple bios and articles written about him online. His Wikipedia profile ranks first, then a bio on Forbes and another based around “Warren Stephens net-worth” on TheRichest. While Wikipedia and Forbes are both mega-huge outlets, TheRichest is still quite powerful to be ranking number three for his name.

Warren_Stephens_-_Google_Search

Celebrity networth sites have quickly been gaining more and more attention lately as they continue to ramp up the number of celebrities, entrepreneurs, and well-known personalities they continue to cover. Even if you don’t think your one of the most famous people in the world, your profile could soon quickly be picked up by their platforms and covered in the media.

Just while doing a quick search through their Google listings I was able to easily find thousands of entrepreneurs including Kevin Harrington and Gary Vaynerchuck.

Celebritynetworth_-_Google_Search

How long before we see these “networth” sites ranking on the first page for many average individuals, YouTube stars and entrepreneurs?

Guest Blogging and Author Profiles on Other Sites

While you might already have a site of your own that is ranking well for your name, it’s always a good idea to try and rank for multiple positions with other relevant content. If you are an expert in your industry, a great way to secure even more page one rankings for your name is to contribute content to other high-authority sites.

We can see this working extremely well for Neil Patel, who is a well-known entrepreneur and marketer through his blogs at QuickSprout.com and NeilPatel.com.

Not only does Neil have his own sites, he is also a contributor to many big media outlets like Entrepreneur.com and HubSpot.com. Doing a quick search for his name in Google will result in not only his main sites and social profiles ranking for his name, but also each of these contributing bios on other sites as well.

neil_patel_-_Google_Search

Once again, a perfect example of how you can deliver a great first impression (and your best content) when someone searches for your name on Google.

Rank with Other Content Sharing Sites

As covered in a few of the examples above, a great way to quickly rank at the top of Google for your name is to do so with other well-established sites. In this example, we are going to look at Jeff Bullas, who is one of the most well-known bloggers and social media influencers in the world today.

His site at JeffBullas.com already ranks number one for his name, then his social profiles follow afterward. However, when you move further down the list you will see his profiles with SlideShare.net and WordPress.com also make it on the first page of Google.

jeff_bullas_-_Google_Search

Even though Slideshare and WordPress.com are two extremely popular sites, not many people consider them when trying to rank for multiple positions for their name. These are definitely two free options everyone should consider when trying to dominate the whole first page of Google for their name.

Do Interviews and Media Outreach

A common theme in this article has been the power of using authority sites and media outlets to quickly rank at the top of Google. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through interviews and getting mentioned or covered by relevant industry sites that rank well.

A quick example of this can be seen if you search for my name in Google. A few years ago I was interviewed for IncomeDiary.com, and that post still ranks extremely well for my name today.

zac_johnson_interview_-_Google_Search

The same holds true for even big name celebrities or entrepreneurs who do interviews or get covered for stories based around their success and fame. If you do a search for “Lori Greiner” of Shark Tank, you will see interview-based stories from BusinessInsider.com, Inc. and Entrepreneur.com all ranking on the first page for her name.

Lori_Greiner_-_Google_Search

Not sure how to get media coverage on sites like Entrepreneur or Inc? Simple… just look for the author bio section in each article. Share their content, build up a relationship and maybe your story is a perfect fit for their next article.

Don’t Forget About the Power of Video

Video is a fascinating beast in itself, yet one that is often overlooked by content creators that mainly focus on “text” based articles.

Here’s two quick things you need to know about video.

  1. People love to share and reference videos
  2. Google loves to rank video since they own YouTube

Now that you know that, you should definitely be using video in your content outreach and SEO practices.

It’s also not just YouTube video that ranks well either. Sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion rank very nicely as well.

Still not sure how effective video ranking can be? Richard Branson is one of the most well-known and successful entrepreneurs in the world, with billions of searches for his name annually. With all of that competition in play, do you think a video would rank for his name on Google? — The answer is yes, and even more surprising… it’s not even a YouTube video!

richard_branson_-_Google_Search

Don’t Just Rank #1 — Rank for All Ten!

The ultimate goal for everyone trying to rank in Google for their name shouldn’t be to just grab that elusive number one position, but instead to rank for multiple (if not all) page one locations.

Run through the above seven working methods again and see what type of content you may already have ranking in Google. It’s much easier to improve your rankings with any existing content that you already have ranking on page 2 or 3 pushed to page 1, versus trying to come up with new and original content of your own.

In the world of SEO and ranking at the top of Google, it’s all about getting your content in the right places and building authority links and references around them

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