Meet a LeadGenius: Imran Khodabaksh

Do you know Imran? If you don’t, you definitely should. Imran is one of our Premier Managers and he is easily one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet. Meticulous and passionate, Imran brings his “A Game” to every project of which he plays a part. He is committed to ensuring that work gets done on time and to the highest possible standards.

Here are three quick facts about Imran:

  1. Imran recently moved from Kenya to Cheshire, England to pursue his longtime dream of earning his MBA. Don’t worry! He’ll still be working with MobileWorks while he attends school.
  2. Over the course of his career, Imran has always endeavored to put himself in positions where his leadership skills can shine. Knowing exactly what he wants out of life is the driving force behind his decision to join MobileWorks.
  3. In his free time, Imran rescues abandoned kittens and helps them find forever homes.

Q: So I hear you’re putting yourself through graduate school.

A: Yes. For my MBA.

Q: Why did you make the decision to pursue an MBA?

A: Well, I live in Kenya and I’ve always wanted to do an MBA. I’ve been in leadership positions my whole life and I believe that an MBA would give me the skills necessary to excel further in this field.

Q: What’s your favorite part about working with MobileWorks?

A: I love that I get to interact with people from all over the world. I also love that I get to help Premiers grow and improve into true professionals.

Q: What advice do you have for MobileWorkers who are just getting started out?

A: My advice for new MobileWorkers would be to strive higher. They should give it their best and always push themselves and set new goals to achieve. That is, if they are Premiers, they should aim to become Project Leads and so on and so forth.

We are so thrilled to have great Premier Managers like Imran Khodabaksh on our team. Their passion and client-minded focus is one of the keys to our success.

My favorite quote is “It’s good to dream. Only when you dream do you realize the true taste of success when you finally have it.”


Happy International Happiness Day!

Since July 12, 2012 the UN has celebrated March 20th as the international day of happiness. This declaration recognizes happiness as a fundamental human right. This expands the vision of development as more than economic growth; real development is inclusive of social and environmental well-being too. 

At MobileWorks we are committed to fostering a happy, collaborative online community. We promote happiness and bonding in lots of ways--playing weekly games, sharing photos, and celebrating each others' birthdays.

These endeavors have real impact in our workers' lives. Our workers overwhelmingly agree that they are proud to tell people about their MobileWorks job, that they feel their work is meaningful, that they feel a part of a community. These sentiments have tangible benefits for us and for our clients. 

We believe that happy people do better work. Happy people stick around and create great relationships with our clients. Happy people are fun collaborative partners. 

To see how we're doing, we asked our community how MobileWorks has changed their lives. Here are a few of their responses: 

"I have met a lot of friends from other places and it is overwhelming to know more about their culture and our differences. Respect is the main ingredient why I am here. Second, responsibility and lastly, love of work."

"Through MobileWorks I have a stable source of income. This has reduced my daily worries of lunch and supper. I'm happy. I'm able to support my parents, my sister and my girlfriend."

"The opportunity to spend time with my family and earn money too gives me immense satisfaction. Even though I'm with my family I'm not wasting my talents. I have the option to choose my own time to work. I am so excited and happy  to be working with MobileWorks."

We are constantly developing new ways for our community to bond with each other, foster delightful client relationships, and develop professionally. These endeavors pay off for our workers and our clients. 

So today we wish you all a happy happiness day! 

Here's to recognizing and promoting happiness in the world around us! 

Digital Jam 3.0 Inspires Caribbean Startup Ecosystem

Our Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica trainings culminated at the University of the West Indies this weekend at Digital Jam 3.0. The conference brought together great minds from start-ups and accelerators across the Caribbean and abroad to discuss how to create a thriving start-up ecosystem. 

Julian Robinson, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, kicked off the conference discussing Jamaica's plan for supporting technological innovation (including developing an angel investment network). 

Sunday's main event was the apps competition drawing over 160 app submissions from countries including Jamaica, Barbados, and Dominica. 

Finalists in four categories, including "gamechangers" and "stunning beginners" live demoed their apps for a panelist of judges. 

Throughout the event we met lots of inspiring youth and young entrepreneurs. Here Anna-Lisa and Brianna are interviewing with the KiDz Hub radio station. We wish we would have been creating such change when we were 15 years old! 

We continued to spread the world about online work opportunities at four MobileWorks training sessions during the conference. Again, youth wowed us with their skills and interests. 

Special thanks to the World Bank & Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States for inviting us to attend the conference and share online work opportunities with so many incredible young people! 

Connecting Job Opportunities to Skilled Jamaican Youth

Continuing our commitment to providing online job opportunities to youth who most need them, the MobileWorks teamed up this week with the World Bank & others to provide job trainings for 100 Jamaican youth. 

These local trainings provide us the chance to connect with youth on the ground  to learn more about the availability of local jobs, what skills are needed, and fair wages in the area. 

Things we've learned so far on our trip: 
1. Youth unemployment is a major issue--average unemployment rate of 38.5% for youth age 18-24
2. Youth who are unemployed have often graduated college or high school and have tangible skills. We've met students with skills in Photoshop; website development; app coding; customer service; etc.  
3. Even though youth have passed high school or graduated from college there are few opportunities for them to work and deploy & grow their skills 


So far we've had the opportunity to speak with and train 60 students at the Northern Caribbean University & 40 youth in the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) program. Many of the students had a background in IT, computer science, customer service, marketing, among others. 

In these sessions, students were engaged connecting online opportunities to skills they need to develop personally and professionally. Students often asked, "I have 3 years of customer service experience, will that help me in my application? Can I learn more about customer service as a MobileWorker?" "My dad runs a stone business. Will this online work opportunity teach me more about business fundamentals?" "I'm interested in tourism and hospitality. What can I learn as a MobileWorker?" 

Youth in Jamaica clearly see the link between skills and employability. The students we met were hungry for opportunities to shine. They have skills and only lack the avenue to show off and be paid for them. 

During our trainings we walked youth through the MobileWorker application process and explained how our community works--join a team; make friends; ask questions; develop your skills; earn fair hourly wages. 

So far we've had over 130 new applicants from youth across the Caribbean. And we're just ramping up with three more training sessions at the Digital Jam 3.0 conference this weekend. 

We can't contain our enthusiasm at the opportunity to share online work with so many inspiring youth and their mentors. So get ready for some amazing work coming from youth in the Caribbean!

ABC News: Berkeley startup MobileWorks revolutionizes outsourcing

Our founders and reddit founder Alexis Ohanian speak to the necessity of outsourcing work with a conscience on ABC News. 

"MobileWorks is giving people halfway around the world a little piece of economic recovery." - Jonathan Bloom


"What MobileWorks is proving is that there's a smart business model to paying people well. To being responsible employers and that's great because now it's not just an emotional win. It's not just an ethical win. It's also a financial win and that's powerful." - Alexis Ohanian


Contact us today if you'd like to hear more about our services. 
If you're looking for work, feel free to apply here


MobileWorks, The World Bank & OECS Team Up & Train Caribbean Youth

This past week, representatives from the MobileWorks team joined the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and The World Bank in an effort to educate and raise awareness around employment opportunities available to skilled workers in the Caribbean via online platforms. We were thrilled with the turnout at training sessions at Dominica College in Dominica, the Caribbean Development Bank in Barbados, and The Ministry of Technology and Education in Grenada. We garnered over 30+ trainees each session, ranging in age from 18-35, and all of which held college level degrees or were in the process of earning a degree.

This effort is part of a larger effort, DigitalJam 3.0, which aims to address the issue of youth unemployment in the region through opportunists in the technology field. 

"Through workshops on app development and online work platforms, they can become part of a global workforce, even become entrepreneurs. At the 2-day conference it is our intention start the conversation between Regional & Global leaders in the tech field and these talented youth, hopefully leading to greater opportunities for them starting now." - Carolyn Lazarus, Digital Jam 3.0 

In the Caribbean young professionals tend to be in their teens upon graduating. This poses a challenge upon entering a limited workforce. Platforms like MobileWorks allow young professionals to develop skills and build their resumes enabling them to be more competitive and skilled for local jobs. Essentially, the MobileWorks platform encourages productivity while adding a competitive advantage. Young professionals feel empowered through the work we provide. 

"To most, “seeing is believing” and in this globally competitive society it is important to bring practical solutions to the Caribbean that are not scams. From Silicon Valley to the Caribbean, MobileWorks representatives have brought these opportunities to the typical islander through the Digital Jam 3.0 initiative.

Our team was pleased to take part in this journey. MobileWorks is far more than a technology startup, we stand by our mission of creating access to online job opportunities for skilled individuals across the globe, regardless of locally available job opportunities. 

"The introduction of innovative services like MobileWorks is a significant opportunity for Caribbean nationals as we look to compete in the online global society. This platform moves us beyond the basic concepts of information technology into a more practical use of technology by aiding to alleviate the problem of unemployment in the region. MobileWorks is an innovative company providing e-Lancing opportunities that removes the geographic barriers to employment." - Marlon Marie, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States


Without Their Permission book tour after party with reddit founder Alexis Ohanian

He came, he saw, he inspired. 

Some of you may know Alexis Ohanian for redefining how we share and validate information on the web- the founding of reddit. Others may know him for helping launch hipmunk, his work with SOPA & PIPA and for his recent addition as a Y Combinator partner.

We all know him as a visionary and a voice of our generation. By generation, I'm referring to those that have grown up with the evolution of the Internet. 

What's he up to now? Alexis has embarked on an 100 stop, 65 college, 5 month long tour promoting internet entrepreneurship, which lead to a  lecture at the UC Berkeley Campus. Following his lecture he stopped by MobileWorks HQ in downtown Berkley. This called for an after party.

AlexisParty

It's only natural that Alexis has become an advocate and trusted advisor of MobileWorks, we're redefining how the world works...literally. We're leveraging technology and the internet to provide jobs to skilled workers around the world. Alexis took part in the syndication of valuable information around the world and in turn provided the necessary tools to help educate. We're now identifying those that are educated and should have jobs however simply lack access. 

Thank you Alexis and thanks to everyone that stopped by our office! 

Team MobileWorks

Party Pics:


AlexisPartyAlexisPartyAlexisPartyAlexisParty

Fox Business: MobileWorks, finding workers via the cloud [Video]

Watch now

Our founder and CEO, Anand Kulkarni, appeared on Fox Business this week to discuss how MobileWorks harnesses the power of the crowd to connect high-skilled workers with companies in need of manpower.

"This is the next logical step...Companies are finding they need more flexibility than just hiring folks in their own backyards. If they find someone who is really talented, and willing to work 10-to-20 hours a week, they can hire that staffer no matter where they are in the world.”Kulkarni says

Although larger brands such as  Xerox and eBay currently leverage MobileWorks, we believe there's a need for virtual workforces in the small/medium sized business markets. Scaling as a SMB  is a doubled-edged sword. Not only must you hire to remain competitive but you must remain competitive on a low budget.  SMB's  generally lack the necessary resources to hire and scale efficiently. MobileWorks is helping ease the growing pains. 

Watch now

Cold email outreach best practices from around the web

“Not another tips and tricks list!”

There’s no shortage of email tips and tricks. Lists abound all over the internet. Even the narrowly-defined activity of initial email outreach has long lists of advice.

Rather than rehash all the advice that’s out there, here’s a table.

It illustrates what’s helpful, what’s harmful, and what doesn’t make much of a difference either way.

Initial Email Outreach Practices: Best, Worst, and Indifferent

emailtable


Most of this is common sense, but did you know…?
  1. Emails with 28-39 characters in the subject line had the highest click rates. (Litmus)
  2. Statistically people will decided within 2 seconds whether an email is worth reading. (SmartInsights)
  3. 89% of consumers would delete an email on mobile that doesn’t look good. (KISSmetrics)
  4. On average, our response rate increases by 50% when we follow up to an unanswered cold email. (Life-long Learner)

Good example - Here’s an example using some best practices. 

sampleemail

Bad example - Follow the example below to ensure poor response.

bademail
Conclusion

Short, clear emails are effective. They should be personal and specific. Use the table above and the links below as your reference for writing initial outreach emails.

Sources

Many thanks to the following excellent sources of information: 

Econsultancy KISSmetrics Mailchimp
Marketing Land Smart Insights The YouMoz Blog
Yesware Business Insider Ling-long Learner

And big recognition to Litmus for their comprehensive subject-line infographic


Increase Your Sales Pipeline Effectively

Lead Generation vs Core Business

Successful businesses engage in two very different activities:

  1. Serving current customers, and

  2. Identifying new customers.

The problem is, when you’re focused on serving current customers, you’re doing less to identify new customers. And conversely, when you’re focused on identifying new customers, you’re doing less to serve current customers.

To increase their sales pipelines, many businesses could use help managing their efforts between lead generation (finding & qualifying potential customers) and core business (closing sales & delighting customers).



A chart of these efforts over time looks like an argyle pattern or a series of Xs. No matter how you describe it, tension exists between these activities.

These efforts are inefficient.

Predictability breeds efficiency

Many businesses could use a healthy dose of predictability. If you spend a set amount of effort on lead generation, then you can devote the majority of your effort to your core business of closing sales and delighting customers.



By injecting predictability into the mix, you can turn that argyle pattern into horizontal stripes. Your sales pipeline is fed continuously. You have plenty of customers to delight—plus time to delight them—and you have a steady stream of potential customers to convert.

These efforts are efficient. But where and how do you inject this predictability?

Increasing your sales pipeline

Successful businesses feed their sales pipelines in three complementary ways:
  1. Word-of-Mouth: customer loyalty and referrals -> Many-to-Many

  2. Inbound Marketing: activities and collateral (this blog, for example) -> One-to-Many

  3. Outbound Prospecting: sales lead generation -> One-to-One

Excelling at your core business is what drives customer loyalty and referrals. Plus it provides the foundation for your marketing material. So doing these things really well helps feed your sales pipeline. 

Word-of-mouth and inbound marketing are almost self-feeding compared to the effort required for outbound prospecting. For one-to-one sales lead generation to be fruitful, it requires substantial effort. There’s profile definition, there’s channel optimization, there’s message customization, there’s more. There are many moving parts to outbound prospecting.

One-to-one outreach can be hugely effective among your target market. But it can become an enormous burden to seek out those targets. This is where to inject predictability into your lead generation activities.

“What does Customer-Acquisition-as-a-Service have to do with anything?”

Customer-Acquisition-as-a-Service can make the volume and quality of your sales leads more predictable. It can feed your sales pipeline with targeted leads at a regular cadence.

Here’s an example: Every week, a caterer uses Customer-Acquisition-as-a-Service to fill its sales pipeline with 150 contacts of decision makers at targets interested in catering. With a predictable supply of targeted leads in the pipeline, the caterer can focus on doing its core business of closing sales and providing catering.

When you tune your pipeline to a regular cadence, you achieve efficiency.

Bottomline

You can increase your sales pipeline effectively by injecting predictability into your outbound prospecting efforts. Your business can focus on what you’re good (serving current customers), and you can let someone else focus on what they’re good at (identifying new customers).

We’ll explore more about these topics in future updates. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ensure you’re up to date.