PUHLEAZE PEOPLE

Yes, 2nd time in a row. You know my lovelies – I don’t do this – But I am desperate. And desperation makes you do strange things. But no, I am not “ashamed”. As Barney said and I reverently quote:

In my body where the shame gland is, I have second “Awesome” gland”

I NEED a VA who can provide support to a Malaysian-based startup. VERY cool people – Silicon valley can’t wait to get their hands on ‘em but being nearly as awesome as me and Barnacle dude, they obviously flip their hair and say “No”.

OK – so to the point.

Need a VA to work from home to work from 9 AM to 6 PM US Pacific Time. Good money – I assure you. US accent a must. Doesn’t matter what gender you are (or are not). Simple work for someone with common sense (ever wondered why its called “common sense”? Seems pretty uncommon to me).

If you know someone have him/her contact me ASAP. Of course want a Pakistani national. Come on my pretties – help a fellow girl in need. If you don’t like helping fellow humans, I am gonna try the “Puss In Boots” on you.

VA, virtual assistant, virtual assistants, virtual assistance, work online, work from home, vacancy

Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

 

Social Versus Cultural Enterprises

I got to meet Sharmeen Chinoy – cool, eh? It was a US Embassy and HEC joint seminar about Acid Attack Victims (of course). I am sorry I almost snoozed through most of it so am not a good judge of how it went. Don’t even remember who was present. If interested, read this excellent roundup by Zainab Khawaja here. You may see me in some of the photos she has put up .. ;)

Also met the US Ambassador to Pakistan’s wife, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt.

We are BFFs now. Proof =========================================>>>>
Read an article recently in Social Edge that made me sit up and go … huh? Everyone knows know how big a supporter I am of social entrepreneurship. In a turbulent country like Pakistan business coupled with social good really is the elixir we are looking for. At the recently held Youth Entrepreneurs Conference a lot of the kids thought a social enterprise is a not-for-profit. KILL ME SOMEONE! NO, social enterprise is NOT synonymous with a not-for-profit – though a a #socent may also be a not-for-profit. Put simply a social entrepreneur is made when she (the feminism continues!) notices a problem in society like energy crisis or lack of clean drinkable water or women empowerment and comes up with a solution for it. The next step then is to find out if the solution is sell-able – if it can solve the ‘pain’ of a customer. For example, with Women’s Digital League, I am working on economic empowerment for educated Pakistani women who are discouraged from working outside their homes. At the same time WDL is providing affordable digital services to clients based around the world. At the end of the day, whatever the purpose, at the core of every business lies profitability and scalability. If I receive millions of dollars every month but can’t pay my utility bills  how long would I be able to sustain my love for helping humanity? And paying salaries is the same as profit – as you grow you pay yourself more the same way you would take home more when you start getting more profit.

The article introduced a new concept to me – cultural entrepreneurship. Here is how it defines it:

Cultural entrepreneurs … solve problems by disrupting belief systems—using television shows like Glee to initiate viewers into the disability or GLBTQ rights frameworks or the Twitter campaign #mensaythingstome, designed to expose anonymous misogyny online.

It’s hard for me to distinguish between the two. Ain’t Women’s Digital League changing mindsets by giving women the opportunity to work from home? That’s a shift from the conventional way Pakistanis are used to working. So where do I put WDL? So how is a TV show like Glee an enterprise? Or how is a Twitter hashtag campaign an enterprise? I find the whole business vs. enterprise thing very confusing.

So an enterprise is a “purposeful endeavor”. Then why isn’t a business the same too? Isn’t creating a new product, increasing profits, scaling, permeating markets an endeavor with a purpose as well?  And if by ‘purpose’ we are referring to ‘social good’ then what’s the point of separating social enterprises from just enterprises?

I am losing it. Help!

On a less thought-provoking note, am waiting for the list of finalists for GIST I-Dare Business Plan Competition which will be held in Lebanon (fingers crossed / Palms together / whatever whatever). Am holding a one-day quick session on leveraging the power of Internet for free marketing – this is in collaboration with Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and is targeting SMEs by local women. Applying for a grant from the US Embassy for Pakistani Alumni for my Hunza people … oh I how love them and wish I’d see them one day. Also, I turned 33 this month. Yippppeeee.

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

$0.5 for 2 Hours Anyone?

ImageFirst things first – was looking for an image to express anger at oDesk – typed in “mad at oDesk” and found this. Loved it, and hence it’s there – it’s my blog – deal with it. Now, to the topic ….

Do you know how friggin’ hard it is to write “high quality articles with no plagiarism, that read naturally and are 500 words +”? Over 2 hours! Back to oDesk – lurking around, pouncing on decent projects that don’t have a “No Pakistanis Please” policy. It makes me furious when I see the high expectations and the price clients are willing to pay for the work. $0.5 for a 500 words article … WTH! And then they usually follow it with how its going to be a long-term assignment and they will need about a 100 articles per month. A $125 which roughly equals Rs. 11k is ridiculous even for Pakistan.

To be a good writer you must have a higher degree in English, or should be an A-Levels student at the fanciest, most elitist school that only a very few can afford in Pakistan. A typical Pakistani professional who works at a dead-end 9-5 Government job that he (notice how I am not using my favorite gender here!) probably acquired by paying a bribe to some politician is not going to be able to write a decent article fulfilling all the client’s requirements. And why in God’s name would a person with a good Master’s (yeah, we have good and PATHETIC) or a kid that goes to a school that boasts of it’s own Pizza Hut and McDonalds franchise want to work for $125 k a month? 

A request to clients: it’s OK if you can get your work done for $0.5, no one is forcing these people to bid in the first place. But when they are unable to come up to your expectations please don’t trash them. After all, you get what you pay for. 

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. Those of you searching for “Angry Mom”, yeah you are at the right place. 

Helping women in Pakistan

Helping women in Pakistan.

Women’s Digital League made headlines on She Says, a global network for women providing free mentorship and networking event to women in business. Click on the link to read more.

Happy reading.

OK BYEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

oDesk Wire Transfer

Went back to my oDesk account the other day after a long, long time. They have added an option for Wire Transfers now. For a moment I was excited. Yipppeeee … no more signing up for Payoneer and waiting forever to receive the card. No more setting up Skrill (formerly Moneybookers). I quickly went on and set up my account only to find out oDesk charged $30 per withdrawal via Wire Transfer. WHAT THE HELL! So the portal charges 10% of the withdrawal amount and then another $30 for the transaction and then another $4.99 as currency conversion fee. It’s ridiculous considering most of the tasks pay $1/hr and the fixed price projects are like $4 an article (for example). I can write about 5 500 word articles a day so let’s say I have a good month and write 5 articles every day for 30 days that would come to around 150 articles and a total earning of $600. oDesk subtracts their 10% and another $34.99 for the transaction and that leaves me with $505.

So for a whole month worth of work I get what? Only $505!!! Recently an SEO client-turned-friend from the US said the low rates were the fault of the contractors. They bid so low in order to get a job it makes the rates so pathetically low. It’s sad how the low employment rate in our country and in others like Philippines and India forces people to work for peanuts. I know how hard it is to get work on these portals and maintaining a good rating. There are predators out there that will hire you for pennies, give you an impossible task (25 articles 500 words each in 3 days) and when you deliver they will still bug you over the money threatening to give you a bad rating if you complain to the admins. It has happened to me so I know what I am talking about. And if it comes to the worse and you do go to the admins, chances are they will side with the buyer. So what options do online workers have?

What has your experience been like using these portals both as clients and service-providers? I know you will never comment coz you are probably here looking for info on “honesty and generosity” as per my stats. But miracles happen. Which reminds me of MJ … :’( “And I believe in miracles, and a miracle’s gonna happen tonite … “