Entrepreneurship is a part of human nature and has been more thoroughly explored in recent years via the Internet. People naturally want to make money for themselves instead of some big faceless corporation.
On the other hand, entrepreneurship does require a certain amount of work. Freelancers do make things easier for you, on the other hand. Freelancers can do the jobs you can’t so you can focus on the whole picture.
My wife and I make no bones about it; we outsource nearly everything (she actually outsources more projects than I do) in our business and it really turned our business around. The marketers that I’ve taught at some of my seminars agree as well. A lot of them have actually spoken with me months later and related that outsourcing was what made their business succeed.
All entrepreneurs should get to know outsourcing. Web design projects, illustrations, writing and editing jobs, retouching a photo, data entry, graphics design, software development audio and video editing, public relations, technical support, infrared photography, bookkeeping and accounting – all such jobs are outsourced every day.
The 10 Outsourcing Tips You’ve Been Waiting For
People may at first shirk from outsourcing, but once they really look into it they end up embracing the practice. My wife Arlene and I, for example, discovered Elance in 2004 and quickly discovered the difference it could make. It has since streamlined our business and made things run so much smoother. What follows are the top ten things we’ve learned after seven years and 400 outsourced projects.
- Don’t Presume That Outsourcing is too Expensive – Many entrepreneurs will wrongfully assume that outsourcing is just way above their pay grade, so to speak. Instead of wasting your time trying to perform duties for your project that you don’t understand wholly, you can visit freelancer websites to find professionals that do. Elance is just one example. Elance makes it oh-so-easy and actually affordable because freelancers actually underbid each other for jobs.
- Clearly Describe What You Need for Your Project – In order to realize your ideas, you have to clearly and concisely let freelancers know what you need. Details are absolutely vital. Without details, freelancers may turn in something that is completely different than what you need.
- Use Escrow Accounts and Set Up Milestones – Elance has built-in features that ease the outsourcing process and payments to freelancers. Milestones are essentially deadlines that let you track progress. The built-in escrow account works like your mortgage escrow account in that it ensures that those who have money coming to them (i.e. freelancers) receive it.
- Assess Potential Freelancers’ Feedback – Look at the profiles of any freelancers that have placed bids on your project and assess their feedback. Their feedback scores and previous provider comments let you know how skilled and reliable they are.
- Negotiate the Cost – Once you’ve weeded out the freelancers you don’t want, barter with those left. Send each one a message and ask what their absolute lowest bid would be in order to be chosen. Many freelancers will gladly negotiate in order to get the job.
- Quickly Answer Any Messages You Receive – To hit your deadlines, you simply must answer freelancer’s messages post-haste. Your freelancer will be in limbo if you take your time answering his or her questions.
- Pay Your Freelancers Quickly – Release the funds you have held in escrow as soon as the finished project has been turned in and you are satisfied with it. Elance automatically releases the funds in escrow by default after a couple of weeks, but you demonstrate good will by doing so yourself.
- Conduct All Your Business within the Elance System – Some freelancers will want to deal with providers one-on-one, versus going through Elance. This sounds good at first, but you will sacrifice the safeguards inherent in the site’s feedback and escrow systems.
- Form Relationships to Build a Team – Using Elance is a great way to build a team you can rely on. You can find a wide variety of skillsets, so if you find a freelancer you like, stick with them for future projects.
- Build Your Own Feedback – Providers also have feedback scores, so always keep this in mind when you are doing business there. If you don’t do right by your freelancers, you will receive negative feedback and may have a tough time finding good freelancers in for future projects.
Look for Experts with Personal Connections
No one involved in running a business has the expertise or time to personally handle everything to do with their business, which is why we use freelancers. Freelancers are versed in many skill sets and can cover just about any subject matter.
Let’s face it; you probably aren’t as good at illustration as a freelance illustrator. The top-notch expertise these freelancers have is crucial and will make for an excellent final product.
You should also look for freelancers that have a personal connection to your project’s subject matter. For example, my wife and I were building a website for mothers of children with epilepsy and we decided that only someone with a deep understanding of what it was to raise an epileptic child could truly understand what we needed. So we made sure to stipulate that in our project description.
To our good fortune, not one but two content creators that were also mothers to epileptic children stepped up to the plate. At the end of the day, the website had an authentic feel that would not have been apparent otherwise.
There’s Always More to Learn
All this is a good head start for you, but you should also download a few podcasts and attend a training seminar to learn more. Interacting with others with similar experiences multiplies your knowledge new limits. You can always increase your knowledge base.
Here I will now turn the podium over to my fellow Internet entrepreneurs. In the comments section, feel free to let me know what you think and share your experiences. Many reading this may be neophytes that have questions, so let’s get the discussion going!
About the Author
James Martell is a full-time affiliate marketer and has been successfully teaching others to do the same for 10 years via his affiliate marketing trainings. James is a world-renowned expert in affiliate marketing, natural search, and outsourcing and is a sought after speaker at industry conferences. He has been hosting the first and longest running affiliate marketing podcast since 2003. James resides with his wife Arlene and four kids in a seaside suburb of Vancouver, BC.