Productivity: Top 10 Tips For Hassle Free Outsourcing
Without a doubt, people go into business for themselves in order to control the amount of money they make, and the amount of time they spend making it.
Working for someone else your hours are set. The amount of money is set, and you have little control of the work you do. Creating your own schedule and paycheck is decidedly a better way control your time and ability to earn a better income in the long run.
In fact, this is a great way to become your own boss. Setting your own hours leaves you free to spend time with your family, or go where you want when you want. The problem can be that people forget this, and lapse, back into a mentality of restrictions. They limit their business to what they themselves do well instead of taking advantage of the talent and ability they can find through outsourcing for a price that works for them.
Time and Money Are Interlinked
You escaped the work-a-day week in order to maximize your time and make more money. Why return to the same idea by going about tasks that take forever and donâ€™t suit your skills. The choice is simple. Either only have the billing system, website, or advertising that you can create, or find someone that can do these projects for you at a price you agree is fair.
Itâ€™s not always a matter of skills. Data entry is a task that can take hours of your time that could be better spent. The same is true of arranging files. Whenever you let yourself get bogged down, your business will pay the price.
The 15 Minute Rule to Manage Time
When I am doing my online trainings and have chance to talk to people time manage is an issue most want to discuss. I follow a 15 minute rule for those task that could disrupt my schedule.
If after 15 minutes of working on an issue, Iâ€™m still fretting with it, or a project exceeds my time expectations past that point I know I should pass it on to a pro.
For instance, while working on a project with Excel, I reached my limit with a file I needed some help with, and I needed it quickly. It was a quick job so in the job posting I clarified I would need the project completed within 24 hours.
With some services a 24 hour turn around can be expensive, but outsourcing through sites like Elance.com lets you post you job for bidding by thousands of experts. Jobs can be for almost anything from data entry, clerical, writing, technical, to the artistic. For this posting, I asked someone with technical experience and the person who I awarded the bid to did agree to the time limit and would do the job for twenty dollars.
This would have been great, and an easy job for the winning bidder had I remembered to include the file when I wrote him. This professional didnâ€™t quit on me, or demand to cancel the job. Instead he wrote a short program that he sent this along to me. The program itself did the work for me on Excel the second I loaded and activated it.
The truth about outsourcing is that if you make the right choices, clearly state the job you need done, and are willing to negotiate on a fair price your business can have the benefit of any skill you might need.
Outsourcing Is NOT Expensive
Wasting your time is expensive. If you billed yourself the hours you spent being unproductive in small tasks, or in trying to work on something you have difficulty with you would see this easily.
You can spend hours on a project such as retouching a collection of photos, and you still will not come up with same type of professional quality someone with experience can produce.
The same is true of tasks as simple as data entry. If on a good day you type 35 words-per-minute it doesnâ€™t make sense for you to do this job when someone who enters at double that word count can do it in half the time.
There are plenty of resources out there for outsourcing projects. Sites like oDesk, Freelancer.com, Guru.com, and vWorker. I have the most experience with Elance.com so will focus on them but these tips apply to any outsourcing site.
Outsourcing Tip #1: â€œItâ€™s Too Expensiveâ€ Is a Myth
At Elance and similar sites itâ€™s you as the job provider with all the control over how expensive a job will be. You can list the job with a cut off or suggestion or pricing and ignore bids that are too high.
You donâ€™t have to pay to list any one job, so if in the rare incidents you find no one who will negotiate a fair price you can cancel the listing with no cost to you.
Not finding a fair price bid would be rare since there is strong competition for jobs on Elance, and this is an incentive to keep bidding low.
Outsourcing Tip #2: Be Sure of The Job You Want
A very common mistake is to not truly have a clear picture of what you need done by the service provider. In fact, a short look at the listings on the site show that many people make this mistake.
Service providers will be more inclined to bid on your job if you are definite in you description, and the job itself will go faster with better result if you are able to give a service provide at least 15 points of reference regarding what you need.
Outsourcing Tip #3: Setting Milestones Protects Your Money and Time
Using the escrow system on Elance and setting milestones give you two important advantages. It keeps the service provider motivated to perform the job exactly as you need it, and another incentive comes in the form of feedback.
Like anyone else, a service provider will work toward that incentive of hitting the milestone and getting paid. Once youâ€™ve made a payment, you can leave feedback for your provider. Both of these features offer you control over how the work is processing, and a safeguard to ensure the work will be completed.
Feedback is very important to service providers as it helps to determine how often they will win bids on jobs.
When my wife Arlene was working on her site EpilepsyMoms.com she used Elance frequently. Her website is very rich in important features for her visitors. The site was built on her desire to help other parents of children with epilepsy to have a place that would inform and support them. A recording she had created greets visitors, a forum helps parents discuss issues, and links offer important information. This is a complex amount of work, but Arlene was able to find many professionals on Elance to assist her with the site.
Using escrow protected her money, and the feedback feature allowed her to build a rapport with many of these professionals.
Elance offers an incredible opportunity for affiliates and online marketers of all types to get things done quickly and professionally. In all there is over 100,000 service providers within the Elance system available to bid on projects of all types. If for example you need to a create a set of banner ads for a campaign or perhaps you need a professional to manage the ad campaigns themselves, go ahead and post a project.
It doesn’t end there. The width and breadth of talented professional is unparalleled, and you are only limited by your imagination as to what these service providers can do for you. It’s the equivalent of having a virtual team of professionals on call 24/7.
Outsourcing Tip #4: Check the Service Providers Feedback
That incentive for service providers in the form of feedback starts with you checking their feedback before awarding a bid. Feedback in the Elance system works much the same as eBay or other sites where comments can be left that build reputations on both sides. On eBay itâ€™s buyers and sellers checking each otherâ€™s feedback and on Elance it is job providers and service providers.
This can really help if you need work in area you are unfamiliar with such a highly technical or artistic field. If for instance you need an infrared photographer, you can check the service providerâ€™s history to determine how well he or she has performed for others in the past. Feedback is usually given in laymanâ€™s terms and will tell you what you need to know.
Outsourcing Tip #5: Negotiate The Price You Want
Negotiation is very easy on Elance, since there are so many professionals looking for bidding opportunities that fit their skills.
Arlene especially found this to be true during the construction of her site, since she needed to have it fit within her budget. With all the features she needed this could easily have escalated if she had not used negotiation to get the lowest cost possible.
Outsourcing Tip #6: Keep Up With Messages
Communication pays off twice. Keeping up with messages gives you the job performance you want from the service provider. It is normal that throughout a job a provider will need to touch base with you to ensure the job is going the way you need it. Answering message in a timely manner will give you the job you want.
Secondly, that you do respond gives you better feedback as a job provider. This will help you always have the best service providers bidding on your job.
Outsourcing Tip #7: Pay Fast
Everyone likes to get paid. When you are happy with a job hit the payment button and then ask for feedback.
Another good reason to pay in a timely manner is it also gives you the opportunity to give feedback. This is true during the release of funds in as milestones are hit. One important point is that if you donâ€™t make an intial deposit you canâ€™t leave feedback. Without that incentive, it is possible that if you are forgotten or left hanging by a service provider you have no motivating power to have them return.
Outsourcing Tip #8: Never Get Talked Into Leaving The System
There is no real incentive for a job provider to leave the system. A service provider is charged after you pay them, and Elance deducts their fees at that time from this payment. In other words, the bidding process cost the job provider nothing, but the service provider is changed a fee.
Getting out of the system gets the service provider out of a fee, but since it is taking you away from feedback and the resolution process, itâ€™s not good for you. If a service provider requests this after the bid remind them it is against Elanceâ€™s rules and could in fact, get them banned from using the site in the future.
Outsourcing Tip #9: Develop Relationships
As Arlene, was working on her website she found that using the same service providers gave her an edge in finishing faster as they knew her, and the website. Having a professional who already knows you and your needs makes the job easier.
You can invite those you have successfully worked with in the past back for your next job after you post it. Look for the service provider and invite them to your bid. Very often, those who worked with you will be happy to do so again.
Outsourcing Tip #10: Create Positive Feedback
Communicate, pay timely, and leave feedback and Elance professionals will beat a path to your door. Service providers have to be careful too. They can only bid on so many jobs, and they can only fulfill so many. If you are someone who pays slowly, never leaves any feedback, or doesnâ€™t communicate there isnâ€™t much in this job for him or her.
The Benefits of the Outsourcing
- You have your pick of writers, network security specialists, coders, copywriters, artists, technical wizards, web designers, and others hoping to work for you.
- You select the price you will pay for the job.
- Payment is only required at the end of a successfully completed job.
It has to be said that having a skill or talent is a great thing. It also has to be said that no matter how talented you are, money doesnâ€™t fall from the sky. The professionals on Elance are willing to trade you what they can do at a competitive price out of this principle.
Everyone has different reasons for the work they do. Arleneâ€™s first exposure to the business came from writing articles for me. Iâ€™d set aside some money for a writer to research and do some work for me, but my wife whoâ€™d been resistant to joining me in the business wanted to take these and use the money for something she wanted.
Researching those articles gave her interest in the business, and she has never left. Her story is the same for all of us in business. Who wouldnâ€™t want to do something they find interesting to make money? Outsourcing is the coming together of someone with a skill or talent with another who needs to utilize those abilities. It isnâ€™t expensive, and it can take a business in directions it might never achieve otherwise.
Over to You
What do you have to say? Are you outsourcing now? If not, why not?