Getting Started With Outsourcing

Start Outsourcing

There is never enough time to get everything done in a day, but that doesn't always mean that you are ready to hire a full time employee for your business. For the work that falls in between the limits of what you can realistically do yourself and the work that you really need to hire an employee for, there is a large amount of tasks and jobs that you can actually outsource.

Outsourcing is sometimes considered a dirty word because of its bad rep for heading overseas. There have also been waves over the years of people losing their jobs as part of an organisation moves to a third party  company leaving a bad taste in many peoples mouth, but outsourcing isn't inherently a bad thing. If you only need someone to help with the odd task or for a very specific project then outsourcing work over the web makes perfect sense and enables you to get more done whilst only paying for the resources you need.

I’ve personally hired people for things that probably took them a few hours or even less if they were organised. In this case the alternative was never me actually hiring a full or even part-time employee to do the work. Realistically if they hadn’t done the work it would have fallen on me and at that time it made more sense for somebody else to be doing the work, freeing me up to spend time on things that would have a bigger impact on the project.

It’s not only about increasing capacity though, you can also hire people that are far more skilled than you in certain areas and the beauty of online outsourcing is they will work tirelessly on your project in their own environment so you only need to fund the work itself, rather than office space and other fixed overheads.

Your outsourcing team can be based anywhere in the world and as long as you can communicate the work efficiently you can often outsource work at or even above their local rate whilst still saving money comparatively to hiring within your own market. Not only this but you can hire someone on the other side of the world to do something one evening and then wake up to the completed work the next morning. One caveat to this I must add is that whilst it sounds amazing it might not always go right the first time. When working with multiple people for short periods you don’t have the rigour of a full interview process or a deeper understanding of the person working for you so things might get lost in translation or you might simply make a bad hire. To give yourself the best chance of success the best thing to do is get really specific about exactly what it is you want and set clear milestones that they can easily summarise back to you.

There are many different ways to outsource and all with varying levels of budget and reliability. The first is simply going to a professional agency or online professional advertising in the area of support you need and getting them to do the work for you. For custom work this can often be the most expensive but if the firm or individual has a good presence and appears to be recommended then you can have more confidence in the outcome.

Alternatively you can look at one of the larger outsourcing marketplaces such as upwork.com. Here you will post your project and have several companies bidding on the work and supplying proposals. You might post a project overnight and find the perfect person with the first bid or you could wait all week and still find that nobody seems like the right fit for the job. In the latter case you may want to review your project description to check that you have presented the project clearly and concisely but sometimes it just seems to be the way it goes.

Finally you can post some work through sites like 99designs.com and pay a fee to have a selection of designers working to develop several finished ideas so you know exactly what you are getting and simply pay for the best result from your selection. Whatever area of expertise you are looking for will also probably have a few job boards where you can post your project if you can find them.

Choosing the type of work that you actually outsource will vary depending on your business but common things are logo and web design, one off programming projects, and content creation. Whilst you won’t have to do the work itself, you will still have to manage finding the right person and ensure you’ve given enough detail at every stage of the way. For that reason it is best to outsource projects where you can benefit from someone more skilled than yourself or the where the time a project takes to complete will be significantly higher than the time involved to manage the project.

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