Anyone who has ever tried to start a freelance business knows there are only so many hours in the day, and only so much energy to work. Menial tasks, like data entry, are the lifeblood of business but doing them every day is neither efficient nor interesting.
Time Warner Cable is a multi-million dollar company that employs thousands of people across the United States. Even this mega-corporation outsources its line work to save money. Everyone wants to create American jobs, and in time your company will if you manage to get over the initial hump. Outsourcing allows you to get the work you need at a rate that is affordable for your business. Where you go from there is up to you.
Here is what you need to know to make your outsourcing efficient.
Outsource Specific Work
The first thing to be aware of is that outsourcing has its limits. You should not be outsourcing tasks that demand creativity and experience. Instead, look for tasks that have very specific outcomes. These are commonly menial tasks, like making blog posts or building mini sites for yourself.
These tasks can also help build knowledge for your company, so do outsource list building to find your competition or the most popular blogs in your industry. Outsourcing is meant to save you time, so look for tasks that have a high time investment and a fairly low payoff.
Vet the Staff
If you don’t interview your staff, you might as well curb your expectations when it comes to the quality of their work. However, interviews are a large time investment for busy executives, so look for a Quality Assurance Guidelines Initiative from the companies you outsource with. This helps you vet the candidates before hand, using a pre-defined framework that assesses a candidate from several technical standpoints.
Arrange a Skype meeting or phone call with your potential freelancer, and ask them about their past performances. Ask for references, and look for work experience. Google the candidate as well, and study up on any social media profiles he or she maintains. Good freelancers often have a blog they keep where they talk shop and try to show off their skills.
It might sound laborious, but you should also consider an english comprehension test. You need to know that the worker can communicate adequately, will understand what you’re asking, and will be able to fulfill based on email correspondence. Fail to find a candidate proficient in English and you’ll probably need a lot of edits to get the project where you want it.
Once you have hired the freelancer you want, it’s important to maintain open communication with this person. Give a direct contact email, set up a messenger account and maintain your availability. Check in with your freelancers via email, and arrange for weekly status updates. A freelancer isn’t a regular employee, so you will have to pick and choose your meeting times carefully.
Do ask for facetime when you’re explaining the project, or when you’re reviewing work. Don’t ask for a phone call when you need to explain a small change. The freelancer might charge you for the time, and it is usually more efficient to send a three line email explaining what you want.
A freelancer is only going to fulfill the task you set, so make sure the parameters for success are predefined. If you need a design project finished, set a deadline and give very specific requirements. It helps to give some context to your freelancer as well. This gives them a sense of purpose, as though their project will impact your business. Raises are also great incentives, so be sure to give out bonuses and special projects to your freelancers to keep them incentivized to work for you. Steady work is always welcome in the world of freelance, and if the person is good you should reward them.
A freelancer doesn’t carry some of the same in-office requirements as a salaried employee, but you still have to treat this person like a valued part of your team. If you give someone measurable goals to hit, and evaluate their work thoughtfully, you’ll almost always get better work back in response. You don’t have time to respond with a meaningful critique of every project, but choosing to nurture a freelancer can easily pay for the lost time.
Outsource work can either be extremely efficient or an efficient way to lose money. Vetting your candidates and communicating with them regularly ensures you’re bound to get the work you want for the money you spend.