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Why You Should Be Outsourcing, Not Hiring

By: Clay Bethune

 

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Being overworked is an American trademark. (How many times have we heard we’re lacking work/life balance?) And whatever workaholic labels are placed on your average worker bee, they’ll be tripled for business leaders and entrepreneurs. 

 
But frankly, overworking yourself is stupid—especially when you can outsource virtually every task, from copywriting to designing websites to managing an email list. Freelancers are a bottomless well of specialized talent who will save you time and money, and utilizing them will get you back to the real task at hand: growing your business. 
 
The Benefits of Outsourcing
 
Businesses are often hesitant to outsource for fear of communication barriers, profit loss, or the unknown. But it’s important to realize that these pain points are less likely to crop up than most people think. 
 
Remember, these are professionals building a body of work, largely based on their reputations. If they steal money or ideas from you, it’s unlikely that they’ll get new clients anytime soon. And don’t anticipate readjusting your schedule for 2 a.m. Skype calls; most freelancers conduct their business during U.S. work hours. 
 
What’s more, outsourcing is cheaper than hiring new staff because you won’t incur expenses like insurance or employee taxes. When faced with a specific need, you can simply hire a freelancer who can provide short-term expertise without a long-term commitment.
 
And many international contractors even work on U.S. schedules, so they charge lower rates. For example, you can hire a skilled worker in India who speaks excellent English for 60 percent less than it would cost to work with someone in the U.S.
 
A Winning Process
 
If you hire a freelancer from India, chances are you’ll never meet him in person, but you can still get to know him on a personal level. Here are six steps to ensure you’ll be working with trustworthy and results-driven freelancers:
 
  1. Utilize online tools. Sites like oDesk allow you to search for freelancers in specific fields and select candidates by their bios, hourly rates, and client reviews. Rather than finding one jack-of-all-trades full-time hire, you can outsource work to several different industry experts.
  2. Review their work. Sites like oDesk display client ratings on freelancers’ profiles, making it easy to find quality people. If you’re looking at individual designers or developers, read their customer testimonials or ask for references. Hearing someone else’s experience of working with them provides valuable information. 
  3. Schedule a Skype interview. You can also use FaceTime or Google Hangouts. Just make sure you “meet” face-to-face and get a sense of how strong the freelancer’s English is. This is especially important if the job involves customer interactions. 
  4. Make sure they’re a good fit. You’re looking for the same values and skills as you would with employees, so ask the same questions: What’s their educational background? What kind of availability do they have? What project management tools do they use? 
  5. Discusses both parties’ processes. You might hit it off personally, but if your fundamental visions for the project aren’t in sync, you’re in for a world of pain. Outline your expectations explicitly before any agreements are made. 
  6. Do a trial run. Sign a short-term contract for five or 10 hours of work. This is a low-risk way to determine whether the freelancer can deliver results—and whether you’ll enjoy working together. 
 
Outsourcing is becoming less risky every day. Reviews and testimonials help you avoid shady contractors, and technology lets you work with qualified freelancers across the globe while saving money. There’s a beautiful ecosystem that’s sprung up around outsourcing, and savvy entrepreneurs are building their businesses on it.
Published: October 16, 2014
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Clay Bethune

Clay Bethune is a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of 9th & Elm. Clay has been an entrepreneur for more than 15 years and has started and sold many businesses in various industries. His passion is taking an idea from a simple concept and turning it into a profitable endeavor. He’s constantly working on perfecting efficient processes and loves problem solving, all things “startup,” and brainstorming with young entrepreneurs about the next big thing. Clay is married to Elly, his business partner and co-founder of 9th & Elm.

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