Many of my initial meetings with clients include questions such as “What is the best resource to learn to build a website?” or “How can I create a Facebook ad that will drive traffic to my website?” While I encourage my clients to understand basic concepts, I always tell them to enlist the help of people in their personal network who have specialized skills rather than do the actual work themselves.
Successful entrepreneurs know that leverage is at the heart of business success. When your car has a problem, most people don’t spend 2 years to learn to become an auto mechanic so they can repair their own car. This is highly inefficient. Instead, they just take the car to a repair shop where an ASE certified mechanic fixes it for them.
The same can be said for many tasks in your business. Why would you learn to code a website when you can hire someone for a few bucks that knows how to not only build a website but is also versed in the best practices to do it for you?
What I tell new entrepreneurs is to take the tasks that they routinely perform and break them into their component steps. I then recommend that they outsource any steps that are of such a nature as they can be easily performed by someone else.
There any many websites that focus on connecting the business with specialized freelancers. Four of the most popular sites include:
As anyone who knows me knows, I am a flaming dyslexic and as such my writing is full of misspellings caused by transposition errors that spell checkers all too often do not find. Tools like Grammarly are helpful but I need the assistance of an editor to make sure my writing makes sense to someone other than me. Therefore, I employ an editor to proofread all my posts before I post them publicly.
Moreover, when it comes to some WordPress plugins like WooCommerce or NextScripts auto poster, there are many sophisticated features that require complex setup. However, rather than spending my time researching and reading forums in an attempt to set up the plugins myself, I simply hire an expert in that tool to do it for me.
I have hired virtual assistants, graphic designers, social media experts, programmers, researchers, PC experts, Network IT professionals, and so many more.
I personally use Upwork and occasionally Freelancer since I’m most familiar with their interface but they all share some common attributes.
Here is what I really like about them.
For one, I often hire offshore resources. Now I can hear a few of you say why not hire a local person. I have been called unpatriotic by some but here is how I see it.
First, the cost savings are quite compelling. I often save a significant amount depending on the skill.
For example, my WordPress programmer is $9.00/hr and lives in India. My incredibly talented IT guy is just $8.00/hr and my virtual assistant is $6.67/hr. They both live in the Philipeans. My editor lives in Canada and is $10.96/hr.
Hourly rates for people with similar skill levels in the U.S. would be 5-10 times the price I pay when I go offshore. These cost savings allow me to reduce my expenses and therefore allow me to offer many of my services for free or at much lower prices.
Moreover, these savings allow me the additional income that I can spend at my local restaurant or local store.
Then there is the fact that many of my resources live on the other side of the planet. While some may see this a problem, I see this as an asset.
When I end my day, I send many of them instructions for things I need to be done. While it is the end of my workday, it is at the beginning of theirs. So when I get to work the next morning, they have completed the tasks assigned to them.
When I hire local resources, I normally have to wait an additional day for them the complete the tasks during the next workday.
Moreover, when the resource is offshore, they are fixing things when the bulk of my traffic is sleeping so performance is never compromised.
Then there is my ability to hire better. Rather than hiring a resource based my gut feeling after a single phone call or interview, these freelancing platforms take a page out of the eBay playbook in that after each transaction the buyer and the seller rate each other.
Before I hire someone, I can see what others have said about them. Each freelancer is rated on a 1 to 5 scale on such dimensions as: skills, availability, communications, quality, deadlines, and cooperation. There is also a narrative from most of the previous customers they worked for that describes their overall impressions and experience.
Since nobody wants to be trashed by the other party that will reduce the person’s opportunities for future work, it keeps everyone honest and doing the best job they can.
When I post a job, I often get about 50 or more responses in less than 3 days. I often eliminate all the responses from people that have less than several thousand dollars in projects on the platform so I can ensure they have several quality reviews.
Then I filter the list of applicants to those that have a 4.8 star or better rating. That often limits my list to about 10 or some qualified candidates.
For these finalists, I do much more thorough research by reading each review before I hire them. By the time I hire them, I have a good idea about the kind of work I can expect.
However, when I hire local resources, I have only what the vendor tells me as I can’t easily question their previous employers.
In conclusion, when I outsource tasks that are not core to my business, it often costs me significantly less than local resources. The work also gets done much faster because they are both specialists and because they do it when I sleep. Moreover, my hiring decisions are better because I can review all past performances. So what’s not to like about outsourcing?
How can you crush the competition by leverage expert resources through using a freelancer platform?
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