By Carl Weiss
Like it or not, the way we Americans do business has changed a great deal in the past few years. Whether big business or small, outsourcing and freelancing are the name of the game today. So much so that a number of enterprising entrepreneurs have devised online portals that specifically cater to this stock in trade. While some people lament a lack of quality control or even a failure to communicate (due to language differences) with these far flung resources, the fact is that these services are in ever greater demand as business owners strive to tighten their belts in current economic conditions. So if you have been thinking about giving online outsourcing a go, below is a list of some of the more prominent resources.
Have a need, find a gig. Fiverr.com for those new to the site, allows freelancers to post tasks for hire (called
|Image via CrunchBase|
gigs) that if purchased by an individual will be accomplished for just five dollars. Recent gigs have included such things as royalty free music creation, life coaching sessions, copywriting, proofreading, video testimonials, flyer distribution, web starter kits and more. The site even offers a dozen categories that make finding the right gig for you a snap. Just don’t expect Hollywood special effects in a video that costs five bucks. Still some of the work turned out by gigsters can help you build your business for pennies on the dollar. The best way to understand the ins and outs of Fiverr is to go to Youtube and watch the many helpful tutorial videos. They costs you nothing and are designed to make sure you get your fiver’s worth.
Needless to say, with the success of Fiverr, other sites have popped up to fill the micro job vacuum. Like fiverr.com, these sites promote offers from freelancers looking to accomplish simple online tasks for a small fee. However, unlike Fiverr, these sites allow their members to post gigs that range from $5 to as much as $50. Sporting such monikers as tenbux.com, gigbuckx.com, taskarmy.com and fiftytown.com, the pricing structure is agreeable, as is the army of freelancers ready, willing and able to get the job done quickly and cheaply. There’s even a site called fourerr.com that posts tasks for hire for only $4 a pop. You’ve got to love that competitive spirit.
eLance.com and Odesk.com
As they say, you only get what you pay for. While sites like Fiverr can be of use some of the time, when you want to shop a serious project around, there are other online resources that offer to help. Two such sites are
|English: Worldwide Offshoring Business Deutsch: Weltweites Offshoring Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
elance.com and odesk.com. Known as peer-to-peer job sites, the way they work is by helping business owners to hook up with talent needed to take on more complex projects. While Elance started off as a site touting programming and other technical skills, they have since broadened their offerings to include everything from accounting to architecture, marketing and legal services. Odesk offers many skill sets as well, including technical, writing, translation, sales, marketing and customer service. Both function as a kind of online temp agency, allowing employers to contract with one or several dozen providers at a time. Unlike hiring “employees,” these resources allow businesses to work with talented and experienced professionals on a per-project basis. When the job is complete, you can cut the cord and move on without having to deal with firer’s remorse or unemployment benefits.
According to Elance data, the number of professionals using their hub to find freelance/remote work opportunities increased 52% over the past year, with hiring by businesses using Elance increasing 60%. Businesses, by the way, report hiring freelancers is faster - taking about 3 days compared to the 20+ days it takes to hire a full-time employee.
The real dilemma for many entrepreneurs is the fact that there are now so many different ways to outsource a project that it’s a case of trying to tell the players without a scorecard. To help you make sense of the many nuances involved in the outsourcing process several resources devoted to the genre are available, including the International Association of OutsourcingProfessionals, Outsource Magazine, Professional Outsourcing Magazine, HROToday, Medical Project Outsourcing, and Sourcing Speak just to name a few.
Whether you are looking to outsource tasks, projects or entire departments, either domestically or internationally, there are organizations dedicated to helping you get the right people for the job. From a business owner’s perspective, outsourcing is no longer the question, it is many times the only affordable answer to staying competitive.
Carl Weiss is president of WSquared Media Group, a company dedicated to helping clients compete online. You can interface with Carl every week at 4 pm Eastern when he co-hosts Working the Web to Win on Blog Talk Radio.