E-work is a large market and will become much larger
Online outsourcing grows very fast, within the double digits. The biggest platforms are oDesk, Elance and Freelancer where you will find millions of people who are searching for specific services and people who offer these. Although it has taken off rapidly in other countries, The Netherlands is still a bit behind. Many Dutch believe that it doesn’t work because of the language barrier and cultural differences. As our experiences have all been positive, we’ve listed some tips.
First, our own experiences. The development of our website, the creation of graphic design and software development were outsourced. 90% of all contracted work has just gone well or very well. It is delivered within the time given and often with sufficient quality. Complex questions are often double outsourced, so that we can compare the work. By dealing properly with hired people, long-term relationships can arise where the client and the hired person both can benefit from. Through an online project management tool (we use ActiveCollab) we can neatly capture the code in an online library code. You can keep good track of the progress of the work. Furthermore, it works great to communicate through Skype and share screens.
Outsourcing work trough a cloud: some tips
We have a few tips to outsource work successfully. The first tip is that you need to be sure of your needs; this needs have to be clearly documented. You will often receive 10-20 reactions within the first hour after the post. It is important that you read these carefully, as you can retrieve from their questions if your message was clear. It is smart to adjust your post and assignment and place it in a whole new posting.
Then the important aspect starts: shortlisting candidates. If you use this platform often, you can direct certain jobs to vast expertise. This would save you time, and you will slowly get to know each other. I would base my shortlist on the amount of successfully completed tasks of the person. A chat via Skype could work as well to see if there is a connection between both parties. Especially, in the beginning. But it is also good to give someone else a chance.
When working with new people, it is best to give tehem a small task at first. If this works well, you could pass them bigger projects. Another solution is to give a task to 2 different people.
After giving the job, it is important to discuss the content and the process. It works best when you approach someone with a positive attitude. There are plenty of driven and hard working people around the world and they turn out to have a lot more in common than you would think at first sight.
When granting an order, the money from your account is passed on through oDesk or Freelancer. But it isn’t paid directly to the freelancer. You can pay once the job is completed successfully! A somewhat flexible attitude is desirable, not only does it give you an appreciation for the contractor, but the contractor will do the same to you. A positive review helps when giving out new assignmets.
Outsourcing work is interesting to investigate. An open attitude and empathy increase the likeliness of a successful delivery. You often give people in other and often (but not always!) less fortunate countries a chance based on their knowledge, to feel appreciated.