Have you hired freelancers? I have and will continue to do so. The current economic chaos has forced many people, including myself, to seek qualified help at a lower cost.
I’ve hired third party services before, but for relatively large projects that required formal documentation, signed agreements, lawyers and accountants involved, and engineering. But I haven’t tried the freelance way for small projects that need competent help, just a few hours to a few days.
At the beginning of 2009 I started looking for highly qualified help for a very small project. I’m not sure someone of this skill level would want to work on such a small project. But then I thought, I have something to give away, so I posted my application on an online marketplace for freelance work. To my surprise, quite a few people bid on the project and got the job done at a lower cost than expected.
Encouraged, I began to outsource more of my work, even things I would normally do myself. This frees me up to focus on other more productive tasks. Now I say to everyone, for small projects use freelancers.
So who are these freelancers?
Freelancers are professionals who work for themselves rather than in a corporate environment. Many have worked in a corporate environment but choose to become independent contractors, while others remain in a corporate environment but freelance on the side.
What jobs are they suitable for?
While you can find freelancers for just about anything, both local and remote, here are a few examples:
· Virtual assistant
· Flash developer
· SEO – search engine optimization work
· Blog creator
· Craigslist poster
· Writer of ghost books
· Programming help for small projects
· Joomla designer
· PHP programmer
· Drupal expert
· WordPress developer
· Development of small programs
I even found a local auto mechanic who would come to my house.
Do you want to spend $50 to get something done? To go. No project is too small for a freelancer.
The main benefits of hiring freelancers are:
Freelancers are all over the world and you can score a really good deal if your work can be done remotely. Previously, only large companies could move factories abroad and benefit from lower labor costs. Now you and I can also tap into this huge pool of skilled professionals.
No direct and indirect labor costs:
You don’t have to go through advertisements, interviews, training and all the other hassles that permanent employees entail. If you’re not happy with one freelancer’s work, use another one next time. Their reviews are available online for anyone to see and it is in the best interest of both parties to address the issue and get to a solution quickly.
Availability of a wide range of skills:
If you live in a big city this is usually not a challenge, but for a small company in a remote area or small town it is not always easy to find employees with the skills you need. These global freelance sites come to the rescue.
Any challenges? Yes. These are the most important:
Language – Communication can get a bit tricky when dealing with professionals whose English is a second or third language. Things you might take for granted as “understood or implied” are not. You need to explain it in a more detailed way.
Time Zone: You may find a skilled professional in a country 12 to 14 hours ahead of you, which means when he gets up and walks around, you’re asleep. Therefore, you need to adjust your schedule for time conflicts.
Speed: In my opinion, it usually takes longer to get the job done compared to in-house employees. The culprit here is the different time zones. Also, sometimes a freelancer is pressured by another client with a more urgent need, which can delay your work for a day or so.