I’m a firm believer in the power of outsourcing. Simply put, don’t try to do everything yourself. Instead, stick to what YOU do best and hire someone else to handle your ‘weak areas.’
In today’s guest post, Bruce Stevens shows how to hire a freelance contractor. This article will help you tackle the painful process of finding the right person for your Internet business.
When your Internet business is on ‘auto pilot’ and everything is running smoothly you are perhaps comfortable going it alone.
However, when you want to see accelerated and sustainable growth you are going to need a staff of workers to support you.
It can be quite costly, and not really practical to keep staff on the payroll all the time, just to help with sudden growth.
But there is a viable alternative which is cost effective, and ideal for almost anyone involved in all facets of Internet Marketing; hiring freelance contractors.
Two examples of an Internet Marketer’s growth acceleration would be;
- The launch of a new website
- The creation & launch of a new product
For either of these, again you can tackle it all yourself, but if you have progressed beyond that (and we all do) then, in time you will need writers, graphics personnel, web designers, perhaps market strategists, etc.
Hiring a staff of talented personnel who can work together to get your project up and running can be a nightmare. Let’s face it, developing and launching a new website or product from scratch is much different than outsourcing an occasional article for, say a review site for a Smokey Mountain Smoker or hiring a writer to do a few blog posts for you.
It’s not “just” a website – this is YOUR business
Remember this is your business and for an important project like this you need the best talent you can afford. However, thanks to the explosion in popularity of all types of Internet Marketing endeavours, you will be able to find what you need at a freelance contractor staffing website like Elance.com, Freelancer.com or the like.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking hiring a contractor is on the same level as buying something like say, office supplies. Personnel are different from commodities – workers don’t come equipped with equal talents and capabilities. They’ll all have different skill levels, and Internet marketing experience. The selection process takes time and thought.
Although everyone wants to save money, skimping on contractor labor can be a costly experience in the long run. Where cost is the only criteria you use in your selection, you are inviting failure. The object here is getting great talent which will do your job properly, not only this time, but also will want to work with you on future jobs. Forming a great working relationship right from the beginning of your first project will pay big dividends down the road.
Start a list…
Keeping a list of providers you trust will save you lots of time going through resumes and job bids on future projects. This list is sort of like building a staff of qualified contractors before you need them (but without having to pay salaries when not in use). It’s a win-win situation.
Here’s How to Do it:
- When posting your needs on a staffing site, give a detailed but brief description of the job, your company and your goals. If you are vague, competent bidders will be hesitant to place a bid and those who do bid will likely not understand your needs. The best freelancers need information to give you a realistic bid and most won‘t even bid without it.
- Contact your top few bidders before you award your job; use email or message boards to assess their level of understanding, their language skills, and how they would approach you project.
- Once you award the job, stay involved. Be available for questions and be quick to respond. Doing so will ensure the provider takes you seriously and will give their best for you. On longer jobs, set milestones along the way. Tie partial payments to satisfactory completion of the milestones.
- Upon completion of the job, pay promptly, leave good feedback if the provider deserves it and if you wish to keep this provider on your list, invite them to be part of your Linkedin network.
After a while you will have a treasure trove of talent to draw upon when you need it. And when it comes time for that big push to promote a new website, launch a new product or move out into unfamiliar territory, your “virtual staff” is waiting in the wings.
Managing That Big Project:
So the new website is no longer a dream, it’s go time. When it is time to move into action, there are tremendous recent technological breakthroughs in communication and management software programs to help you integrate your staff, train them to work together, and stay on top of what everyone is doing. You as the leader/manager will be able to run the whole operation as smoothly as a conductor leading a symphony.
Some helpful general purpose software programs which I have found invaluable are…
- Top of the choices would be Freemind.com, a mind mapping tool. As the name implies, it is free and allows for developing and testing of your overall plan. Makes a great master blueprint for your project.
- Then there is Gliffy.com which can use that mind map, converting it into flow charts which will give easily followed instructions in a basic step by step pattern.
- You can create a five minute video of anything on your monitor by using a software tool called Jingproject.com. This is especially valuable if you need to give a contractor detailed instructions – you can literally walk him through the process visually. My personal favourite and a tool I use daily.
- The absolute ultimate project management tool is called WebEx.com (and requires a subscription). It will let you track the project in detail, keep a record of all communications and will even let your staff communicate with each other as well as you if you like.
- And last but not least, is Skype.com which is a VOIP service that allows for free telephone, video meeting and instant messaging service. This is great for making free visual telephone calls to family and friends as well as being a major project managing tool.
There are many more such tools available but these five are great starters. Just remember, it really doesn’t matter what form of Internet Marketing business you have, the project leader (YOU) is the most valuable tool in your toolbox, so remember, always stay in control and your project will turn out great.
Bruce Stevens is the founder of Hubzz a highly successful review site for all things outdoors. An avid camper and fisherman, Bruce was stymied by equipment review sites that were little more than sales pitches and saw a need for impartial, unbiased information for outdoor enthusiasts.
Bruce lives in Alberta, close by the eastern slope of the Canadian Rockies, and blogs at http://rocketrider.netTake Action. Get Results.
16 thoughts on “Freelance Contractors – An Internet Marketer’s Best Friend”
Great point about starting a list, Bruce.
When you find someone who will actually work, you have to stay in touch with them. They are rare jewels…:) Seriously…extremely rare.
For sure Mark. Some freelancers will be complete duds. Most will do the job you assign them decently well. But a few will really do incredible work.
Obviously those ones you want to hire again and again (and may even be worth a little extra $$)
True enough Mark. The staying in touch part is not too onerous, as you actually only need a handful of people – especially if they are good!
The problem i faced with freelancers is that most of the times they can’t meet the standards one is expecting. So just make sure your freelance knows what you are expecting from him Along with the guidelines to help him through.
I find it time well spent to be very detailed in your expectations up front when setting up an outsourcing project. Usually if the provider is well coached then the jobs turns out fine Maddy.
Yes, I strongly subscribe to outsourcing. As a freelance writer, sometimes I get so much workload, that needs to be delivered on time. The best way I handle it, is to outsource to other writers.
I pay them well, but lower, so that I can still make some profit. This way, I’m able to concentrate on my field and deliver quality works.
Wise marketers outsource, selfish marketers wants to make the whole money themselves but where is the money?
Yes, there’s all ways of outsourcing isn’t there, I’d never thought of it “from the other side”!
Anyone who says “Start a list…” is my kind of guy! 🙂
I appreciate what you’ve said here, especially the part about really being detailed with your instructions. Using Jing is especially helpful in that regard.
I’ve never heard of gliffy.com so I’ll have to check it out.
Peggy, from the south end of the Rockies (Colorado front range)
I knew I liked you Peggy…but now I know why. “Start a list…” is also music to my ears
Peggy – Your timing was impeccable! I actually just finished a 5 min Jing video of instructions to one of my writers – so much easier than typing up my thoughts.
Bruce, aloha. Thx so much for the tips. As it happens, I am in the process of interviewing telemarketers for a new project. Phrasing the description properly before posting definitely takes time. While I don’t want to write a book, I do want them to have a clear understanding of the project needs.
Thx for giving me Freemind and Gliffy to add to my toolbox.
Best wishes for a terrific week ahead. Aloha. Janet
Kia Ora Janet (Do you know where that comes from?)
Glad you gained something from it.
Sounds like you are the ideal freelancer Amy, one who enjoys what they do. It always shows in the work produced!
Here’s a tip on hiring a job out. Doesn’t matter what kind (painting to custom drapes to web design). Get recommendations from someone who uses that contractor all the time. This is not just, “Duh, of course, get someone who is recommended.” It goes deeper. If you let the contractor know they come recommended by your buddy, Mr. B., they know that any dissatisfaction will get back to Mr. B, from whom they make their bread and butter. You suddenly aren’t a one-off, casual client. It can make a difference, especially when things don’t go smoothly (now when has that ever happened on a contract job?).
For sure. Good tip. If you have a website, you can also offer to give them a link and a review if the work is really great. I always give my freelancers a shout out when they do great jobs, it sends more traffic their way and makes me be their “Mr. B”
I have never outsourced anything when it comes to my site. I am a bit of a control freak about it. Although recently I have been starting to realize the value that other writers would bring simply by adding different view points and more frequent posts.
I have been searching for financial freelance writers for about a week now. Unfortunately finding the correct mix of writing talent within the budget has been a challenge.
There are a lot of freelance writers out there, but you have to be careful what you are splashing on your pages.
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