Outsourcing business is a practice used by different companies to reduce business costs by transferring portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally. Whilst working smartly can produce excellent results, outsourcing is an effective time and cost-saving strategy when used properly. But before we dig into the details, let’s start with the basics.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is an arrangement of which a freelancer or company provides services for another company or employer. It simply means “going out” to “find the source” of something that a company needs. When a business needs an extra help with some services or tasks that they are unable to do, they run to the power of outsourcing to make things happen for them. In the online world, outsourcing involves two parties: the employer and the freelancer. The employer usually belongs to a huge company, catering their services constantly to a large number of clients. Because there are things that may need help, these companies would resort to finding freelancers online who could give them quality performance the same way they would have if they had done it themselves. In some cases, companies only outsource minor tasks. But there are some who would actually take the risk of outsourcing their major or core tasks. In this case, a much intensive screening of outsource freelancers or workers is needed.
Outsourcing did not become popular until the recent years when the internet became a huge hub for making money. But even before that, the pattern of outsourcing had been already applied in manufacturing companies who hire outside companies to produce the products and items that they needed. In some way, as it is done today, some of these companies hire factories that are outside their country.
Benefits of Outsourcing for Employers
Outsourcing has benefits both to employers and freelancers. If your company is looking into outsourcing jobs, here are some things that you can expect to benefit from it:
While workers in your company may be extra skilled, there will be times when they’re unable to handle the amount of tasks that need done. Outsourcing allows you to seek out and hire the best experts for the specific work that you do for your clients with the assurance that you will get the same or even better outputs for it.
More Opportunities for Investment
It’s always better to spend less than what you earn. With outsourcing, you can keep more cash on hand enabling you to free some resources that are not much of a need in order to use it for capital improvements. In other words, you get to save the amount of money you could have spent on something not very efficient for your company’s performance and needs.
Compared to hiring more people to work for your company, outsourcing jobs to freelancers is much cheaper. Freelancers work independently and their rates are not as high as the next person to step into your office for their interview. Yet even if the costs may be lower, they can still perform as good or even better than your best employer.
Keeping You Focused
Focus is one of the keys for productivity. When you outsource jobs to freelancers or independent workers, you are able to focus on your core projects and tasks without distractions. You don’t also have to keep up with everything else most especially with tasks from ancillary or support functions which may not be the most important to you.
Freelancers are always working and they work fast. If you want tasks to get done much faster, outsourcing jobs to them would be the best way to do it. You can always set deadlines and even without it, you can still guarantee getting what you need much sooner than if you had to wait for your employee who is already fully loaded with things to do.
The kind of efficiency that outsourcing gives you results to being competitive in your craft. You’re able to keep up with the volume or demand of services you would get from your clients because you have enough number of people to work on them. And what’s even better is that you’re not spending a lot of money to get things done and to stay competitive in your market.
Time Zone Advantages
The best way to keep up with time or go ahead of it is by hiring someone else from another time zone. While you are dozing off in bed, your outputs are being worked on the other side of the world. And as soon as you get out of bed, you’re ready to have it all laid out for presentation.
The Downsides of Outsourcing
One of the biggest downsides of outsourcing is having less oversight and control over the production and the product itself. By the time it reaches your end, it’s already a finished product. However, there is also an option for you to be able to see if everything is on track during the process. As an employer or company, you can set a rule such as daily or weekly reports on its progress or even send it back for correction before polishing the product for use.
A low quality output can threaten your relationship with your client. This is one of the things you need to be extra careful with. No matter how good the person is at what they do, when you outsource to them make sure that you double check their output before making any further move. See to it that it is the quality that you would want to offer your client and not something you would want to throw in the trash.
When an instruction is not properly and clearly stated, it can cause problems. This case is true most especially when there’s a task that needs done right away. That is why it is best to see to it that the freelancer you are outsourcing the job to perfectly understands your instructions, expectations and needs. You always have the control to get rid of communication problems.
Another common communication problem is language barrier. If you outsource the task overseas, you should make sure that they can understand and speak English well if not perfectly. You have to be able to have a two-way communication in order to come into the right conclusion and results.
Last but not the least, bad internet connection, electricity problems and other things related can also cause problems in your communication. That is why it is important to require freelancers to have a steady and good connection or to keep you updated of any possible or unexpected interruptions. In this way, you are prepared for it and none of the priorities get left behind.
While not every company needs total privacy with regards to their policies and other related matters, it is important that the person you’re outsourcing work to understands these things. What must be kept private, should be kept private whether or not they work for you anymore. Of course there is no guarantee that they will keep their word. But it’s always best to make them understand why and the repercussions that come with it.
Hiring Freelancers Online
Outsourcing jobs has never been easier than doing it online. Since the rise of freelancing a few years ago, finding someone to provide services had become much easier than before. You don’t have to travel somewhere to meet someone who has the exact skills you need. You also don’t need to waste your time with the wrong people or going for too risky measures such as settling for less. In this generation’s advancement in technology, you get to find the best freelancer to suit your needs with little effort but with much guarantee.
Tips for the Process of Hiring
Know What You’re Looking For
It’s important to know what you’re exactly looking for before making any move with hiring people. This will direct everything else that will come with your hiring process. One easiest way to do it is to list down the skills, requirements and everything else involved. Don’t hesitate to end up with a long list. You would want to be very clear and be able to double check if your needs are met.
Create Proper Description
Details are always important. Write down as much details as you can for the best freelancer that you are looking for. Describe the kind of jobs that they can expect when working for you. You can also be strict and firm with your search. You may include something like “MUST-HAVE REQUIREMENTS” or if you are flexible you can also let them know in your description. You can also mention if you are also willing to train someone who could be a great candidate but does not have all the skills listed. Having this information will make it easier for applicants to know if they should hit that apply button or not. It will also save you a lot of time from going through a huge list of applicants that are not even close to being a good candidate for the job. A good job description contains all substantial information that answers the questions, what, how, when and other related matters. If you keep these in it, it’ll be much easier for you.
Be Fair With Your Pay
While it is not obligatory to write down the amount of payment that you are willing to give to your chosen applicant, it is a huge help both to you and freelancers. It helps them assess if they would be willing to do all the work for the amount you are willing to pay. It will also save you a lot of trouble from having to deal with complaints or demands that you are not willing to entertain. Most freelancers have their own idea of a fair pay and it is usually based on their experience, expertise and need. So it’s best to let them know in the first place. If you don’t have a set amount just yet, you can give them rough estimations or range of price that you would possibly pay them for. You may also state something to justify the amount that you have chosen. This increases your likeability for freelancers when they see that you care about what they might think about the pay and not just getting what you want.
Prepare Your Screening Process
Screening people for the job is not an easy process. Whether or not you have someone else to do it for you, it is best to be prepared for the screening process beforehand. Some screening process can be intensive but it really depends on the kind of job you would like to outsource to freelancers. If it is a writing job, you would want to let them submit a sample write up or write about themselves in a paragraph or two. This will enable you to see, from the very start, if they have what you are looking for or not. You may also require them to send in their CV before asking them to proceed with the test write ups. It really depends on you but these are some of the things that you can do to make the process easier.
Post It Where It’s Best
Assuming that you now have all that is previously mentioned, you can start posting the job description in freelancing websites but you don’t have to post it everywhere. Right now there are way too many freelancing websites on the internet. Besides the fact that it’s unnecessary to post it to every freelance website that there is, it’s not wise to do so as well. Not all of these websites will give you the person that you are looking for. So it’s best to choose at least top 3 reputable freelancing websites and post your job search description there. If it’s your first time to do this, you can do a little bit of research first before deciding where to post them.
Set Your Rules
You are always allowed to set your own rules but don’t make them set in stone. Allow some level of flexibility if that’s what it takes to find the best one. For example, if you are not in a rush to find a freelancer, don’t put a deadline to your post. But if you are, give an ample time such as a week or two at least so that you don’t have to rush everything. You may also address how you would want them to do their applications or submissions. If you want them to submit an email, you can instruct them to use the same subject line for easy segregation and identification on your part. Whatever is easy, fun but also a wise thing to do, go for it.
How to Ensure Quality and Productivity With Work
It’s often an obstacle for outsourcing companies to come up with a quality and productive output. This is because of the disadvantages that they have to deal with most especially with outsourcing overseas. But for every obstacle such as this, there is always a solution. You can still ensure quality and productivity in spite of the odds.
1. Set Your Goals
Setting goals is always the best way to start anything. This starting point enables your focus and perspective to shift to the same direction. It is the standard measurement of whether or not you are on the right track or making progress. Goals make you see if you are sto/wing away from where you’re supposed to be walking on.
2. Adequate Time Frame
As long as you don’t have a crazy deadline to meet, don’t be in a rush. Or better yet, don’t wait for the last minute to get things done. Start on it and have it outsourced as soon as possible so that an adequate amount of time will be spent with working on the task.
3. Be Committed
A job is like a relationship. You have to work hard on it and be committed to it otherwise it won’t work. When you start on a project or a task, you have to commit yourself to it. Treat it as a priority and once you decide to do so, be prepared to deal with pressures and catching up on deadlines. It’s all part of it along with the stresses but you will see it in a better light once it pays off. And when it comes to outsourcing it to a freelancer, set that same perspective with them. It’ll help you achieve a lot and get a good progress.
4. Be Honest
Where there is honesty, there is improvement. Before you call your output as polished, double or triple check on it first. Check if you really think that it’s good to go and if there’s any need for corrections or revisions. And if so, spend time on improving it until you can be very sure that it’s good to go.
5. Empower Your Worker
No matter how skillful a worker is, when there is no empowerment they won’t reach their full potential. While pressure and stress can push and challenge them, encouraging them still has a much greater effect in their performance. It’s very important to empower your worker in big or small tasks. Allow them to see that they can do better and beyond what they think they can do. And most of all, when giving corrections, resort for the constructive criticism type. It always does wonders most especially on workers who have the right attitude.
6. Consider Training
Training yourself or your people, no matter who it is that needs trained, training always brings progress to your company. If you haven’t considered this yet, think again. Training enables people to acquire information that they can apply right away. It also allows those who already know “a lot” to improve in their knowledge even more. Learning should be a lifetime process and if this is what you believe, then trainings should not be optional. They don’t have to be done all the time but if you find a chance to do so, don’t miss it. They could very well be what your company needs at that very moment.
7. Welcome Change
Everything in this life is unpredictable including your job’s direction. Be ready for changes that may happen your way. The goals you set now might not be the same goals you will have to set in the coming weeks. Changes may need to take place in order to bring greater progress to your company’s performance. Be ready for it.
8. Have the Right Attitude
Having the right attitude towards things is always the best. When you keep things in perspective, even the most negative thing or situation won’t be a problem. Set your focus on getting the best output and achieving your goals. When you do, your perspective won’t be limited to what your eyes can see. You will go beyond what your emotions tell you most especially when failures arise.
The Power of Leveraging
Leveraging is one of the wisest moves that a company could every take. It makes the most out of what you already have and turning it into something big. It brings productivity to its finest. So why should companies leverage their outsourcing efforts? Here’s a few concrete reasons:
- Obtain higher value
- More Flexibility
- More integrated services than the internal source can ever offer
- Improves the company’s capacity to stay innovative and updated
- Brings knowledge from the best sources in the world
- Achieves effective coordination
The Best Ways to Leverage Outsourcing for Your Company
- Let go of what is holding your company back from speeding up and get someone else to do multiple tasks for you with fast turn-around speed. But of course, not neglecting the fact that quality is still dominant over speed.
- Spot what is lacking in your company’s services and outsource it to the service provider or freelancer that you have chosen. Instead of spending a lot more money with getting more people into your physical company, not to mention the long process it involves, outsource the job to someone who can do it but won’t cost a lot to hire or keep.
- Only resort to outsourcing when it lowers your real cost. This is one of the greatest advantages you’d get to enjoy with outsourcing jobs. Take advantage of it but don’t let it be the biggest reason for taking the step. Outsource because it helps your company’s progress. The cost is just an extra bonus.
- As much as possible, do not outsource core services and functions. Very important tasks that determine your company’s future should not rest in the hands of a non-core person as much as possible. The boundaries you’re limited to with freelancers are not the best things to deal with when it comes to doing core tasks.
Do’s and Don’ts For Outsourcing
Do: Outsource for value
Don’t: Outsource only for cost
Let’s admit it. We want to do things with low cost but get the best value for even that small amount of money. There is nothing wrong with this mentality and it’s actually a great help to the company’s betterment. However, if your biggest reason for outsourcing is because of the cost, you are doing something wrong. Don’t outsource only to lower your cost but because you want great value in return. The cost should not be the biggest thing for you. You should look at the skills and abilities of the person you are looking to hire and then decide from there if they are worth the rate you’d want to give or if you would be willing to adjust the costs if need be. If the cost is your biggest concern, you might end up settling for less.
Do: Hire skilled and willing
Don’t: Hire highly skilled but hesitant
There are highly skilled people out there who could be your next “superstar employee”. But if they are not willing to adjust to the changes and rules of your company, you will have a big problem. A good freelancer should be flexible enough to adhere to possible changes. Of course you can look into meeting halfway but don’t jeopardize your firm rules which you company needs in order to get that skillful person in. Find the skilled and willing.
Do: Outsource when sure
Don’t: Outsource when unsure
This is for first timers who find it a little bit risky to outsource jobs. Every first time will experience hesitancy but if the hesitation is much bigger than the determination to bank on outsourcing, don’t do it. You have to be so sure about doing it first before making that step or else your company’s reputation will also be stained. There are a lot of companies nowadays who would post up job offers, even long ones, and then end up having little to no interaction at all. The applicants list just goes on and on until you realize you’ve got bad reviews about your company already. Be very careful. Outsourcing is not a joke and freelancers are always on the look-out for job posts.
Bonus: Two types of Outsourcing
Outsourcing to the Philippines
Companies are on the lookout for the best hubs for freelancers to outsource their jobs to. One of the most popular choices are India and the Philippines. Each country has their own advantages and disadvantages. But as time goes by, companies look into hiring freelancers from the Philippines more than anywhere else in the world. There are countless reasons why you should also see this as your choice. Here’s why…
#1 Culture Compatibility & Skilled
Philippines culture is far more compatible with Western and European cultures compared to any other country. They have a various global influence most especially by the United States when they colonized the country in 1899-1946. The country’s official language is English which means that Filipinos are able and can effectively communicate in this global language. It is purely evident in prints such as books and magazines as well as in other media-related sources such as movies. The country also has strong ties with the US and some European countries which makes it even easier to do business with them. Filipinos also have a high literacy rate. They are skilled in many ways most especially those that have something to do with literature.
#2 Cost Effective
Among many other reasons, the conversion rate is the biggest reason as to why it is more affordable to hire a workforce from the Philippines. The minimum wage in the country is as cheap as a basic hourly pay overseas employers or outsourcers can afford. If you want a workforce that powerfully produces outputs without the very high cost, this is the best country to go for.
#3 Ongoing Improvements
Philippines may be a 3rd world country but it is a progressive one. It has been stable for more than a decade and continually improves as time goes by. The country has also been improving with regards to its economical infrastructures which makes them more attractive for foreign investors. The current government fully supports BPO and is continually opening doors for more foreign investor relationships.
Outsourcing on Fiverr
Outsourcing overseas has never become easier since the rise of freelancing websites. It’s carefully crafted for the purpose of connecting employers to freelancers from different parts of the world and vice versa. One of these best places is called Fiverr.com. If you haven’t heard about it, you’re probably living under a rock. They’re one of the most popular websites these days that you just can’t let their webpage pass without checking them out. And if you’re thinking of outsourcing jobs, here are some brief facts you should know about Fiverr:
- $5 per task – at Fiverr, you can outsource micro-tasks such as creating simple graphic designs, a YouTube video or short write ups for only $5 each
- Services Offered all the time – if you’re used to needing to search for people to do stuff for you, in Fiverr it’s the other way around. Countless freelancers are on the lookout for anyone needing their service and they are always ready!
- Secure Transactions – they value your information and will always keep everything safe for you and your freelancer. Money security won’t be an issue you’d need to suffer. Scammers are unwelcomed and will be exposed. And yes, they have PayPal and other convenient payment options you can choose from.
Christine has been working in the field of freelance for just over 7 years, specializing in copy-writing, social media and voice-overs.
Describing herself as a "social media bee 24/7", Christine has an undying passion for photography and music.