With the rapid development of software over the past 15 years, companies are now working faster and smarter to scale their businesses. From a single entrepreneur to a large corporation, any business will get to the point where they are asking the question of how to get the best staff for an affordable price. If you have reached this stage in your business then I would like to introduce you to the world of outsourcing and how you can leverage any business idea you have with a very cost-effective workforce.
I have been working as a freelancer for the past 6 years and I loved every minute of it. I was in charge of my schedule and always had the freedom to organise my working day. Now I’m working on the other side of the business – I am a part of AFA Technologies and we help companies find qualified remote freelancers. Having had the two-sided experience of being both a freelancer and someone helping to recruit freelancers for companies, I feel I am in a great position to show you what can help and what to be aware of.
Leverage of work.
Have you ever thought how many hours you are spending on reading and replying to emails? It is a time-consuming job, especially when there are other tasks on your schedule. Growing companies have to focus on their core activities while the tasks of less importance can be sent out elsewhere. I am talking about data entry, email and calendar handling, online research, social media marketing, blog writing and website development. Ask yourself these questions to figure out if you should be outsourcing:
- What is your current expertise? (e.g. business development)
- How much would you charge per hour to do this work for people? (e.g. $50 / hour)
- Are you doing any tasks that you could pay a cheaper person to do (e.g. data research at $5 per hour)
Freelancers are quick and cost-effective. Most of the outsourced jobs go to countries where the average salary is lower than what an employee gets paid in more developed nations. What seems to be quite a low wage in England might be very competitive and motivating in India. What is more, there is a chance to employ a qualified talent to help you with your projects at an affordable cost. This means that you are paying less and getting more which is crucial for growing startups and SMEs.
Outsourcing opens up a world of talented and qualified professionals all around the world. Instead of having an in-house IT specialist, you can easily assign this job to a virtual assistant who has the same experience and qualifications. It’s been a common practice for smaller companies to leverage work that requires deep-domain knowledge, e.g. website development, IT processes, back-end, front-end development etc.
Virtual assistants give you the breather that you need. You can focus on your business core activities while ensuring that everyday tasks will be completed in the meantime. Once you get a specialist in your team who can put their efforts into bringing the best results, you can take it easy and manage your time better. In the long run, it will help your company grow to a success.
No employment costs.
There are many websites to find freelancers and I am sure you might heard of Upwork, PeoplePerHour or Guru. If you check the price for “data entry”, the bid ranges from $2 to $12 per hour. This means that instead of hiring a full-time employee with all the company benefits, sick/holiday pay and taxes you are getting a job done under $12. On top of that, you do not have to provide them with electronic equipment, laptops, pay for software – that’s a definite win-win.
Like with any employees, there will always be things that you should be aware of, especially when hiring your first freelancer.
Poor work quality.
The lack of face-to-face training can sometimes result in high expectations and poor quality of work. If you are not happy with the end result, there are no money-back guarantees in most cases and you are left with no other choice than hiring a new freelancer. However, this is just testing your luck. That’s why it is very important to read reviews and choose reliable platforms for outsourcing work. Here at AFA Technologies we ensure the companies are getting qualified specialists who will go that extra mile for your business. All the interviews, selection process and training is handled by us, so your virtual assistant can immediately start helping you.
Do not expect a freelancer from a foreign country to know your slang and other language nuances. Miscommunication can lead to a job not being done properly, therefore, you have to use plain English and be very specific about the tasks you assign. You can always ask a freelancer to re-word the tasks to make sure they understand what is required from them.
Communication is the key in every business. Unfortunately, when you hire a VA, time zone differences can be a real pain when you need to reach your assistant ASAP. The solution would be to set up a schedule with specific working hours when the assistant can be available online. You can also find an assistant who would be working on the same/similar time zone as you.
Short-term remote workers will come and go, and the lack of consistency can reduce the strength of your company. Obviously, virtual staff will not replace having a full-time in house team, however, it all depends on your needs. If you like a quiet workspace, a virtual assistant can be the best choice for you. Who said that you cannot build a team of remote employees that are available whenever you need them and let them go when the project is finished with no obligations?
Alternative to outsourcing
Although we are huge fans of outsourcing, some companies may feel it is not for them. Another option is called insourcing. It’s is the practice of bringing in specialists to fill in temporary spots or simply training in-house personnel to perform tasks that could have been outsourced. For example, it’s much easier for an in-house specialist to write a technical manual for an equipment that they have designed.
What the companies gain from insourcing is better monitoring of their employees, possibility to learn and grow quicker, not to mention real-time communication. If you feel that having a team in the office would work better for your business, why not try insourcing? Time Doctor has a blog full of useful information about outsourcing, productivity and company culture; we highly recommend reading about the benefits of insourcing which covers everything you need to know on this topic.
If you ever considered outsourcing some tasks to freelancers, you should probably consider this option. Pros of having a VA definitely outweigh the cons and it is worth testing if it is beneficial to your business. Outsourcing has been a growing trend among startups, entrepreneurs and large corporations and is being recognised as a key strategy for company’s success.
Give it a try or share your own experience of working with a freelancer!