Lately I’ve been doing some reading about small business. From the reading I’ve been doing, I liken outsourcing to a bee hive. Outsourcing is the hive, and the bees are everyone who is writing about and talking about its importance.
Now, I’ve got some general reservations about outsourcing that I want to mention, and then I’ll get into my Odesk review.
General Outsourcing Observations:
- No one can do it as good as you. This, of course, is not true; but sometimes it sure feels like it. Incentive is the key for any business. What incentives do workers have for performing their best? The reality is that when you outsource, someone will be doing the job who isn’t as passionate about it as you.
- It takes a lot of time to manage others. There is no such thing as the ‘set-it-and-go’ mentality. Managing those who manage your task is like a cowboy herding cattle. You spend most of your time making sure everyone is pointed in the right direction. That’s if everything goes right. If things go wrong, then you’ll need to commit even more time to cleaning up the mess.
Still, despite my reservations, I’ve dabbled with outsourcing certain parts of my business because it takes a lot of time to run a business, work full time, and raise a family.
Odesk Review: What is Odesk?
Odesk is a website that connects freelancers and contractors. If you own a small business and you need to hire some extra help, then you might consider checking it out.
Need a graphic designer? A software developer? A virtual assistant? Anything?
You can get on Odesk and post a job. Within a few hours, you’ll have applications from individuals all around the world.
Each applicant submits her rates, and you determine who you want to hire.
You sign up with a credit card, and they takes care of all the payments to your freelancer. You get access to their time logs, and you can even view screen shots to be sure they are making the right progress.
Odesk Feedback | The Horrible
My very first experience was an absolute catastrophe.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Since I live in a place where internet is slow and temperamental (which makes me go mental), I decided not to do my own landing page for The Secret to a Successful Budget. I wanted to give my time to writing and not learning the skills needed to design a landing page. My first thought? You got it: outsource.
At that point, I contacted a few people in my network, and the quotes were more than I wanted to spend.
I’d heard about Odesk and decided to try hiring someone using their site.
I found the sign up process very simple and posting my job took no time at all.
Within an hour, I probably had 15 applications from 10 different countries.
WOW. I was overwhelmed by the response and had to decide how to weed through all these applicants. There in, I made my mistake. I assumed (falsely) that those who applied read the requirements, understood the requirements, and were qualified to complete the job.
I basically just sent an interview question that said, “Can you do it in 5 days?”
What went wrong
Essentially, the person I hired to do the job didn’t know what he was doing. He took forever to do the work, and in the end, he missed the deadline. That meant that I was up from 1 a.m. – 5 a.m. the night before I released the book trying to get a presentable landing page. The worst part is that I did figure out how to do everything I wanted in 4 hours. I paid someone else for 12 hours worth of work who supposedly was qualified.
Lessons I learned from my first Odesk Experience
- Be the boss. I should not have accepted a person’s statement about qualification without confirming it.
- I entrusted important work to a stranger.
- Sometimes there is a reason why someone charges more.
Odesk Redemption | The Good
When I hired the person to do my landing page, I also hired someone to do banner ad graphics. For about $30, I got some really great widgets and banner ads. I was impressed with the work and impressed with the price.
Below is a sample of some of the headers presented for www.helpmetravelcheap.com. I ended up using the one you see on that blog. The total header cost was about $20.
The ads I had made for The Secret to a Successful Budget cost me about $30. That was for 125*125, 250*300, 468*60 (with two types each). I have included a sample below:
Odesk Shines | The Great
When I started another website I needed a banner ad, and I hired a guy who had some great sample images. I hired him to do one banner, but I ended having him do two banners and a logo. I think I paid something like $3.50 per hour.
Final Odesk Review and Reflection
In the end, it is nothing more than a portal or network to connect you with freelancers. As such, I can recommend it and caution you at the same time. Your experience depends 100% on who you hire. In my experiences, they have made sure the payments happened, allowed me to track the work – everything. But, you need to sure you hire the right person.
If you are a freelancer and want to publish your services or a person looking for someone to hire, then you should check out Odesk.
Anyone else used Odesk? How was your experience?