4 Ways That Elance Can Help a Business Flourish
Guest post by Kathy Barber
It doesn’t matter if you have been in business for decades, or you are just starting out, the expenses are on the rise, with no end in sight. It can cause well-established businesses to either downsize, or close the doors. It’s also a reason why some entrepreneurs are having doubts about opening those doors to begin with. Another reason why someone might be reluctant to start up a business right now, is that it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology, legal, and even accounting. And, what about hiring the right people? That can be intimidating enough to walk away from a dream. However, there is a solution that can take away that fear, or at least lessen it a bit.
Introduction to Elance
We have all heard about people who freelance, working with companies, rather than for them. A freelancer is self-employed, rather than employed by a company. If you choose to work with freelancers, it can have many benefits, which I will get into in a bit. But, where do you find freelancers? A method that is gaining in popularity is to go through an online freelancing community, such as Elance. They are a universal platform for both clients (buyers) and independent contractors (providers) to find each other. It allows buyers to post projects, with details of what they are looking for, and providers to write an online proposal. After the proposal is accepted, work can begin in the online ‘workroom’, which provides the opportunity to communicate and pass documents back and forth. There is also a program to keep track of hours, to protect both client and provider. Now, let’s get to the 4 ways Elance can help your company…
1. Cutting Down on Expenses
Most companies, whether they are big or small, are looking for ways to cut back on overhead costs. One way they can do that is to outsource some of their work. And, working with independent contractors allows for this.You would be able to save in payroll expenses, because the freelancer is not an employee. That is just one area you could save on. It will depend on how much work you outsource as to how much you will actually save. For example, if you outsource an administrative assistant, you wouldn’t need additional space, which can cut down on utilities and rent/mortgage. Equipment is another area you can save on, because you wouldn’t need things like furniture, computer, and phone for that person. The independent contractor you choose to work with would furnish their own. This would also be true if you outsource other areas of your business.
2. A Variety of Services Under One Umbrella
Elance is not only a world-wide community, but it also encompasses many trades and skills in various categories. There are 8 categories available to outsource help in:
- IT & Programming
- Design & Multimedia
- Writing & Translation
- Sales & Marketing
- Administrative Support
- Engineering & Manufacturing
- Financial & Management
Within these categories are multiple sub-categories. For instance, Writing & Translation has 20 including Article, Sales Writing, Technical. Before posting a project, you can browse through the many contractors in the field you are looking for, and view their profile. Take the time to look at their work history, credentials, feedback from previous projects, and their portfolio. If you find someone you like, you can ‘invite’ them to bid on your project.
3. Educated and Professional Independent Contractors
There are several providers in the Elance community who are highly skilled and educated. Take for example, IT & Programming. This is an area that is constantly changing, which requires continued education for the specialties including programmer, server administrator, and website developer. If you have some background in this, you are probably well aware that you can take online courses from companies such as www.ecourseclassroom.com. If providers are current on their training and certifications, you should be able to see evidence of this on their profile. If not, you can ask them how current they are. When you don’t have a background in the field you are seeking to outsource, use common sense to choose who you work with on projects. Just as you would when hiring an employee, do some diligent research within Elance. A quote by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge says it best: “Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.”
4. More than Just Saving Money
As I mentioned earlier, one big perk to working with contractors on Elance, is saving money.However, there are other benefits to outsourcing through Elance.You won’t have to worry about long term commitments with someone, as you would an employee. If it doesn’t work out, it’s far easier to move on than it is to deal with firing and dealing with unemployment. There is also a workroom to help keep documents and communication on file, a ‘watercooler’ community for assistance, arbitration for disputes, and escrow to protect funds while the work is done.
The time that I have spent as a member with Elance, I have found it to be a great resource to supplement my writing career, with opportunities to work with some wonderful clients. As a buyer, you should be able to enjoy the same results if you do your homework to find the right providers.
Have you considered outsourcing projects that are not your businesses core focus? If so, how has this change helped your business. If not, what are your reasons? Leave your small biz diamonds in the comments section below.
Kathy Barber is currently working on a series of articles inspired by her research of a CCNA training class. As a freelance writer, she enjoys writing on various topics such as medical, cooking, freelancing, and travel. Kathy lives in Michigan with her husband and son. She also finds time to travel, entertain, experiment with cooking, and is recently enjoying the world of little league baseball with her son.
Have a successful day!