Every business these days needs a good website filled with relevant content, a regularly-updated social media presence, and software solutions that help them remain competitive. But smaller businesses can’t afford to hire a team of skilled IT and marketing professionals. For that reason, many SMBs outsource the work to a local IT services provider.
While local contractors and cloud providers can help your business with its ongoing business needs, sometimes you need a one-time task completed. When that happens, sites like Elance and Guru can help you locate an affordable, talented worker who specializes in providing just the type of work you need.
There are many benefits of crowdsourcing your next project, in addition to the cost savings it brings. Here are a few reasons you should consider trying out a crowdsourced professional.
Choose Your Location
When people think of outsourcing, they often assume it refers directly to sending work overseas. But outsourcing merely refers to the practice of offloading some of your work to those outside your organization. By crowdsourcing, you can specifically choose someone who works in a certain geographic location, wherever you’re located. This also provides a cost advantage. Many businesses located in big cities have found they can save money by hiring workers located in smaller towns, where the cost of living is traditionally lower.
Pinpoint Permanent Workers
Crowdsourcing is a great way to try out workers who may become a permanent part of your organization. You may choose to continue to request work for months, even years. For best results, start small, trying out workers for small projects, like designing a cover photo for your Facebook page or translating a small document. You may even decide to try out multiple providers on one project each until you find one that fits with your organizational structure.
Productivity Tools Available
For those hiring hourly workers, there are tools available to help ensure the worker is actually putting in the number of hours available. ODesk, which was recently purchased by Elance, has a Team feature that automatically records proof of work, as well as allowing for collaboration with your team members. Elance has Work View, which tracks time spent on tasks and incorporates them into the worker’s timesheet each week. Businesses considering crowdsourcing can also use Skype to connect with overseas workers for free or have a face-to-face conversation with potential workers before deciding to hire them.
Distribute Big Projects
Have a big project you need done quickly? Instead of hiring one worker and standing over him with a whip, you can spread the work among numerous workers around the country, or the world, speeding up the process. This is ideal for work that doesn’t require consistency, such as data entry and other administrative tasks. It can also work well for those projects that require a variety of voices, such as coming up with various versions of the same marketing campaign or generating content to make it appear as though it came from a variety of industry sources.
Crowdsourcing is changing the way businesses choose workers, as well as the way professionals work. By using crowdsourcing sites, you may be able to find a longtime freelancer who will help move your business forward.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at ComputerSupport.com, where he helps businesses in a variety of industries with their technology needs.