On Gigaom Ray Grainger provides 7 tips to building a successful team of freelancers. Two that caught my eye especially were:
- Create a collaborative online work environment. When you’ve got multiple people across the country or globe involved on a given project, you’ve got to make it easy for everyone to work together, share documents, make comments, and view project status. A cloud-based workspace is the new and improved conference room. You want to create a one-stop-shop for all project-related documents, conversations, tasks, milestones, and financial information.
- Manage documents and conversations in a single place. A simple project can generate an astonishing volume of email. Eliminate the back and forth by communicating in a secure, shared workspace. This centralized area creates an instant audit trail for any project that’s readily accessible to all involved. It also helps to minimize those pesky emails that eat away at everyone’s productivity: What’s the latest version of the document? When do you expect to have the first draft? Where are we in the review cycle?
I use Elance. It’s free. There are literally thousands of candidates to chose from with excellent skills in a wide range of fields.
One of the great mis-conceptions about off-shoring work is that you’ll get second-rate service. That’s far from the case. Sure, there are some duds, but I experienced my fair share of dud employees over the years. On Elance there’s a rating system that’s hard to game. As an employer I can check out a person’s overall rating, how many jobs they’ve done, the comments other employers have made and what specialist skills they have on offer.
The service from those I’ve employed has been first rate. I’ve now formed an ongoing arrangement with three suppliers and they’re happy for me to post a job and they bill me at their usual hourly rate.
Communication is rarely an issue as all the freelancers I work with are available on Skype. I can have a job spec done and the job moving within hours. There’s no paperwork, no superannuation forms, no PAYG tax returns. Just click and go!
I love it. How about you?