Fast Track Your Business with Outsourcing


Good afternoon and happy Sunday!  We’re coming to you live from Affiliate Summit East where I’ll be hanging out through Tuesday.  This is the place you’ll want to visit for liveblogging coverage and updates from the show. So just keep hitting refresh and we’ll keep you informed and entertained all day.

Up first we have James Martell who’s going to teach us a thing or two about growing your business through outsourcing. Is that like delegating?  If so…oh noes. I hope there’s no fisticuffs.

Problems to Outsourcing

Problem 1: No Money

He was annoyed with life. He needed a way to make some money. They didn’t have a lot of money for outsourcing, which didn’t really even exist at the time.

Problem 2: Very Expensive

It was expensive to design a Web site. Audio was expensive.  He couldn’t afford it

Problem 3: Not Web savvy

If you need a plumber, you’d hire a plumber from the Yellow Pages. There were tons of them. If you needed a carpenter, it was easy to find one. When he started there weren’t many people to help him with Web stuff.  He then tells a story about when he finally had money and his wife wanted to buy a leather couch and love seat.  He wanted to save that money for the business.  He said if she wrote articles for the site, he’d buy her a couch. It was a great way to get her involved. Heh.

In 2004 he learned about Elance – there were tens of thousands of writers available to hire.  Once they focused on Elance, they could work more ON the business instead of IN the business. Now when he logs into his computer he’s not doing it to do the work. He’s logging in to make sure his service providers have everything they need to do the work.  Elance changed the way he does business. [James gives us a walk-through of the Elance system.]

Do what YOU do best and outsource the rest. All the work they do in their business is to organize it so they can pass it on.

Tip 1: Don’t assume it will be too expensive

It’s a lot cheaper than you think and you can negotiate it down.

Tip 2: Clearly describe your projects

People will bid on your project regardless if you describe it. However, you’re not going to get the same quality back.   Let the writer know who he/she is writing to and what they’re writing for.  His wife creates a visitor profile to hand to freelancers.  She also creates a page or two for each page she wants written giving them the primary keywords, the anchor text, any notes, etc.  This gives them a format to work from. It may seem like a lot of work (it is) but it ensures you get back the right quality.  The writers also love it because they know exactly what they’re in for.

Project: News Blog

They use a writer spec to design specifications that they can hand off to writers.  The spec includes an introduction to him and the project, important points for the writers to focus on, sample work order, keyword rules, etc.  As a writer myself, I respect the hell out of that.

Project: Flash Video

He wanted a video created for his super bootcamp. These can get pretty expensive. He does it for $200-$300 with an editor on Elance.  He gives them a clear description of what they’re looking for.  He writes a script and does the narration. Inside the narration, he inserts the jpg file path so that he knows where to put the transitions.

Tip 4: Use the Escrow

Between Elance, you and the service provider. It creates a system for payment based on activity.

Tip 5: Set Milestones

Helps to keep things moving down the track properly.

Tip: 6: Initiate Conversation

Tip 7: Answers Messages

Elance has a great messaging system. It doesn’t come into your inbox or email.

Tip 8: Pay Quickly

Not surprisingly, people like doing business with those that pay quickly. Do it. You’ll get more bids.

Tip 9: Build Your Team

As you’re in the system you’ll find people you connect with. Keep using these people and build your team.

Tip 10: Build Your Feedback

Similar to eBay feedback.   Good testimonials will ensure you get more bids.  Also listen to your feedback to find things you should be improving on or where you’re doing well.

Power Tips

  • Power Tip 1: Live (and Die) By The 15 Rule – If you’re stuck for 15 minutes, take the next 15 minutes to post it as a project on Elance.
  • Power Tip 2: Post Long-term Projects
  • Power Tip 3: Work on your business, not in your business

Hmm, that was quick. Hopefully Elance gave him a commission on that one…

Your Comments

  • David Zemens

    Thanks for the live updates Lisa.

  • madsurfer

    Hi Lisa, What is your experience using Elance? Or don’t you use such freelance communities? I get some mixed message using such sites. Especially the quality of delivered work seems to vary a lot. Last week I finished an outsourced project at 99designs and that worked quite well.

  • Steve @ 2010 Taxes

    I always hear about how great outsourcing to the Philippines is but when I tried it I got back content that was terrible and seemed spun. Working with a couple good writers on eLance has been a much better experience. TextBroker and TheContentAuthority are also pretty good.

  • J O

    Thanks a lot for this. I was unable to make this talk but really wanted to, so I really appreciate your notes. :)

  • Chase

    At Journey Mexico, we’ve been outsourcing with Elance for about two months now and have had a couple of different projects worked on. Before working with Elance, I read a piece of advice that has proven very true for us, which was don’t get frustrated if you have a not-so-amazing experience right off the bat. Our first project took longer than expected mostly because the programmer we were working with did not have very good English skills, so a lot of time was wasted explaining and re-explaining the same things over and over again.

    I’ve learned that if you spend a little extra time searching for quality people/businesses to work with on Elance, it pays off. After that first experience, we found a great group and have been working with them ever since. It’s also important to mention that their rates are more than 50% lower than the people we used to outsource to in the US.

  • Chase

    PS, thanks for the re-caps Lisa. Hopefully I’ll have a travel budget to attend these conferences next year but until then, keep the posts coming (please and thank you)!

  • IT Outsourcing

    Thanks for the details, I’ll have to look into one of those Free Lance writer websites.

  • Barry Rickert

    Wow! you should write for our blog too. Love, it. Buyers definitely need to be better educated and we have that in common.

    I like you blog and linked this article to my creative buyer site as they are definitely related.