There are loads of ways to outsource a website or to find one to build. From oDesk to Elance to Freelancer to 99designs – all of these services take a commission of about 10% on each project and all have great project management software built into a solid feature set. The numbers don’t lie – these outsourcing portals are making big bucks.
Of course website managers must beware when contracting new individuals to work on precious projects for existing clients, and subcontractors looking for work through these job boards are subjecting their reputations to contractors who they know nothing about. Keeping a few basic precautions in mind, however, website managers can play both roles with aplomb:
Freelancers are working for freelancers – The majority of contracts signed on these sites are contractors hiring subcontractors. By understanding that everyone is in the same boat, your sympathetic approach will be reciprocated in kind.
Start Small – Freelancers know it takes time to build a good relationship. In fact, they’ll tell you they don’t want to commit to a big project without first running a test. It is in everyone’s best interest to protect their publicly reviewed reputations.
Communication is King – We can’t stress this enough for all parties involved. An email every day is enough to make everyone feel like they’re on the same page. Inevitably, when something goes wrong in a contract it’s almost always because one of the parties didn’t communicate in a timely manner.
Good reviews matter – At the end of every project, your next project is only as good as the footprint left behind on the last. Yes, it’s social reputation management through the positive feedback left on the project. The reviews tend to be extreme, so it’s either five out of five stars or zilch. Be prepared for blowback when panning someone. Revenge can be a bitch.
Build a team – Think of these services as a dating website where you keep your favorites in a folder to call on in the middle of the night. The best success will come from repeated success.
Remember that these communities of users survive and thrive primarily because they are tightly knit and fair. There’s no room for big egos or jerks. There are plenty of cynics who find the experience using these portals to be less than satisfying. Qualified applicants are as difficult to find as qualified projects, so respect for all participants will take you to success.