What is Outsourcing?
1) Why and when to outsource
2) How to select a source?
3) Pros and Cons
Why and when to outsource
So the question is why would you want to outsource work?
In the beginning, you most likely can handle all the work and projects on your own.
You may have only one or sometimes two clients at a time.
Most of the work is within the scope of your technical skills and you are good at what you do.
Here are some of the possible reasons why your thinking may change down the road.
The practice of having certain job functions done outside a company instead of having an in-house department or employee handle them;
functions can be outsourced to either a company or an individual. [1. Entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia]
1) Outside of your technical skills
A medium-size business hires you because they need to rebuild their website since there
is an ownership change. Its a WordPress site and you know WordPress well.
Including in the package is a request to:
- Redesign their SVG logo.
- Produce a new video for the website.
- Capture new high-resolution images of the staff and work departments for the website.
But, your only graphic design experience is using an online logo generator to create logos,
and the only video and photography tasks you ever performed is using your handheld iPhone.
Since the project pays very well, you accepted the project thinking you will tackle the obstacles
as they come up.
Since this is a huge contract, there should be sufficient funds to outsource the logo and video/photo
work to real professionals.
Congratulations, you have become a project manager.
You just need to coordinate everything since the business is to busy to worry about things like this.
You could not have completed this contract without outsourcing parts of the project.
Even though your profits were less, in the long run, you may have set yourself up for similar work in the future.
2) Overwhelmed with Work
Being a freelancer is a unique animal.
There may be times when you are hunting for work.
Then there may occasions when projects pour in.
This is awesome for your business, but the problem is that these projects all have deadlines that you must meet and
most likely they are all within the same time frame.
You have two choices:
- Decline some of the work.
- Outsource the work.
Hopefully, you already know other developers and their skill levels so you can farm out some of the work.
You are again a Project Manager and need to coordinate the projects and ensure that it meets your standards.
2) Health Issues
There may an unfortunate surgery or some lengthy illness that may keep you incapacitated for a while.
The deadlines still stand so outsourcing will be required to meet these dates.
3) Help out other developers
Sometimes your heart may tell you to share some of your projects with other developers who may
be in that dead zone (no work). Outsourcing a project or two may just be enough to get them through
until they can recover.
Who knows, when you are in the same situation, they could reciprocate and return the favor.
Find a Outsource partner
What I look For
If you search the internet, you will find that the trait most managers, controllers, or administrators look for are
skills, experience and local presence.
For me, I look for non-technical traits.
As a sole proprietor, you need to ensure the other party is reliable and can be trusted.
That’s why I only seek those who I really know and can trust.
In the end, it usually is those who live in the state I live in here in the USA.
Simply because I know them, having an actual relationship.
You can find out a lot about someone, not only their character but their skills and experience
just by having lunch together.
I find people can conceal themselves when on Skype, Facetime, and Zoom.
I feel much more comfortable with someone you have built a relationship with over time.
In addition, even if these people do not have the necessary skills I am looking for,
for the most part, they can refer me to someone who does.
Since I trust them, I can feel assured about their referrals.
Other Reasons to Hire Local
1) Local Time: If there are issues to resolve or questions that need to be answered, being in the identical
time zone makes life nice. How many times have you missed each other because someone lives in a time
zone that calls for sleep time, or vice versa?
If your outsource partner lives in the same city, how convenient it is to visit them in their office so you can remedy any questions or issues about the project immediately.
2) Support Local Economy: With everyone looking for work, wouldn’t you rather help
out your local partners and keep the economy home? Helping each other.
3) Building Your Local Network: Establishing connections to other local businesses, which in turn builds referrals and strengthen your brand in the local community.
If you operate in a rural town, then develop connections in the closest city.
You will still be in the same time zone, and basically in the local business environment.
The information and opinions in this post is from my own personal experience as a freelancer.
Others may have a different approach and outlook from mine.
There really is no right or wrong method of outsourcing work.
You just need to do what works best for your clients, your business, and for yourself.
The bottom Line:
Whatever it takes to complete your task with the least amount of pain, stress, and disruptions.