By Natalie MacNeil (Co-Founder, YEC Women) The following answers are provided by YEC Women. Co-Founded by Natalie MacNeil and Scott Gerber, YEC Women is an initiative of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
Q: To save time and money, I need to start outsourcing. Any advice for someone who has never outsourced work before??
"In the first year of our business, we kept web development costs low by hiring engineers and system admins we found among thousands on oDesk. The hiring system oDesk has built is robust, and we were pleased with the outcome! Tip: Many contractors are willing to do a small initial test job for free as a trial run."
"What will save you time and money in the long run is having a few systems in place to start managing your team as you outsource more work. Tools like Basecamp for managing projects and assigning them tasks. Using Camtasia or Screenflow to video yourself doing the tasks you want to outsource with explanations will allow you to delegate the work and minimize learning time when it comes time to hire."
"I've been very happy using Elanceto find freelancers in the U.S. and abroad, but my biggest tip is to be very aware of language barriers. It can be better to pay more to hire a freelancer who shares your first language. Even if you're extremely clear in your instructions, someone who doesn't have complete mastery of your language may misunderstand essential details."
"Keeping things in-house allows you to control all your projects, in terms of both time and budget. For example, you can pay thousands of dollars to have a pro photographer shoot each catalog, or you can invest $1500 one time in a great camera and light box set up, and do it yourself. This eliminates the need for proofs, and gives you a product that expresses your vision and costs less every time."
"When you first start outsourcing, the easiest target for where to start is the work that takes you the most time and can be done by someone else for the least amount of money. For online businesses, this is almost always technical work - loading up your shopping cart system, maintaining your website, putting your marketing into place."
This post was originally posted at The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award winning Producer at the digital media company she co-founded, Imaginarius. She passionately works to get more women into business in her role as Co-Founder of YEC Women with Scott Gerber and through her blog, She Takes on the World. Natalie is frequently quoted and interviewed in the media discussing entrepreneurship, personal branding for women, and new media. Follow her on Twitter at @nataliemacneil.