Outsourcing Made Easy

My mom had a great expression that has stuck with me forever.  When she had no interest in doing something herself, or better yet, felt she was not skilled enough at a task, she operated what she called, the GAMI principle.  With a military husband who was deployed so much he was away more than he was home, this was her solution to every situation that would require do-it-yourself skills, from toilets blocking up to the removal of ground bees nests.  Although she was a strong-minded, fully independent woman, she felt these were jobs more suited to professionals than to her well-intentioned but ultimately ineffective attempts. So, she would “Get A Man In” to take care of that sort of stuff.

This principle of leaving the skilled work to people who are highly experienced, trained and competent is one I’ve followed and it has rarely let me down.  Yes, I could spend hours trying to learn WordPress to create a new blog, or struggle at getting to grips with iMovie, but the time taken could never deliver the results a professional could. I can still run my blog and take great video, but am happy to leave the technical aspects to someone who knows what they are doing.

This is where outsourcing comes in.

“In business, outsourcing is the contracting out a business process to a third-party.”
There is not much that cannot be contracted out if you don’t want to do it yourself, from building a Wordpress blog, to writing the posts on it – researching keywords for your web site to having a logo designed.
Once you decide what you want to farm out, the tough job is to get the right person at the right price, who will do a great job for you.  The Phillipines is home to a highly skilled and educated work force, with high proficiency in spoken English, which makes it an ideal place to outsource most work.
Here’s some tips to get you off to a good start:

Use a large outsourcing site
Most of the large sites handle the payment to oursourcers so it is held in escrow until the job has been completed so this makes it safer than seeing someone advertising individually.  Workers may work indpendently or be allied to an agency but bear in mind an agency worker will be paying a proportion of their wage to the agency who is then paying commission to the outsourcing site.  Subsequently, agency workers may cost a little more.
Odesk and Elance are two of the largest sites.

Prepare your job description thoroughly
Don’t be vague about what you want. Just wanting someone to ‘Create a blog’ is insufficient – you will need to detail exactly what’s required – whether you want a simple blog site or a full-blown web site for your property with a blog attached.  Find something you really like on the web and a good outsourcer should be able to give you something very similar.

Spend time researching other similar job descriptions to assess rates
Chances are the work you want doing has already been described in someone elses job description.  Search with your keyword such as ‘blog design’ or ‘site SEO’ or ‘keyword research’ and a good site will deliver many prospective work candidates.  You will be able to check the jobs these people have already done, what they were paid, and the feedback they were given.

Don’t make any assumptions about the outsourcers’ knowledge
They will have technical skills – Philippines staff are often well-educated with university degrees but may not be as clued up on Western terms and phrases.  Don’t assume they have any prior knowedge about vacation rentals or your location. 

The worker profiles show the hourly rate they charge which can be anything from $3 per hour upwards.  It’s generally a better idea to avoid the lowest fees – they may be hard workers but have limited experience in outsourcing hence the low rates.  Rates will also vary according to the skills required.  SEO specialists and graphic designers will charge a higher rate than keyword researchers and basic Wordpress engineers but fees overall will generally be much lower than you would pay in the US.

Choosing an outsourcer
Hiring an outsourcer is not really any different from recruiting an employee – the only difference is that the interviews are done by email and Skype.  Start off with a small task, such as getting a logo designed or having your blog set up with a theme installed, then if that works out well, you can go onto larger projects.  In this way you could get a personal website designed at a very reasonable cost.
Once you have done one or two hires, you’ll be surprised at how easy – and gratifying – it is to hand over tasks that were once daunting.  Your freed up time can then be used to market and generate more income from your property.