If you’re running a small business you may be feeling the pinch in the current economic crisis. Perhaps you’ve had to let your staff go or perhaps you’ve always run the business as a one-man show. Dealing with all the responsibilities of running a business on your own can take its toll – it can be pretty exhausting just keeping all of the everyday stuff ticking over. When you’re presented with extra stuff to do, it can be downright overwhelming.
You may be falling behind in one aspect of your paperwork because it’s always the last thing you feel like doing every week or month. If you find yourself putting off tiresome chores because you just don’t have the time, or it’s not your strong point, then it builds up until it’s a nagging worry in the back of your mind. If there’s not enough work to be done that warrants hiring somebody to do this on a regular basis, then it’s time to think outside the box and consider hiring a virtual assistant to get the job done.
You’re not alone as a small business
It’s worth having a look at the army of freelance workers who can do some of the extra chores for you at a price that will probably surprise you. Outsourcing your work in this way can take the weight off your shoulders and leave you free to concentrate on the thing that you do best – running your business.
You can use freelance workers for all sorts of tasks such as:
- Building and maintaining a website
- Social media campaigns
- Balancing the books
- Designing adverts, flyers, business cards, etc
- Writing articles and press releases
Whatever it is that you need done, it’s a sure bet that you can find somebody who will do a great job within your deadline.
There is a growing army of freelance workers who are based in every country on the planet and they have a wide range of skills that can benefit your business. There are several platforms that you can use to find freelance workers, whether it’s for a one-off job or an ongoing weekly/monthly task that you just don’t have the time to do yourself.
However, there are a few things to watch out for if you want this venture to run smoothly and ensure that you’re getting good value for money.
Related: Advertising for Freelancers: Radio Vs Web
Tips to Make it Work for You
It’s been said that of all the freelance workers who offer their services on websites such as oDesk, Elance and Freelancer, only 10% are actually worth employing. Having hired people myself to do some work for me, I have to say that I thoroughly agree with this statement and I have a few tips that you can use to avoid the pitfalls.
- First of all, instead of advertising a job, take a look at some of the freelancers’ profiles to see if you can identify a few that you think would be able to successfully complete the job you have. Some of the freelancing websites will allow you to contact these people directly to offer them an interview – this cuts out the need to advertise your job and then sift through the myriad of freelancers who apply but are not really suited to your needs.
- Secondly, if you have regular work that needs doing, consider hiring somebody to hire and manage a team of freelance workers for you. It can be money well spent as they will deal with all the hassles of hiring and communicating with your team, leaving you free to concentrate on growing your business.
- thirdly, if you’re hiring people to write articles/blogposts/website content for you, then it’s worth paying a bit extra to hire native English speakers from the US or UK. While people who live in the developing nations may advertise their services at much lower hourly rates, you may find that the savings you make are cancelled out by the need to have their submissions heavily edited before its fit for publication. If you want content that’s “ready to go”, so to speak, then it’s worth paying a little extra to make sure that everything is grammatically and idiomatically correct, with no spelling mistakes.
- Fourth point is that you need to communicate effectively with whoever you hire to do your work. Make sure that they know exactly what you expect and how much you’re willing to pay for it – make sure that they are also aware of any deadlines that you have. This will save you from having to deal with any disputes that can arise from misunderstandings.
- Last of all – if you find somebody who does a brilliant job for you, let them know this – develop a good relationship with that person so that they view you as a valuable client. This could lead to a long-term arrangement in which you will have just the right person to help you whenever you need some extra work done.
Related: Does Freelance Mean Free?
Taking the time to find the right freelancers and developing a good ongoing relationship with them makes great business sense in the long run. You will have an expert that you can call on when you need work done without the cost of having to hire somebody as a long-term member of your team.
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