Last year I bit the bullet and started hiring and have now built a team of about 10 link builders and writers. It was hard letting go, but if you follow certain rules and deploy a strict process it can be highly rewarding.
A lot of people don’t want the hassle of working for themselves, they like to do the work at home in their own time and at the end of the day turn the computer off and go out and party. I don’t care when my team work as long as the work is done within set parameters. And so a team can be created
Here are 11 quick tips to think about when hiring an online workforce.
1. Don’t call them outsourcers, they are part of the team. Instead of saying “we can outsource this”, say, “we can let the team handle this. They are human beings and it’s wrong to commoditise them.
2. Pay more than every one else pays. When I have someone work on my work I want the best not the cheapest. I want to continue to work with the best and paying them extra is the best way to do this.
3. Work hard to turn the best freelancers into the best full time employees. Cost of acquisition in terms of time is high, so when you find the cool workers, keep them. Keeping long term team members means training does not go to waste.
4. Do not micro manage. Control freaks will have issues with this and have problems sending work half way around the World. Odesk (a place where you can find team members) have this thing where you can get screenshots of the freelancers work to check up on them. This is nuts, if you don’t trust them, don’t hire them. Give them the task, if they do it great, if they don’t then that’s the signal that you don’t hire them again.
5. Expect to get ripped off and lose money. Give out with small jobs and pay in advance, potentially setting yourself up to get burned. I learned this from a guy called Richard Cussons, who really has the whole outsourcing thing covered. He pays new people in advance for little jobs, some of them scarper and are never seen again, whilst others do the work and finish the job. This is the price you pay to find the best workers, consider it an investment rather than a loss.
6. Expect life to happen. People get ill, family crisis happens. This should be factored into your hiring. If any of my workers fall ill or have a problem they get a paid day off. They are worth it and are not the type of people to lie. You get to that point of trust by going though a set of processes, even though this is a human resource issue it should be run on a process based system.
7. Use your team to build your team. Your current workers are the best people to find you more workers. They will not want to introduce you to people who do not come up to scratch as it will reflect bad on them. The people you want are the people who care about their quality of work and have a good work ethic.
8. Ditch your racist stereotypes. Different countries have different cultures, I used to get into a lot of trouble being ironic and sarcastic when I lived in the USA. What I saw as witty banter was mostly taken as offence (this still happens but online). So when hiring in India or Germany or Columbia, best to see the people as people rather than through a prism of prejudice. Although references to Basil Fawlty are allowed when dealing with the Germans, (joke, see what I mean it’s easy to fall in to the trap)
9. Pay on time. This is the most important thing, and I will bust a gut and sometimes have to run down to the Western Union office in Truro to make sure payment gets out within the set time if the website is down. BTW, the local Cash Converters shop in Truro is the best one to use if you are in Cornwall and need to send cash around the World.
10. Be nice. You are dealing with human beings not commodities. Treat your team with respect and you will get it back tenfold. Just because the annual GDP of the nation they live in is lower than the cost of serving lunch to the employees of Google does not mean they are stupid or not informed about stuff. They have the Internet and they know how to use it.
11. Try to pick a country that speaks the same language as you, if you need content creating that is to appeal to a certain nation it’s best to have the content created by a national of that country. When I have content aimed at the American market I make sure the writer is American, although a lot of countries can speak and write English, you still need that nuanced writing. In linkbait this is really important, not so much if you need articles just for Google.
I continue to build my team and they continue to do amazing work, maybe I got lucky and got the right people. There have been problems as there always are when hiring people, but most can be sorted. It is different hiring people you have never met who are from another culture. A little research and you can soon get up to speed on the does and don’ts.
I always make sure my team has spare capacity, so if you want to benefit from outsourcing work without the hassle of hiring and managing get in touch and we can work something out. I will be putting together a more detailed service in the future so make sure you sign up for the email newsletter and keep in touch.
Inspired by Byrne Hobart CEO of Due Digital Dilligence on Search Engine Land