Having Confidence With Outsourcing
As an Internet Marketer, there’s no way (well there might be a way, but if there is, I don’t know about it) that you can handle 100% of the tasks by yourself AND continue growing your business.
What this means is, you’re either going to have to hire a worker for your company (pricey, headache) and train them or just outsource certain tasks to freelance workers.
I started out as a freelance worker and boy it was a struggle for who had the upper hand the client or me. It doesn’t have to be this way. You need to confidently outsource so that struggles aren’t even an issue. You just handled the situation perfectly.
There are four areas where I see clients like you struggling. They get ripped off, they don’t know what to ask for, they don’t speak up when disappointed, and they don’t pre-qualify people.
Scared You’re About to Hire the Wrong Person?
The first time you outsource, it can be pretty nerve wracking. After all, this business is like your baby you don’t want anything messing it up. Imagine if you hired a ghostwriter and they plagiarized content and you used it as your own, tarnishing your own good name?
It’s not just about making sure you don’t encounter someone who might deliver something sub-par, but it also causes anxiety when you’re new to outsourcing, you have a limited budget to do it, so this first time HAS to go over well, or it’ll be money down the drain.
What makes it even scarier is that you’re sending money to someone anywhere in the world and you may not have much of a solution if you do need to fight back.
There are some steps you can take in vetting the candidate for your project. If you rush the procedure, well then you get what you deserve. You need to schedule your projects enough ahead of time so that you can make an informed decision about who is best for your business.
Finding the right type of worker is the first step in giving you confidence about your project. It sounds obvious, but there are subtle differences in freelance workers so you’d better know who it is you need to do the job before you start posting projects.
For example, you might go try to hire a website guy but he only knows the technical part of setting up a site, not necessarily the graphic elements that will make your site design look the way you want it to.
Or you might post a project looking for a copywriter. You, as a non-writer, may not know what kind of writer you want. Copy, in the marketing world is traditionally sales copy. People sling the word around as a one size fits all, though.
A ghostwriter is going to be invisible in the background but not all ghostwriters write the same type of stuff. Some will do sales copy, some email campaigns, some eBooks, some blog posts, etc.
So do some digging into your project to find out what type of worker you need. Go one or two levels deep than just ‘writer’ or ‘web person.’ Narrow it down so that the one you hire has experience in that specific area.
Looking at portfolios is a good way to see if this person has experience. I want to emphasize, though that sometimes you hit the jackpot in hiring someone with ZERO experience someone who has NOTHING in his or her portfolio. You get a good deal when you find someone like that and everyone has to get their start somewhere. The portfolio will enable you to see quality and sometimes connections.
Maybe it’s important to you that the person you hire is the same one hired by the pros. If so, then it’ll show in their portfolio. Keep in mind that many clients won’t allow a freelancer to show their work in their portfolios. They don’t want anyone knowing they outsourced especially with writers. They like to stake claim to it themselves (after all, they are considered the experts, right?).
Seeing if there’s feedback is extremely important. Don’t just glance at the overall star rating, either. Read through all of the feedback. I’ve mentioned to my readers before that one freelance writer I hired revealed in a two-year timespan that she attended her mothers’ funeral TWICE!
That was her excuse for messing up her projects. I guess she’d forgotten that she already played that card. You want to read to see how the freelancer handles adversity. Are they childish or vengeful or graceful and confident in how they handled the situation?
Initiating dialogue will be your next step before you award any type of project to a freelance worker. You want to see how the two of you communicate with one another. People have different styles. Some are blunt. Some are short. Some are butt-kissers. What will turn you off or make you feel confident that you’re choosing the right person?
Find out what’s included when you’re talking to the person before you hire them. For example, some people hire a writer without even thinking to ask if revisions are included. They come back wanting corrections and the door is slammed shut on them!
Confidence in Asking for What You Want
There are two things you need to remember when it comes to asking for what you want schedule and specs. Keep in mind that freelancers are not mind readers. They don’t know you, your expectations, or your project expectations.
You might think all projects are basically the same. Trust me they’re not. And when you’re a freelancer, it’s not like you have one boss you have dozens, or hundreds of clients and they all want something different from one another.
Schedule is the first thing you need to think about. You need to ask if the person can fit you into their schedule. Please don’t even think about being pushy here. I know someone who recently sent a veiled threat to a freelancer I know.
The client always contacted this freelancer and said they needed a project done IMMEDIATELY and if the freelancer could not get it done, they would just have to find someone else to work with from now on.
I think that’s terribly arrogant. Every client guru or not needs to understand that a freelancer has to fit multiple clients onto a schedule. So you don’t step up and cut in line. It’s your responsibility to schedule work ahead of time so that the freelancer can meet your needs.
Now every once in awhile, something may come up where you need something fast. If that happens, you should feel confident asking politely if they have time, thanking them either way, and trying to always have your business organized so that you CAN utilize freelance workers in the best way.
Scheduling works both ways. You need to ask what kind of timeline you can expect to have the work back to you from the freelancer. Look at the freelancer’s feedback. Do they have a nice star rating, but comments about the timeline?
You might tack on a couple of weeks to what they tell you it will be if you notice this pattern, but like their work enough to hire them anyway. I know I’m bad about timelines. It’s my Achilles heel.
Specs are the second area where you can have confidence knowing you’ll get what you asked for. There are too many clients out there generalizing their needs. Again, you can’t assume your project is pretty much like everyone else’s because it won’t be!
Specs are specifications about your project. You need to be as detailed as you possibly can. That means telling the graphic designer which colors you like not just TELLING, but linking to or uploading exact colors.
It means describing the length, style, and voice of any writing you need done. Do you want double spacing, single spacing, 12 or 14 point font? You have to detail all of this out for the freelancer. If you know of examples of what you like in terms of style, be sure to share that with the freelance worker.
It’s Okay to Complain When It’s Warranted
There’s a right and a wrong way to tell a freelance worker that they haven’t lived up to your expectations. Aside from that fact, you also have to make sure you’re not expecting more than what you paid for.
That’s why it’s important to discuss what’s included up front. There are going to be extremes on both sides of the equation. Some clients are too nitpicky and demanding. Some freelancers are too unconcerned with their how their work is received.
The initial talks you have with a freelancer will give you a sense of what kind of pride they place in their work in how willing they are to work with clients to ensure satisfaction.
The right way to complain to a freelance worker is to first contact them, compliment whatever you DO appreciate in what they did (if anything), and then let them know that you feel it needs more work and ask them how that works with them (if you hadn’t previously).
Hopefully, they will come back and offer to do alterations to what you dislike. Always be amicable. Even if you think the entire thing is horrifying, be nice. You will probably get a refund if you are a fight if you’re not.
If you don’t feel like the freelancer is capable of fixing the work that it’s too wretched to even be remedied then let them know (nicely) that you won’t be able to use the work, so that they know you’re not trying to rip THEM off by taking the work and not paying for it.
The wrong way to complain to a freelancer is to lash out at them, insult their work, and then demand a refund. At least approach the initial conversion nicely so that you don’t get met with resistance.
Most freelancers want to please their clients. They might feel hurt that you don’t like their work, so being mean will add insult to injury. Don’t threaten to leave bad feedback before even giving them a chance to make things right.
This might be a knee jerk reaction by you because you’ve been burned before. While I understand that, it’s not an excuse for you to go off on a freelancer before you know their intentions. Once it’s verified that they have no plans to make it right, then I’m an advocate of getting even.
Getting Ripped Off? Get Mad and Get Even!
Yes I know, some people think it’s not politically correct to talk about getting even with someone. But when a freelancer does take your money and not deliver on their promise, you have every right to fight back against the situation.
Protecting yourself from getting ripped off is heavily weighted on the fact that you do your due diligence ahead of time before you even hire anyone in the first place. Assuming you did that, the burden is on the freelancer to perform.
If it happens anyway, and you get ripped off then it’s okay to get revenge of the person who did it to an acceptable level.
When I talk about revenge, I’m not talking about creepy stalker methods that harm someone physically or mentally. I’m talking about going through the correct chain of command to try to recover your money.
Depending on where you hired the person, try going to the representatives of the site they work for like Elance, for example. If there’s an obvious discrepancy, the site can sometimes mediate the complaint and help you come to an agreement.
If that fails, you can always blog about the incident to express displeasure about it and make sure the freelance worker knows that you plan to be vocal. Watch yourself for adherence to defamation laws and all of the legal mumbo jumbo.
Word of mouth is a powerful factor in getting your complaint heard. You can make sure the freelancer understands that you’ll be telling others to avoid them because of their behavior.
There are two last resorts you might want to know about. If the freelancer is based in the US, you might be able to file a small claims suit against them. Or at the very least, email them a link to official forms and let them know you plan to file it if a refund isn’t made in a short period of time. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center is a good place to go when all else fails. They handle rip offs and again, a simple threat may be all it takes to get the right results.
Nine times out of ten, you’re never going to have this problem. You’ll either have a great experience, or a smooth one in terms of refunds. But this section is just to empower you IF and when you DO run into that unethical thief who poses as a freelance worker that you trusted. It’s rare, but it happens and you need to have a strategy in place.