One of the most common concerns that business owners have is efficiently growing their company with minimal-to-no risk. When it comes to these growth standards, you begin to understand you can get more work done by outsourcing development to professionals in their industry.
You may be wondering if it makes sense for your business to do this, especially with something as sensitive as development work. A business minded individual should always be thinking about ways to grow their company. Using only the best to get things done is essential.
When it comes to these ideals, there is one person who stands out – Nathan Hirsch. Nathan is the CEO and Co-Founder of FreeeUp, the marketplace that brings together niche professional workers and businesses who are serious about growing their businesses. Nathan understands the quandaries your business faces with outsourcing development.
From his vast hiring experience, I asked Nathan what he does to ensure that he has found the right freelancer when outsourcing development. Here are his seven questions that you need to ask yourself when you outsource development work to a freelancer.
#1 – What Do I Need Outsourced?
First and foremost, don’t put the horse before the cart. Before you jump in with both feet, you need to understand what your business needs.
Take notes about every detail of every feature that you want developed. Think about what your company needs. Where is it weak? Which areas could use a more professional touch? If you’re a business owner, you can probably already tell me right now where you could use a boost. It never hurts, though, to take another deep audit of your company to get to know the weak spots.
These areas should be where you put your focus. Communicating this foundation to the freelancer you are thinking of hiring will go a long way to ensuring a more effective and productive outcome. You need to know that the freelancer you work with understands the task. Only then can you effectively outsourcing development.
#2 – Is Your Project Core to Your Business Growth?
There is nothing more aggravating that learning you have just wasted both time and money on a project. Before you start looking to outsourcing development, ask yourself if the project makes sense for your business.
I guess this is the question inside the question. It’s an important one, too, because sometimes business owners don’t realize which areas need the most growth. In order to prevent you from spinning your wheels with outsourcing development, first decide if this project is a priority.
Nathan suggests that outsourcing development makes sense for any business owner who needs a specialist for a specific project and wants to save both time and money. This is what you wanted to do in the first place, right? As long as the project itself is worthwhile, then outsourcing development is, too.
Outsourcing development in itself makes for a stronger workforce. You have the freedom to choose niche-specific experts who are great at what they do. Outsourcing development through the right marketplace can bring your business huge success and profits in the long run. Having that resource helps you to find reliable freelancers in whom you can feel more confident.
#3 – Can the Marketplace Find Me an Efficient Match?
Already taken that audit? Great. Now take another step back and look at your choice of marketplace. Do they have what it takes? Can they connect you with candidates who can do this task well?
You may not be an expert in development, and therefore not know the nitty-gritty of what it takes to complete a project. But you can still make a great hire if the marketplace you hire through is good at determining if a freelancer has the right stuff.
First, look at what you need done overall. Communicate this through the marketplace so they can connect you with well-matched freelancers. The more you share through your marketplace worker request, the better they can help you efficiently outsourcing development to suitable freelancers with experience in the specific area you need. Want freelancers with a track record? Tell them. Share your expectations for the finished project and ask them as well how your project execution should look like. The level of confidence with which they respond will already tell you a lot about their ability to introduce you to quality professionals.
Second, it’s not all about skill. Take note of the marketplace’s attitude towards you, your company and your project. Even if the freelancers they introduce to you turn out to have great skill, they could be very difficult to work with if they don’t have a great attitude.
#4 – Can I get a Freelancer in a Timely Manner to Complete My Project?
Marketplaces will be handling several other clients at any given time. Similarly, freelancers will also often have several other clients that they are doing projects for. Make sure you clearly indicate to the marketplace how many hours of work you expect per week. Be sure to confirm with the freelancers you interview what kind of time and attention they can realistically give you.
Freelancers can be the best choice for outsourcing development on a one-off project basis, and a marketplace can really take a load off your plate by helping you hire that freelancer. But you need to know their availability is. Ask as well about what days and times you can reach out so you can get in touch with them when you need to. Finally, get a timeframe for the completion of your project. If the freelancer is truly experienced, they will be able to give you a good estimate of when it will be done.
The success of your project also depends heavily on how in-sync you and the freelancer are. How much time do you have for certain projects? Can the freelancer assure you of timely task completion? Are you efficiently running a tight ship and managing time well? Does the freelancer have and apply the same level of time management skills? If you get along in this area, your project should go smoothly.
#5 – Will The Task Cost Less To Outsource?
Most business owners who have tried it will agree that outsourcing development does cost less than hiring someone full time to do the work.
Nathan explains that while this will remain true, the one objective a business owner should focus on is where to get the freelancer from. There are many capable platforms which experts work off of. Anyone who wants to do their research and take the time to dig through hundreds, if not thousands, of freelancers can undoubtedly find a good candidate to do a specific project for a reasonable fee.
For the most part, outsourcing development will cost less. There are countless developers on these platforms who live overseas and charge reasonable hourly rates compared to what you would have to pay a local expert. However, the time that you have to spend looking for that specific expert can cost you a lot. This is where marketplaces like FreeeUp come in. The key here is having the burden of guesswork and time taken out of the equation so you can quickly and confidently get your project done and keep your focus on business operations.
#6 – Can I Learn From an Expert and Bring the Task In-House Later?
If the task is something you predict your company will continue to do over time, considering a freelance expert to teach individuals in your company is also an option. The ability to have someone like this depends on how specialized the task is, however.
If you’re getting a website built, for example, and just need someone to learn how to maintain it, then this will work. Work with a freelancer to do the site build, then have the freelancer teach someone to do simple image edits, content uploads, and the like. You can always go back to the marketplace at a later date if you need another big project done.
While this is the train of thought of most business owners, the reality of this equation is that it might not be logical. Since a freelancer will most likely come cheaper than a local hire, you can keep the relationship going, passing on tasks as needed. This also ensures that you can have the same developer working on your site rather than having someone new come in later because that first developer is on another project.
Whether to have a freelancer on call or have an in-house worker is something worth considering. In the end, however, cost and quality is king, and you need to decide which solution is most efficient for your business.
#7 – Can We Meet Regularly?
One very important factor that many business owners often overlook is meeting with freelancers. It’s very easy to hop over to someone’s desk if they work on the same floor as you do. When you are outsourcing development, you won’t be able to just have a quick chat whenever you feel like it.
Many freelancers work odd hours, not only because most of them live in other countries, but also because their working times are flexible. They don’t do the 9 to 5. You, as a business owner, probably don’t, either.
It can be challenging to meet, but it is essential to make sure that the project goes as planned. Playing phone or Skype tag is not fun, so you need to make sure that you can reach the freelancer when you need them. Set up regular meetings so that you can go over the milestones you have set up and talk about any challenges the developer is facing – remember, they can’t easily reach you, either, so they need this time to get your input as well.
These meetings are also a great way for a freelancer to follow up with you if they need more time to complete a certain part of the project. This way, you are always updated and can adjust your timeframes accordingly.
Finally, talk about what times and days they can be contacted in case you have urgent updates. There will always be that one thing that you need to communicate ASAP, and you need to know how to get the message to them – and vice versa.
Growing your business should always be the number one thing you’re thinking about. Creating these opportunities within your company for your strategies to advance to the next level may seem like an impossible task when you look at the numbers. However, when you rely on asking yourself these seven questions before outsourcing development, you should be aligning yourself with productivity and success.
Not sure it works? Try it right now. Think about a past development project that didn’t go as planned. What went wrong? Now think about the questions above. If you had focused on these items before you made a hire, what difference would it have made?
Still not sure what kind of experience to expect when outsourcing development? Set up a meeting with Nathan to talk about online hiring and your business.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper, the stage and the big screen. She spends most of her time doing freelance content and project management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.