The internet and other technologies have greatly expanded the opportunities for those who want to outsource jobs and for people interested in doing such work. For the first time in human history, not only a business, but an individual can easily hire an elancer on the other side of the world. This not only gives people more work opportunities, but it also makes it possible for people to accomplish things they might not otherwise be able to do.
Defining the process and its advantages
Elancing and elancers came about with the birth of the internet. Virtually any task that can be done on a computer can be outsourced online. Physical location does not have to count. For better and for worse, this turns much of the world into one big labor market. On the plus side, it gives skilled workers the opportunity use their talents, and it gives both small and large enterprises the chance to do things in more cost effective ways.
By eliminating overhead and bringing employers and employees directly together in the most efficient manner possible, hiring an elancer if often far cheaper than any other method. It also gives the small business and entrepreneur a more level playing field. For example, someone with a good idea for a website that does not have the coding skills to put it into practice now can easily hire great talent from around the world. Since payment is based directly on performance, there is far less wasted time and resources.
How it works
Elancer websites bring outsourcers and those who are looking for work together. While each site works differently, they all follow the same basic principles. Outsourcers will post a job on the marketplace for its members to bid on. After a period of time, one or more bidders will be selected to perform the job.
Some common types of commonly outsourced work include graphic designing, programming, writing, video, finance and just about anything else that can be done on a computer.
The advantages of elance sites
Forums, classified ads and other types of websites also offer ways to find elancers. However, the elance sites offer some advantages. With their large, worldwide membership bases, they offer the best selection of jobs and bidders. In addition, employers can easily look over the profiles, work records and feedback of those bidding. For payment, a good elance site will offer escrow and other payment methods that can protect both the buyer and bidder. Finally, various other services such as work rooms make it easier to monitor projects and workers. For example, they offer ways to communicate and organize messages and even remotely see what is on the worker’s computer screen.
Elancer websites charge for their services in various ways. Generally, the smaller the job the lower the fees will be. Some sites have membership fees or charge to post jobs. They may take a percentage of the payment from the employer or the employee. While the fees are not usually high, outsourcers and elancers will often work out a system of direct payment if they are working on a continuous basis.
Depending on the nature of the job, compensation may be by the hour or by the project.
For those not accustomed to elance sites, it is a good idea to start out slowly with smaller jobs. Examine the major sites and find the one that best needs the needs of the project. Be very careful to list all the requirements of the job. Most jobs will have a good number of bids so it is often possible to be choosy with the bidders. Some bidders will come in high because they are inexperienced and do not know the market rates. However, more experienced bidders frequently charge premiums for their work that may be worth the price. In other words, do not always go with the lowest bidder.
Read over the proposals carefully and make a customized bid. Keeping a good profile and portfolio will make a huge difference. Take any tests that the site might offer and thus show off all qualifications. Freelance work takes good self discipline, time management and a desire to continuously upgrade skills. Be prepared to start out very slowly and handle rejection. Join forums, social networking sites and any relevant groups in the elancer site.
While Freelancer is the most popular, every service has its own way of doing things that will be more or less attractive to different people depending on their needs. Look at fees, popularity and the types of work the site specializes in when making a decision on which site to use.