How & Where To Find The Right Support

When you’ve prepped your business for outsourcing with ease, how do you expand your team when the time with the right support?

When you’ve got clarity on the kind of support you need, you are in a good position to determine where to look to grow your team. There are a few options available, including:

  • Hiring a full- or part-time employee
  • Engaging a freelancer/contractor
  • Recruiting an intern/student

They obviously differ in cost and complexity, which is why most people start by engaging a contractor/freelancer, on a one-off basis, ad hoc ongoing basis or on retainer. Your available funds will likely be the biggest factor in determining the right kind of support for you at this stage.

Where To Find Help

There are numerous places to find the support you need. Below I’ve listed a few and added my personal experience, where relevant.

Ad Hoc Service Providers

Fiverr – the beauty of fiverr is naturally the low cost so even if you don’t have the best experience, it’s only cost you $5 which is great for the risk averse.

Much like any freelancer, the key to success on Fiverr is finding a provider you are happy to use again and again. I’ve had limited success here – I’ve hired someone to create social media graphics which were fine but not spectacular and I’ve had clients who had intros and outros for videos created which were solid and professional.

Top tips for a positive experience:

  • Do a thorough review of their portfolio/work; if you see something similar to what you want, then the chances are higher that you’ll be satisfied. If you don’t, then keep looking, even if the rest of their work looks good.
  • Read through the testimonials and look for more than just “Good work” comments; look at the Negative Reviews comments (use the filter), and be sure to randomly scroll back through older comments too, not just the latest. Don’t always be put off if a seller has just a handful of negative comments, and do bear in mind the ratio of good to bad comments.

Gramlee – a fast, professional and easy-to-engage service for proofreading and copywriting; I used this a few years ago and was happy with the results (though I had to specify UK English and not US English).

Top tips for a positive experience:

  • Be selective about how you use these kinds of services; while I wouldn’t use them for a book I’d written (their ‘off the shelf’ service is up to 3k words only), I’m more than happy to use them for blog posts, longer essays and short ebooklets.
  • If you have specific stylistic requirements, let them know at the top of your document.

99Design Tasks – if you need quick design fixes but not a full-on design service, this is an affordable (from $19) and very speedy (under an hour) option.

Top tips for a positive experience:

  • Have the right expectations; this service is not about having designs created but tweaks to existing designs. Having said that, if you check out some of their logo tweaks, you might be pleasantly surprised by what can be achieved.
  • As with any visual task, the more specific you can be in your brief the better; comments like “I know it when I see it” are unhelpful and less likely to get you the results you want. The more information you can provide about your brand guidelines and the look/feel/vibe you want to achieve, the better.

Retainer Service Providers

Fancy Hands – I used Fancy Hands for over a year in 2012/2013. It is a highly affordable service and great for simple tasks, though I found them more effective for life- and admin-oriented versus business-oriented tasks.

Top tips for a positive experience:

  • One of the best tasks I used them for was to make phone calls; instead of sitting on the phone waiting for someone to pick up or repeatedly trying to get hold of someone, I had them do this for me instead.
  • You don’t always work with the same assistant so the consistency isn’t always there for certain tasks.
  • They are very strict about NOT performing lead generation tasks – such as cold calling, researching lists of contacts etc.
  • Avoid submitting tasks that are too complex e.g. while they can do basic travel research, they’re not great for more complex trips/flight configurations (try Flightfox for that instead).

WP Curve – I have not used these guys since I obviously have the Rescue Desk (!), but they come highly recommended by people who do use them and are great if you struggle to keep up with the tasks needed to keep your WordPress website running smoothly.

Top tips for a positive experience:

  • To minimise back and forth and ensure they’ll have everything they need to do their job, always have your login details for key services easily to hand; this includes your login details for:
    • Your WP website
    • Your web hosting company
    • Your domain registration company
  • If you go for the lowest plan, make sure one of your first tasks is to ask them to install a backup/archive plugin or solution on your site since this isn’t included in their plan 😉

Recruitment Platforms

You have probably heard of, if not already explored, recruitment platforms such as Guru, Upwork (formerly eLance-oDesk) and PeoplePerHour.

Top tips for a positive experience:

  • Have a clear and concise Role/Task Requirements document, that describes the job/task you want someone to perform.
  • If you’re looking for someone to support you on an ongoing basis vs. a one-off job, set up a couple of trial tasks as part of your hiring process.
  • Remember the advice: Be slow to hire and quick to fire; if someone isn’t working out well for you, use the platform’s arbitration process to help, and then move on quickly.

BONUS: If you’d like to practice and send us a trial task (at no cost to you!), use the tips above and email us your task here. We’ll get on it and liaise with you to get it done!

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