This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for some time now. If you haven’t read the 4 Hour Work Week yet, I highly recommend it. The basic idea behind the book is to turn you into the head of the octopus. You make the decisions on the highest level, everything else you outsource. I outsource daily, usually multiple times a day. I always use oDesk. I almost always hire people at fixed price. That means that the freelancer can work all s/he wants, but they get paid a fixed price for the project. The lowest you can ask for on oDesk is $5, but people can bid lower. I’ve hired people for $1, sometimes even less! That’s because the job is super easy for the freelancer and s/he wants the feedback.
Sometimes the projects are large and complicated, but most times they’re very short, quick and easy, I just don’t want to do them. One example is something I just posted now. I’m experimenting with selling t-shirts on Facebook (will be a future post). I’m making the t-shirt designs myself. I have some basic photoshop skills and it’s easier for me to make them myself, but I don’t want to do anything I don’t have to. I’m making the t-shirts with a silhouette of a character or object and some text under it. So, I posted a project for someone to make the silhouette from a photo I found on Google Images.
Now, here’s the good part. I do this all the time. I want the job done fast and cheap. I tell people exactly what I want and then I say to attach the results to the job application. Then you get the results immediately and only hire after you have exactly what you wanted. Here’s my job posting:
It takes around 20 minutes until freelancers see your post. I expect to get hundreds of bids on this project, but I won’t let it run that long. As soon as someone gives me what I want, I’ll hire them and pay them the full amount of their bid.
Now, at this point I have the work I needed and I didn’t pay anything for it. That’s not honest, so I always pay for it, but in theory you could just close the project and never have to pay.
If there are more than one person who placed a bid and one is cheaper than the other, I’ll take the cheaper one.
You can use this to outsource anything that’s fast and cheap. Be nice to your freelancers and don’t ask them to do any large projects like this, but for data entry, cleaning up files (like Facebook IDs for custom audiences) or graphic design, this works like a charm.