Outsourcing certain tasks using services like oDesk, Elance and such like is a great way to get extra resource quickly. It is, however, fraught with peril so here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Outsourcing isn’t a miracle fix – it still requires time and effort to manage your employees;
- The interview process is the most important part of outsourcing. Take the time to ask awkward questions and make sure that the person you’re hiring is right for the job;
- If they sound too cheap, they probably are. There are exceptions to this (I currently work with someone who’s immensely cheap and very, very good at what she does);
- Following on from the above, don’t expect to get someone massively creative for next to no outlay. I’ve always found that design resource is the area that you’re most likely to need to spend extra money on;
- Technical resources are easy to come by but it’s tricky to find someone reliable with attention to detail. Start with a smaller project and work your way up (our long-term developers took on a $500 project to start with and since then we’ve worked on projects up to $100k in size);
- Finally, be patient (both with yourself and your new employee). It takes time to find the best way of working when you’ve outsourced tasks but once you have a process things are very straightforward.