Neil Lewis - Innovative Entrepreneur

Solving problems by growing profitable businesses @neil_lewis

Are freelance job databases bad for us?

I have a feeling that freelance job databases are bad for us.

Okay, I’ll admit, I have never sold services via one of these systems but I have attempted to buy, and I’m just not convinced it works for me – as an entrepreneur, that is.

And I’m wondering if it works for you, the freelancer?

You see, there are two issues I have.

Problem one

Firstly, whenever I have posted a job – so for instance, last year I posted an iPhone App job on elancer – I get enquiries from around the world and everyone charges US$15 per hour. From Serbia to India to Scotland and Cornwall, everyone charge 15 dollars per hour (okay, a few charge £15 per hour).

Hence, the price differential – offshore, nearshore, local – is completely masked.

On each occassion, I was simply invited to start a skype conversation to discuss the project.

And that is where my second problem began…

Problem two

It is hard to discuss your brief when you don’t have one. In fact, most of the time, most entrepreneurs – just like me – don’t actually know what we want!

What we want is not someone to fulfil a specific brief, but rather, we want someone who will help us understand what the options are and then guide us on how to go about selecting those options and making the best trade offs (yes, we are always trading off speed, money and time in any development or project) so that we sell our products and services.

The next discovery I made is that solving project questions  – such as how do I build this iPhone Ap or develop this website to generate leads or set up a successful sales team – are not issues that can be solved by one single person.

Not just ONE person?

Yes, the nature of a project in which the project owner doesn’t have all the answers (come on now, that’s 99% of projects isn’t it?) require the project to develop and be developed by the participants.

That is why great projects are delivered through team work. And that is why recruiting a single individual to solve a single business problem is never going to deliver break through work and help solve our need for more sales and faster product launches etc…

Instead, we work best in teams – where each person represents a point of view – so the creative / visual perspective, the copy/ written work perspective, the web developer view and the customer facing sales person’s view point and so on and so forth…

If you can bring these views together in an intelligent way, then your project is far more likely to succeed.

And, of course, this collaboration is best done face to face (at least some of the time), which means that trying to co-ordinate Indian developers with Romanian designers with Scottish telesales people is going to be very hard to do well.

And that is why I build freelance teams – based in a region – who can come together to solve and resolve business problems.

Of course, digital freelance work directories do have a place and value, it is just that they don’t help you when you don’t have a perfect knowledge of what your project is about.

When freelance job directories work

If you have a project that is up and running and someone drops out (or in full time employment, typically, someone gets pregnant and disappears for 9 months to a couple of years) then, yes, you need a specific person who can slot straight into the team.

I grant that the digital directories work well here – that is, when you know precisely what you are looking for, then they are great.

The challenge for both entrepreneurs and freelancers is that when we have projects in which we don’t know how to solve the challenge, then they do a  poor job.

So, if your project is something like; launch this new product and turn it into a profitable business; or, increase sales by 10% whilst spending 15% on your marketing and sales budget, then freelance teams can have a radical and rapid impact on creating the solution.

We can help you put together freelance teams – that can deliver radical and rapid results… click for more information…

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Written by Editor on May 31, 2011 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, Innovative Entrepreneur, News, Opinion , , ,

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