Outsourcing - The Vacation Rental Owners Guide

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I’ve made a few changes on the blog – only minor tweaks but there were a few things that needed doing. I changed some photos; moved the categories over to the left, and adjusted the comments list on the right so it no longer shows twice. I added some plugins, a contact page, and set it up for SEO.

Well, actually I didn’t do anything since I throw up my hands and confess to technical inefficiency. Instead my virtual tech support, Raju, did it all in an hour or so. I’ve never met Raju but have had good conversations with him on Skype IM and am very impressed with his prompt response to the tasks I have asked him to do. He lives in India and is a student studying hard to achieve an MBA. He also does a wide range of computer work on outsourced projects just like mine.

Outsourcing is a wonderful way of getting things done on your site or blog if you are, like me, not technically inclined. The idea is that you post the work you need done –  ‘the project' – to an outsourcing hub such as Elance or Get A Freelancer, and then wait for the bids to roll in.  It seems easy, and when you see all the bids come in, it's quite exciting. But then, the hard work starts.

Finding just the right person for a job can be challenging.  It's tempting to go for the lowest bids, and some are very low indeed, but it's more important to spend the time – and perhaps a little extra money – to select the one that is going to work with you the best.  It took me a few small projects before I found Raju.  Here's a few tips:

  • Start off with a small project – something for under $50.
  • Write a short project outline and a more specific list of requirements to send to a selection of bidders.
  • Read the feedback the bidders have received from previous buyers, and ask for testimonials.
  • Write a list of questions to ask your shortlisted bidders. Make sure they will communicate in your preferred way. I like to use Skype and Skype IM so would only use a provider who did the same.  The answers to your questions should also determine whether there will be any language issues.
  • For a small project, don't expect to pay anything until it has been completed, but you'll be expected to place the agreed amount into an escrow account.  For a larger project you might agree a list of milestones with payments made incrementally.

If you want to set up a blog or small web site, or get someone to look at what you've already done and optimise it for the search engines, this could be the route for you. You could exchange the hours spent on tutorials, videos, books and Google searches for a completed project in just a few hours.

    Give it a try, and if you already have, let us know what the experience was like.