Freelancers – User’s Beware
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Craig here, from Real Business Consulting.com. I hope you’re doing well and keeping out of trouble.
Today I wanted to touch base on a topic I have been meaning to get around to for a while, and it relates to using freelancers within your business. Freelancers are a popular resource for many people these days with individuals and business owners, websites like peopleperhour.com and freelancer.com receive thousands of visitors each month with buyers and sellers looking to trade skills for dollars.
Popular services on these sites include: Content writing, web design, app design, social media marketing, accounting and almost any other time of work that can be done remotely. I’ve used many freelancer sites throughout the years, and I want to give you some advice if you’re planning on using them yourself.
Here’s a phrase which comes to mind ‘If somethings to cheap, there’s a reason’. It’s easy to lie online, and lying is unfortunately a negative part of using freelance websites. Freelance websites have no face to face accountability, and they often don’t have telephone numbers (because they don’t want to talk to their customers). You are left to trust in there website processes, and personally I don’t like clinical, faceless website companies who are taking a nice piece of the pie off the buyer, and the seller for little to no work.
When you post a ‘job’ or ‘project’ on these sites, you have no idea who you’re dealing with, 70% of the people chasing your work will be based in India, 15% in Africa, 10% throughout Asia, and 5% from Europe the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Now, just because a profile picture and location may say USA, it doesn’t mean you will be dealing with someone in the USA. People in many countries such as India will often register an account in the USA with fake pictures and feedback to trick people into using them, because even these Indian freelancers know, many people outside India don’t want to do business with them because they will saying anything in the pursuit of money.
These freelancers from India, will promise you the world, and deliver a poor quality piece of work which you won’t want to pay for. There’s a few ways to check and try and make sure who you’re dealing with is genuine. 1.) Ask for a skype call, People from India with fake accounts won’t talk to you over the phone. 2.) Check there written English and look for key indicators on who you’re dealing with, common spelling errors, none native English writing style and the pricing they are offering to complete your job for (To cheap = someone from India).
Now this is article is not a one off attack against using freelancers from India, and not all Indian freelancers will fit the generic mould I described above, but it’s a common occurrence and its more of a cultural difference between how business is done in India or any other over populated country and how it’s done in the rest of the world.
Buying something in India is like a war of wills and a never ending haggling session, and while we might expect to see this if we are travelling to India, we don’t expect to see this in other countries, but given the power of the internet, the Bangladeshi market has been allowed to invade your home turf, and it often ends up with a negative situation which can damage your business, and what’s even worse, when problems arise, these freelance middle man websites will not help correct these problems in any shape or form.
Now, at the other end of the scale we get some dreamers from the UK,USA, Europe, New Zealand and Australia who try and charge top business rates for freelance work. They will charge $150-$200 an hour because that’s what the companies they work for charge. In the past I have educated a few of these freelancers who send me these crazy quotes, and told them why they cannot charge standard business rates and the reason why they can’t include:
- They have no office you can visit.
- They don’t pay tax.
- They don’t have insurance.
- They have no come back from damages they can cause.
- They don’t have a team of people with a variety of skills to deliver on a project.
Another worrying aspect to using western freelancers is, there are many characters out there who are freelancers for a reason, read some of the stories on these freelance websites and you will see some worrying observations. As an example, there was a young woman who posted her story on one of these websites, and to cut a long version short. She couldn’t get a regular job because of some anxiety issues around people, and using these freelance websites allowed her to earn income without going into an office environment.
Now, everyone has issues, and I totally sympathise with this woman’s problems, but in business I don’t have the time, nor do I want to deal with peoples personal problems (outside of business is different, I’ll give my time freely to help almost anyone), but this woman’s feedback was terrible, she never delivered work on time, disappeared for days mid-project and responded to customers dis-satisfaction with a raft of abusive language. Now, the chance of getting this type of treatment with someone with a store or someone you can phone or visit, is far less likely then dealing with someone who has no come back on them sat behind a computer screen and freelancer website with no phone number.
Ultimately, some questions you need to ask yourself will be, am I trying to use freelancers to do work I could do myself? 90% of jobs you will use a freelancer for, you can most likely do it, but either your too lazy to do what you consider boring and menial jobs, or you under estimate your own ability. Now, if you invested the time and effort into upskilling yourself with the skills required to do a job you were about to pay a freelancer for, not only will you save money, but because it’s your business, your guaranteed you will give it your 500% best effort.
If you are truly in need of a freelancer with some specialised skills, which you feel would take too long to learn or would not be cost effective to learn, my advice is use a well-priced freelancers from an English speaking country.
Until next time.