On the Small Business Bonfire social network, members have been chatting about their experiences with crowdsourcing and outsourcing work. The general consensus is that handing over work to someone else will either be a really good or a really bad experience — but rarely do small business owners feel indifferent about their experiences.
So the goal for entrepreneurs is to figure out what shapes the collaborative experience and use that knowledge to increase the odds that the crowdsourcing experience will be overwhelmingly positive for both parties.
To help us figure it all out Matt Barrie, Chief Executive at Freelancer.com, has agreed to answer a few basic questions.
ES: Can you explain in simple terms what crowdsourcing is and how it benefits solopreneurs and small business owners?
MB: Crowdsourcing, simply put, is pitching your problem out there and having groups of people propose solutions. It creates a competitive social interaction between diverse sets of crowd who you would probably overlook, simply because they are not the usual people you run to.
This does not mean, however, that they do not possess the skills needed to resolve your problems — it’s just that the whole system reinforces the idea that expertise is limited to the “experts” is broken down. It encourages everyone who has a great idea to step up and eventually stand out.
ES: What advice do you have for the “control freak” solopreneur who needs to outsource to grow but has a hard time letting go of responsibilities?
MB: You have to trust the right people and communicate regularly with them to achieve the results you want. Freelancer.com gives small business owners peace of mind … Milestone payments ensure the entrepreneur never has to pay for work that doesn’t suit his requirements and that freelancers also get what is due them for the work they accomplish.
ES: On a site with so many potential hires, how can a small business owner pick the right person for the job?
MB: …The small business owner can always check the reputation of the freelancer he or she is planning to hire. Entrepreneurs should not always go for the people who bid the cheapest — instead, they should check the quality of the freelancers’ [past] work. Cheapest is not always best.
ES: Can you share a case study of how a small business owner was able to expand through outsourcing?
MB: Alexander Seinfeld, a writer and ordained rabbi who used Freelancer.com’s services, once shared this:
“I have a published Android app, and it would not have been possible within this budget or time frame without freelancer.com. I’m grateful for this amazing service, which has made this and other projects possible. I hope that my experience will help others be successful and avoid some of my stumbles. Freelancer.com helps you, but you still must do your due diligence.”
You can see the Android app he’s talking about here.
As a parting thought, Barrie reminds readers to remember that a good idea is a good idea, no matter where it comes from and that crowdsourcing through sites like freelancer.com encourages an exciting exchange of ideas between people around the world.