How Online Tools Can Help Your Business Succeed


If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you got your start in the business world because you realized you had something to offer — a unique product, a new service, a special idea — for which there was a potential market. Most enterprising business owners are used to juggling a number of different tasks and teaching themselves how to do things on the go, and the Internet has only made it easier for people to learn what they need to know on the job.
But eventually, every entrepreneur reaches the point where their own knowledge and skills are insufficient for the task. Hiring more staff is always an option, but it may not always be the best one: when looking at a short-term skills gap, or one that needs to be filled immediately, freelancers can often offer better value. The question is, how do you find good freelance workers, and what is the usual process for hiring them? Fortunately, there are now many online tools available that can help you find expert freelance labor and help your business succeed.

Because freelancers are as diverse as the industries that hire them, the first thing you should do when looking into hiring externally is evaluate which particular skills are needed and for how long. Once you have a sense for the extent of the work that will be needed, you can utilize online tools to succeed in finding the right person with the right skills.

For many small businesses, online marketplaces are the perfect place to look for potential freelancers, especially if the needs are geographically specific. Many contractors regularly post personal advertisements for their services online, which offer an excellent opportunity to get a sense for what the going rate for particular services in your industry is. Online marketplaces allow for quick an easy communication with potential freelancers, and may also offer forums, advice boards, or blogs providing users with the opportunity to learn more about particular freelancers, and best practices for hiring and working with freelancers.

Some contractors will offer a sliding scale of services and fees, while others work for a flat hourly rate, and the budget of your project will likely depend on the individual you hire. This is why it is a good idea to be as clear as possible about the size and scope of the project before you make any formal agreements with a freelancer. Ideally, the freelancer is coming in to offer a specific service, such as programming or website design, that is beyond your own skills or those of your team. If you aren’t clear about the task required or the outcome you are expecting, this will just mean more time the contractor needs to spend sorting it out — on your dime.

Any growing business will sometimes come up against problems it doesn’t necessarily have the in-house resources to solve. But with the wide array of online tools now available to find freelance help and hire contractors with the skills you need, these problems don’t need to stay problems for long.

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About the Author

Michael Sanduso

Michael Sanduso is a Tech columnist and a blogger who writes about the latest advancements in IT and SMB technologies.

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