By Maverick Kuhn - Jesuit High School - NextGenVest Regional Director - Granite Bay, California
You have an idea. This idea keeps you up at night, distracts you from your studies, and is burning a hole in your brain. This idea is going to change the world, you just need to make it a reality. Depending on your idea, what options do you have? You could make it yourself, sit on the idea into your 40's and watch someone else make it, or... outsource it.Outsourcing is the practice of transferring portions of work to outside contractors rather than completing it yourself. The process of outsourcing can be useful to cut costs, have work completed by someone with a certain expertise, or to complete specialized projects.
1) Look for Freelancers.
The most common method of outsourcing today is through freelancers. A freelancer is an independent contractor who hires himself/herself out to work certain jobs such as app development, design, and marketing. Hiring a freelancer can be very simple but needs to be done with care.
2) Substitute For Skills or Time You Don't Have.
Outsourcing is a great option if you lack the knowledge to complete the task yourself, you are looking to reduce costs, have too large a workload and could use extra help, and if you have access to a trusted network of freelancers. You can find quality freelancers at odesk.com, elance.com, guru.com, and freelancer.com.
3) Get Results Faster.
As a student you already have a lot of homework. Outsourcing work for your idea such as web development or design can let you focus on getting user feedback as opposed to spending hours trying to learn how to code or design.
4) Know How to Manage Outsourced Work.
When you outsoruce work, you don't have 100% control over the project at all times. You and the freelancer can often have separate ideas or perceptions of the job which means it is VERY important to set out a clear plan and set of expectations in the beginning. You will also need to have some type of legal document - either company documents or a consulting agreement.
5) Learn From My Mistakes - Overcommunicate.
My first official outsourced job for a large project was put into motion around the middle of this past summer. The project is called Apollo+, a custom tutoring website for the ACT. I was beyond excited to make my idea a reality. However, I didn't have sufficient html skills to create the website I desired. I turned to freelancing through elance.com.I posted a job and found a very low price. She had the style I liked in her personal portfolio (good move), but didn't have any ratings so far (bad move). She also had a rate I could afford (good move). I contacted her securely and made her sign a NDA agreement before telling her my idea (good move). She wasn't great at English and some points were hard to get across (bad move). However, we got things clarified and she immediately started to work. She sent me screenshots and beta sites regularly (good move).Around 3 weeks later, she said she was done. It looked great; I was ecstatic. However, she soon told me that the only way for my website to run efficiently was if I hired her for more developing (adding meta tags, SEO, UI, etc).Apparently, she had only done the design of the website and no actual developing. "Had I just been baited and switched?" was the first thought that popped into my mind. However, when I talked to the freelancer about the issue, she said that I had specifically told her before that I only wanted design. I never did, but she took it that way. We had some extreme miscommunication and it was going to cost me.When I respectively filed for a refund, elance.com told me that they couldn't help since the money had already been released from escrow (bad move). In the end, I paid $XXX for nothing. I have since received the source code for the design, but it still reigns as useless. Learn from my mistake and overcommunicate! Interested in becoming a NextGenVest Global Business Leader? Apply Here!