Subcontracting for growth

There are numerous sites available now that allow you to subcontract all sorts of tiresome business tasks out – virtual assistants to organise your life, programmers, marketers, graphic designers, in fact pretty much every business task has a subcontractor waiting to do it for you. Having access to this expertise is fantastic news for anyone trying to run a business and we have made ample use of subcontractors for all sorts of things.

So for example, we used a Milan Rajic from Serbia to make an automated excel order form for cycling and triathlon kit (contracted via Odesk) who not only did a great job to give us a clever order form that allows customers to instantly calculate discounts and consolidate individual orders from a club into a single order and automatically produces the production run information needed in the factory to actually make the kit, but he also gives first rate technical support for when a slight modification is needed or whatever. Whenever we need something done, it is just a Skype message and normally the same day, we have the new version of the program ready to upload.

We also use Abbey Santos, who is based in the Philippines and does a lot of our data work, researching contacts on the internet to build up databases for us and then sending out customised emails to all our clients and prospective clients. The cost to us works out at 5 US dollars an hour, and we get perfectly executed work every time, available whenever we need it.

We also have a wordpress developer from the Ukraine who will work for us by the half hour to make tweaks to any of our wordpress sites, an application developer in Pakistan who wrote our online club cycling and triathlon clothing design program and we have used freelancers from People Per Hour and translators from Translators Cafe. The truth is that sometimes it really doesn’t work out and we have had some pretty awful people do some work for us. We always try and give a small task to a new freelancer to test them out, before risking a bigger project with them, but there is always a risk. It is just that the benefits of having very reasonably priced labour on tap when we need it is of inestimable benefit. And because you get to deal with the individual directly, rather than dealing with a company structure, you always get to speak directly to the person doing the work, which allows you to incorporate them into your team.