Outsourcing, Internet Style

Want it better, faster, cheaper? Get someone online to do it.

June 1, 2001

Dear Mr. Internet,
I have all kinds of new marketing ideas, but I never seem to have the time (or skills) to implement them. Help!—Louise Drier, ABR®, CRS®, CB The Real Estate Group Inc., Fox Cities, Wis.

Dear Louise,
Your question hits on one of the biggest conundrums in our industry: It’s not that we lack for ideas but rather that we frequently don’t have an effective way to convert those ideas into practical business-generating solutions.

Let me share a secret that allows you to work less and achieve better results.

The key is outsourcing every aspect of your business that doesn’t require your direct involvement.

Of course, there are a few minor details: How do you find those skilled people? How do you afford their salaries? In a traditional business setting, those issues could derail a project.

Online, however, such roadblocks simply go away when you learn how to tap the appropriate “virtual consultant” for your job. A virtual consultant is a professional who can complete specialized, project-based tasks for you via the Internet. You eliminate the need for your contractors to be in geographical proximity to you. And using the Internet to locate one or more virtual consultants broadens the scope of your available resources.

Using elance.com, you can easily find virtual consultants for just about any kind of project you can dream up. And because workers bid against one another for your job, prices are very competitive.

Here’s how to use elance:

  1. Register as a “buyer” on the elancesite. There’s no cost for you to use the bidding service. The consultants pay a part of their fees to support the site.
  2. Post your project as a “request for proposal” (RFP). elance provides well-designed, context-related forms that make it easy to be specific about what you need.
  3. Choose your expert from the bids you receive. elance makes it easy for you to pick the right person for your job by providing you with a five-star rating system (based on client feedback) and the ability to view a bidder’s “portfolio” online. It’s as simple as that. When the work is done, you pay elance, which then pays the provider.

Here are just a few examples of how practitioners have used this incredible resource.

  • Within 24 hours of posting an RFP for an editor to work on my new, 256-page book, I had 22 bids. I finally picked a five-star editor for $250.
  • Crystal Pittet, a salesperson with RE/MAX Partners in Calgary, Alberta, found a Web designer to redesign her site, www.calgarylistings.com, for just $100 Canadian.
  • Iggy Dybal of Iggy Realty, Lenexa, Kan. (http://www.iggy.net), found a programmer in the Philippines to write special spreadsheet macros to help him manipulate his direct mail database. Dybal paid just $100.

Thanks to elance, you’re now in the position to outsource just about any kind of business-building project you can dream up, from direct mail campaigns to FSBO tracking systems. Through the power of delegation, you can reach a place where business is less exhausting, just as profitable, and infinitely more rewarding.

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.

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