No one is debating the value of online online outsourcingoutsourcing.

However, one of the biggest challenges facing outsourcers is the ability to recruit and staff up quickly with quality workers. In this article we’ll take a look at a few options for reducing your risk and making an informed hiring decision.

In today’s marketplace there are essentially 4 options at your disposal.

  • The “Learn by Doing” Model
  • The “Bought Knowledge” Model
  • The “Let oDesk Do It For Me” Model
  • The “White Glove” Model

1. The “Learn by Doing” Model

There’s really nothing stopping you from Hire Freelance Writerscreating an oDesk or Elance profile, posting a job, and making your first hire.

Most small businesses (probably 90% or more) follow this model. The benefits of doing this are as follows:

  • Within minutes you can have job applicants
  • Zero upfront costs
  • You might get lucky and stumble across a good contractor

However, as with anything, there are problems to consider. Jumping in and doing it yourself with very little outsourcing experience also has these drawbacks.

  • Overwhelming Influx – You’ll find that you can easily get swarmed with under-qualified applicants if you don’t set up the posting correctly. This makes your job even harder, sorting through hundreds of freelancer profiles.
  • Risk of Making the Wrong Decision – There’s a good likelihood that you might make the wrong hiring decision. With little experience under your belt, you’re much more likely to make a mistake and hire the wrong person.

Most people who follow the DIY approach usually wait for applicants to find their job postings, which yields a much lower quality applicant pool (as compared to sending proactive invitations to interview to select candidates).

2. The “Bought Knowledge” Model

We’ve already established that doing it yourself, although quick and relatively cheap, may not be the best investment of your time or your money.

For people who do like to do things themselves (I’m one of them), it may be wise to consider purchasing some outsourcing training or reading helpful blog posts about how to outsource.

3. The “Let oDesk Do It For Me” Model

oDesk recently launched a beta service for enterprise clients, allowing you can engage with their recruiting staff at no extra cost to your business.

I have a few clients who have tried this service, and so far we’ve had moderate success. However, it still remains to be seen if they can keep up with the demand.

4. The “White Glove” Model

Recently, I’ve been approached by a number of companies that offer a unique outsourcing placement service. Each service seems to be slightly different from the next. The model works something like this.

  • Less Risk to You – The agency takes on the all the risk of recruiting, staffing, and hiring a team of freelance workers from around the world. They already have dozens of freelancers available as a resource to your organization.
  • Stable, Happy Contractors – The agency also pays their workers a salary with good benefits and health care. You get to access their employees under contract without having to worry about all the red tape.
  • They Ensure Success – If the freelancer doesn’t show up or fails to perform, the agency takes on all the risk and finds you someone else who meets your needs.

The benefits are certainly tangible.

  • You don’t have to do any recruiting – they do it for you.
  • They take on all the risk if the person doesn’t work out.
  • You’re not hiring an employee, you’re simply partnering with a team of freelancers – much like you would do on oDesk or Elance.

Things continue to evolve and change rapidly. I believe an increase in the number of “white glove” service providers will continue to expand and help bring order to the outsourcing world. It will be interesting to see how things will develop.

I encourage you to share your thoughts and best practice in the comments section below.

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Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and

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