With the entrance of a new, young, workforce that grew up on the Internet, a growing number of “accidental” freelancers launching their own businesses, and the increased accessibility of a global 24/7/365 connected world, the remote freelance market is booming.
Although the majority of freelancers are located in North America, there is a huge market for those working in other areas. Most of the growth is currently observed internationally in Europe, Central and East Asia, Latin and South America, and the Middle East. In most cases, these freelancers contract with the customer via a trusted exchange, or crowdsourcing network, such as Odesk, or Elance.
Given the numbers and the promise for growth, remote freelancers are well served by payout companies that can provide services to the large and expanding crowdsourcing networks that employ them.
For example, Odesk, one of the largest crowdsourcing networks today, has more than 500,000 Filipino freelancers in their network. Another network leader, Elance, has 266,000 freelancers located in India who have earned close to $150 million.
So for those thinking about hiring, or have already hired, freelancers within the U.S. and throughout the world, the challenge has become figuring out how to best manage such a diverse group and ensure their satisfaction, thus translating to great work for your customers.
The answer ultimately boils down to two important factors when working with remote freelancers: providing them the ability to complete the work they are assigned to do and paying them on time.
To begin with, remote freelancers need to be able to complete their work without having to leave their place of work or residence. They must be able to do the work by using the resources available to them locally. This typically translates to being able to work using only a computer and Internet connection.
Remote freelancers also care about getting a job that has clear boundaries and expectations on what they need to deliver. The job needs to be well-defined and the customer expectations need to be well formulated so little to no direct interaction with the customer is required. An easy way to submit completed work for review and approval is also important.
The most important factor when working with freelancers is the ability to pay them in a fast and efficient manner, preferably in the local currency of the country in which the freelancer resides. Paying your freelancers well and on time will ensure the success of your crowdsourced network and that quality work is delivered with each project.
There are a number of best practices to keep in mind when developing a payment system that ensures your freelancers are not only getting paid the correct amount, but also the correct way:
To be successful in the future, it will be important for all businesses to understand how to work with, and take advantage of, this growing remote freelance workforce.By following the guidelines outlined in this article and efficiently using the networks and tools that are available today, successful business owners will be able to maintain an efficient and productive relationship with remote freelancers — whether they are a just few miles away or several thousand miles away.
Eran Karoly is COO of Tipalti, a leading automated payment platform.
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