Offshore freelancing often fails because conditions are not conducive for harmonious working
The sheer size of the offshore freelancing industry bears testimony to the fact that it is a very productive and cost-effective business proposition. However, the irony is that offshore freelancing is often unsuccessful. A frequent but often overlooked cause behind the failure of offshore freelancing is that the working business model encourages an inharmonious working relationship.
When offshore freelancing, a client can be working with a freelancer who is based halfway around the globe. Unfortunately, the working relationship between the two often breaks down because there is no overseeing third party that is monitoring the entire process. If either of them becomes disgruntled with the other, there is no third party to intervene and do any damage control. Once either the client or the freelancer becomes unhappy, it is inevitable that their discontent in one form or another will become apparent to the other. The cumulative effect of this is likely to result in both parties becoming dissatisfied. And in the absence of a third neutral party to intervene and mediate between the two, the quality of work and levels of productivity are likely to suffer. Even worse, there can be a complete breakdown in communication; the client left with a project abandoned halfway through and the freelancer left with a poor rating and unpaid for their time and services. The only resource for remedy is a tedious and highly ineffective dispute resolution via the concerned freelancing site. This very rarely provides the solution either party wants and merely serves to further waste time for both the parties concerned.
Offshore freelancing is a very unprofessional and an unstructured method of working. This is why it is not uncommon for one or both parties to become irritated. Clients often become frustrated because a freelancer may not deliver the requirements outlined or meet the deadlines that were specified when awarding the project. In addition to this, freelancers often have sporadic working hours and their availability can be very inconsistent due to time zone differences or because the freelancer may be busy working with a different client. When hiring a freelancer from a foreign country, poor infrastructure, outdated hardware, and cultural clashes can also pose a problem and further negatively impact productivity levels. Freelancers from India, China, or the Philippines often experience power outages and slow and unstable internet connections. This can make working remotely very difficult, particularly for Western clients who are not accustomed to working with such resource limitations. To add to all this, if the quality of work produced by the freelancer does not meet the standards the client expects, then the latter can justifiably be left feeling as though the entire process was not only ineffective and time-consuming but also a waste of money.
Equally, freelancers often feel as though it is they who are getting a raw deal.
Freelancers often complain about clients who demand work to be completed even if it extends beyond what was initially outlined. Clients are often notorious for transforming a 3- line project specification into 3-pages once the freelancer actual starts working on the project. Furthermore, clients usually do not have technical expertise or knowledge and so fail to appreciate the efforts, quality, or sheer scale of work produced by the freelancer. Clients are also known for arrogantly determining what remuneration a freelancer deserves despite having little or no knowledge of local market rates. Clients frequently have unrealistic expectations built on the assumption that India and China are poor countries and so for $300 a freelancer should do all and anything the client demands. It is also not uncommon for clients to fail to understand the freelancer’s perspective or appreciate how hard a freelancer may actually be working for them because they cannot witness the hours the freelancer is actually putting in. And despite all this, it is the freelancer who is at the mercy of the client. A client can behave completely irrationally and unreasonably but still blemish a freelancer with a poor rating and a bad review.
The bottom line is that when working remotely, often from home, with an individual from a foreign country and with no overseeing third party to assist, it is very easy for either or both the parties to feel as though it is they who are getting an unfair or raw deal. Each individual’s perception may be true, false or partially accurate but it is often lack of effective communication and inability of one party to understand the other’s perspective that often leads to an ineffective working relationship, if not a complete breakdown of it. More often than not, the disgruntled parties push through and bide their time in an effort to see the project through. But all this negativity flying around ultimately has a negative impact on the quality of work produced. The inharmonious working relationship is the underlying reason why freelancing is often an unproductive process or why it fails altogether. Surprisingly, this root cause is often overlooked.
When clients hire a Virtual Employee, such a meltdown in the professional working relationship does not occur. This is because many of the triggers which cause the freelancer and the client to become discontented with each other are not present.
- For instance, inefficiency is never an issue when working remotely because a remote employee does not work from home but from our office which is equipped with the latest hardware and infrastructure.
- Issues regarding compensation are never a problem because a dedicated employee works on a fixed monthly fee which is negotiated before they start working. A virtual employee therefore never feels as though they are being unfairly compensated but needs to push through for a “positive rating.”
- These dedicated, full-time employees exclusively work for one client and so there are never any disagreements regarding work.
- Even trivial problems such as cultural clashes are avoided because they are given an induction on how to work with Western clients and they are regularly provided with advices from our managers.
- Our business model is a lot more practical and realistic. The ratio is 1:1, which means one employee is working remotely from a supervised office for only one client.
- They work directly with the client, often even the exact same office hours; is always available to communicate with; and close interaction and collaboration are easy.
- They are well-compensated. With stable employment, they do not need to repeatedly search for new freelancing projects nor have to fear poor reviews and ratings, unlike a freelancer.
- If there are any problems between a client and his employees, managers are quick to offer effective mediation.
- We monitor the entire outsourcing process at all times and are quick to advise, assist, and initiate steps to prevent any problems down the line. This is one significant reason as to why clients attain much better results when hiring a Virtual Employee over a freelancer.
So, the practicality of the business model itself leads to higher levels of work efficiency. All these factors not only prevent a breakdown in a client-employee relationship but in fact often lead to a very harmonious association. The client gets quality, effective and cost-efficient outsourcing results, and employees who are happy and satisfied.