Long Term Projects and Freelancers

Why is hiring an offshore freelancer for long term projects inefficient?

Offshore freelancing is a process whereby a client hires a freelancer to work remotely from a different location than the client. More often than not, the freelancer works from home and is based in a foreign country.

Clients should hire freelancers for short-term projects. This is because, in most instances, a freelancer can work independently if a project is short term and does not require significant inputs from the client. It would, however, be unadvisable if a client hires a freelancer to work on a project (or projects) that is likely to span six months or a year. This is because an outsourced project(s) of such a long duration would require at least some regular interaction and collaboration between the freelancer and the client. By default, due to the very longevity of such a project, it is highly unlikely that the freelancer could work independently for a whole year. Such outsourcing would demand that the client and freelancer work directly together.

Freelancing is not ‘designed’ for the client and freelancer to work closely together. This is one major reason why freelancing is unsustainable for long-term projects. There are other reasons as well and let’s see what these are:

  1. he first and most obvious reason as to why offshore freelancing does not enable the client and freelancer to work closely together is because of resource limitations (in particular, with freelancers from the Third World countries). Even basic infrastructure in countries such as India and the Philippines is often lacking. Frequent electricity cuts and poor and unstable internet connectivity makes it difficult for a freelancer to work remotely for a client. If a client needs to train or work closely with the freelancer, the process is likely to be highly ineffective. This, coupled with the fact that freelancers work with multiple clients simultaneously and often work different hours for the client because of time-zone differences, makes working with a freelancer impractical.
  2. Lack of stability and unprofessionalism are barriers to making freelancing viable on a long-term basis. If a client wants to hire a freelancer for one year, there is no contract in place that assures that the freelancer will complete the entire project. If a freelancer receives a better opportunity, the client can easily be stranded with an incomplete project.
  3. Furthermore, because a freelancer works alone from home there is no way that a client can monitor their activity or regulate their behavior. This is why unprofessional conduct on the part of freelancers is fairly common. It adversely affects productivity and yields inefficient results.

At any time during their association, all these potential inefficiencies can cause a client to abruptly stop working with a freelancer or vice versa. A client then has to start from scratch – search for, screen, and hire another freelancer. In a project already riddled with delays, some more time will be gobbled up with the client having to build a rapport with the new freelancer, train the freelancer, and for the freelancer to catch up with the work at hand. A client, who has a consistent work flow, may find himself having to repeatedly contract with different freelancers, which is costly and time-consuming. A freelancer abandoning a project mid-way can have dire consequences for clients with pressing deadlines.

In summary, outsourcing with an offshore freelancer on a long-term basis can be highly inefficient for two reasons. Firstly, working with a freelancer is very impractical. Secondly, clients are likely to find themselves having to repeatedly source and hire new freelancers.

Is there an alternative? Yes, there is.

Hiring a Virtual Employee is by a far a better alternative for clients with long-term projects. Take a look at the advantages.

  1. A Virtual Employee works from VirtualEmployee.com’s office, which is equipped with the latest hardware and infrastructure to ensure a smooth and effective working relationship between the client and the employees. Hence, working remotely and closely with a virtual employee is stress-free and rewarding.
  2. As virtual employees work from a supervised office, work ethics, conduct, and accountability are not a problem. In order to make things even more convenient, virtual employees can be made to work the same office hours as their client.
  3. Being remote dedicated professionals, virtual employees do not work with multiple clients. They work for only one client and take the project to its logical conclusion. Subsequently, clients do not have to repeatedly hire different employees and this enables clients to focus on their work and build a rapport with their remote dedicated employees.

In conclusion, for clients with long-term requirements, hiring Virtual Employees is a lot more efficient than hiring freelancers. This is not only because working with virtual employees is easier but also because clients can work with the same individuals on a long-term basis and they won’t have to waste time on recruitment, learning how an individual works and in retraining.