When I first started outsourcing work activities offshore, it took me a while to work out how to find the right people. Every outsourcing website was slightly different in how it operated and I had to learn the best way to find great contractors within each site, how to post jobs and then how to recruit and pay them. All of this was time consuming and there was often times where I really questioned the amount of time I spent researching these sites, contractors and jobs that others were posting.

At the time I thought it would be great if I could just tap into someone else’s list of contacts that they had built, because I had the mindset that if a contractor created a great design for one of my colleagues then surely they could replicate this for me within our consulting business – right?

Well I can safely say that one of my greatest ‘ah-ha’ moments recently was around this very point. I joined a webinar to learn some tips for using one of these outsourcing websites and the speaker raised this question around not asking others for their lists of contractors, as they have taken years to build their list and thousands of dollars of investment in trialling different contractors and finding the right ones for their business. Initially I thought this was a little harsh as I am always referring contractors who I have had great experiences with, but I respected and understood his point – however it made me think about the contractors I have used and the ones I have shared with my colleagues.

I have found many great contractors who I continue to engage on projects. But I have come to realise that the reason I have such great success with these contractors and we achieve great outcomes together is that we have built a working relationship together that works for both parties. Right from the initial engagement where I post my briefs as to what project I want completed, we have been very clear on expectations. My worst experiences with outsourcing have been the result of me hiring specific contractors, recommended to me by colleagues whom I trust and know have achieved great outcomes on projects completed by the same contractors! Similarly, I have referred some of my contractors to my colleagues and they have also been disappointed with their results.

So although asking someone else who they use to complete a project or activity may save you time in finding a contractor to outsource to, in the long run you’re really not doing yourself any favours. Working with a contractor offshore is really no different to engaging someone locally. You need to find someone who understands you, and aligns with the way you work and your communication style. Start small, outsource low risk projects or tasks and take the time to find contractors who suit your business and your individual management style.

There are numerous websites that allow you to find contractors for almost any project or task; some just require a lot more effort than others. It all comes back to how much time you want to invest in finding them, aligning with them and what value you place on your time.