How Hiring Workers from Around the World Can Improve Your Small Business

Small Biz Technology’s workers are spread across the globe. With a video editor in Bulgaria, one web developer in the Phillippines and another in Canada, and writers in Pakistan, China, France, India, Croatia, and more, Ramon Ray has found that talent knows no physical boundaries. By opening up his workforce to those outside the U.S., Ray has been able to gain a wide range of ideas and insights that he might not have otherwise gotten.

“Small businesses can do more by going beyond their local borders and using national and international talent,” Ray says. “Although Elance is a great platform for finding talent, it’s also a great platform, possibly more importantly, for managing a relationships amongst parties that do not know each other and alleviating you of the need to issue 1099’s to vendors, as required by the IRS.”

Elance is one of several popular sites that allow freelancers to bid on jobs as posted by small businesses. Need a business card designed? Simply post your specs and watch the bids come in. This type of hiring, called ‘online contingency work,’ has taken off in the past year, with Elance reporting more than two million users from more than 150 countries around the world.

This global conglomeration of talent is unprecedented in any other platform. American businesses are finding that overseas workers can be employed for such jobs as web design and app development for far less than American workers would charge. And overseas employers are finding valuable American talent for needs like writing and admin support. Need a translater? Those can be found online as well.

Elance predicts this type of hiring will grow in the coming years as workers look for ways to work independently while employers discover the many benefits of hiring a worker on a per-job basis. This is backed by the findings of it’s recently released Global Online Employment Report.  The top areas of demand on the site include business card design, marketing, branding, and lead generation. Technology drives many of the job postings on the site, mirroring the offline trend of employing automation to solve business issues. If a website can replace an employee, businesses are interested.

Traditionally, if a business wanted a website designed or a marketing campaign implemented, that business would have to pay a company an hourly fee to do the work. Online contingency work allows businesses to accept from a series of bids, viewing samples of work and choosing the worker they feel can do the job. But the best news is, online contingency work has opened business owners’ eyes to the wealth of talent available outside their own city limits.

Elance reports that Greece and Spain have benefited most from online work availability. Both countries have seen a more than 122 percent increase in earnings in the past year alone.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

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