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Three Reasons Why You Should Outsource Payroll Services

in Beginner / 1 Comment

outsourcing-payroll-servicesAs a business owner you will know that time is precious and the more you can free up the better.

Essential tasks can slow you down leaving you little time to focus on tasks that would benefit your business more but aren’t essential to the running of it.

This can be frustrating as you can envisage where your business could be if only you had the time to carry out the work you need to do to get it there.

Free up precious time by outsourcing monthly tasks that need to be done but are leaving you unable to focus on what you want. Here are five reasons why you should outsource your company payroll services-

Reliable And Professional Services

Payroll is essential in any business that employs any members of staff. It is extremely important that mistakes with pay aren’t made and kept to a minimum. Staff must always be paid on time and the right amount no matter the nature of your business. Just like everyone else staff have bills to pay and outgoings that are often set up around pay day. Using a professional payroll company means you can rest assure your staff will always be paid on time with no hiccups causing them problems or upset.

Save Money

If you decide to manage your own payroll you will need to spend money on software and training to manage it properly. Save money by choosing to outsource from day one and avoid wasting money on expensive software. If you own a big company you may need to employ someone to manage your payroll. Cut out this cost by outsourcing

Free Up Time

The most precious thing of all to any business owner is the time you have to spend on improving and growing your business. Often this can be limited as the tasks to maintain your business take over. Almost every business owner will have a dream and a vision of where they want their business to be, some may even have a plan of how to get there, but it’s finding the time to work on your business plan that can be a problem.

Outsource small jobs that are essential to the running of your business but would offer a lot of extra time if you didn’t have to manage them. Your company payroll services can be easily outsourced leaving you with one less job to manage. The more time you can free up from repetitive tasks that could be carried out by somebody else the more time you can spend being productive and proactive.

The benefits of outsourcing payroll are clear. Unfortunately it is one of those jobs every business owner has to manage one way or another whether they like it or not. Cut repetitive tasks out of your working week and make the most of the time you spend on your business. Productivity is essential to any business but it can be hard to be productive when small daily managerial tasks get in the way. Outsource these and spend your time on what really matters.

10 Tips For Freelancers To Organize Their Finances

in Advanced, Intermediate / No Comments

finance tips for freelancersOne of the great things about being a freelancer is the ability to manage your time the way that fits your lifestyle outside the daily 9-5 routine.

One of the not-so-great things is the lack of financial security — what happens when one project winds down and you haven’t booked your next project.

Here are some tips to organize your finances to help you weather periods of uncertainty.

1. Do Your Taxes

“If you’re earning more than $600 per year as a freelancer, you have to report all of your income to the IRS,” explains Sabah Karimi, author of Financial Fitness for Freelancers: How to Survive and Thrive on an Irregular Income. “Avoid paying an underpayment penalty by making quarterly tax payments on time.”

Most tax preparation software programs can estimate your quarterly payments based on previous yearly income. You can also download estimated tax paperwork directly from the IRS.

The reason why you want to do your taxes is twofold. First, it is the law. Going to jail has other costs than avoiding your share of taxes. Second, reporting your income will be applied to your social security benefits when you’re old.

2. Fund a “Rainy Day” Reserve

Things might be going great in getting work, but don’t assume the good times will always continue to roll. Like with any business, there are down cycles. To prepare for them, always invest a portion of your earnings to cover expenses when you’re between assignments. Remember the Aesop fable about the “Ant and the Grasshopper”: Save for the days of necessity.

3. Don’t Overload Your Credit Cards

It’s tempting to rely on your credit card for cash when you need it. We’ve all heard stories about entrepreneurs who’ve maxed out their credit cards right before they made it big. Problem is, there are plenty more stories of people who maxed out their credit cards, didn’t hit it big, and now don’t have any way to “unmax” those cards. General rule of thumb: If your checking accountcan’t cover the monthly expenses you’re charging to your credit card, you need to cut back on your expenses.

4. Keep Small, Regular Expenses in Check

Every coffee shop with free Wi-Fi is chock full of freelancers. Most feel a little guilty about freeloading — especially if it’s an independently owned shop! — and figure they should buy something. All that coffee and pastry sure is tempting, and adds up. As MoneyWatch writer Farnoosh Torabi points out, “I figure each visit to the ‘bux costs me north of $7 or $8… A couple days of this per week and the expense can certainly add up.”

Consider that you can get a reasonably fast DSL at home for about $50 a month, probably less than what you’d pay making a daily visit to the coffee shop. If you can’t work from home for some reason, most public libraries may not have a barista, but do offer free Wi-Fi.

5. Set a Budget and Stick to It

“Because your income is irregular, you will need to determine an approximate monthly income to use for your budget,” notes Dona Collins, freelance writer and IT specialist. ”Total up your previous year’s income and divide that amount by twelve, then use that figure as a measure of what you can and cannot afford.”

You may find it helpful, and motivating, to figure out the costs of your daily overhead. Add up all your average living expenses and divide by 30 days for the month. That’s your daily nut.

6. Get Organized

You are your business, so you need to organize yourself like a business. “The most important part of your organization dictum is making sure you keep track of your receipts… [T]his will help you if your get audited, but it will also help you keep track of things you can write off of your taxes,” advises Genevieve Coates, blogger at She Writes.

Organization affects everything. Create a workable system that gives you easy access to client files, invoices, bills, and other important information. Get organized and save yourself time… and time is money.

7. Embrace a Frugal Lifestyle

When the jobs are rolling in and revenues are high, it’s tempting to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It would be nice to think this will always be the case. Problem is, it typically isn’t. One way to ride out the slow periods and still pay your bills, says Yuwanda Black, blogger at Inkwell Editorial, is to “[...] learn how to live frugally; embrace it as a lifestyle (not just something your do when you first start out or when things are slow). If you do this, you’ll be able to set aside enough to always cover your bills as a freelancer.”

8. Maintain Separate Personal and Business Bank Accounts

For tax reasons, you’ll need to keep separate accounts. Deposit client checks into your business account and then pay yourself into your personal account. This is important because mixing money can get you into trouble.

Lisa Drake, CPA, advises:

“[E]stablish a separate bank account for your business. Dedicating a credit card to only business transactions is a great idea as well. There’s nothing worse than having to separate out transactions at the end of the year to figure out whether you’ve made money or not. It’s cleaner this way (trust me).”

9. Save for Retirement

Unless you want to work forever (and even if you do), set up a retirement account and make regular contributions. Kirk Shinkle, Money writer for U.S. News & World Report, says:

“There are [...] plenty of options for go-it-alone types who are looking to keep their savings on track, including a variety of individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, and even a version of that corporate stalwart — the pension. With a little research, there’s no reason the freelance life can’t conclude with a well-earned retirement.”

Women freelancers are especially advised to save for retirement. That is because women statistically live longer than men, are paid less, and have greater expenses raising children. In fact, women are twice as likely to live in poverty during retirement than men, reports Amy Tennery at TIME. Small amounts saved and invested today add up.

10. Don’t Be Proud, Get a Job

If freelance work is getting sparse, consider taking on a regular job and freelance on the side until more work comes your way. If that seems counterproductive to what you set out to do as a freelancer, consider that it’s also counterproductive to have a negative balance in your checkbook and risk losing your housing. You can always quit the day job once the big freelance projects come in. There is no shame in working.

Share your own finance tips for freelancers in the comments section below.

How Can Freelancers Improve Client Loyalty?

in Intermediate / No Comments

freelance customer loyaltyOne of the biggest challenges for any freelancer is attracting and retaining clients.  Most freelancers seem to be hamstrung by the fear that their clients will always be looking for a cheaper alternative to them.

However, by focusing on continuing to produce quality work, whatever their field, they would quickly find that clients are a lot more loyal and less price obsessed that they might have thought.

That said, there are a number of best practice pointers that a freelancer can use that will assist them in building up client loyalty. We looked at some of the best ideas, and at why they work.

Learn More About Your Customers’ Needs

You might be providing a particular product or service to a client, but do they have other requirements that you could perhaps help with? A client might not know that you are able to carry out such a service any more than you know they require it. Take it upon yourself to start the conversation.

Ask what they need, tell them more about what you do, and leave it to them to decide whether there is any correlation and potential for further work.

Make Their Life Easier

Everything you do as a freelancer, regardless of your field, should revolve around this point. What can you do to make your clients life as easy as possible? This might have something to do with the way you invoice for your services, or the ways in which you ask them to communicate feedback or place a request for work to be done.

Do What You Say You Will

There’s a silly line of thinking in the business world; you ought to under promise but over deliver. We understand this in some respects, but eventually you’re going to start losing business because you only set modest expectations.

Instead, be honest and clear around what you can achieve, and then set out to achieve it. Set the highest possible standards and deliver them consistently.

Be Personal In Your Contact

If you send out emails to your clients or interact with them on social media, ensure that you personalize what you’re saying in each one. A standard template email or response stands out like a sore thumb, and is a certain way to put people off working with you.

Something with the personal touch brings you closer to a client, and makes them feel better about whatever the reason was for contacting you.

Be Amazing On Your Bad Days

We all have days when things go wrong, and we end up doing a piece of work that isn’t as good as we’d like it to be, or we have an angry client on the phone asking us what went wrong.

Don’t waste energy trying to stop events such as these happening, as they always will.

However, ensure that you are set up to deliver excellent responses and resolutions to all of these eventualities. We’re always great on our good days, but it is how you deal with the bad ones that often makes the difference, especially in the eyes of your clients.

Building Client Loyalty

If you are able to master these points, you will start to find that you quickly become a regular ‘go to’ freelancer for all of your clients’ needs, and soon start to benefit from client referrals that will increase your revenue potential.

Share your own experiences about client loyalty in the comments section below.

Five Services To Outsource Locally

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flags of the world overlappingAs a business owner you may find at some points you will need to outsource work. Whether this is because the job is not something you can do yourself or your business is growing and you need to free up some time, outsourcing services is a great solution. There are many services you can outsource, and many you can outsource locally.

Choosing to use local companies is better all round than using companies overseas. Using local companies means you won’t have any language barriers and will be able to arrange face to face meetings to discuss the work being done. Here are five services to outsource locally:

Advertising And Marketing

A service that is widely outsourced is advertising and marketing. Rather than employ a full time in-house manager of marketing, choose to outsource and pay only for the time put in that you need. One of the best ways to market your business in the present day is through online marketing. Choose to outsource this locally and have peace of mind that your online marketing strategy is in the hands of a professional.

Payroll

Managing payroll is one of those tasks most business owners would rather avoid. Managing your own payroll takes time out of your busy schedule every month. Free up your time by choosing to outsource your payroll to a professional company. The only input you will need to have is contacting the company with your employee’s hours and rate and the rest is taken care of.

IT Support

IT support is an essential service to utilize for any company that relies on technology to function. Using IT support means if systems do fail you don’t have to lose precious time as your IT support team can ensure systems are fixed as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is especially beneficial to use a local IT support company as this means they can service and check your devices to ensure they are up to date and running properly.

Web design

Very few business owners would be able to create and build a fully functioning website. Your website is essential to your business as huge amounts of interest and sales are generated online. Choose to use a local web designer so you can discuss designs and tweaks to the site face to face.

Public Relations

Public relations is often managed in house, but it is a great service to outsource too. Depending on your industry there are specialised areas of public relations. Choosing a PR company that specialises in your industry means that you can be sure your PR is in the hands of a professional who knows the industry like the back of their hand.

Share your own experiences with local outsourcing in the comments section below.

Taking the Plunge as a Freelance Writer

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man on beach with laptopWhen you’re looking to make that big leap from an employed person who likes to write to a certified self-employed freelance writer who from that moment forth will be 100% in charge of their own career and destiny, you are bound to feel a multitude of emotions ranging from utter fear to pure elation.

It’s an exciting time, and the decision is likely to be one of the biggest of your life – certainly of your working life.

I recently went self-employed, and for some reason I chose to do it with two weeks to go before I moved house. It was a challenging time, but I escaped with my sanity intact (just about). By the time I moved into the new house I had been without the internet at home for a total of 4 weeks, and it was a killer. It makes me ashamed to admit it, but living without the internet is damn hard. Making a living as a writer without the internet is almost impossible.

I spent a lot of time at the library (which was lovely because libraries in the UK are being closed all the time at present), in cafes and anywhere I could soak up Free Wi-Fi and get my caffeine fix at the same time. It was workable but what I really needed in order to gain any kind of momentum was to have a designated writing desk at home, with an internet connection that worked.

My First Weeks as a Freelancer

In the last few weeks as an employee, I started putting together a solid portfolio, saving a nice amount of money to keep myself ticking over and started putting together a list of contacts (I had already begun to make contacts with agencies and would-be clients in my last few weeks at my job) that I would be in touch with once I found myself waking up every morning on my own time.

Suffice to say, it was more than a little surreal when I woke up on the first day of being self-employed writer. I had always dreamed of being “a writer”, although my version of a writer was much more Hemingway like: Hunt a wild boar, drink three gins, have a fight with a bear and then write ten pages of a novel. Just kidding, I would never hunt a boar.

I woke up, looked at my contact list and started to send out emails. Then I started writing the stories I wanted to write and the guest posts that I thought would help improve my profile. I also signed up to numerous sites like My Blog Guest and People Per Hour (which have both been very useful and come highly recommended by me – if you use them in the right way!)

A self-employed, freelance writer lifestyle is strange, and one that the majority of people will never understand. I’m not even sure I understand it myself! I have days where my feet don’t touch the ground. I’m writing like a mad man and my clients keep me on my toes with a mixture of writing and editing. Other days I’m a dead man walking, shuffling around in my sweatpants and hoodie, drinking coffee and babbling to myself. A living, breathing writer cliché. But luckily, the days balance out. Explain this lifestyle to a nurse or a coal miner and they’d probably call me a bum. Maybe they’re right? Who knows?

My advice – if it’s worth a damn – is that the best way to get to grips with a freelance writing career is to keep busy at all times and to not beat yourself up when you hit the wall and procrastination calls. The 9-5 brigade all have lulls in activity, the difference is they are doing it with a guaranteed salary, and you’re doing it in your own time where time is money. Finding a balance between writing yourself into despair and having a life is as important as making a living. Remember that and you will be a lot more productive. It’s working for me and I hope it will for the rest of my working life.

Outsourcing Web Development

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Web development outsourcing is a popular trend.

Contrary to what many think, this trend came right after the introduction of web development.

There has always been a mixed opinion about web development outsourcing. While many businesses are in favour of this growing trend, there are some businesses who are hesitant to get on board.

If you fall in the latter category, then here are few points to help you change your thinking. Take a look.

Timeliness

You can assign a set deadline for the service provider. Web development teams who work as external resources to any company are committed professionals. They have a team of talented professionals who work according to the decided time frame. In most situations they can easily develop the website  within the schedule.

Thus, with an efficient external web development team, it is easy for you to focus upon the other important business goals. Just imagine that if you start looking for a web developer, it will take you at least a week to hire a good web developer. You can save your time by outsourcing web development.

 

Feasible: Outsourcing web development allows you to save upon unnecessary expenses.  You will not have to pay office expenses like – internet charge, infrastructure cost and electricity bills for the web development team. In addition, you will not have to make any short term or long term investment for the team as well. Thus, web development outsourcing is an economical decision.

 

Additional services: If you maintain a good and professional relationship with these external IT agencies, you can avail other services too. For instance, if you plan to outsource web designing or software development in the future, you do not have to look for any other service provider. Most of the IT agencies offer a wide array of IT services like – e-commerce development, web design or software development.

 

Skills: The most obvious reason of hiring any outsourcing web development is the top notch expertise you will get. These external IT agencies have web developers who are qualified, talented and experienced in their field.

Outsourcing web development gives you a sense of security. As you are working with a team of skilled professionals, you are assured of the quality of services. Moreover, outsourcing web development services provide more convenience to you than local web development team.

 

Web development is one of the most challenging aspects of IT services. You need an excellent team of professionals who can tackle this difficult work within the strict time frame. Moreover, you require experienced manager who can supervise the team’s work and progress.

Thus to avoid such additional complications, most businesses are hiring web developers for short term important projects. Private web developers are highly experienced and work enthusiastically on challenging web development projects.

 

To gain the maximum benefit from web development outsourcing/ web development work from home, be careful to choose the best team of independent web developers. Here are few guidelines to help you out:

 

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Make a list of the probable service providers
  3. Seek referrals from business associates and other acquaintances

 

Tip: always be in constant touch with the web development team. This will help you keep track of progress and ensure the timely completion of work.

 

 

Kevin Matthews is a popular writer who has written several articles on a wide variety of topics like finance, health, online business, and testing related topic. In this article, he talks about the benefit of outsourcing web development along with some guidelines on hiring a good external team for web development.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get a Job on oDesk

in Beginner, Fundamentals / No Comments

cant-get-a-job-on-odeskWith over 3.1 million registered contractors and 1.5 million paying clients, oDesk sure sounds promising for someone who wants to start an online career.

But a lot of these registered contractors are still having difficulties finding jobs – or at least well-paying ones. Others have been lucky enough to land a regular gig but it might take them months or even years to get the next one. Others, with no luck, have lost interest and moved on.

Considering the number of contractors compared to the number of clients, you certainly get a lot of competition. Still, why do some fellow newbies get jobs, and why can’t YOU get a job at oDesk? Here are some reasons why…

You did not COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE

Excited to find work, you tend to skip the part where you need to fill out all the additional information needed for your profile.

Take note: creating an impressive profile is the key step in getting your very first job. Unlike regular employment, oDesk’s employer-contractor relationships are solely based on trust, and this will be communicated by your profile as a whole.

Fill in everything, upload a nice professional photo, add your employment history, your educational attainment, and any other experiences such as seminars you’ve attended.

Use a title that best describes you, create a brief and creative overview, upload some samples of your work and take some tests. The most important test you need to take is the oDesk readiness test, it’ll equip you with oDesk basics and it will also give you an additional 5 job application quota.

Last but not least set up your hourly rate. For newbies, it’s best to set a low rate. Obviously employers will opt to hire contractors with lower hourly rate. Depending on where you’re based and what your skillset is, $1 per hour is low enough. You can set a higher rate if you’ve proven your skills by getting good feedback and earning a lot of oDesk hours. In addition, if you’ve been patient enough and reached 100 hours, high paying and long term jobs will be more accessible.

Creating a good profile will also maximize your job application quota. Odesk users start with a quota of two that can be raised to 25 after completing your profile, reaching certain job hours and earning a 4-5 star rating.

You submitted a GENERIC COVER LETTER

I’ve come across a number of posts on oDesk from people looking for someone to write their cover letter template.

You will never get a job if you can’t even create your own cover letter! You don’t need to be a good writer to be able to create a presentable one. Good cover letters are catchy and brief. Write your basic information and recent achievements. Remember clients review your cover letter before checking out your profile, so don’t bore them with long nonsense and generic cover letters, make it interesting and direct, and sell your talents and achievements.

Once you’ve got a general cover letter format you’re happy with, save it somewhere accessible for future use. Now when you apply for new jobs be sure to customise the letter specifically to the job. You will make yourself standout from all the generic letters by mentioning something specific such as the client’s name or something they mentioned in the job listing. You’ll be amazed how much of an impression this can make – just by taking the time to add a few specific details to show you read the job, you’ll put yourself head and shoulders above all the applicants with copy and pasted cover letters.

You’re not spending ENOUGH TIME looking for work

Since you have a 2 or 5 job application quota, most likely you’re going to be online 2-3 hours a day. That’s not going to help you get a job at oDesk. Now, keep in mind that before everything else, before your client reviews your cover letter and checks out your profile, you need to make sure you’re client actually SEES you first.

How can the client see you?

  • Apply to the MOST RECENT job postings. For a newbie, the most recent will be 30 minutes ago, for someone who has accumulated more than 100 hours it will be 10-15 minutes ago.
  • You have a great chance of being hired if the applicants for that job are LESS THAN 10. Moe than 10 is too risky, you might want to save your quota in that case because it takes a day before it’s returned after being declined for a job.
  • You can still send your application if the applicants are more than 10 if the previous applicants are also newbies or don’t have strong profiles. This is where your cover letter kicks off. If you have that great photo and a kick ass letter you’ll surely get shortlisted and hired soon.

You don’t have reliable internet or even INTERNET at HOME

If you’re planning to have a long-term online career, you should invest in a reliable internet connection at home.

The top 5 countries spending for oDesk contractor services are US, Australia, Canda, UK and UAE. If you want to get a job, you might want to sync your time with them. This may mean you’ll have to spend time looking for work during unexpected hours, that’s why it is more advantageous to have internet at home.

You can also get to job postings and apply faster if you have good connection. Just make sure to always refresh and check your job feeds.

You’re IMPATIENT

Yes, you’ve done those 4 steps above and still you received that notification saying your application has been denied. Don’t lose hope! Don’t be discouraged. Remember the number of contractors is twice the number of paying clients. You really got a lot of competition out there – some of whom are very experienced.

Keep sending applications, take tests and improve your profile. You will soon get your chance and that will never come if you give up now.

Share your own experiences with getting a job on oDesk or other freelancing sites in the comments below.

Before You Outsource Writing…

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outsourcing writingIf you’re familiar with managing a website, a product or service of any kind then you’re likely to be aware of the vast amount of writing that needs to be done.

You’ll encounter instances when you need to write promotional material, press releases, reports, ebooks, guest articles and website content. This can be overwhelming!

For small and large businesses alike there’s a temptation to outsource writing much in the same way you’d outsource graphic design or programming.

Often the notion is that you can outsource to a less developed economy and expect good results.

Unfortunately though, outsourcing writing is an area fraught with stumbling blocks.

Issues with Outsourcing Writing

Expertise

Whilst a candidate may seem like they can write well, unless they have an existing in-depth knowledge of a subject, it’s going to take them a long time to study up. After all, they need to understand the area in which they are expected to write about. They may not know where to start and you mustn’t assume they will be capable of researching specialized topics.

Writing is not like programming and graphic design, which require very technical skill-sets that can be more easily shifted to new areas and ways of working.

Writer’s Block

If you’ve ever written an essay then you’ve probably experienced the phenomenon that writers have labelled “writer’s block.” Writer’s block is where a writer can’t find the words to write and is unable to get the words out; it’s a time when writers are not productive.

Writer’s block can affect deadlines, quality of work (the writer may just throw something together at the last minute) and if you’re paying by the hour can cause a price blowout.

Mother Tongue

One of the biggest pitfalls in outsourcing writing is the familiarity of a writer a given language.

Even though an outsourced writer from another country may be educated to a good level in English, there are certain words and phrases that you wouldn’t find a native speaker using. Additionally, there are technical differences in types of writing that someone educated in a native English speaking country is more likely to be aware of than those for whom English is a second language.

Many writers with non-English speaking countries believe their English is perfect because compared to the people they deal with every day, it is. As such they can often demand the same kind of money that you’d pay a native English speaker. As such, I would suggest that you go for the latter.

Persuasiveness

In the event that you’re hiring a writer to perform copywriting, a good native speaker is going to have a better command of influential language and a better understanding of what motivated your prospects than someone in another country.

Money

The figure of speech “you get what you pay for” is perhaps nowhere more apparent than when outsourcing writing. There are many that will write for rock bottom prices, however if your experiences are anything like mine then you will find that their writing often isn’t very good. Many cheaper writers struggle with making writing clear or useful because they are so busy trying to churn out words just to make ends meet.

It makes sense to pay a bit extra if you want content that will actually be read and appreciated, and not pay peanuts to freelance writers.

Adding Value

Many writers. rather than add value, tend to rewrite generic articles that are easily found elsewhere on the internet. These writers don’t particularly add any value; they don’t present a solution for a given problem and tend to add a lot of fluff. The end result is content that’s not very useful because people can easily find far better examples of the same type of content.

Solution: Have an objective in mind, and find the right writer to accomplish it

Outsourcing Platforms

We as work providers tend to rely on outsourcing platform feedback in order to understand an outsourced writer’s reputation and know where someone comes from as in order to help us with our selection.

On the more popular outsourcing networks such as Freelancer, Odesk and Elance there are many writers who go by English names as well as present their location as a country such as England, America and Australia when in fact they are based in an economy whose first language is not English.

You’ll also notice that in writer’s feedback they pick up a lot of work from non-English economies. The feedback on the quality of English writing from  work providers in these economies is not reliable because they don’t actually recognize good writing – they just had a need for some fast content and the writer provided it.

Solution: Use platforms that pre-judge the quality such as Constant Content.

Return on Investment

One of the reasons there is so much downward pressure on writing fees is that often as far as revenues go for a specific article, it’s difficult to measure the value added by a particular article. It’s difficult to gauge the value of an article before it’s written, published, and promoted.

Additionally, in terms of incoming Google traffic it can often be an all or nothing game, and may take months to see long tail search traffic as a result of a given article.

Particularly with regards to guest articles, writing is a loss leader.

Solution: Whilst writing is often a loss leader, it’s often more costly in time and effort to use poor articles than to pay more for high quality ones.

Conclusion

Whilst outsourcing writing may appear at first sight to be the easiest way to get writing done, it’s an area fraught with difficulty, as anyone who has been down the path of buying cheap content can attest to.

Contracting your writing is something that can be expensive, difficult to do and of variable quality upon delivery.

Next time you outsource your writing, consider the benefits of going that extra mile to find someone who can really understand your business and what you’re trying to achieve, and then use that knowledge in the content they produce for you.

Do you have experience with outsourcing writing? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Why Business Owners Are More Dependent On Virtual Assistants Than Ever Before

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virtual assistantA virtual assistant is a lifeline for any business that would otherwise struggle to complete its professional and administrative tasks on time.

They are additional sources of support that can provide invaluable services during busy periods, staff shortages or technical problems that can put teams under immense pressure.

Some cynics are openly critical of virtual assistants (often referred to simply as ‘VAs’) because, much as their name suggests, they remain detached from the rest of the business and are usually only contactable over the phone, Skype, or via email. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a VA is less accessible than an average onsite employee. Granted, many employers prefer to have a PA or receptionist onsite simply for the sake of being able to monitor their activities, but business owners who adopt this fairly outdated view are missing out on the wide range of practical and financial benefits that hiring a VA can bring to their firm, especially as communications technology is continuing to evolve and more and more employees are choosing to work remotely.

Virtual assistants are only paid for what they deliver

One of the most fundamental financial benefits of hiring a virtual assistant as opposed to a full time employee is that they are significantly more cost effective. You are not legally obliged to pay them when they are on holiday or sick, and are not responsible for any tax, benefits, insurance or other obligations that would be associated with a permanent employee. On the contrary, virtual assistants are the people who protect your business and keep it operating at maximum efficiency when you are on holiday or have fallen ill.

Common reasons for hiring a virtual assistant:

Invoicing support

Whether you are submitting an invoice or handling a long list of invoices from your clients, invoicing can be a very tedious process, particularly when you have to submit attachments to dozens of clients at the end of each month. Virtual assistants can take this weight off your shoulders and handle all of your invoicing for you. This gives you time to focus your attention on other administrative tasks in your business. Assistants can also help you keep track of your payments and inform you of any problems, such as late billings or special requests.

SEO support

Virtual assistants can help you build and maintain a strong web presence by keeping your business in a prominent position in the search engines. They can perform a variety of tasks, from blogging and social media posts to rewriting content, link building, and keyword redistribution, all of which will help your businesses attract new customers online.

Outsourcing your SEO services can also be much more affordable option than hiring a full time copywriter or SEO technician because of the reduced overheads involved.

Help with organising your day-to-day tasks

From organising client meetings to booking hotels and flights, virtual assistants can do all of the important tasks that you simply don’t have time to do otherwise. By being fully prepared for your daily schedule, you can improve the efficiency of your team and demonstrate a consistently professional, respectable attitude to your clients and customers.

Virtual assistants can help your business survive the recession

As the cost of commercial property continues to increase, particularly in the London area, hiring a virtual assistant is becoming an increasingly viable, and in some cases, essential decision, for companies struggling to increase their revenue and maintain their competitiveness in the world of business.

Is Outsourcing Transcription a Profitable Option for Entrepreneurs?

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Entrepreneurs from all works of life (or should I say business niches) make use of audio recordings and video files to store messages for future use.

But sometimes the need to transcribe these recordings into text presents itself.

This is where transcription comes in.

Now the questions are: do you as a busy entrepreneur have the time to accurately go through the process of transcribing your recordings? If your answer is yes, you can skip to the last subheading of this article, but if no, then keep reading.

The solution to transcribing audio and video recordings into text lies with the use of transcription software or physically by hand. The problem with using transcription software applications is that the accuracy level can be quite suspect because — let’s face it — an application, no matter how intelligent, is still a machine. Language is very complex and there are myriad ways of interpreting words that we take for granted. Context is very important, and this is something transcription software is yet to master.

Therefore outsourcing transcriptions to companies providing reliable transcribing services is usually the way to go if you want accuracy and reliability.

Is it a Profitable Option?

Reduced transcription cost 

At the end of the day, money is the biggest motivating factor in most entrepreneur and small business decisions. Outsourcing your transcribing needs generally comes at a very affordable price due to the fact that transcription companies take transcription as their sole business operation and are interested in garnering the good will of their clients. So in most cases, the bulkier the project, the cheaper and more affordable it becomes.

Saves you time 

Outsourcing any kind of project gives the person who’s outsourcing more time on their hands to focus on core business areas and the outsourcing of business transcriptions is no different. The time-intensive nature of translating audio to text is best done by a service provider who’s staff specialise in this, so can do it efficiently.

Reducing recurrent expenditure

Setting up an in-house department to manage any particular service that isn’t part of an entrepreneur’s or business’ core services drastically increases recurrent expenditure, which is the case when purchasing transcribing software and hiring/paying staff to manage it all. Outsourcing transcription eliminates all that while still ensuring that your projects are adequately handled.

The above points serve to show entrepreneurs and small businesses that this is indeed a profitable option and outsourcing transcription can be said to be more profitable than managing media transcriptions in-house.

A helpful tip when searching for a reliable transcription service provider to outsource to is: search for firms from countries such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines etc. because their services come at more affordable prices when compared to what you can get in Western countries.

 Types of Transcription Services

Medical Transcription - this involves outsourcing medical sessions, lectures and conferences for transcription into text format which can then be used in medical documents, blogs and reports.

Video Transcriptions - this involves the transcription of video tutorials, Youtube instructions and video conversations on Skype or elsewhere into text format for use in blogs and documents. Transcribing videos is a great way to add another channel of content to go alongside your marketing videos.

Audio transcriptions - transcribing audio recordings of conversations and business proceedings into text format for use in diverse mediums such as research, freelance work, documents and reports is also a core type of transcription.

Legal transcription - this involves the transcribing of legal audio and video documents as accurately as possible for textual use in legal records and proceedings.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Transcription

  • Speed and Accuracy – one of the major benefits of this specialized service is the level of professionalism at your disposal. Service providers work at a speed honed from years of carrying out similar projects. These projects are also done with a high level of accuracy so as to ensure important information is not lost or missed during the transcription process.
  • The ability to meet deadlines - outsourcing bulky projects allows the entrepreneur or business meet set deadlines regardless of the size of the project.
  • Reduced cost – far cheaper than training staff to transcribe or working with difficult software.
  • Versatility – providing audio and video recordings in different text file formats.

Do you outsource transcription or manage it in house? Share your own experiences in the comments below.