Internet marketers are all about “The 4 Hour Work Week.” The concept comes from a book written by Tim Ferris. Essentially, it involves building a business that doesn’t require more than 4 hours of commitment every week.
There are a lot of things that can be systematized and automated when running an online business. But, there are a lot of things robots just can’t do.
For instance, writing a completely unique and valuable piece of content isn’t currently within the grasp of any computer or artificial intelligence. Managing your social media presence is also something that requires the involvement of a human.
You can probably think of hundreds of other tasks that only a human being could complete successfully, too. This is why Tim Ferris recommends outsourcing so strongly. You can’t do it all yourself, and if you want to live “The 4 Hour Work Week,” you’re going to have to get someone else to do most of it.
The Trouble with Outsourced Freelance Help
Anyone can get into freelancing. There are no credentials required to become a virtual assistant. Anyone who can perform technical tasks, such as writing, coding, or designing, can throw together a portfolio and get started, too.
This is a great thing, as it gives both you and the freelancer opportunities:
- The freelancer gets a chance to work, even if he is new at his profession
- You can find cheap, talented help, simply because they are trying to build a reputation
The real trouble isn’t finding those with the right skills. It is seeing past all of the fake resumes and portfolios and finding freelancers that are truly reliable that is tough.
To avoid both of these, you want to use a trial assignment. You need to be ready to pay for this assignment, though, and will typically want to test three freelancers.
The specific skills you are looking to hire for will determine how much your trail sample will cost. For all but the most complex tasks, you should be able to test three freelancers for less than $100. You don’t need to test them out, though, but then you risk finding freelancers that are unskilled and unreliable, which will lead to wasted time, and probably a lot more lost profit than the original $100 recommendation.
Testing the Freelancers
Review all of the freelancers who you are considering hiring. Narrow it down to the three strongest applicants. Send them a message asking them what hours of the day they’re regularly available for communication.
The best freelancers are freelancing full time. They should be available at least several times throughout the day. It is a good sign when your freelancer is only available two to three times throughout the day for communications. The best freelancers are organized, and they separate their communication times from their “work” times.
After they tell you when they’re available, you need to test their reliability. If they said they check and respond to messages between 2pm and 3pm, you need to send a message at 1:50 and see if they get back to you before 3pm.
If they do, then this is a good sign. After their first response, go ahead and actually send the instructions for the project. Ask them when they think they can have it done, and then let them alone.
Assuming their turnaround time was acceptable for you, if they turn in their work on time, then you know you have a freelancer who is at least able to manage his own time. This means you can trust him to continue providing accurate time estimates for project completion in the future.
Once you receive the work you need to assess it. Is it up to your expectations? Will you be able to use this level of work in your projects in the future?
If so, you can start building a relationship with this freelancer. The first few weeks may require a bit more involvement. Your freelancer might have questions. You might have questions. As time goes on, though, you will understand each other’s work flow.
At that point, you have a talented, affordable, reliable freelancer, and you can truly start living “The 4 Hour Work Week.”