Is Freelancing different from Outsourcing?

What is Freelancing?

You may be asking yourself at this point what the difference is between Outsourcing and freelance workers. Typically, people who freelance and outsource their work, whether in the United States or out of the country, spend their energy with several clients at the same time. Because of this, the freelancer will usually acquire and perform several projects simultaneously. If their schedule fills up, they won’t be able to work on your project, which means you need to look for someone else. Also, since most freelance outsourcing work is project based, your costs will vary wildly depending on several factors. How busy is the freelancer? If they are in high demand, they will charge more. How qualified is the freelancer? Skill levels vary greatly; the more gifted they are, the more you will pay.


Overseas Freelancing Difficulties

If you decide to outsource a freelancer overseas, you will often need to overcome language and culture barriers. Will the freelancer be able to adequately understand your project so that they will be able to complete it correctly with minimal effort on your part? Will the freelancer be able to produce a product that coincides with the cultural nuances of western society? If the freelancer needs to interact with clients or customers, will they be able to be understood? If not, this will be a frustrating and challenging process for you. Without adequate communication and cultural familiarity, businesses will find themselves going back to the freelancer several times to get a project right. Doing so increases the stress on you, wastes time, and causes productivity to fall.


Are the Needed Tools Available?

Beyond the workload, culture, and language, another obstacle to overcome is the freelancer’s tools and workspace. Whenever you use outsourced or freelance personnel, you have to rely on their infrastructure and equipment. Do they have a good internet connection for communicating, downloading, and uploading? Do they take proper security measures to make sure your content is safe? How do they back up their data? Will they have electricity only at certain times of the day? Do they have a space with an environment that is conducive to work, free of noise and distraction? If your freelancer is ill-equipped to handle all aspects of your job, your frustration will only grow as the project moves forward. We currently work with a medical imaging company that used to have freelancers based in five different locations around the world. They joined us because of the continuous infrastructure and connection issues on the freelancer’s side, which significantly inhibited communication during their essential group meetings.


Will they be Loyal?

If you find the right freelancer who does excellent work for you, you will quickly discover a desire to keep them. Unfortunately, their loyalty to you and your projects often depends on what you can pay. A friend told me over 20 years ago, “You’ll have the most loyal person working for you until somebody offers him 25 cents more an hour. He’ll then drop you like a hot potato.” That is always a risk.


Barking Dogs and Roosters

The time difference between freelancers and businesses can also be challenging. For many years, one of the individuals who worked for me the longest was in India. She was on the phone every day, interacting with my customers. Problems arose because of the time difference between her and my customers. She would start early in the morning while her husband was sleeping and begin making her calls. Every day, like clockwork, several roosters would begin to crow midway through her work hours. Then, on cue, all the dogs in the neighborhood would start to bark. It was quite comical for my customers, who were working late in the afternoon, to hear an early morning wakeup call from nature on the other side of the world. However, as you can imagine, that wasn’t the most professional representation of my company (even though I look back now and smile.)


How is outsourcing with us different from working with a freelancer?

Outsourced Employees Work Only for You. Our team members are full-time employees who work solely for you. The only projects they will have to juggle are the ones that you give to them. With us, English is the first language and our culture is western. With our company, your employee speaks the “Queen’s English” as their first language, with a British accent. Their culture is also heavily influenced by western thought as a result of being a British colony for many years.


Great working conditions are a given.

Our offices are housed in a beautiful high-rise building in downtown Harare. Your team member will have a workspace with the latest computers, with all the necessary security and infrastructure in place, keeping their work productive and your data safe. We even provide a conference room to gather all of your employees together in one space for your team meetings. We have found that the excellence of our office space fosters a level of professionalism in your employee that your clients can distinguish.


Our people have a special sense of loyalty

Our team members truly want to come to work. While many of our teams live in urban suburbs around the city, they’re able to come into a beautiful office facility where they are proud to work. We strive to be the envy of every company in our industry by attracting top talent. Our employees are paid above-average wages and in American dollars, something that only a few companies in the country do. Our class A working conditions often keeps them from “jumping ship” after having trained them to a high level. In our offices, they enjoy A/C in the hot summer months, upscale workrooms, cheerful workspaces, and even a cafeteria. Best of all, the team members form a great camaraderie with those around them. It’s a young group; the average age of our team members in our office is 28 years old. Therefore, you have a young, energetic group wanting to learn, grow and develop their skill sets. These factors keep our team members loyal and make us a very desirable place to be employed and stay employed.


We Provide Strong Security for Your Data

Data security is critical to us. The danger of outsourcing is that those doing your work may be working from their home or remote office. If so, they might not have the data security systems necessary to protect you. We however, use the highest-rated secure routers, which are programmed to be up to date with all the current annual licenses and software.
On our computers, we deactivate the USB ports so no external storage devices can be connected. As a further precaution, we can also limit access to specific sites as requested by the client. For example, suppose you want your employee not to have access granted to particular information or URLs. In this case, we will program their computer to access only your approved sites from their workstation. With regards to storage and connectivity, we utilize a primary server and two redundant servers as backups. For connectivity, we use a robust fiber-optic network with latency very similar to what you would find when you connect with a company in the U.S.A.

We Go Above and Beyond

In terms of onsite support for your remote worker, we have a general manager, I.T. team, client liaisons and a full H.R. department. To top it all off, we provide two full-time employees in our pastoral care. These are trained pastors who assist your team members in times of need. Our pastors attend family funerals and help your employees through counselling them for matters such as divorce or financial difficulties. They are also there to help your employee when making big life decisions. We’re one of only two companies I know of that provide this, and we do it free of charge.


A Client Story

One of our clients works for a large healthcare coaching firm in the Northwest who chose us because of what we offered. As part of their company culture, they always include their two 17 remote workers on their fifteen-minute, standup morning huddles. Here they bring in everyone to talk about what they’ll be working on throughout the day. Because the client’s remote workers are Insourced, they easily fit into that meeting and feel a part of the overall team. And, since the remote workers are full time, constant members of the team, this client always knows whom to ask about a particular issue or question.


The Takeaway

The utilization of remote workers is fast becoming the norm in businesses today. When you decide to go in that direction, there are many options to choose from in finding the right employee to work remotely for you. Freelance outsourcing can be useful for once-off projects such as brochures, language translation, or a quick website. However, if you are looking for a sustained, full-time workforce with all the tools needed to succeed and make your business grow, we believe Outsourcing is the only way to go.