After outsourcing, it’s time for crowdsourcing for SMEs and entrepreneurs to cash in on how to get their job done online at best possible price and quality. “Build Me a Website”, “Get Traffic to My Site”, “Design Me a Logo…” are the types of projects that seem to figure high on the online crowdsourcing marketplace like freelancer.com, Directfreelance.com, etc.
What is Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing enables you to send out an open call to the large group of crowd online called freelance marketplace. The online outsourcing taps into the combined intelligence of huge online communities to accomplish tasks that an SME would outsource to a third-party service provider or complete themselves.
In the same way individuals and businesses can post goods for sale on eBay, users can post projects, tasks, and jobs for users around the world to complete.
Freelancer.com, one of the largest crowdsourcing marketplace, recently launched its Indian website Freelancer.in — bringing localized features and enabling users to work in Indian Rupees.
The site is currently helping about 1.2 million Indians earn a total of $28.5 million through its platform, says Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com. Over 7% of the jobs posted on the site are from India, making it the 3rd biggest country of employers on the platform.
“With a third of our user base coming from India, and with many of our employers choosing to hire Indian freelancers above others, it was apparent that we should provide our Indian user base a more personalized experience on our site”, adds Barrie.
Istockphoto is another example. The site, started in 2000, grew out of a free image-sharing exchange used by a group of graphic designers. Today they offer vector illustrations, videos, music and sound effects, Flash and, coming soon, logos. They have thousands of artists, designers and photographers from all over the world. They created a marketplace themselves bringing together amateur photographers –homemakers, engineers, students, etc.
Portals like Directfreelance.com or Freelancer.com are designed to take advantage of the collective wisdom of the networked world. All these companies grew up in the Internet age and were designed to take advantage of the networked world.
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Crowdsourcing empowers SMEs, entrepreneurs
With the country’s Internet population seeing a 28% growth in 2011, and with the recent launch of the cheapest tablet in the world from India, more Indians can now easily connect with the 3 million professionals looking for work and looking to hire freelancers. The marketplace opens doors of income-generating possibilities for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.
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You want a website built? We have hundreds of thousands of web designers ready to work. Need a graphic designer or an architect? Need someone to manufacture a product for you? We’ve got freelancers that can help you do that quickly and cheaply.
It’s very easy to use as well! All you have to do is go to the website, click on “Post Project”, enter what you want done, a budget and how fast you want it delivered and that’s it! It’s free to post a project and there is no obligation to hire once you see the bids. On average about 60-80 people will bid on your job. You check through the feedback and portfolio of the bidders.
You can see every project they have ever done, how much they were paid and their rating. You can communicate with them before hiring, ask questions or for samples of work.
What benefits does an SME get by using crowdsourcing market instead of an offshore company having a typical outsourcing setup?
We’re a lot more flexible and cheaper to get going. All you have to do is post a project and freelancers from all around the world will submit their bids to get it done. We only charge employers 3% as you pay the freelancer. Whether your project is as small as a thousand rupees, or something a lot bigger, you can get it all done through our site.
What trends do you see in the crowdsourcing world in the context of India?
India is rapidly rising now as well an employer country! Today it’s the third largest employer globally through our site. The big thing we are seeing in terms of trends is that the sophistication of work is growing rapidly, year by year. Several years ago, mainly IT related jobs were outsourced through our platform, but today we have sections in Astrophysics, Biotechnology, Electrical Engineering, Taxation, Industrial Design and more!
Users of freelancer.com outsource and work on tasks in fields including IT, writing, design, media, architecture, accounting, and even engineering and science. Indian employers typically hire PHP programmers, website designers, graphic designers, SEO experts, and data entry workers.
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SMEs can take advantage of and benefit from the flexibility of a scalable workforce that the market offers. Small business owners can crowdsource certain tasks only on a need basis, at a fraction of the usual cost. Budding entrepreneurs can also fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams by growing a service-oriented business.
Crowdsourcing over outsourcing
There are many advantages that an SME get by crowdsourcing its tasks. The huge global market of service providers for instance, is one where you are free to identify and choose your best bet from the large database of global experts in terms of money, quality and time frame.
1. Thousands of workers for your to choose the best
Crowdsourcing works on outcome-based model where competition drives production, you pay for the best quality output at a pre-defined spend.
Transparency is the other advantage that enables you to see every aspect of every project. You can see the history of the freelancers including their skillset, project undertaken, tasks completed, quality of output and more. Crowdsourced work typically involves breaking a project into multiple component tasks and pushing those tasks out to the online folks available on various freelancing portals.