Building a design agency made up of remote workers and be a tricky affair. While beginning as a freelancer, with ambitions to grow the business, in the future you will either need to look to work from a premises with staff or start taking on additional freelancers and maybe agencies.
An office with full time staff sounds great but there are commitments and burdens which come with this. By choosing the remote working option gives you a great amount of freedom, especially when you are in the early stages of starting your business. Feast and famine are common place, by not employing full time staff means that when works slows down, so does the amount you outsource, therefore your costs come down. This can be a life saver when your business is in its infancy.
This by no means it is a smooth process. Having worked with agencies and freelancers across the world, it comes with an abundance of hurdles which you need to overcome. Over time, the process becomes smoother, trial and error is an inevitable part of the process.
The make or break for anyone working with remote workers is how well they meet their deadlines. Missing deadlines set with your clients on a consistent basis is incredibly stressful and will result in you losing your client if this is a regular occurrence. When starting with company for the first time, ensure the project is made into smaller stages, allowing you to monitor progress. Any signs that they are incompetent or miss the deadlines means you have a warning. Additionally, always make sure you give yourself plenty of leeway when giving your client the deadline date, 2 – 3 weeks longer than what you have been told.
Firstly, if they don’t have their own website I always stay clear of. I am fully aware we are all busy, even with my own website in desperate need of a revamp, but at least I have a website. Anyone in correspondence to carry out development using a Gmail or Hotmail address is normally ruled out.
One of the first stops for outsourcing is India, with a huge amount of agencies, usually start ups are tempted by the extremely cheap prices and promises of being able to carry out the tasks quickly and cheaply. Having been in business since 2009, I have worked with many developers from India. The biggest problem I found was they often fall short on their promises, inevitably missing deadlines. To-date, we work with no developers based in India. Communication is difficult, prices are cheaper but often take longer than someone more qualified, often meaning the price is the same and deadlines are hardly every meant.
Finding the right people to work with is often like dating, you must try working with them on a few occasions on a safe project where not a lot can go wrong and you have plenty of time to change the team if not all is going to plan. Over time you begin to build trust and relationships are formed. It has taken awhile but now I have a good list of companies based in several countries which can help on a wide range of tasks.
Often sighted as a negative of working with remote workers abroad is the time difference. Personally, I find this a huge advantage. By using agencies based in different time zones gives you the great advantage of no longer having an 8-hour day but increasing this to 12 – 14 hours. With a never-ending list of requests from clients, all of which need to be done ‘asap’, these issues can often be rectified in the middle of the night, ready for when your client begins work. There is a huge benefit to have your clients’ issues rectified before they have even reached their desk.tory.
He gets to the heart of the duo’s artistic and philosophical investigation in art forms, making it memorable.
– Robert Anakis
It isn’t always smooth sailing, the key to make life easier is to ensure you have given youself some spare time in regard to the deadline. Issues always occur, by giving yourself some space you can navigate around these hurdles.
Additionally, being able to speak your language is a must. The people we work closest to now not only have excellent written English but and easily communicate with a Skype call. Being able to Skype call is an incredibly easy way to solve a issue which normally only occurs because you have been messaging rather than calling.
Top things to keep in mind when choosing and working with an outsourced agency:
1.) Communication: How good is their English? Can they communicate via a phone call and are they easily available via Skype or something similar?
2.) Project Timeline: Split a project into smaller modules and agree a deadline for each smaller stage. This gives you the opportunity to monitor progress, check the quality of work and whether they are able to meet deadlines.
3.) Deadline: Always give yourself extra time when providing a deadline for a project. The client might be disappointed it is going to take longer than they hoped but they won’t be as disappointed if you repeatedly fail to meet the deadline. This also has the added bonus that if all goes well, you deliver the project early and everyone is happy!
4.) Start to build a list on Skype or something similar of potential agencies/freelancers to work with. Introduce yourself and find out a bit about them. This will give you an arsenal of potential solutions if/when you need a particular expertise.