Want to increase inbound leads? Join a professional outsourcing service.
For web developers and designers who strike out on their own as independent contractors, life might feel a bit like being marooned on a desert island, with no life raft (aka clients) in sight. Thankfully, a professional outsourcing service can serve as the solution you need to not only survive as a freelancer, but thrive.
You don’t need to be a Chatty Cathy to generate leads
Not every developer is a great networker, able to score tons of new client leads with a business card, charm and a dedication to cold emailing. Plus, it can be difficult for newer designers to convince potential clients of their skills without any name recognition behind them. This is where an outsourcing service comes into play.
Outsourcing services give developers and designers a safe place to land among other highly-skilled workers. The networks provide freelancers with a credible community — a stamp of approval, so to speak — to hang their hat.
Growing your business, no matter the industry or size, starts by connecting with people who are seeking your services. Lucky for you, this process has become more efficient than ever before. Why spend your valuable time hunting for leads when you can join a professional network and let the outsourcing service do the heavy lifting?
Do your research before choosing an outsourcing service
If you’re interested in joining an outsourcing service, you might be surprised at the sheer number of options available. Do your research to find which network fits your needs and skill levels.
Whether you focus solely on web development or offer additional business services to clients, outsourcing services can help put you in direct contact with potential clients in need. Some popular networks include:
(If you’re a member of GoDaddy Pro, achieving Pro Plus status qualifies you for the Pro Connect network.)
The difficulty of requests and minimum skill requirements for each network differ greatly. For example, Codeable is a highly-exclusive network that actually requires pros to pass a WordPress proficiency exam before you’re accepted.
Each of these networks have their pros and cons, the list of which would be too long to fit in one post. You’re encouraged to scope this out on your own, paying extra attention to a few key factors:
Is a test mandatory to gain acceptance, as is the case with Codeable? Or can anyone join regardless of experience level?
When you own your own business, you need to figure out how you’ll be paid. Does the service take a cut of your earnings?
Many developers don’t realize at the beginning that the most stressful part of being a contractor is actually getting the checks that are supposed to be coming your way.
Dispute resolution procedure
Hopefully you won’t be in too many conflicts with clients, but it’s good to know how to proceed if you find yourself in a disagreement.
Colleagues or competitors
On some networks, developers treat each other like family, helping out whenever needed and even recommending each other for various projects depending on the skills required. Other networks are more competitive, with every developer for themselves.
Active member success stories
Bottom line, are developers on these networks actually increasing their inbound leads? And are the best clients putting great projects up for bid?
You still need to put in the time
It should be noted that while a great outsourcing service can provide you with a large amount of work, you still need to be updating your personal portfolio and following referrals from outside of the networks. Developers will find that some small businesses use an outsourcing service for small projects, and there’s no guarantee of turning the relationship into a regular gig. It really depends on the client, so don’t rely solely on the network to do all of the work for you.
The good news is, more small business owners are trusting these networks to connect them with the best developers and designers. It makes sense from both sides — owners and contractors both have greater control.
For developers and designers who pick the right outsourcing service for their level of expertise and the types of clients they want to target, business can start booming exponentially.
Keep growing your expertise and use professional networks to help you generate more inbound leads.
Image by: markus spiske Flickr via Compfight cc