Tuesday, 11 February 2014

How to get the most out of oDesk for nominal tasks.

Quick interview with Hugh Grant, CEO of JFDI, the digital incubator Flocations was part of on how to effectively use oDesk.com to outsource some of your nominal, data entry work.

As long as you have nominal work, like data entry or research that can put into a process on paper, you should outsource it.  Here's how I started it so all of our data entry is done offshore.
  1. Do the work yourself - Before you hire and give broad instructions, set up a google word document on the exact steps needed to do the work.  Do the work yourself several times and put what you are doing into words.  Write it in simple, precise english that doesn't leave ambiguity.  Pretend you're leaving instructions for a 10 year old.
  2. Post your job on oDesk - You can now look at the oDesk workforce.  After you post your job on oDesk you will get about 10 applicants within the first minute and about 20-80 within the first hour.  You don't have time to sift through all of them so you need to sift through them quickly by leaving test instructions in the JD. 
  3. Trial before you hire- Within your oDesk job description, leave instructions for a test as a lot of the applicants won't read instructions, so it's a quick way to filter them out.  I like to give them the process document I made and set up a public google spreadsheet which they will put their answers in.   Look at the results.  Between accuracy of completed tasks and just general completeness, you can get a pretty good idea how well the consultant will do.  
  4. Hire & Train - You can now hire one or two oDesk consultants.  Put them to real work; Let them do the job and repeat your written process several times - see if you are getting the results you need systematically.  Ask them for feedback on the written process, improve the process some more.
  5. Refine - Once mistakes are minimal and the oDesk worker is constantly performing rather than asking for clarifications,  it's a good indication that your process is refined enough to hire a few more oDeskers.  Use the same test to hire a few consultants, rate them and bring them on board.
  6. Scale - However, this time, instead of training them yourself get your current oDesk consultant to train them.  Start a chat group on Skype and watch the scaling begin!  
Good luck!