Let Money Work For You Do Not Let It Work

January 24th, 2011 Comments off

Let Money Work For You Do Not Let It Work Against You

Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get in, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his teens, running in debt.

He meets a chum and says, Look at this: I have got trusted for a new suit of clothes. He seems to look upon the clothes as so much given to him; well, it frequently is so, but, if he succeeds in paying and then gets trusted again, he is adopting a habit which will keep him in poverty through life. Debt robs a man of his self-respect, and makes him almost despise himself.

Grunting and groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and now when he is called upon to pay up, he has nothing to show for his money; this is properly termed working for a dead horse. I do not speak of merchants buying and selling on credit, or of those who buy on credit in order to turn the purchase to a profit. The old Quaker said to his farmer son, John, never get trusted; but if thee gets trusted for anything, let it be for manure, because that will help thee pay it back again.

Mr. Beecher advised young men to get in debt if they could to a small amount in the purchase of land, in the country districts. If a young man, he says, will only get in debt for some land and then get married, these two things will keep him straight, or nothing will. This may be safe to a limited extent, but getting in debt for what you eat and drink and wear is to be avoided. Some families have a foolish habit of getting credit at the stores, and thus frequently purchase many things which might have been dispensed with.

It is all very well to say; I have got trusted for sixty days, and if I dont have the money the creditor will think nothing about it. There is no class of people in the world, who have such good memories as creditors. When the sixty days run out, you will have to pay. If you do not pay, you will break your promise, and probably resort to a falsehood. You may make some excuse or get in debt elsewhere to pay it, but that only involves you the deeper.

A good-looking, lazy young fellow, was the apprentice boy, Horatio. His employer said, Horatio, did you ever see a snail? I – think – I -have, he drawled out. You must have met him then, for I am sure you never overtook one, said the boss. Your creditor will meet you or overtake you and say, Now, my young friend, you agreed to pay me; you have not done it, you must give me your note. You give the note on interest and it commences working against you; it is a dead horse.

The creditor goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning better off than when he retired to bed, because his interest has increased during the night, but you grow poorer while you are sleeping, for the interest is accumulating against you.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master. When you have it mastering you; when interest is constantly piling up against you, it will keep you down in the worst kind of slavery. But let money work for you, and you have the most devoted servant in the world. It is no eye-servant. There is nothing animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as money when placed at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry weather.

I was born in the blue-law State of Connecticut, where the old Puritans had laws so rigid that it was said, they fined a man for kissing his wife on Sunday. Yet these rich old Puritans would have thousands of pounds at interest, and on Saturday night would be worth a certain amount; on Sunday they would go to church and perform all the duties of a Christian.

On waking up on Monday morning, they would find themselves considerably richer than the Saturday night previous, simply because their money placed at interest had worked faithfully for them all day Sunday, according to law!

Do not let it work against you; if you do there is no chance for success in life so far as money is concerned. John Randolph, the eccentric Virginian, once exclaimed in Congress, Mr. Speaker, I have discovered the philosophers stone: pay as you go. This is, indeed, nearer to the philosophers stone than any alchemist has ever yet arrived.Also click for information on Recruitment Software

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Is Outsourcing The Answer To Your Software Problems?

December 26th, 2010 Comments off

Determining whether or not outsourcing is the answer to your software problems is not necessarily a difficult question but it is a question which involves careful consideration. There are a series of questions which should be asked to help determine whether or not outsourcing is a wise decision in a particular case. Examples of some of the questions which should be asked are:

* Are there in-house employees capable or resolving the software problem?
* Do current workloads allow in-house employees to work on this problem?
* How expensive will it be to outsource the task?
* What are the benefits of outsourcing the problem?

This article will take a look at each of these questions and provide insight into how these questions can be used to help make this important decision.

The Capabilities of In-house Employees

Some software problems require highly specialized training to resolve the issues. It is often the case that a companys in-house employees do not have the capabilities of resolving these software issues. When this occurs outsourcing the problem to a specialist is the obvious choice. However, in situations where the in-house employees are qualified to resolve the problem, the issue of whether or not to outsource becomes more complicated.

Those tasked with making the decision often weight the options by considering the cost of outsourcing versus the speed at which the problem would be resolved in both cases. If there is an expert readily available to tackle the problem it will likely be resolved relatively quickly. However, if in-house employees are currently overburdened, they may not be able to make this problem a priority.

The Workload of In-house Employees

The workload of in-house employees often comes into question when considering whether or not to outsource a specific software related task or tasks. In the previous section we discussed the importance of outsourcing when the in-house employees are not qualified for certain tasks. However, this is not always the case. Often in-house employees are fully capable of completing a task but they are unable to do so because of their current workload. In a situation when all of the in-house employees are unavailable to take on additional tasks, outsourcing again becomes a viable option.

Will Outsourcing Save Money

One of the main factors companys consider when they contemplate outsourcing is whether or not they will save money by outsourcing. Hiring an expert on a contract basis can certainly be expensive but it is often a worthwhile investment especially for highly specialized work. The cost of outsourcing is usually higher in terms of the hourly rate of the employee but overall the costs may be reduced. When considering work performed by in-house employees it is important to realize the cost of the work includes the employees hourly rate, the cost of benefits such as social security, Medicare and workers compensation and resources such as office space, hardware, office supplies and other incidentals. After factoring in all of these costs it becomes clear that outsourcing isnt always the more expensive option.

Another factor to consider when calculating the costs of outsourcing a software problem is how quickly the problem can be resolved by outsourcing as opposed to handling the problem in-house. This will depend on the capabilities and availability of the in-house staff. If there is not a capable staff member available it may take significantly longer to handle the problem in-house.

The Benefits of Outsourcing

Finally, the benefits of outsourcing should be considered in deciding whether or not to outsource particular tasks. We have already touched upon some of the benefits of outsourcing but for the sake of completeness we will include a list of some of the most significant benefits below:

* Decreased labor costs
* Access to industry experts
* Flexibility in scheduling
* Increased manpower

With so many benefits it is clear that outsourcing can be a viable solution to many software problems. The bottom line in determining whether or not to outsource a particular software problem often involves comparing the benefits of outsourcing to the costs of outsourcing.

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Internet Marketing And Outsourcing

November 27th, 2010 Comments off

Internet marketing and outsourcing work very well together. In fact most Internet marketers employ at lease some degree of outsourcing. The most common aspects of Internet marketing which are outsourced are copywriting and website design. Ideally these tasks will be delegated to individuals who are skilled in search engine optimization (SEO). Additionally, those who manage multiple niches may opt to outsource the responsibilities of managing some of their niche markets. This article will take a look at some of the commonly outsourced tasks and provide information regarding why outsourcing these tasks is ideal.

Managing Multiple Niches

Many involved in Internet niche marketing become involved in managing multiple niche marketing campaigns. When this happens it can become difficult for one individual to oversee all of the campaigns without compromising the quality of the niche markets. Therefore, he will often outsource the oversight responsibilities related to managing some of the niche markets. This gives him the freedom to focus more on developing new niches and marketing strategies as opposed to overseeing minute details.

Care should be taken when outsourcing this type of work to ensure the employee hired to undertake these tasks is an honest individual with a great deal of integrity. Those who are lacking in integrity may take advantage of this situation to learn about the marketing strategies for the express purpose of stealing sensitive information and creating competition in these niches.

Outsourcing Copywriting

Copywriting services are also commonly outsourced in niche marketing. Those involved in Internet niche marketing realize the importance of providing high quality content that is also optimized for search engines. This applies to copywriting which is included on niche websites, in e-newsletters, in press releases and in ebooks. The content provided is critical to the success of the niche marketing campaign because it is often the first impression members of the target audience get of the campaign. Their opinion of the copy can determine whether or not they are willing to visit the niche website in the future or further research products or services for sale.

When selecting a writer to provide the content for the niche marketing campaign, it is important to consider a writer with SEO experience. This is important because the content provided on websites can have an impact on the search engine rankings of the website. The use of keywords is the most important part of copywriting relevant to SEO. The keywords should be used in a manner that creates informative and interesting copy that appeals to both website visitors and search engines.

Outsourcing Website Design

Web design is another aspect of Internet niche marketing that is often outsourced. Most marketers recognize website design as an important part of their success. They need their websites to be well designed both aesthetically and technically to ensure visitors enjoy the website and all of the features of the website operate smoothly.

Additionally, it is very important for the website designer chosen to understand how to implement SEO strategies into the design of the website. There are many different strategies available for SEO and there are also always new techniques being developed, tested and evaluated. The SEO of a website is pretty much a full time job. This is why it is essential for marketers to outsource this work so they can ensure they have someone working on their website optimization constantly.

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How Outsourcing Software Jobs Can Be Profitable

October 29th, 2010 Comments off

Outsourcing software jobs, even on a regular basis, can be profitable. Most people incorrectly assume outsourcing is a short term solution when a quick fix is needed and that it can not be a long term way of doing business while still enjoying profitability. Outsourcing is a good idea in the software industry for a couple of very important reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is the software industry is continually evolving and outsourcing software jobs to independent contractors or other software firms gives companies an increased flexibility that is not possible when they rely solely on their in-house software personnel. Being able to offer clients a wider range of skills is beneficial to the company. This can be achieved through outsourcing software jobs to individuals or firms with unique skill sets. Another key element to the theory of it being profitable to outsource software jobs is the effect of virtually increasing your manpower through this process. This article will discuss these two components in greater detail to explain how outsourcing software jobs can be profitable.

Increased Flexibility through Outsourcing

One way outsourcing software jobs helps companies to be more profitable is by increasing their flexibility. This is especially important in the software industry where there is a continuing education process which must be followed in order to stay up to date with the latest software, technology and trends in the industry. Maintaining an in-house staff of employees who were up to date on all of the latest issues in the industry would be time consuming and costly not to mention extremely difficult, if not impossible. Employees would spend more time in training then they would spend completing their actual work which would result in the inability to meet deadlines. It may also result in missed opportunities if there are currently no in-house employees qualified to perform specific tasks.

One way to avoid these pitfalls is to rely on outsourcing to fill in the gaps when there are project needs beyond the abilities of the in-house staff. This allows a company to keep their clients happy by being able to meet their needs. When this happens the company is much more likely to see return work from the client than they were if they floundered on previous tasks.

The flexibility outsourcing provides also allows companies to afford the luxury of allowing their employees to participate in important training classes. This is an important issue because while training and continuing education does make employees more marketable, it also costs the company in terms of productivity because the employees are not profitable during the course of their training. However, if companies are outsourcing some of their software jobs while some of their in-house employees are in training classes, the company gets the benefit of more knowledgeable employees without having to pass on potentially profitable endeavors in the employees absence.

Increased Manpower through Outsourcing

In addition to the flexibility issues described above, outsourcing has the added bonus of essential increasing a companys manpower making them more appealing to potential clients. While there are always going to be some potential clients who are drawn to the appeal of a smaller company, the vast majority would prefer dealing with a larger company that has the manpower necessary to meet all of their complex needs. Outsourcing gives a company the luxury of having industry experts at their disposal without having to maintain these individuals on staff.

Increased manpower through outsourcing is also beneficial when companies want to attempt to procure larger projects. A company may spend years working on smaller projects because they do not have the manpower to adequately complete larger projects. However, realizing how to properly utilize outsourcing gives many smaller companies the confidence they need to begin searching for more complex projects. This is significant because these larger projects will result in a higher rate of profitability.

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Guide To Outsourcing

September 30th, 2010 Comments off

Those who are considering outsourcing portions of work for the first time may be feeling overwhelmed and hesitant about the concept of relying on someone outside the company to complete work related tasks. The discomfort with deciding whether or not to outsource work stems largely from ignorance about the process of outsourcing. This article will serve as a guide to those who are considering outsourcing for the first time and will provide information on how to select qualified candidates, establish project requirements and enforce a deadline for project completion.

Select Qualified Candidates Carefully

One way to greatly simplify the process of outsourcing is to give special consideration to selecting a qualified candidate to complete the outsourced tasks. This is important because outsourcing the project to an individual who is qualified to complete the tasks and motivated to do a good job will make the outsourcing endeavor more likely to be successful.

To find the right candidate for the job, place advertisements outlining the project requirements and preferences and carefully review each application which is submitted. Immediately disregard applicants who are not qualified for the position. Then review the applications of qualified candidates carefully and select a small group of the most promising candidates. Next interview each of these candidates and verify their references and passed work experiences to learn more about these candidates and their abilities and work ethics.

After interviewing these candidates it is time to make a decision regarding hiring one of the final candidates. Do not be discouraged if none of the final candidates seemed right for the job because you are under no obligation to hire any of them. You can continue your search for a qualified candidate by placing your job advertisement again and soliciting new responses.

Establish Definite Requirements

When outsourcing a project or tasks, it is important to clearly define the project requirements. This is critical because it is important for the contractor to fully understand the tasks which are being outsourced to ensure he is fulfilling all of the requirements and completing the task in a satisfactory manner.

Failure to establish definite project requirements and goals can lead to a great deal of problems when outsourcing a project. The contractor may feel as though he has completed the project as it was outlined but the employer may disagree. When this happens there can be harmful delays until the issues can be resolved amicably. In the case that this is not possible it might be necessary to employ the assistance of a mediator to evaluate the contract documents and the work produced to determine if the contract terms were met.

Establish a Firm Deadline

Another important element of outsourcing is establishing a firm deadline for the project. This is important to avoid misunderstandings and to prevent late submissions of work. Setting milestone goals is also important because it gives the employer the ability to evaluate the progress of the contractor during different stages of the project and to ensure it is proceeding according to schedule.

Ideally the deadline should be established before the candidate is chosen. This is important because this enables the employer to verify that the contractor is available for the duration of the project. Schedule should be discussed early in the process of selecting a candidate to avoid selecting an ideal candidate only to find out he is unavailable when his services are required.

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Fractional Ownership

September 1st, 2010 Comments off

What is fractional Cottage Ownership? You hear the term all the time, yet what does it mean? Is it a Timeshare? Do you own real property? Fractional cottage ownership has become quite popular in the last few years. There are companies that specialize in finding properties that are suitable for fractional ownership. These same companies then buy the properties and repackage them for sale in the fractional ownership market. Often these companies will also manage the properties and assist the groups of owners in renting the property. Obviously for this service there is a charge, but many fractional cottage owners feel it is well worth the cost.

So what is fractional ownership? Essentially, a small group of people or families decide to split the cost of purchase and maintenance of a vacation property and share its use. The one point that needs to be emphasized with fractional ownership is that the group of people that own the cottage actually are on title to the land, and the building. Like any other property the value of this land and building will go up and down as the real estate market does. Most fractional cottages are usually larger units owned by fewer people and most usually do not lose their value over time. In fact most appreciate in value just like they would if they where owned individually.

Sometime in the early 1990s, fractional ownership started to become very popular. Agencies would offer fractional ownership programs that would usually involve buying a percentage ownership of a vacation property with a partnership agreement in place that would stipulate how many weeks each partner could have for their own personal use as well as a schedule of when those weeks could be used.

There are some distinct advantages of participating in a fractional ownership program. The owners can stay for fairly extended periods of time, such as, 4-6 weeks, as opposed to other options where the duration of the stay may be set to a rather short period of time. A huge advantage is that they are usually easier to finance through lenders because the risk is spread among several owners.

Another advantage of fractional ownership is that maintenance is usually provided year round and the costs for this upkeep are divided amongst all the owners. It costs less to keep the place and the property is available all year round and may often be used out of season. Probably one of the best advantages of fractional ownership is that the properties themselves are usually much easier to sell. When it is time to get out, it is easy to do so.

Naturally these advantages can tend to drive up the prices of fractional ownership as opposed to other less expensive alternatives. Luxury fractional ownership can sometimes cost as much as 200,000 per share and does not including maintenance and operating costs, however, there are more affordable fractional properties that can be found in the 29,000 range with as low as a 30% down payment and around a 140 monthly maintenance fee.
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Flash As a Big Ball of Clay

August 3rd, 2010 Comments off

This interview is a resource of DesignMaster Training, an online professional training and development website for working design professionals. Mudbubble.com founder (www.mudbubble.com) and Flash Animation class DesignMaster instructor, Chris Georgenes, has created a cross-platform career as an animator for Web and broadcast media. He shares his ah-ha moment as a Flash-based illustrator and animator.

Location: Connecticut (check)
Clients: Sesame Street , Lucas Arts, Macromedia, and Macmillan. (check)
Area of Specialty: Flash trainer, animation for broadcast or web, illustration (fill in this area)

Scott Chappell caught up with Chris between clients to discuss where Flash animation is today, where its going, and how to animate a rap star.

PULLOUT QUOTE

That moment changed my whole outlook on art and, in some ways, life in general. It took four years and that very moment for my eyes to be opened as an artist. It changed me. It taught me more than I ever thought I would be able to know and its a lesson I carry with me to this very day. Being subtle is powerful.

Chris Georgenes , Founder, Mudbubble.com

Q: Much of your Flash work involves developing characters that act as avatars (hosts or tour guides) to a site. Why do Web visitors find avatars so compelling?

Chris: If done well, avatars have enormous branding and marketing potential. Few things are more engaging to Web viewers than an interactive character that helps them navigate a site. An avatar not only reflects the companys image, but also shows that a company is willing to make the extra effort to deliver the best experience possible.

Q: One of your highest-profile projects was to create an online avatar for the rap artist Nelly. What was the key to making that character believable?

Chris: (Chuckle) As a 37 year-old Caucasian, and a father of 3 children, I am pretty far from having any mannerisms commonly associated with any hip-hop personality. As an animator, you sometimes have to act out what you are animating in order to learn specific gestures and body language. Along with watching a lot of BET (Black Entertainment Television), I tried to mimic Nellys hand gestures while animating. During one somewhat intense animation session, I was acting out my best Nelly impersonation just as my wife walked in. Pretty embarrassing. She still laughs about it.

Q: Back in the day, cartoons were only used to market to kids. Has something changed? Are companies more open to using animation for a broader demographic now?

Chris: The Web has changed everything in this regard. I have a client right now who runs an online business manufacturing and selling products for kitchens. The company is trying to redesign its self-proclaimed corporate site by adding some Flash animation that features not only the products, but also company representatives as actual animated characters. To see grown adults giddy about the prospect of adding a cartoon to their Web site is amusing, to say the least. These are people who probably havent sat down to watch a cartoon in 35 years. So yes, from my perspective (and first-hand experience), companies are more willing to explore the use of not only cartoons, but motion graphics of any kind to help sell their products.

Q: Youve talked to a lot of Flash developers about animation in the last couple of years. What are the big questions that people have?

Chris: Surprisingly, most questions are about the most basic techniques in Flash. Most questions pertain to animating something specificstickmen, a certain effect like fog, or an iris transition effect. Of course, if you dont know how to use Flash, then even these effects can be daunting. Once people see how an animator makes these kinds of effects, it opens up their creative minds to explore other effects and animations using the same techniques.

Other questions are more global in nature. Where is Flash heading in the industry? Hand-held devices and television is my guess. Flash is very versatile and it can be implemented in so many ways and in several mediums.

Q: What are the main challenges Flash developers have in creating convincing animationsor finding their style?

Chris: Thats just it, finding their style. It took me years to find my own style and I didnt even really realize I had one until after I discovered it. Its like tripping over a dinosaur boneat least for me it was. Whenever I set out to create something new and unique, it never happened. Ive learned that style cant be forced; it will expose itself in time if you dedicate yourself to experimenting long enough. I approach Flash as if it is a ball of clay, pushing and pulling it into what I want. Many animators get too hung up on the mechanics of the software program and rely too much on only what the interface offers. Flash is just a tool, like any other animation or graphics program, and it should be used as such. Never should the artist allow the tools limitations to dictate what can and cant be accomplished. Theres more you can do with a hammer than just driving nails.

Q: Amen to that. Thats a statement that legions of design students should bear in mind. As an illustrator and animator, where did your journey begin?

Chris: I was way into hyper-realism early onespecially while attending the Hartford Art School ( Connecticut ). I was always creating imagery where objects were flying out from the page in very foreshortened perspectivevery dynamic, very real, very in your face content. I thought this was cool and would impress people. I would spend countless hours drawing something so perfect, so incredibly life-like with sharp contrasting colors and delicate gradients of darks and lights which made for extremely convincing imagery. In some situations, people were initially convinced my drawings were photographs. Most of the pieces I created were large in scale, 18x 24 and even as large as 30x 40. I majored in printmaking (Lithography and Etching), and printed many images directly from huge limestone and copper plates that took weeks and most often months to make.

One afternoon in the print shop, I had a leftover piece of copper plate that I was about to discard. It was small, about 3x 7, and tiny compared to what I was used to. Instead of tossing it, I quickly drew a rough study of a figure of a woman. I spent no more than ten minutes on the drawing before throwing it in the acid bath so it could be etched, inked, and ultimately printed. It was a simple drawing, loose in line style, and very much the opposite of the hyper-realistic style I was striving for during that time in my career. I liked it for what it was, but didnt think it was a very impressive piece. I contemplated tossing the print and the copper plate in the trash and going back to my much larger pieces, but something told me to hang on to it, at least for a little while. So I slid it between the pages of a book in my backpack.

At the end of my tenure at H.A.S., like all graduating seniors, I had my gallery showing. Four years of work proudly displayed on four huge walls under glass and lights. While setting up my show, I carefully chose the biggest, most realistic in-your-face drawings and prints I had created during those years. While hanging the last piece, the small etching of the woman slipped out onto the floor. I picked it up, looked at it, and contemplated adding it to the show. I decided to hang it next to the light switch near the exit door, as if it were an afterthought, far from the spotlight and center of attention.

The opening was a success and my show hung on those walls for a week. A few days after my show, my illustration professor, who was unable to make the opening, went with me to view my body of work. Many of the pieces were from his classes, and those that were not were influenced by his teachings. He was the professor I most admired. I adored his skill and dedication to the arts. He quietly and slowly studied each and every piece I had displayed without uttering a word. I was excited he was spending so much time, especially on the larger, more realistic works. I was convinced he was impressed by them. After he looked at the last drawing, which happened to be the small etching of the woman in the corner next to the light switch, he turned and looked at me and asked, Want to know what I think is the best thing you have ever done?

I thought he was going to tell me it was any one of the larger pieces. To my surprise he turned and pointed to the small etching next to the light switch! He went on to explain that its simplicity and essential quality provoked an emotion within him and compared it to Rembrandt or Da Vinci. He told me it was a milestone not only in my career, but in any artists career to draw like that. It was subtle, and that subtlety made more of an impact than in-your-face hyper-realism. That moment changed my whole outlook on art and in some ways, life in general. It took four years and that very moment for my eyes to be opened as an artist. It changed me. It taught me more than I ever thought I would be able to know and its a lesson I carry with me to this very day. Being subtle is powerful. That was my greatest influence.

Q: Thats an inspirational story, thanks for sharing it. You mentioned the future of Flash in the industry. What other applications for Flash animation do you see beyond the Web? Is there an emerging market for cell phone art? Or iPod art, even?

Chris: Television broadcast, including commercials, interstitials, and full production animated series. The hand-held market is also about to burst open with Flash content. As Flash grows, so do its uses. MX 2004 gave us ActionScript 2.0 and the next version of Flash will certainly give us more powerful tools to increase Flashs penetration across several mediums. The sky is the limit!

Categories: UK Outsourcing

Finding Ways To Outsource

July 5th, 2010 Comments off

Are you considering outsourcing but have no idea where to start? In almost every industry there is the opportunity to outsource at least a few of the common tasks performed in the industry. In some industries there may the possibility of outsourcing the majority of the common tasks while in other industries there may only be the opportunity to outsource one or two of the common tasks. In either case outsourcing can result in a lightened workload as well as an increase in profit.

Evaluate Daily Activities

The first step in finding ways to outsource is to take a really close look at the daily activities you perform when tending to your business. Make a list of each of these activities and note any related activities that are typically performed in conjunction with each other. Making this note is important because activities which are typically performed together should either be outsourced together or remain as in-house activities together to maintain the highest level of efficiency.

Once you have compiled this list of activities, carefully consider which activities can easily be performed by another person and which activities require your personal attention. This will give you a good idea of which activities you could outsource and which activities would not be good opportunities for outsourcing.

Finally, review your list of activities and note how long it takes you to perform each of the activities you could outsource. This information will be helpful later if you decide to search for a candidate to complete these tasks.

Prioritize Daily Activities

After you have carefully examined your daily activities, it is time to prioritize these activities. Create a comprehensive list of all of your daily activities in their order of importance. For this list include both the activities requiring your personal attention and the activities which can be outsourced.

When you make your decision to start outsourcing some of your daily tasks, start with the highest priority on the list which you believe can be outsourced. Attempt to outsource this task as a test to determine whether or not outsourcing will work for you. If you decide you are comfortable with outsourcing and that it is working for your business, you can continue down the prioritized list attempting to find those capable of handling your daily activities.

Consider Administrative Tasks

We have already discussed the importance of evaluating your own daily tasks in the process of finding ways to outsource but it is also important to consider tasks completed by your staff members. Administrative tasks are often tasks which can be outsourced so examining these tasks will give you a good idea if you can increase the efficiency of your administrative assistance by outsourcing some of their responsibilities.

Activities such as data entry, transcription and other activities often handled by personal assistance are all example of activities which can easily be outsourced. Additionally, there is a great deal of qualified candidates available to fulfill these tasks. The industry of virtual personal assistants has become a booming industry with many savvy entrepreneurs offering their skills in these areas as a consultant.

Develop a Plan for Managing Outsourced Activities

Before starting to outsource daily activities, you should develop a plan for managing all of your outsourced activities. This plan should include the following:

* Method for selecting candidates to handle outsourced work
* Method for overseeing the work performed by independent contractors
* Method for evaluating the work performed by independent contractors

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Do You Compromise Quality with Outsourcing?

June 6th, 2010 Comments off

The simple answer to this question is yes, and no and maybe. Well, maybe it is not such a simple answer because it is a particularly loaded question. The subject of outsourcing is a very sensitive issue for many. There are some who believe that outsourcing, whether it is overseas or domestic, is taking jobs away from qualified individuals while others who are profiting from outsourcing are firm advocates for the practice. This article will take a look at outsourcing and will examine scenarios when quality is compromised as well as scenarios when quality is not compromised.

What is Outsourcing?

For those who are confused about what outsourcing entails, this section will explain the issue. In its most basic form, outsourcing is employing an individual outside of the work organization to perform specific tasks for monetary compensation. Outsourcing can be done on a per project basis, for a set period of time or on an ongoing basis for an undetermined period of time.

For many the word outsourcing has a very negative connotation. When they think of outsourcing, they picture underage employees in third world countries working for salaries which would be paltry by our standards. However, outsourcing has evolved so much and no longer resembles this stereotype. In fact many outsourcing takes place domestically by savvy entrepreneurs who market their abilities as an independent contractor rather than toiling away in corporate America. These individuals, enjoy their quality of life, negotiate fair compensation for their work and accept or decline work at their own will. Furthermore these individuals are often highly qualified for the positions they accept and are capable of producing work of a high standard.

When Outsourcing Compromises Quality

The simplest answer to this question is quality is compromised when price becomes the sole governing factor in selecting a candidate to complete the outsourced task. Of course this answer is not completely accurate because the truth is there are very educated and skilled employees overseas who are fully capable of completing tasks just as well as those living in this country and often for a much lower price. However, when only domestic candidates are being considered and price is the governing factor, quality is often compromised as it is very rare that the most qualified candidate is also the candidate with the lowest rates.

However, it is very common for an individual or a business to allow price to become more important than quality of work. When this happens quality is often compromised for the sake of a larger profit. An example of this is seen regularly on websites where outsourcing projects are listed and potential applicants submit their bids for these projects. Many who utilize these websites routinely select the lowest bidder without regard for the qualifications of the bidder. In most cases these individuals find they make a costly mistake when the work they receive is inadequate.

When Outsourcing Does Not Compromise Quality

Outsourcing does not always compromise quality. In fact in many cases outsourcing is not only the most affordable option but also provides the most qualified candidates. One way to avoid the pitfalls of having quality compromised by outsourcing is to carefully screen candidates before making a decision. This process should be taken just as seriously as hiring a full time employee because the work of the individual will reflect on you as an individual or your business. If due diligence is given to selecting the right candidate it is not likely that quality will be compromised.

When outsourcing work to an individual it is important to request detailed information regarding their qualifications and to verify all information supplied. Examples of information to request include:

* Previous work history
* Relevant work experiences
* Explanation of qualifications

Additionally, it is wise to ask for both business and personal references. These references should all be contacted and questioned about the work ethic and personal integrity of the individual.

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Comparing In-house Work and Outsourced Work

May 8th, 2010 Comments off

Is there validity to comparing in-house work and outsourced work? Of course there is but the more pertinent question is how you make these comparisons. Those who are involved in the Internet niche marketing industry realize a large portion of their success is related to their ability to constantly evaluate their niche markets and determine what is working and what is not working. They examine and test aesthetical details such as font size and colors along with more technical elements such as coding and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Since these savvy entrepreneurs are already constantly evaluating and making minor adjustments it is logical that they should also make comparisons relating to the work done in-house and the work that is outsourced. They should evaluate the work in terms of finances and in terms of quality.

The Cost of Outsourcing vs. Keeping Work in House

As with any business the bottom line in Internet niche marketing is often financial. There is no clear cut answer as to whether particular tasks will be completed at a lower cost in-house or through outsourcing. This will depend on a number of factors. For example the qualifications of the in-house staff is one of the major factors in the equation. The availability of the in-house staff members should also be considered.

If there are members of in-house staff members capable of completing the task and available to do so, it may be more affordable to keep the work in-house. However, outsourcing does reduce labour costs but often comes with a higher hourly rate as well as costs required to advertise the position and interview candidates. These costs will vary from case to case so it is important to always consider outsourcing as an option when possible.

The Quality of Outsourcing vs. Keeping Work in House

Comparing the quality of outsourcing versus in-house work is even more difficult. Again, there is no set answer for which is typically higher quality. In a situation where experts are required to complete a task it may be better to outsource the task because the in-house staff is not qualified to complete the task. In this case the quality of the work produced by the contractor will not only be of higher quality but will also likely be completed quicker and more efficiently.

However, in cases where the in-house staff and the contractor are equally qualified the in-house staff may hold a slight advantage because they are more familiar with company policies and procedures. In this case the in-house may be more efficient because they are already familiar with the standard procedures. This becomes less of an issue in cases where work is outsourced to the same individual regularly.

The other factor to consider when comparing outsourced work to in-house work is the work ethic of the individual completing the assignments. Two equally qualified employees given the same assignment, schedule and pertinent information may not produce the exact same results. This is because one employee may have a more diligent work ethic and a more keen attention to detail. In this scenario the more diligent employee will likely produce work of a higher quality. As this relates to personality rather than whether or not the work is completed in-house or outsourced it makes it even more difficult to compare in-house work to outsourced work.

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