Why have photographers not really taken to outsourcing? Could it be useful? In the mid 2000s, you’d be hard pressed to speak to anyone in Silicon Valley or any burgeoning tech/communications entrepreneur anywhere, without them bringing up outsourcing. It seemed I was always running into an off-the-rack suit wearing ‘Chad’ or a ginger named ‘Jeremy,’ that was just so full of outsourcing pride they couldn’t help but vomit some of it up again. It was entrepreneurial water-cooler talk that syphoned its way to cocktail parties. And birthdays. And Christenings.
Anyway, outward appearances suggested that achieving the modern incarnation of ‘The American Dream’ meant hiring in Bangalore or Bangkok. The idea was hatched at home, and for a menial sum (comparatively), the grind was shipped to a veritable army of Quickbook & Excel efficient, smarter-than-we-are, hungry foreigners. Silicon Valley may be the official nickname of the Southern Bay Area, but in many senses, you may as well call it Siliconistan.
The thing is, outsourcing is still big, but with a foreign workforce wisening up to their worth, the cost of it in many cases has gone up. Partially, that’s led to farming these jobs to the local front, and now it’s possible to have high quality work done for all aspects of your business, and you don’t need the wealth of an Arab with money to make the desert green. Enter Mark Condon, and Fiverr.
Mark Condon is a British, Sydney based photographer whose work many of you may now be familiar with. Perhaps not his photographic work, but as the creator of Shotkit, a site where professional photographers share their gear and work. I reviewed the site and spoke with Mark when Shotkit was launched in February this year, and it remains to date, my favorite site of its kind. Inspired, according to Mark, by the look of articles you’d find in GQ, Shotkit is a joy to look at, and use, and its ability to straddle the line between being fun and informative have made it a quick success, while its stability continues it.
Mark and I were speaking recently on what it took to get his business off the ground, and Fiverr (a directory of workers who will perform tasks in all fields for $5) has featured heavily in that venture, and his own personal photography business. To what extent? Well, more than you may expect. In fact, Mark, humble as he is, has put together a very detailed post on all the ways he used Fiverr to create his businesses. He goes into much detail about the 10 Fiverr gigs for photographers that he has found the most useful. Those are:
Virtual Assistants – outbound marketing, data entry, Excel work etc
Website Critique/User Testing
Social Media – promotion, reservation, testimonials, RSS
‘The Mystery Gig’ (head over to his post to see more)
Much more than just a list, Mark goes into detail about the advantages and disadvantages of each category, and his experiences. He also goes as far as recommending Fiverr workers that he has used and found to be useful for each section, and offers tips on how to make the most of the various groups.
Thoughts On Fiverr
I’m quite the advocate of outsourcing, and without sounding like some irritating econ student with a tired conversation list, I think the Internet’s bringing back the factors of production to the masses will only make outsourcing even more popular. I see huge advantages to the approach Mark has used, though I know it’s difficult for a lot of photographers to let loose the reigns on any part of their business.
I would say though, that at the end of the day, if you’re treating it like a business, then efficiency and quality both need to be balanced, and hiring others who are better versed than you to quickly take care of something is probably good practice. Learning the skills you’re making use of these people for is never a bad idea, but sometimes, there aren’t enough hours in the day to always be reinventing the wheel.
Have you used Fiverr for your business?
I haven’t had experience with Fiverr myself, and this is not a promotion for that company.