Elance Blog

Two Approaches To Getting Online Work Done

Developing a strategy when engaging in online work reminds me of an old axiom that I live and die by: "Look before you leap.” Regardless of whether you're the Provider or Employer, creating and standing by an overall approach before diving in head first is an important step that warrants a good amount of thought. 

What is the best strategy for working with others online? Do you give your team of providers unlimited free range to ideas, work styles, and most importantly, resources? Or do you create a clear-cut set of blueprints for your provider to follow step-by-step, down to every single last letter? Or is it a hodge-podge combination of the two ideas above? There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer in my book—it all boils down to what works best for you and those you work with online.

I stumbled across Seth Godin’s blog (yes, that Seth Godin, the marketing guru) and saw his interesting take on the above question. Seth sees it go one of two ways:

"There are two ways to work with talent.The first is to give someone as clean a sheet of paper as possible. "We have these assets, we have this opportunity, here is our budget, go!" That's a great way to build a house if you have a ton of money and brilliant architects.

The second is to give someone as strategic and defined a mission as possible. "Here are three logos from companies in other industries, together with the statement we want to make, the size it needs to be, the formats we need to use it and our budget, go!" If you do this, you're almost certain to get something you can use, and almost certain not to be blown away with surprise. Which is the entire point. "

Seth actually points out that he believes the number one reason why providers and employers are dissatisfied is due to confusion between the two strategies.

So, how do you not confuse the two? By picking one and sticking to it, obviously. Check out Seth's post over on his blog—he does an excellent job of covering the pros and cons of both, which will consequently help you steer your next project in the right, strategic direction.

Which brings me to my question to all of you: What way works for you? Number one or number two? And why? Drop me line with your insights in the comments below.

A clean sheet of paper - Seth Godin's Blog