Can’t Find Local Employees? New Trend Helps You Hire Outside The Box.e_darrellj | Mar 18, 2013
Elance CEO Fabio Rosati is a regular contributor to the American Express OPEN Forum, the financial giant’s online site powering small business success. Below is a recent column from Fabio discussing how companies are no longer limited to their local economies. See the original post here.
Brad Simmons was eager to hire employees for ClearMechanic, his mobile app development firm for the automotive industry. But he encountered one major obstacle: Because he’s based in San Francisco, he was competing for the talent and attention of workers who have an eye toward the Googles and Facebooks of the area.
Rather than straining to find employees in that market, Simmons turned to the great equalizer: online work.
“Living in an area where the cost of living is high, the time and money I save with online freelancers helps me be more successful and focus on what’s most important for our growth,” Simmons says.
These days, being bound to a region with too much competition or too few resources doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocre work. It’s possible to be successful wherever your business is, regardless of what project you need to hire for, by tapping into the wealth of freelancers who work online.
That is especially helpful not just for areas that are highly competitive, but also for areas that suffered the most in the economic downturn. According to Elance’s most recent report of online hiring, in U.S. regions hardest-hit by unemployment, total freelancer earnings were up tremendously last year. This includes Rhode Island (+89 percent), Mississippi (+67 percent), New Jersey (+58 percent), Michigan (+54 percent) and California (+41 percent). The same goes for Eastern Europe, where Poland, Bulgaria and the Ukraine levered their strong technical skills to significantly drive 2012 earnings.
Though she’s far from the competitive streets of San Francisco, Alisha Fuller also decided hiring online rather than locally was the best solution for her Jamaica wedding venue, Hummingbird Hall. “Being from a rural area, it can be hard to find talent at the right time and price,” Fuller says. “Using online workers is like having an extended team of specialists, everywhere, who I can use when needed.”
Small businesses that are seeking online workers are finding a surprising level of talent, as skilled employees choose to forgo the corporate world or industry hubs to work freelance jobs from wherever they happen to live. For example, Remington McElhaney, a 19-year-old worker from remote Idaho, specializes in animation graphic design for clients around the world, all from his Coeur D’Alene home. Online workers like McElhaney bring opportunities for small businesses. Even though high-profile companies and startups are scooping up much of the available programming talent within 500 miles, with online workers, you’re never shut out from building your own talented teams.
In fact, small businesses are counting on these employees to help them compete with larger companies. The biggest needs that they’re seeking to fill online include the technology talent gap (Web and mobile app development and programming), as well as a recent surges in online content needs (writers and editors) and design needs (from Web and graphic designers to Photoshop and Illustrator experts).
As a small business seeking talent, rest assured you can escape your local economy and run free in a market unhampered by geography. It’s the key to economic growth wherever you live, so take the opportunity and run with it.
Note: This article originally appeared on American Express OPEN Forum.