8 Jobs You Can Outsource Using Elance & oDesk

November 17, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

elance odeskAfter launching the Internet Marketing Top Blogs list, I received quite a few questions about the script behind it and how I put it all together. The tool has been extremely effective in gathering exposure for Winning the Web and I envision it to be a top resource for the community for many years to come. What you may not know however, is that there’s no way I could have possibly created that list myself. I’m not much of a programmer and even if I was, I wouldn’t want to spend time away from my business to work on it. What I did was I hired an extremely competent programmer from India to take care of the grunt work for me. He has simply amazed me with his skills and work ethic and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It definitely was not cheap (I paid in the low 4 figures range) but in the long run I believe the benefits will be worth the investment.

Everyone running an online business should consider outsourcing work to third parties. Not only can these providers do a better job, but it’s also cheaper. You should be focusing on your core business, doing what you do best. Everything else can be outsourced. You need to let go if you want to scale your business and take your income to the next level.

2 of the best places to find remote contractors are Elance and oDesk. Between the two sites, there have been over $200 million in service transactions since 2005. They offer solid marketplaces that connect jobs with service providers. If you’re looking to outsource work, Elance and oDesk are must-haves. Below are some of the services available.

Web & graphic design
There are a ton of free and paid WordPress themes that you can use for your websites, but if you decide you need your own custom design or logo, finding someone on Elance or oDesk isn’t a bad idea. The quality probably will not be as high as a dedicated web design agency, but it’s definitely a more affordable solution. Also, take a look at 99designs, a designer marketplace where you can launch logo design contests to find the best work (tip from QuadZilla of SEO Black Hat).

This is the primary reason why I use Elance and oDesk. Professionals from Russia and India are extremely skilled programmers and they’re usually willing to work for much less because their cost of living is lower. If you want to create a new tool or software application, definitely post a job at Elance or oDesk and see what the bid amounts come out to. You’d be surprised at the quality work you can get for cheap.

I haven’t really experimented with outsourcing multimedia, but I assume that it’d be much more difficult than programming. Unlike coding which is fairly straight forward and technical, multimedia requires a larger sense of creativity. You wouldn’t want some random guy in India recording the intro for your podcast in broken English, would you? Technical jobs like video and audio production are probably more worthwhile in this category.

Blogging / Writing / Translating
I’ve had pretty good success finding bloggers and writers using the Problogger Job Board. However, Elance and oDesk both offer similar marketplaces for services such as blogging, copywriting, translation, article writing, and business plan writing. Honestly, I don’t think you’ll find the best writing work at these marketplaces, but it is worth a shot.

Administrative support
How many hours do you waste every day checking email and taking care of administrative tasks? I’m guessing a lot. Elance was made popular by Tim Ferriss’ endorsement in his New York Times best seller The 4-Hour Workweek. In the book, Tim describes the benefits of a virtual assistant to help you take care of mundane administrative tasks. Sure you can always just do everything yourself, but think of the lost opportunities and the lost time. A VA might be just what you need to increase your productivity.

Marketing / Sales / SEO
Personally I would never outsource marketing and SEO. It’s what I’m good at and what I’d like to focus my attention on to gain a competitive advantage. However, if you’d rather leave the sales and marketing for your business to someone else, you may find some opportunities on Elance. Beware for scams though. There are many marketers out there who promise results but can’t deliver on them.

Book keeping, business plan development, tax preparation, and business analysis are just a few options in this category. You definitely want to be careful when outsourcing finance jobs. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to trust just anyone on Elance to work with my finances and my money. This is one you might want to hold close to your business.

Finally is legal service. If you’re dealing with copyright issues or patent law, it might be a good idea to hire someone to do the research for you. However, remember that it’s highly unlikely for certified lawyers to come looking for work at an online marketplace. Use with caution – there’s no replacement for a real lawyer.

Do you outsource work to various service providers via Elance and oDesk? What has your experience been like? It’s been great for me so far, but you may have a different story to tell. Leave a comment below and let us know!

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22 Responses to “8 Jobs You Can Outsource Using Elance & oDesk”

Eric on November 17th, 2008

I use oDesk, but can’t believe how many copy & paste applications I get. Recently, I added into the middle of my job descriptions a simple math problem. If they don’t answer it in their application, I know they didn’t read the job description. I can easily eliminate 60-70% of all who “apply” this way, and focus on those who really want the job.

Also, I’ve *never* had a good experience hiring a group from oDesk. I only hire individuals.

USB on November 18th, 2008

I’ve used elance numerous times for article writing…..the quality is definitely a mixed bag, but after I had used several different writers, I settled onto 1-2 that I really like, and I keep going back to them for more work. The 1-2 that I use are quick & easy to work with, and pretty cheap.

Daves Affiliate Marketing on November 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Like you Gyutae, I like to control marketing. However, I will be using Elance in the future for website building. I am just too slow at it and I wasted a lot of time that I could have used building my business. Time is money.


Jason on November 18th, 2008

Nice list. I was getting ready to post on the ProBlogger boards soon for writers. I’ve got a few sites bookmarked for finding writers, but my guess is that the ProBlogger board will be the most effective.

Taylor on November 18th, 2008

I’ve used both elance and oDesk. With both I found I spent too much time reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. For my money http://www.taskus.com is a much better service.

SEO Stuart on November 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

To be truly honest I get annoyed by the constant emails I recieve offering outsourced work from India on a daily basis, they seem to spend most of their time going through directories etc and kind of just spamming all companies with their service offerings. Although I agree with your point that outsourcing is the way to take earnings to the next level, have considered it frequently and surely will take this route in the near future. It’s nice to now have some recommended resources to find the right people for the job, thanks Gyutae. 🙂

Dennis Edell on November 19th, 2008

I’ve never heard of oDesk and appreciate the tip…it’s about time I started outsourcing some things. 🙂

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog on November 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Outsourcing is the way to go and India Rocks

Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on November 22nd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I’ll never outsource marketing or SEO either, but it really does make sense to use these people and their skills for design and development work, slashing one’s overheads by doing so.

Ajith Edassery on November 23rd, 2008

I would outsource the commenting-on-other blogs part 😉 I would like to pick some 100 blogs in my niche and pay somebody on a daily basis to comment all of them…

At the moment I am able to comment at only those 25-30 blogs that I actually read.


Erwin Tan on December 1st, 2008

Great list..

I do use 99designs and elance.

Outsourcing is another skill as well, those who have some luck and those who took time to shortlist good workers, got their jobs perfectly done.

Ned Carey on December 5th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I have heard of eLance but never heard of oDesk. Thanks for the tip. I have used designcontest.net for logo designs and was quite happy. I know I need to delegate more, I’ll check out oDesk.

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on December 8th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

i would rather go with a recommendation than give my project to someone i dont know..what are your thoughts ?

Ann Arbor Web Design on December 12th, 2008

Guru.com is another excellent site for outsourcing various jobs that you may have. I have also heard of rentacoder being a very good resource for hiring freelancers.

Kate on February 9th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Outsourcing programming is a great option. I found some really good programmers at 1st Custom Software. They also have an interesting article about contract clauses at 9 “Conspiracy” Clauses in Software Contracts. Hopefully this information will be as helpful to you as it was to me.

Yani on March 24th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Elance is my marketplace of choice. I didn’t start making money until I took this guy’s advice: http://freelancemoney.wordpress.com

Can be a little “salesy” at times, but the information is invaluable.


Sikander on June 17th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Outsourcing SEO services, a big change in search marketing sector led us to cost cutting and long term provider. I would like to recommend http://www.mindurge.com for the same.

Vege on October 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

hi, Thank you for post – nice colletsion of tips.
I am currently experimenting with both elance and odesk, but I like to have more options -do you know other similar community based websites that offer similar thing – providers and jobs, can’t find for some reason any other .;(
bye, Chris

Alex on October 8th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email


There is one more leading freelance portal where you can get good providers. visit http://www.getafreelancer.com and invite experts, review their previous work and hire them.

Lyon on January 24th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

This is actually something I’m doing myself, from the point of view of the one doing the hiring. I’ve written a few words about it here:
http://2010consultant.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/excel-guru-wltm-same-fo r-fun-times/
I’m detailing the steps that the buyer goes through in order to secure the right partner to perform the work, and the decision processes that I’m using.

Kristi Patrice Carter on February 10th, 2010

I actually have been an Elance buyer for over 5 years and have a TON of success in finding quality freelancers. Elance is truly the leading place to find online talent. In about 9 times out of 10,my experience has been positive. The only time I had a bad experience was when I wasn’t clear about my expectations, didn’t check up on their work often, and didn’t throughly scrutinize the freelance provider before making my selection. Now that I’ve learned how to leaverage the talent of others and be clearer with my expectations, I find the selection process easy. I definitely recommend individuals checking out Elance for help with their projects and getting the help they need!

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