Small Business Outsourcing with Craigslist

By Andrew Lock | Posted May 24, 2011

Andrew Lock

Now, I know what you're thinking. You probably think that Craigslist is only good for buying and selling stuff -- like that sofa -- with the bedbugs. We will talk of that no more. But seriously, I'm going to talk to you about using Craigslist as a Web tool for outsourcing.

It's a great place to find a job or to find someone to do a job for you. And I can say that from personal experience; I picked up a client from Craigslist that over a year or two has netted me about $50,000. So, it's really worthwhile to check out Craigslist from time to time.

Now in case you’re not that familiar with Craigslist, you can work down through a geographic hierarchy, for instance by all of the states or by U.S. cities. If you're in the New York area, for example, using Craigslist makes a lot of sense. Now some other areas, I don’t know. Maybe if you’re in Idaho you're not going to find a lot of opportunities on Craigslist -- at least not locally.

But if you are in Idaho or some other remote location, you might check the major cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago for either freelancers or for work, because for a lot of this stuff you don’t have to be local to the person that your working with.

Once you get to a particular city on Craigslist, in this case New York, sometimes it's further sub-divided. In this case you can choose between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey and so forth. You can also find work or find someone to do work for you through two areas -- one is Jobs and the other is Gigs. I use Gigs because I like doing creative stuff.

Craigslist.org; outsourcing Web tool
Craigslist is a great place to find work or to find a freelancer to work for you.
(Click for larger image)
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Under Gigs, click on Creative, and there you'll find a variety of different postings all listed chronologically by the date on which they were posted. And honestly, if the post is more than a few days old, chances are it's not worth responding to.

Likewise, if you’re posting something and you don’t get responses, post it again in a week or so.

For example, currently there's a listing by someone looking for a videographer and they've listed the compensation as "no pay." That's another key thing about Craigslist. A lot of people will say "no pay," meaning they think they can get something done for free or at least they're going to try that at first.

But if you're a freelancer don’t fall for that. What good is credit on a movie no one's ever going to see?

Outsourcing on Craigslist: Keep it Legal

As you know, States attorneys in several different states have cracked down on Craigslist for less-than-savory activity in the personals. Okay, let’s be honest: people have been posting listings that solicit prostitution. Well, since that part of Craigslist has been shut down, a fair number of those listings have drifted over into the Gigs area. So be careful of that because some of these listings are just come-ons from people either looking for something illegal or from people offering illegal services.

Here's something else of interest if you’re going to use Craigslist to find work. A lot these different areas on the site have an RSS feed down at the bottom of the page. If you click on the RSS button, it adds an RSS link to your email program. If you subscribe to the RSS feed, everyday you'll get the latest listings for that particular slice of the Craigslist listings.

Of course this is free -- as is all of Craigslist -- unless you're in a major city, in which case they do charge you for posting some listings. Be sure to check out Craigslist – it's a great opportunity to find freelancers or for freelancers to look for outsourced work.


You'll find lots more small business marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business In-Depth series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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