OK, so you might not save the entire world simply by outsourcing, but by using Serebra Connect, an online outsourcing platform, you can auction tasks to skilled freelancers in developing nations – and make a huge difference in their lives. What’s in it for you? Substantial savings – which makes a huge difference in your business.
Serebra Connect is part of Serebra Learning Corporation, an e-learning company that, among other things, provides technology-training solutions over the Internet. Ted Moorhouse, the company’s CEO, believes that Serebra Connect offers tremendous benefits to small businesses while providing life-changing possibilities to many people throughout the world.
Outsourcing frees up time and lets small business owners focus on growing the business, and it increases productivity. Using Serebra Connect, Moorhouse believes, lets socially responsible small business owners contribute to global economic development.
“By posting tasks on Serebra Connect, businesses provide work opportunities to people everywhere regardless of geographic location,” Moorhouse said. “By giving people around the world entry to Serebra Connect, we are providing income opportunities that might otherwise be hard to come by due to geographic, economic or social factors.”
The eBay for ServicesHere’s how it works. If you have a job that needs doing – say Web design or a PowerPoint presentation (Serebra Connect offers more than 200 task categories), you can post the job in the site’s marketplace – for free – through the Post-a-Task Wizard.
Freelancers from anywhere in the world (not just developing nations) can browse the marketplace for jobs that match their particular skill set (they can also take online courses from Serebra to improve skills and their ranking). The Ask a Question forum lets them correspond with buyers to better understand a job’s requirements.
You browse the bids you receive from the various freelancers, and you can view individual profiles, education and feedback to help make the decision. Once you’ve chosen a particular freelancer and agreed to a deadline and fee, the money goes into an escrow account – ConnectPay – held by Serebra Connect, thus eliminating risk for both parties.
The freelancer does the work and submits it for approval. Both parties use their individual My Connect collaboration space and tools to exchange files, send messages, make corrections and adjustments to the work as needed and track the project’s progress.
When the buyer marks the work as complete, Serebra releases the fee – to the seller in the form of a MasterCard debit card that can be used anywhere in the world. The seller pays a percentage of the fee – Moorhouse says it’s around 13 percent to Serebra Connect. And, as with eBay, both buyers and sellers leave feedback for each other.
Moorhouse says Serebra Connect is a win-win situation for buyers and sellers alike. Here’s how the company breaks down the outsourcing benefits for both groups:Buyer Benefits
- No membership or service fees to post unlimited tasks
- Payment to the seller is only released after the buyer marks the task as complete
- Save time
- Save money
- Increase productivity
- Provide income to individuals and the economies of developing nations
- Join the global economy and earn income with your skills
- Access affordable e-learning courses to learn new skills to earn more income
- No membership fees and unlimited free bids
- Receive recognition for courses completed and new skills learned
- Bid on tasks quickly and easily
- Use your own personal online workspace
- Work from home
Growing a Global Economy
Moorhouse laid out a scenario that describes how Serebra Connect can create positive, economic change. According to JobStreet.com, the average salary for a teacher in the Philippines ranges from 11,000 – 15,000 pesos annually, which translates to approximately $22 – $30 U.S. per month.
Take one small business owner in New York who needs a PowerPoint presentation, but lacks the time and/or skills to do it in-house. That task could cost her as much as $1,000. Instead, she goes to Serebra Connect and receives a bid from that teacher in the Philippines for $80 (all prices in U.S. dollars).“That’s big savings for that small business owner, and even bigger income for the teacher – almost four times the average monthly income,” said Moorhouse. “People don’t just need education,” he said. “They need jobs and income.”
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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