Outsourcing: When to fire the help

To recap, the plan is to outsource some business research using elance.com to determine if the business is worth getting in to.The executive update is: things have gone awry, we’re getting back on track.

My initial choice didn’t send me anything after three days of waiting for the business terms. Elance suggested that 24 hours was the right way to go about things. After three days, I decided that this particular bidder likely was not reliable and canceled acceptance of their proposal.

I was now ready to pick it back up with my second choice. This seemed like a great strategy until, after 24 hours, they responded saying that they were no longer interested. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that things were getting just a bit screwy.

I certainly believe that this is what Seth Godin would refer to as a dip (if you are not certain what this means, check out his book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) )

So what have I done about it? I’ve re-written the project description and re-listed the project. Things this time around seem to be better. The pricing is more competitive with a much smaller standard deviation. I’ve selected two of the 7 bidders to pursue the project in parallel, for the same price as my original bidder.

This has certainly not gone as expected, nor has it been as easy and fun as it sounds like I when I read about it in books and blogs. That said, I’m going to stick with it and see if I can make a go of it.