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  • The Virtual Workforce: What You Need to Know

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    How to Outsource Key Business Functions

    In some cases, a task or job function may not be worth hiring a full-time employee. If so, outsourcing jobs to freelance contractors can help you keep your full-time staff focused on projects that reflect their core competencies.

    For example, you might only occasionally need Web designers, marketing specialists, or IT experts. Outsourcing may also be effective for everyday job functions such as bookkeeping, billing, and payroll, for example.

    If you do hire freelance contractors, be sure to check with your accountant about the extensive set of IRS guidelines on who qualifies as a freelance contractor versus an actual employee. You’ll also want to make sure that you secure and maintain the proper tax forms.

    When reviewing potential freelance contractors, you’ll want to be sure they have the right skill set, so ask to speak with some past clients.

    If you’re going to discuss confidential information with a potential freelancer, be sure they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to keep your information confidential. And when you do hire someone, ask your attorney for help in developing a contract that specifically defines scope of work, deadlines, payment schedule, and ownership of any intellectual property.

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    • This U.S. Small Business Administration post and this American Express article offer information on the legal issues of using freelance contractors.
    • Read this article to learn about some of the downsides of hiring freelance contractors.
    • If you do decide to hire a freelancer, consider searching for candidates at a site such as Upwork.
    • Interview potential contractors and ask to talk to previous clients.
    • If you will be discussing confidential information during an interview, ask the candidate to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
    • If you contract with a freelancer, make sure you have an appropriate contract that specifies scope of work, deadlines, payments, etc.—and ask your attorney for help if needed.