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11 Business Principles We Use When Outsourcing to Contractors

11 business people
A few years my business partner and I launched Arboreus, a startup that operates, among others, EU Training (Europe’s #1 EU career preparation website), SpeakerHub (a free platform for public speakers and event organizers) and Talentsift (a psychometric and assessment centre selection tool for recruiters).

We’ve been using external contractors,
almost mostly online via Upwork (formerly Elance)
for 10 years

for website development, administrative tasks, research, customer support, presentation design, voice-over and various other tasks.

We had many great experiences,
and a few major disappointments over the years.

Here are 11 principles we learned from our outsourcing experience:


  1. Do a contract with everyone on everything, all the time
  2. Always ask: “What’s the good business reason for doing this?”
  3. The fact that we pay means that we can and must demand performance
  4. No credit without performance – the provider must prove himself/herself first
  5. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines for everything – even for simple questions
  6. We have the cash, we’re the bosses: work hard to earn it, we are not a charity
  7. Pre-select and screen your providers: in-depth questions, experience and references
  8. Never work with amateurs – if no radical improvement after 1-2 jobs, not worth your time
  9. Never go for the cheap option – you pay it back later big time
  10. Always listen to your first impressions and gut feeling – a tiny doubt only grows bigger
  11. You might give a 2nd chance, but make sure it’s the last chance – you’re free to let go

Here it goes in a graphic form:

graphic form

Posted in Online EU Training

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