In the past, it was almost exclusively large businesses that went overseas to capitalize on the abundance of inexpensive labor. These days through new technology and resources, anyone can do it. You don’t even need to be in business to hire a freelancer in a foreign country.
If your main office is in Topeka, Kansas, you are no longer forced to hire someone in your city, state or even your country. You can hire someone in Noida to build your new app. Then, you can hire someone else in Manila to do the phone calls necessary to find leads for your app. And finally, you can hire someone in Minsk to clean up the mess your Indian programmers created when creating the app (assuming you hired the wrong ones, and most novices do!)
You can query all types of freelance sites to find people. Odesk is a popular service because they have satisfaction reviews for all of the service providers listed. You can’t get away with cheating your clients or delivering shoddy work on Odesk. After you have been in outsourcing long enough, you will realize that the #1 considerations is not price, not convenience, not personability, and not even punctuality — it is finding someone who will get the job done correctly. Most outsourcing companies hire incompetent staff members who screw everything up that they touch! Odesk eliminates a lot of that risk. There are other sites like Freelancer and Guru which also publish reviews.
Company directories like 123outsource.net
You can also hire companies to help you out. Although the quality of the reviews is better for the freelancer sites, for larger jobs or longer term work, you might be better off hiring a larger outsourcing company. 123outsource.net is a great place to find software developers, call center companies, data entry, medical billing, and more. There are other call center and web design directories out there. However, those other directories are not as adament as 123outsource.net about keeping their information up to date, and about putting quality providers near the top of the search results!
Here is what my buddy says
I have not personally hired freelancers outside of the USA, however, my friend does this all the time. He is always bragging about how he hired someone to do phone calls for $2.70 per hour in the Philippines or how he found a great PHP programmer in Argentina who works for $15 per hour. In real life, the average call center freelancer makes around US$4.00 per hour and the average overseas programmer makes around US$15 in India and around US$20-30 in Eastern Europe. Prices vary according to how good the freelancer is and market rates, currency exchange rates, etc.
American freelancers do not benefit from this
It is hard for an American to compete against someone charging US$5 per hour for freelance work. However, people will hire Americans at American wages if you offer a higher quality of service. Perhaps you are better at answering tough questions in an intelligent way. Or perhaps you make the customers feel more at home with you. American programmers are normally a lot more efficient, easy to communicate with, and use best practices more effectively than their overseas conterparts which is why the average software development freelancer in the USA charges about US$70 per hour while in India it is only $15. Despite how difficult it is for Americans to compete, it is very difficult to hire Americans. I personally find most Americans to be very stubborn, unreliable, and uncooperative. Maybe Americans don’t need work which forces employers to look East to Manila!