Capital can be tight for any business, but startups especially feel the pinch, squeezing as much as possible out of their seed money. Instead of ramping up on-site staff, consider outsourcing as a way to stretch your cash. You'll be able to scale contract costs up or down depending on business success.
8KMiles applies this outsourcing model to a virtual environment. The company helps find skilled workers, letting you make connections across the world, all without leaving your PC.
Workers are initially audited by 8KMiles to give you a sense of their competence. People can offer their skills across dozens of categories; the usual techie experts are available, plus the service manages writers, designers, business consultants, legal pros, accountants, and more.
You'll fill contracting needs through searches and connections that resemble social networks. At that point, you can continue the relationship without 8KMiles if you choose.
But the service goes further, offering a collaborative platform for your projects. With browser-based tools, you can attack and manage projects with video conferences, message boards, and more. You can even install your own tools in the Windows Server and various Linux environments.
8KMiles costs depend on the way you use the service. The company charges a fee of roughly 7.5% of the project value on top of your contract worker costs. If you connect with the collaboration tools or use 8KMiles to host your own tools, the company charges with a pay-as-you-go model.
Online collaboration isn't just for tech projects, although 8KMiles still serves that audience. If your budgets are tight, the service might help you complete projects without the full costs of employee or on-site workers.
Zack Stern is building a new business from San Francisco, where he frequently contributes to PC World.