Practicing what I’m documenting, I’ve hired my first freelancer and outsourced a tedious task that’s been a huge time suck – transcribing the documentary footage.

I had briefly done some browsing on Elance for transcription services and it all seemed pretty prohibitive – about $15-$25 an hour, which for 20 hours and counting gets pretty pricey.

I made it through 3 hours of transcribing before the carpal tunnel set in and I gave Elance another look. This time instead of searching for someone I posted my job.

Filling out the job post was like any other eBay/Craiglist posting. I wrote as detailed a description I could think of, set my price range, how long I wanted the post to be up and some other details, and then set it free.

Within an hour I got a bid. Elance makes it easy to communicate through their site, either through their secure message board which offers a little more legitimacy than email, or chat.

You can also rate the bids and write notes for yourself. Overall a very nice interface.

Within 24 hours I had 7 bids ranging from $100 to about $700 (funny becase my price range was $50-$500). Of course I’m always weary about super low bids, but this was partly an experiment so I awarded Mr. $100 bid the job.

I’m using Elance’s Escrow service, so they’ve taken the money and are holding it until the job is complete.

So right now as I type, someone in some part of the world is transcribing David Allen or Tim Ferriss.

We’ll see if the $100 was worth the time and effort I saved.

Anyone have any Elance stories or tips for outsourcing?

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