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March 4, 2002
Outsourcing Poised For Growth in 2002
by Sherril Steele-Carlin

According to the McKinsey Quarterly, http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.asp
outsourcing companies around the world took in over 1 trillion dollars during the year 2000. What's more, they report "the market for these services doubled in size from 1997 to 2000." That's excellent news for the New Year for consultants and freelancers everywhere.

Outsourcing takes many forms, from common day-to-day services like payroll and accounts payable, to some more unusual services. Even areas like procurement, heating and air conditioning services, and employee eligibility to work status are being outsourced to individuals and companies who can provide cost effective and comprehensive services. Consultants with skills in a broad range of fields now have the opportunity to gain more clients, as clients become more open to outsourcing some internal operations they might not have considered before.

Prior to 1997, many companies were a bit uncomfortable outsourcing many of their operations, especially highly confidential areas, like human resources and payroll. Today, there are more outsourcing companies that specialize in confidential and highly technical areas. Many of these outsourcing companies are small businesses, owned by a person who worked in the industry, and then used their experience to open their own consulting or outsourcing concern.

One example is the processing of I-9 forms. Every employer in the country requires these forms. All employees have to show valid proof that they are legally able to work in the U.S. If these I-9 forms aren't on file, the Immigration and Nationalization Service can fine the employer. Since this paperwork needs to be completed for each new hire after 1986, the effect on large companies was staggering when the law first went into effect.

Many companies learned it was simpler and more cost effective for an outsourcing company to complete and store the forms, and dozens of companies specializing in I-9s and employee background checks were born. People who worked in human resources, and know first hand what a paperwork nightmare these I-9s can be for a company's HR department, own many of them. They took their knowledge, formed their own companies, and sold their expertise to clients who could really use it. Some of the biggest companies in the Silicon Valley, like Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Lucent Technologies all use outsourcing companies for some of their human resource needs.

The growth of outsourcing can only be a boon to freelancers. As our economy ebbs and flows, more companies will be looking for ways to cut their expenses and overhead. Outsourcing is usually cheaper for companies than hiring a cadre of employees to perform certain jobs. The McKinsey Quarterly also reports it's profitable for many companies to "Strategically outsource other activities - including many traditionally considered integral to any company - for which the firm has neither a critical strategic need nor special capabilities."

Outsourcing is also an opportunity for laid-off workers to use their skills to get back to work. More and more workers are turning to consulting after a lay-off, rather than looking for traditional employment. They can put their skills to work for their own business, rather than working for someone else. As we look forward to the year 2002, it may turn out to be one of the best years for freelancers and consultants to start their own consulting businesses.

If you're thinking about starting your own consulting business, visit the Freelance Job News Home Business Workshop area: http://r144.com/homebusinessnews.htm. Find out what it takes to start your own business, and how you can successfully market your services.

Sherril Steele-Carlin is a full-time freelance writer from Reno, Nevada. She's published numerous articles in print and online publications. She's also the author of the new e-book
"How to get a Life by Living and Working in a National Park." http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/dltg0002.html?10402
AND
"How to Break Into Casino Jobs."
http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/djtg0023.html?10402
Visit her web site at
http://www.powernet.net/~carlin

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