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Making the Most of Freelance Talent

Almost every company in America is outsourcing at least part of its work--but not always getting the results it needs. Here's how to do it right.

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This story appears in the September 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Call them what you like--contractors, temps, outsourced workers, freelancers, day laborers or, as one recent doomsday article suggested, disposable workers. Whatever the term, businesses are calling them more these days.

An overwhelming 90 percent of U.S. companies outsource at least some of their work, according to a survey by the Human Capital Institute, a global association of talent management groups. Some outsource almost all of it, and more are heading in that direction: The average portion of work outsourced has grown from 6 percent to more than 27 percent since 1990. A third of employers report using more contract employees in the past few years--not typical in a recession--and expect to use even more in the future.

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