Hard-working employees across the world have been losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have reacted as positively as possible and chosen to start up the business they’ve been thinking about establishing for years.
In such difficult and uncertain times, startups must keep overheads as low as possible and mitigate financial risk. Entrepreneurs can utilize technology, such as phone apps and software to grow and establish themselves in a given industry. Technology can also be a great aid when looking to streamline processes and work efficiently. However, when it comes time to work “on the business,” rather than “on the business,” outsourcing can be a great option. Especially now that remote working and remote teams have successfully worked together, for the most part, in 2020.
Outsourcing can take you from working for yourself, earning a ‘normal’ wage, to becoming a true entrepreneur looking to grow and develop one or more businesses.
Outsourcing can free up large amounts of time. Solopreneurs will try and do everything themselves, including the duties of a receptionist, secretary, graphic designer, and online marketer. However, outsourcing to specialist freelancers and companies can be a better idea. By utilizing the skills of expert freelancers, you will usually get a better end product.
You will also have more time to focus on your actual skill set. Tasks that take solopreneur hours to complete can take a specialist minutes – with a better end product.
Outsourcing is the fastest and arguably the safest way to expand and grow a business. It can also be less hassle and less expensive or costly than hiring full-time staff.
You can pay per project when using freelancers, and you don’t have to worry about setting up a pension and healthcare benefits when using freelancers and agencies. If you work from an office, you won’t have to worry about buying more hardware such as desks, chairs, and computers.
If you live in Europe or the US, with outsourcing you can also take advantage of geo arbitrage, whereby you hire someone in a country with a ‘weaker’ currency. For example, when hiring a virtual assistant, you could consider hiring one in your own country but also consider hiring someone in the Philippines, where the standard rate is around $5-$10 per hour. Hiring overseas freelancers may reduce overheads and allow you to undercut some of your competitors.
The main issue with hiring overseas freelancers can be that communication and training can take longer. You will often need to set aside time to find the right freelancer in the first place too. You may wish to hire 2 or 3, to begin with, and then choose to work with one on an ongoing basis.
How to Start Outsourcing
A quick way to get started is to head over to Fiverr and search for the skillset or job type you need – for example, search for “graphic designer.” As with all freelancing websites, the quality of service can vary substantially, so look at a freelancer’s portfolio and reviews. A poor service could do more harm than good.
For example, you don’t want any spammy link building or SEO, as this could damage your search engine rankings. Videography or graphic design, for example, is something that you can manually review first before you give a specific freelancer more work – so consider testing out a few potential candidates.
With Upwork and PeoplePerHour, you usually sign up and then post a job. For example, you might assign “WordPress Website for an Accountant” and then set your budget too, let’s say $400. Within minutes, several freelancers will likely get in touch with you – check their reviews and portfolios and then choose one that looks reliable and highly skilled. Again, you may need to test a few freelancers before finding a good one, so consider posting some smaller, less expensive tasks first. Once you are happy with the work, you can then ‘release’ your payment to the freelancer, and you’ll be prompted to leave a review.
Journal Your Time
If you are feeling confused about what to outsource, try journaling your time. Think about how much your “hourly rate” would be. Consider what you are best at, what you enjoy, and what brings money into the business.
You can make a journal or log of your time over two weeks and see where your time is spent.
For “low skill tasks” such as filtering and deleting emails or making appointments, you could consider using a virtual assistant. Unwanted phone calls can also be productivity-bottle-neck. If this is the case, consider hiring a phone answering service such as Moneypenny.
For “highly skilled tasks” such as web development, try browsing some freelancer websites such as UpWork and Fiverr and see how much it would cost to hire a specialist. By hiring a specialist, you can save a lot of time and have a better quality of end product or work.
Record Your Workflows
When you have a task for someone, it helps to have a workflow. Record all the steps for repetitive tasks, use a screen recorder, and or notepad that you later put into a Word or Google Document. If you bring on a virtual assistant or a freelancer, they can adapt and fit right into your way of doing things.
You should also write down the essential features of your tone of voice and your brand. This will help freelance copywriters and graphic designers produce work that fits in with your brand. It can also help virtual assistants who may be employed to reply to emails on your behalf.
There are products such as Slab.com that you can use to host protocols, workflows, etc., but usually, a Google Doc will do the job.
Think about your business, like a house. You can train yourself to be the groundworker, the bricklayer, the carpenter, and the roofer. But the end product may take a lot longer and not be as good as if you used specialists. You can also make more money by building many houses at once, as soon as you start outsourcing. You can take this a step further by hiring companies that manage the freelancers for you.