In this day and age, there’s no reason not to outsource anything in your business. When you’re an entrepreneur, there’s always so much work to be done. The good news is you don’t have to do things alone.
You don’t have to burn yourself out trying to do a million things all at once while you grow your business. Instead, you can always turn to virtual assistants and outsource anything that’s overcrowding your plate.
If this is your first time dipping your toes into outsourcing then you might have a few questions looming over your head. Well you’re in luck. This guide will walk you through the rudiments of outsourcing so you can start saving time and scaling up your company.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing refers to hiring people outside of your company to handle certain aspects of your business operations. It is traditionally viewed as a cost-cutting measure, but these days, it is more than that. It has transformed into a creative way of accomplishing goals in the most efficient way possible in terms of time and talent.
When you outsource to a virtual assistant, you essentially make life easier for yourself. By handing over some critical yet time-consuming or laborious tasks to a freelancer, you are freeing up more of your time so you can focus on driving growth for your company.
Outsourcing is a big part of the norm these days. In 2018, the global outsourcing market amounted to 85.6 billion USDs according to Statista. Of course, we can’t talk about outsourcing without bringing the gig economy into the mix. Outsourcing and freelance work are so intertwined in today’s work landscape. In America alone, there are 53 million freelancers who work in a wide variety of niches.
Now more than ever, entrepreneurs can and should leverage the freelance economy regardless of their industry niche. When done properly, you can outsource anything, raise productivity, and save on costs commonly associated with bringing full-timers into the fold
Benefits of Outsourcing
Smart entrepreneurs understand that they can’t do it all. Doing everything on your own isn’t only unsustainable but it also hinders your growth both as a brand and as an enterprise. In this regard, outsourcing remains one of the best options if you want to keep growing your business.
While a lot of businesses recognize the value of outsourcing, not many people actually realize the magnitude of benefits it holds. Here are some of the merits of outsourcing that you need to know about and harness today:
You only need to pay for the services a virtual assistant renders.
If you’re still on the springboard when it comes to growth but need an extra pair of hands already, you don’t always have to hire an in-house guy to complete the tasks you need. With outsourcing, you can hire a contractor and pay only for the hours they’ve worked. Alternatively, you can also pay on a per output basis to control spending.
You won’t be burdened by payroll and taxes.
When you work with full-timers, you’re contractually required to take care of some tax-related obligations. Outsourcing eliminates this burden since as independent contractors, virtual assistants are responsible for filing their own taxes and getting their accounting books in order.
No office required.
If you’re an e-commerce business owner, getting an office space might not be at the top of your to-do list just yet. When you outsource anything for your company, you’re not required to get a larger office space to accommodate anyone new. Virtual assistants have their own workspaces sorted out.
You are encouraged to improve aspects of your business including your own processes.
Bringing in an independent contractor means working with a professional. They run their own business just as you do. Their experience can bring a lot of value to your business, including tips to streamline your business processes. This allows you to improve your business from the inside so it shows externally.
You’ll be able to identify which tasks need your full attention and which ones you can let go off.
When you outsource anything from your never-ending to-do list, you can see which tasks are worth your time and which ones are not. For example, should you really be spending two hours a day looking through emails when you can be using that precious time building your network and finding potential clients?
When’s the Right Time to Outsource?
For many entrepreneurs, turning to freelancers for help can be a big business decision. After all, you can’t just start to outsource anything willy-nilly. If you’re unsure when the right time is for you to start delegating tasks to a freelancer or two, then these scenarios might help you out:
The skill you need isn’t part of your core competency.
The beauty of the gig economy is that you can take advantage of an as-needed work environment. You can outsource anything especially if it’s not part of your core services but remains integral to growing your business. Moreover, outsourcing is also a great option for seasonal tasks or one-time projects for your business. More often than not, engaging the services of a virtual assistant will be better for you cost-wise.
You can’t handle the task in-house.
When you’re handling a small business, you’re most likely used to being a jack of all trades. But when push comes to shove, you’re going to need an extra pair of hands on deck to help you out with things that you don’t have the skillset for. If you’re already working with a small group of full-timers, you’ll find that they may not have the time to do new tasks or that they don’t have the skills or talent you require.
Recognize the fact that sometimes there are skill gaps that even hardcore onboarding can’t solve. Besides, this takes time, money and energy. When you need a professional who can design your new website or launch an online marketing campaign for your pizza business, you don’t teach your pie maker how it’s done. Outsource these tasks to someone who already knows what’s what.
Common Tasks You Can Outsource Online
The truth is you can practically outsource anything these days. Here are just some of the tasks that a virtual assistant can take off your plate:
1. Social Media Management
Social media has morphed from a tool for networking into a core business resource. Not only is it a useful tool for engaging with your customers but it’s also a great avenue for providing customer support, promoting new products, and advertising your brand.
However, with the sheer amount of work needed to maintain a social media presence, you’re better off outsourcing social media management to a virtual assistant. They can take care of engaging with your customers, creating posts, and even creating and running social media marketing campaigns for you.
2. Email Management
How many hours a day do you spend just scrolling through your email every day? If you receive more emails than you can handle, your best bet is to hire a freelancer who can take over for you. Apart from looking for someone who can organize your inbox, you can also find someone who is adept at email marketing to come up with effective campaigns that will help move customers along your sales funnel.
3. Creating Web Content
Having a website is an excellent way to drive organic traffic to your brand. It’s also great for establishing yourself as an industry leader, and of course to sell your products.
However, it also takes a lot of work to come up with content ideas for your website, not to mention the actual writing. The truth is, not everyone can do it well. And sadly, even if your business revolves around the written word, you don’t always have the time to crunch up a couple thousand words for a blog post. Luckily, there are a lot of freelance writers and content creators out there who can help you fill your website with engaging pieces of content your audience will love.
4. Search Engine Optimization
SEO is essential if you want to drive people to your business website. However, this is a highly specialized skill. If you need help improving your SEO rankings, then qualified SEO specialists can help create more backlinks and improve keyword content on your site.
A virtual assistant specializing in SEO work can also help in developing strategies, perform keyword research, create SEO-focused blog content, and build backlinks so your website ranks better than before.
5. Graphic Design
It’s not a secret that brand-building is tightly hinged on visuals. Luckily, there are freelance graphic designers who can help you with anything from logo creation and business card design to website design and promotional materials. Again, the beauty of outsourcing is that you can pay on a per project basis so you don’t have to worry about constantly trying to keep an in-house graphic artist busy.
6. Data Entry
Data plays a crucial role in businesses these days, particularly when it comes to customer relations. However, it can be cumbersome and time-consuming trying to organize information by yourself. You can hire a virtual assistant to oversee any CRM program you might be using, or to update google docs and record any information important to running your business. They can also help with taking meeting notes and performing miscellaneous assistant tasks that you might need.
7. Customer Service
When you’re an entrepreneur, you know the value of giving your customers a top-notch experience every single time. This includes being able to respond to customers when they need it. If you’ll outsource anything online, this should be one of your priorities.
A virtual assistant can help you with handling customer phone calls, managing live chat, organizing customer emails, and providing technical support to keep your customers happy.
Outsourcing Best Practice: Communication and Feedback is Key
When you outsource anything in your business, it’s important to note two things:
- it’s crucial to communicate effectively and regularly, and
- having a system of evaluation and feedback can save you from frustration down the line.
Set a clear line of communication between yourself and the virtual assistant you’ll be working with. Determine which platforms you will use to communicate and how often. Ask yourself if you need daily check-ins or if once a week updates will work.
Choosing your mode of communication wisely is also important. Be mindful of how formal or casual your tone is and every message you send must always be clear.
Regular evaluations are also critical when you outsource anything to a freelancer. Problems can arise at any given time and it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the issue started. However, you can alleviate this by setting key performance indicators and providing and asking for feedback.
When there’s an issue, be upfront and tag it immediately so you can both work on solutions for it. Inversely, don’t hesitate to praise a freelancer for a job well done.
In doing so, you’re setting up a system of checks and balances which not only protects your brand but also ensures that the freelancer you’re working with is able to deliver the expected results every time.
Need Help Outsourcing? Try FreeeUp!
Outsourcing is the not-so-secret secret weapon of every entrepreneur for ensuring that their business grows bigger and better. If you need help finding freelancers for your business, you can always turn to marketplaces like FreeeUp. They pre-vet hundreds of freelancers and agencies each week for skills, attitude, and communication. This means that only the top 1 percent of the bunch get into the network.
You can select from 85+ skillsets available from e-commerce and digital marketing to web development, design, customer service and advertising.
Simply create an account, submit a freelancer request, and hire the best fit for your needs. What’s more, you can manage all hours, billing, and future requests directly from your FreeeUp account.
You can also schedule a free 30 minute phone call to learn more about how the marketplace works.