Most businesses find themselves having to outsource to get stuff done. This especially happens with small and medium-sized businesses, but it’s not at all uncommon for huge brands as well. In this blog post, I will be highlighting what, how and when you should outsource – in order to grow your business, get more clients, shorten your workload, and generally make your life much easier.
In my experience, many of the entrepreneurs I’ve met want to do everything themselves, thinking this would save them money and time. I believe however that this is a big misconception. It might seem more expensive in the short run to pay others to do something that you might (or might not) be able to do yourself, but in the long run, it can have a lot of benefits for your business, and your overall mental and physical health.
Why should you outsource?
Outsourcing can give you the time you need to focus on your business, which can then help you grow and evolve. And, if you find the right freelancers and/or agencies, they might get you better results than you ever could.
Most businesses have a lot of very different needs, some technical, some creative, but whatever they are, you’re probably not ever going to find one person that can do all of these things for your business as a 9 to 5 employee. Hiring specialists for each of your needs wouldn’t make sense either unless you’re a huge company– after all, you won’t need a web developer to be there every day at the office, or a full-time social media marketer to tweet every minute. You also can’t overwork your existing employees by giving them extra tasks that they might not even know anything about.
And that is when you should start considering outsourcing these jobs to freelancers or agencies. With technology at the level that it is, it’s very easy to find people that can help with probably anything you can think of – all you have to do is look for them, and find the ones that can do a good job for you.
Here is a breakdown of reasons why you should outsource some of your tasks:
- Improve efficiency and productiveness
- Get things done more quickly
- Cut down on overhead costs
- Free up your time to focus on your business, and what only you can do
When should you outsource?
This has a very simple, straightforward answer: when you need it. Chances are, you’re going to need to outsource sooner rather than later. As I mentioned earlier, you won’t have the time everything yourself, and it would make no business sense to hire someone full-time for every department.
So when you find yourself spending way too much time doing something that you don’t really need to – like editing a video when you really have no knowledge how to, or managing all of your meetings when you barely have time to actually attend those meetings – then it’s probably time to look for someone to outsource that task to.
Something that might be helpful is if you make an extensive list of each and everything that needs to be done on a day-to-day basis, and make estimations on how much time each one takes you to do. If you’re spending too much time on something, consider outsourcing it – you’re sure to find plenty of talented freelancers that can help. Likewise, if there are any tasks that you don’t really know how to do, either hire someone full time if there’s a need for it or hire a freelancer/agency to do it for you.
What should you outsource?
I think there are two main types of tasks that can be outsourced: the things you can do, but that ultimately take too much of your time, like setting up meetings, keeping files organized, and data entry (basically admin type duties) and those more specialized tasks that you can’t really do yourself, such as accounting or web development.
These are some of the main tasks that you can outsource in order to make your life easier, and hopefully also make your business thrive:
Virtual Office Assistant – a good VA can be an incredible asset to a business, especially with smaller businesses. Virtual Assistants work remotely, so you don’t have to worry about the supplies he or she might need, and, since they work as freelancers or independent contractors, you also won’t be paying extra in terms of taxes or health insurance for example.
Virtual Office Assistants are a great place to start your outsourcing, as they will help you free up a lot of time by managing all of the admin duties.
- Schedule management – managing your schedule and everything that it implies can be very time-consuming; get a virtual office assistant and let them handle your schedule – this way, you can use the free time to focus on preparing for your meetings.
- Respond to emails – as your business grows, you start getting more and more emails; so much so, that you could be spending hours every day just going through emails and responding to them. A VA can help by responding to your emails and only forwarding you the important ones that need your attention
- Organise all of your files – let your VA handle the organising of your files, as well as keep an evidence of all your passwords, login details and other useful information.
Web developer – Nowadays it’s quite easy to create your own site with WordPress, Wix and other similar services, but usually it’s better to go to the professionals to create a great site that looks good while also moving fast. For most businesses, it wouldn’t make sense to hire a web developer full time. In my opinion, it’s best to find a talented web developer that can help you build your website and that you can then keep on call for any future issues or requests.
- Design website – as easy as it is to create a website nowadays, a good web designer can make you a better website, both in terms of look and design, as well as navigation
- Create the logo, banners and other visuals you might need – this is definitely a job for the experts, especially if you want your website to look as good as possible. Not only is it time-consuming, but without the necessary experience, you won’t be able to create the type of visual content that can help you stand out.
- Install plugins and themes – let your web developer install all the plugins and themes you need in order to have a better, more secure website for both you and your visitors
Social Media Marketing – I think at this point having a social media presence, however small, is almost imperative to any business. There’s two ways to manage social media: either find a freelancer or agency to handle all of your social media for you, or find a consultant who will teach you and your team how to manage your social media, and give you a clear strategy that you can easily follow without having to spend too much time on it. If you want to have a big presence on social media, it might make more sense to hire someone to do it for you, although this can turn out quite expensive in the long run. On the other hand, a consultant can help you come up with a plan that you can apply in-house between the members of your team, and it wouldn’t take much time from your daily schedule. It will also be less expensive, as it’s only a one-off fee.
- Creating a social media strategy – get an expert that can draw up a social media strategy plan for you; this way you’ll be on the right social networks, posting the right updates and improving your social media presence
- Posting updates to your social profiles – posting updates to social media as a business requires your attention several times a day; a freelancer or agency can help by posting updates in your name while respecting your social media strategy and other guidelines
- Monitoring and responding to mentions – in order to get the best possible results from social media, you need to be online most of the time, and ready to respond and engage all day long. Outsource this task, and you will be able to relax while someone else monitors any mentions and activity and reacts accordingly.
Search Engine Optimisation – If you want people to be able to easily find your website online, and discover your business then you’re going to need a good SEO strategy in place. Even if you’re familiar with SEO, it’s one of those duties that make more sense to outsource. SEO is also constantly changing, so you need someone who knows what they’re doing to get you in those top spots in Google searches.
- Link Building – link building is a very time-consuming task. You would need to look for opportunities, establish relationships and get others to link to your content.
- Keyword research – keyword research can make or break your SEO campaign. Someone with experience knows better what to bid on in order to get you those coveted first spots on Google searches
- Optimising your website for search engines – optimising your website is very important and there are lots of different aspects to consider.
Content Creation – content marketing is a big part of digital marketing nowadays, with many businesses now having their own blog to drive traffic and find more leads. However, it can be extremely time-consuming to write as much content as you are going to need.
- Visual content creation such as branded images, infographics and videos – visual content can be fun to create but it can also take a lot of time. Outsource this task and you can simply focus on promoting this content.
- Blog posts – as I mentioned earlier, content creation can take a lot of your time; if you do outsource this task, make sure you hire someone who knows what they’re talking about and knows your blog’s tone of voice.
- Managing your blog – you can free up a lot of time by getting someone to upload your blog posts, optimising them for SEO, publishing posts and responding to any comments.
Outsourcing is a real necessity in today’s business world. There’s simply too much to do for a small team to be able to handle, and even with bigger teams, it makes much more sense financially to outsource. The tasks I’ve mentioned in this post are just some of the ones that can be outsourced, but I tried to focus more on those that are common to more businesses. At the end of the day, you have to consider what is taking too much of your time and could easily be done by another person, virtually.
What tasks are you outsourcing and why? Let me know in the comments section and please share