A freelancer often works alone.
You call and email clients and prospects, send out invoices, you do everything that needs to be done.
But, what if there was another way?
What if you didn’t have to do every single tedious task for your business? What if you could just focus on what you’re really good at?
That would be a game-changer wouldn’t it?
Successful freelancers have found a way to do just this. They outsource jobs that are repetitive, time-consuming, or that they’re simply ill-equipped to do.
Outsourcing jobs will help you grow your freelance business faster.
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Not to mention, you’ll have more freedom to focus on the tasks that motivated you to start that business in the first place. It’s time to consider outsourcing jobs to help your freelance business grow.
What does it mean to outsource jobs?
Outsourcing is, at its most basic, hiring someone else to do the work or help you with part of a client assignment, instead of doing all of it yourself. Investopedia explains:
“Tasks that are outsourced generally are processes that could be performed by a company’s internal staff. By outsourcing some functions, the company can reserve company personnel for their key tasks.”
This second point is vital.
When many people think of outsourcing jobs, they often think of domestic jobs being sent overseas – call centers in India or goods cheaply manufactured in China. And, in cases where businesses outsource jobs to the detriment of their home economy and workforce, it’s easy to see why the controversy exists.
But, for small businesses and freelancers, the goal is simply to redistribute your workload to allow you to be more efficient and impactful in your work – not eliminate hundreds of jobs.
You can outsource tasks to domestic businesses with no ethical qualms and reap great benefits. The keys to outsourcing – as with virtually any business practice – are to do it strategically and ethically.
Pros and cons of outsourcing jobs
There are, of course, potential outsourcing pros and cons. And, you’ll be in the best position to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives if you know what they are.
So, let’s take a closer look.
1. Free your time to focus on the tasks that really make an impact.
How you spend your time in your business matters.
“Busy” isn’t a metric that indicates “successful” – at least not by itself. Choosing the right tasks to keep you busy will determine success and growth versus decline and failure.
Certain processes need to be completed in all businesses. But, that doesn’t mean they’re the most important tasks to the success of your business. And if they’re not the most important tasks, then you (your business’s most valuable player) shouldn’t be doing them.
Laura Lee Sparks explains,
“Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all,” Sparks says. “That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”
Outsourcing jobs strategically in your business allows you to focus on the tasks that are most vital to moving your business forward.
2. Improve your financial bottom line.
Outsourcing jobs can help your business save money and increase revenue.
Freelance businesses have a wide range of tasks that need to be completed. And, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a perfect employee who is qualified to do all of those tasks.
So, instead of paying salaries and benefits to one or more employees, it’s more cost-effective to strategically outsource jobs.
And, the more time you free up by outsourcing those tasks, the more time you can spend bringing in new clients and supporting the clients you have.
3. Do every job better!
We can’t all be experts in everything. And, yet some freelancers hold themselves to that standard. So, unsurprisingly, not all tasks are done as well as they could be.
Outsourcing jobs can lead to all tasks being completed as well as they deserve to be. Are you a master marketer, but terrible with graphic design? Maybe your true skill lies in sales, but you’re a lousy accountant.
Don’t struggle to do these tasks poorly. If certain jobs are outside of your primary skill set, hire an outside firm to handle them. This vastly increases the likelihood that they’ll be done right.
4. Invest in employees who will serve your business best.
Outsourcing jobs that aren’t central to your core business allows you to hire employees who will, like you, help your business grow instead of just function.
Sure – you could hire a person to do the books and manage files and take client calls. But those jobs, while necessary, will not grow your business.
Outsourcing necessary functional tasks means that when you do hire an employee, you can devote their time and skills to growing your business, too.
1. Distance can lead to communication challenges.
Working with an outside team can make it harder to stay on the same page.
Outsourcing jobs generally means that you’re not all in the same physical space. So, if you don’t stay in touch often enough, experience language barriers, or use the wrong communication channels, you may find that misunderstandings occur.
Be sure to create a plan to stay in regular contact. Outsourcing is not auto-pilot.
2. Outsourced teams may present brand inconsistencies.
Consumers trust consistent brands.
So, be careful when outsourcing public-facing tasks like customer support or social media management – these may lead to branding conflicts.
If the person or team you hire doesn’t fully understand your brand (including your personal brand), or doesn’t conduct themselves in alignment with your brand voice and values… your reputation may take a hit.
Take the time to make sure your brand is properly understood and represented.
3. Sharing your data may pose security risks.
Anytime you share data outside of your business you broaden the opportunities for hackers to access your data.
Be sure to verify that any company to which you outsource jobs has robust security to ensure your data is safe, and work only with trusted software development outsourcers.
The jobs you should be outsourcing in your business
As a freelancer, you may be asking yourself “Can outsourcing jobs work for small businesses?”
And, the answer is absolutely yes!
Sujan Patel, entrepreneur and co-founder of Web Profits, points out:
“For a startup or small business, any reduction in overhead lets you shift more revenue to operational growth, while simultaneously freeing up your time. Outsourcing can provide continuity, operational expense control and risk management. It can also improve your work/life balance.”
So what jobs should you consider outsourcing?
Is file management your strong suit? How about responding to phone messages? Booking appointments, flights or hotels? These, and many other administrative tasks, may need to be done. But, they don’t need to be done by you.
Luckily, there are thousands of virtual assistants online waiting to help. So, outsource your administrative jobs. Not sure how to start? Try Upwork.
Every business needs to crunch numbers. And, not all of us are particularly good at numbers. But, I think we can all agree that accuracy is important when it comes to bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll.
So, don’t take any chances. If you, like me, are not a numbers person, save yourself the headache. Outsource these tasks to experts who can ensure your business numbers are correct.
A brand identity is important for everyone — including freelancers, startups, and small businesses.
If you’re not great at branding, or don’t have the time to devote to creating an intentional brand, your brand will evolve without you. And, that’s not in your business’s best interest. So, outsource brand development jobs like logo design, website design, and other design tasks to help you develop a trustworthy, professional brand.
Graphic design creates the visual face your brand presents to the world. And, poor design reflects badly on your business. So, if you’re not a designer, you should definitely outsource your design work.
And, if you offer graphic design services as part of your business, harnessing the power of crowdsourced design platforms can vastly increase your profits, creativity, and productivity with minimal time invested by you. This allows you to take on more clients and maintain a high quality of service.
IT support/digital security
We live in a digital world and you need technology to get the most from your business. But, fixing website bugs, managing online security, and general tech troubleshooting isn’t in most entrepreneurs’ wheelhouse.
And, even if you’re a tech genius, troubleshooting tech issues is not the best use of your time. Outsource your IT needs to the professionals and you’ll spend more time focusing on your core strengths.
Tips for choosing the right outsourcing partner
Ready to get started? Here are some suggestions to guide you as you choose your outsourcing partners.
Choose a specialist
To get the most from outsourcing jobs, choose a specialist — not a generalist.
You’re better off choosing a business that specializes in your industry and the tasks you need completed. Their expertise in your specific needs will allow them to deliver the best results for your business.
If possible, outsource jobs to a business that you can visit.
In-person communication is most effective because you can take advantage of tone and body language as well as the words themselves. When you’re first establishing the scope of your project, this is very helpful. Close proximity also makes it easy to stay in regular contact.
However, this isn’t always an option. So, ask potential outsourcing candidates how they handle communication with remote clients. They should have a clear process for staying in regular contact.
Ask for proof
Every business does their best to present a slick sales pitch. So, don’t just rely on their word.
Ask for proof of their effectiveness. Any experienced outsourcing partner should have plenty of references or case studies they can share with you. Check out online reviews as well for a less curated impression of their business.
You’re not alone
Running a freelance business is tough.
But, there are resources available that can help you grow your business and stay sane. Give outsourcing another look. Delegating tasks can save you time, money, and mental resources.
Outsourcing jobs may just be the catalyst your freelance business needs to succeed.
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