Last week I told the story of how I started my side business. It was quite interesting to read and respond to all of the comments. Lots of people were interested in starting a business or were looking to expand their current side business.
The solution for most of these people was something I learned early on in my online business journey – the power of outsourcing.
Why Outsourcing Online Business Tasks Isn’t So Obvious
When I first started my online business, I was lucky enough to have most of the skills required to get it all going. The areas where I wasn’t as strong, I got by learning as I went. As a result, I was working like a madman trying to do everything myself.
I felt liberated that I could handle it all while spending very little. Little did I know, this is what was holding me back and limiting the growth of my business. Sometimes your pride is your biggest obstacle. It rewards you when you can do everything independently and shuts you out of asking others for help.
Price assumptions can play a role too. When you’ve never outsourced help before, you may assume that you have to hire people for a regular time commitment or that they all charge high hourly rates. That’s just not true. You can hire people for as many or as few hours as your require and the prices are very competitive.
Some people just have a ‘spend as little as possible’ mentality when starting their business. When you’re trying to make money, who would pay someone to do tasks that they could technically do themselves? A smart business owner does!
Online Work I’ve Outsourced
Now I don’t recommend going and outsourcing every single task related to your online business. You might have the cash to do that, but there are a lot of benefits to knowing more about all the different tasks associated with your business. Nor should you try to master every task for that matter.
It is quite helpful to have at least a good understanding of any regular tasks though. This can help ensure you are not getting overcharged when you do outsource. Plus it will help if you ever get in a bind. You may be able to take over those tasks or be able to better pass it on to someone else. Also you just get more respect when you can talk to contractors or associates with in-depth knowledge.
Over the years I’ve used outsourcing for a wide variety of jobs. These may not all apply to your business, but most online business do have overlapping tasks. Rather than going into detail with all these different things, here’s a basic list:
- Content Writing: articles for my own websites, articles for marketing and press releases.
- Marketing: article distribution, blog comments, forum posts and directory submission.
- Website Design: logo design, full website designs and blog themes.
- Web Programming: bug fixes, new website features and entire websites.
Even with this basic list you can begin to see the vast assortment of jobs that freelancers can help out with.
Where to Find Freelancers to Outsource
There are many different websites and forums to find someone to hire. It comes down to how much you are willing to pay, skills required and time commitment.
These are the main websites I’ve personally used to outsource online business tasks:
- Elance – This is where I turn to when I need high quality help. Mostly I use it for hiring writers where English skills are particularly important.
- oDesk – When you’re on a tight budget this is a great place to find quality help such as programmers and virtual assistants. This site is dominated by overseas freelancers though. So it’s probably not the best place to hire anyone for writing jobs.
- Digital Point Forums – I often turn to this forum for help with small programming fixes, but you can find all kinds of help on forums like this. You just have to be a lot more careful as an anonymous forum is open to abuse.
- Craigslist – I’ve only hired people through Craigslist a few times, but I have found plenty of full time jobs via their classifieds. Primarily you’d want to use this when you require a local freelancer and are willing to pay a bit more money.
So that about covers the basics of outsourcing online business tasks. Stay tuned for future posts about outsourcing and how you can start your own business. You can subscribe to my rss feed to learn more.
What about you? Do you outsource any of your business tasks? Or is it something that you plan on doing once your business gets more profitable? Leave a comment below to share your story. Or you can e-mail me if you have any private questions.