Outsourcing isn’t just for large or medium-sized companies. The outsourcing of tasks to remote freelancers represents just one of the many proven methods for growing your small business while keeping your costs low.
One of my favorite ‘go to’ sources when I need inspiration is CNBCs Make it Series. Back in 2019, before the pandemic the network provided suggestions for achieving success when you think you lack the money, resources or the talent to accomplish your business goals. The article discussed solid techniques for expanding a solo-entrepreneur operation, mom and pop store or family business to earning revenues of more than $1 million annually.
The key take-away behind the number one recommendation of automation was…. wait for it. Yes, you guessed it. Make efficient use of freelancers and subcontractors.
- Automate redundant tasks.
- Hire freelancers, gig workers, and subcontractors.
Why would solo entrepreneurs hire freelancers when it could be conceivably cheaper to do the tasks themselves? Business owners often look to increases in revenue as the top performance indicator suggestive of the need to hire outside contractors. But what if the small business is on the cusp of exponential growth? Not quite there yet, but one can feel the heat.
How would one calculate the lost revenues unrealized when the business owner waits to hire gig and other remote workers for revenue that has not yet materialized from sales due to the hesitancy to create products or content due to lack of time?
Preliminary benchmarks for hiring a remote freelancer
Could it be that hiring freelancers in advance of the increases in revenue could be a cost effective method helpful for growing their brand? Based upon experience, our company provides benchmarks, rule of thumb, or a few point of references to help small business owners determine the optimal time to hire freelancers to help complete job assignments virtually. We believe these benchmarks are visible when the small business has generated the following:
- Momentum building traffic (website visitors, organic clicks, foot traffic for brick and mortar store, unsolicited phone calls or contact emails requesting information),
- Product and business awareness (unsolicited approaches from sales people, event coordinators, journalists, associations and clubs) wanting more information about your product, service or business,
- Sales (increases in revenue and/or increases in profits for which you planned or were unforeseen),
- Product or service demand for which the individual entrepreneur lacks the time or expertise to meet even when working 12 to 14 hour days and on weekends.
In addition to these benchmarks, Elaine Pofeldt, author of the CNBC Make it article provides another more widely accepted rule of thumb to determine whether to hire a remote freelance worker.
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Pofeldt says, “relying on freelance pros who can help them with tasks they would otherwise have to learn themselves — like bookkeeping, web design and digital marketing — helps the owners get more done in less time.”
Forget the doubts: Outsourcing to remote freelancers can help you get ahead
As an entrepreneur, you need to make the most of all of your resources – including both time and money. What you currently lack compared to others, particularly those who have made the full time commitment devoted entirely to their small business is time.
You may even lack the money that you think you need. But, if you are working a traditional part time job or have a full time job and are starting to offer services virtually; you may have more available money that you know.
Take time to refrain from eating out one day per week, skipping one or two trips per week at Starbucks or McDonalds. Hesitate before buying that new dress posted on Amazon. Use the savings to grow your company and hire other freelancers to support your growth.
As you see revenue coming in and earning made, put aside even more of the profits. Use the money you earn to reinvest in your business using even more freelance workers who complete remote job tasks. They can help you grow your audience and increase your profits in a shorter period of time.
But there is one caveat. You need to make certain that they can do the work they promised to do with the level of quality advertised. On budget and by the deadline.
For example, let’s say you took the time to create your own info product. It’s stellar and you think it will be a big hit on a mini-site or on Kindle – wherever you decide to launch it.
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Problem is, you need an eCover for that info product and you aren’t good at graphics. You have two choices. You can download a tool and spend time learning how to use it and create your own eCover (which will probably look amateurish because it may not be your strength), or you can outsource it to a pro.
Some people mistakenly believe that freelancers all charge too much – so what they do is either ignore them and take the DIY (do it yourself) route – or they go to opposite extremes and hire a cheap worker on a site like Fiverr where they won’t get the best quality (it’s the same as if you did it yourself in many cases).
True, some Fiverr and Freelancer gigs can be well worth your money – but you can hire a proven professional for a decent amount and get perks like revisions or extra specs that you’d have to “add on” with a Fiverr worker. Still not convinced?
Specific questions to guide the hiring of remote workers decision
Hopefully you have overcome your internal doubts, resistance and hesitancy for hiring a freelancer to complete remote job tasks. But you may not be convinced, even still? Do you find it hard to part with your money? Ok, then. We will seek to help you decide on whether to hire a freelancer, subcontractor, or independent consultant based upon your answers to some real world questions. Literally. Questions and answers that impact you, the founder, small business owner directly.
When should you outsource and what should you outsource? There are several ways to decide this. The remote job tasks that would be best to delegate to someone else would be:
- Job tasks you dislike doing,
- Job tasks you aren’t good at,
- Job tasks someone is better at,
- Job tasks you can do, but cheaper if you hire someone else,
- Job tasks you don’t have time to do.
Don’t forget. Probably one of the main reasons why you started or stumbled upon the journey to be your own person was to find joy in your work that helps you lead a more fulfilling life. So, if you can’t excel using Excel spreadsheets, outsource bookkeeping tasks to someone else. If you deplore writing, by all means, outsource it to someone else. If you aren’t qualified to create graphics, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by doing it yourself and creating a poor visual for your product.
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Even outsourcing job tasks you enjoy and that you can do yourself or just doing have the time to do is sometimes a smart move – if someone else can do it better or faster. Like sales copy – if someone else converts at 35% and the most you can do is 7%, then it makes sense to hand that task over to another, more qualified professional.