Outsourcing for some is a dirty word but for many entrepreneurs and business owners it is the only way that things can get accomplished. Because we are focused on helping entrepreneurs get things done, we asked entrepreneurs how they outsource their business.
1) Graphic Design
As a business owner, there's more to do in a given day than there are hours to get things done. In order to be the most productive CEO I can be, it is important to outsource tasks that do not use my strengths. I find that our funds are well allocated to our graphic designer. I am a creative & really enjoy coming up with a “big idea”, but then I pass it over to my graphic designer with a budget attached and encourage her to bring that idea to life. One example: I wanted to gift our clients a unique Valentine's Day gift. I had an idea I wanted to run with, but not all the details to pull it together. She assisted in creating a beautiful card, inserted along with the gift. Our clients received an artisanal honey, an herbal tea & the gorgeous card below.
Thanks to Vanessa Wauchope Welstead, Sensible Sitters Inc.!
2) Talent for $5
Pig of the Month BBQ has been having great luck in outsourcing small tasks to the team at Fiverr. The gist is that for $5 you can hire a ton of talented people to do minor items like edit product photos, comment on blogs for you, create video intro's or social media badges. We use them on the regular to help us keep up with the comments on our blog and create image overlays to use on Pinterest and Instagram.
Thanks to Lea Richards, Pig of the Month BBQ!
3) Key to Our Business
Outsourcing is often looked down upon as a bad labor practice, but it isn't negative for us – it's absolutely key to our business. We have a distributed network of expert video gamers who assist players with getting their accounts to higher tiers of play – these gamers work from home and can do remote sessions with our clients or login in to help the client boost their rank. It's critical that this is outsourced, as the expertise for this type of job is so niche that these skills don't exist in one location. We have to work with League of Legends experts who are the best of the best, which means working with them where they live. Outsourcing as a model helps our business thrive – without it, we wouldn't exist.
Thanks to Beth Williams, LoL Boost!
4) Technical Details
I have recently started a small business called Warrior Princess Clothing. I believe that my strength lies in creating the product and the voice of the product. Some of the more technical details I have outsourced via Elance.com rather than spend excessive amounts of time working on those things that are not my core competencies.. (ie- site migration, software upgrades) The thing about Elance is that I have found that within a day there are say 23 proposals waiting for me. In order to vet proposals I look for those that specifically address my pain point/problem and appear to be written in a way that is not just a cut and paste version of prior proposals. For me, if there is no rough idea of price or how it will be calculated, I also discard the proposal. Finally, in general I tend to choose a freelancer who has completed say more than 10 jobs with a high satisfaction rating, keeping in mind however that there will always be those customers who can not be satisfied so a four star rating or even 3 stars needs to be evaluated independently. I have learned from experience that choosing the cheapest is not always the best idea either.
Thanks to Margo Schlossberg, Warrior Princess Clothing!
5) IT Services
For technical things that can be done from anywhere, we employ IT service through a single point of contact in Indonesia who does data entry and report creation for a fraction of the cost that we would get the same work done in the states. We've found that outsourcing things like website, SEO, writing and other creative yet technical tasks, that we get better quality from localized resources where the work is done closer to home.
Thanks to Idan Shpizear, 911 Restoration!
6) Focus on the Big Picture
I regularly outsource research and content creation. As an Internet marketer, my value lies in being able to make strategic decisions that will deliver results—not in how quickly I can Google. It's much more efficient for me to hire to someone else to to compile research and lay out the content, while I focus on how it fits into the big picture. I will never outsource strategy or relationship building, but everything else fair game.
Thanks to Casandra Campbell!
7) Social Media
I enjoy the support of a team of 4 independent contractors who manage my social media activities so I can focus on my clients and spending time with my family and on my own self-care. One person manages Facebook and Pinterest, another creates graphic images to be used in my social media posts, another manages LinkedIn, and the 4th manages my blog and contact database. In exchange, I provide each of them with business and life coaching so they can be much more successful in their own lives.
Thanks to Stacey Hall, ‘The Hall System of Intuitive Wellness'!
8) Fundraising & Development
I run a science education nonprofit, Iridescent and have been struggling with fundraising and development for almost a decade now. I hired and fired many internal grant writers and development directors. Until I came across this company SmarterGood.com. It is a team of fundraising specialists – located in Manila – that brings a range of expertise (at a very low cost) to an organization like mine. They do deep prospect research, craft emails, write proposals, do the follow up etc.
Thanks to Tara Founder, Iridescent!
9) Rich, High Quality Content
A huge core competency of ( especially online ) business's is creating rich content for marketing and SEO purposes. In particular, creating rich, high quality video content is the next big trend in content marketing. Up to this point, we've had great success with commercial production, management and development strictly in-house. However, as we've continued to grow, we wanted to really spice up our commercials by adding more advanced animation which stems from digital drawing. Because this is a very niche skill, it would be very financially difficult for any small business owner to keep this capability in house. So, for our projects that require animation and specialized production capabilities, we've been able to outsource this portion to a company in South America. Outsourcing niche content production capabilities is a great option for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want great quality work, but cannot justify hiring a full time employee for project based work like this.
Thanks to Nima Noori, TorontoVaporizer.ca!
10) Non Full-Time Employment Projects & Tasks
As co-founder of three companies, I've outsourced a lot of work over the years, especially in the early stages of my companies. Initially, most of our outsourcing was done on Elance and oDesk, but more recently, we've turned to LinkedIn Recruiter, which has been far more effective in finding quality freelancers. We outsource projects and tasks for which we can't justify full-time employment because the work might be limited to 5-15 hours a week. These include media relations, copywriting and video creation, for example. Often we hire freelancers by the project but usually switch to an ongoing basis if we have a great experience with the person.
Thanks to Simon Slade, Affilorama!
11) Risky Proposition
In my personal experience, outsourcing is a risky proposition. It may seem convenient to have an outside firm complete work for you at a lower cost, but with the outsourcing of work one loses the personal touch that builds trust and reputation with the consumer. As the owner of a computer repair service, I realize outsourcing my incoming phone calls to India could free my managers up to do other things with their time and potentially reduce costs. There is risk however of a language barrier, or the outsourced agents not being as equipped to handle these calls as my people. That could cause me to lose business. When it comes to outsourcing, I would only do it if the savings were too much to ignore.
Thanks to Arthur Zilberman, LaptopMD!
12) Lots of Business
We outsource primarily when we are so busy with projects that we need extra hands and creative thinkers. In our business it is important to stay current and have a relatively quick turn around time. We have a plethora of contract workers that have various skills. We understand their abilities and strengths and can utilize different people for certain tasks. We know who works quickly and who needs more time to turn around a project. It works well for us! We also keep resume’s on file in case we need to reach out to someone in a crunch.
Thanks to Tracie Hovey, Ovation Public Relations!