On average, outsourcing generates the best results when used for non-profit- generating activities. These may include administrative tasks, bookkeeping/accounting, copy writing, web design, and many others. While these activities are essential for your business to succeed, they do not, in and of themselves, generate any income. In fact, they usually reside strictly in the debit column, which makes controlling the costs of those activities highly important.
When the Activity Isn’t Part of Your Main Product
As an entrepreneur, you need to focus your attention on research, development and production of your product or products. Tasks that distract you from those priorities can frequently be handled by an employee instead. If that employee turns out to be an off-site freelancer, then all the better. For example, you obviously need someone to balance your books each month. A full-time employee might strain your resources, while an online freelancer will likely cost less per hour or per project and save you from other costs like employee benefits. Your focus remains where it belongs, and your bottom line doesn’t suffer negative consequences.
When the Job Is a Routine One That Consumes Valuable Time and Energy
Just because a task is routine doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Data entry, invoicing, paying bills, maintaining a website – all of these are essential activities that can easily be outsourced. Even though you may have all the necessary knowledge and skills to accomplish these tasks on your own, they often take up a high percentage of your time. If you need that time for focusing on other tasks, then outsourcing provides an excellent and cost-effective alternative.
When the Activity Requires Special Skills
You and whatever small staff you may have are not likely to possess every necessary skill for completing every task that arises. These special skills could include IT, graphic design, copy writing, accounting, and many others. While it is certainly possible that you require additional full-time staff, outsourcing these projects may be more efficient and cost-effective. Consider the duration and the recurrence of the task. Frequent needs for software development, software upgrading, and technical support, for example, probably indicate a need for a full-time IT specialist; however, if you are capable of handling most of these situations yourself and only need outside help from time to time, then outsourcing becomes a much better answer.
The Activity Isn’t One That People Enjoy Doing
Allowing your staff to outsource unpleasant tasks will decrease stress and improve output. Ensure that you have the funds for the additional expense, and remind your staff that they are still responsible for the final deliverable. Staff members who are empowered to hire freelancers will require training in project planning and management.
Carrie’s small flower shop is thriving. She and her one employee spend their days taking, filling, and delivering orders. Carrie then spends her nights doing paperwork like accounting, inventory, and payroll. She desperately needs additional help but, despite her continuing success, she cannot afford to hire another full-time employee. So she does the next best thing. She hires freelance administrative workers online. She only pays for the work they do, a manageable expense that is definitely worthwhile. Her stress level has come down significantly and she now has time to spend her evenings with her family.
One of the difficult aspects of becoming a first-time outsourcer is knowing what types of tasks lend themselves most readily to the process. Even if you’re familiar with the outsourcing opportunities that are available, you may not realize which of your own tasks are prime candidates to be contracted out.
Do an audit of how you and your employees spend your time, and carefully assess whether any of the tasks being performed could be outsourced in order to save time, money, and stress. Browse the project types offered on such websites as Freelancer.com and upwork.com.
Compare your audit with the offerings on these sites, and you may be surprised at just how much of your workload you could hire out to reliable, capable, inexpensive freelancers from around the world.