When discussing entrepreneurship with start-ups or potential business owners, I expound that this is the absolute best time to be in business! Technology makes it so that we can do just about anything, reach anyone and practically run our businesses from a mobile phone.
Idealistic as that may seem, there will be times when you’re going to need help, yet you don’t necessarily have enough work to hire a full time or part-time employee. Enter the 21st-century way to find qualified assistance…outsourcing.
Many business owners turn to outsourcing when they need specific skills or expertise. They do this because outsourcing is cheaper and takes less time than increasing their office staff. For start-ups and established businesses, outsourcing can be an effective way to hire experts for specialized work, keep more cash on hand, and get help quickly when it is needed.
Outsourcing enables 50 or 60-something entrepreneurs to hire freelancers or agencies providing specific services on a per project basis or according to demand. Entrepreneurs who use outsourcing also save time on paperwork, as it’s possible to hire freelancers online through specialized websites without any complicated legal formalities. I’ve been known to hire 3 or 4 freelancers at a time, in different countries to meet different needs. I love it when I decide I want to immediately initiate a project and I can immediately find a pool of virtual assistants with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Given that outsourcing is on a short-term contract basis, there is no need to concern yourself with terminating employees once the project is complete.
Outsourcing As a Way to Lower Costs
A major benefit of outsourcing is lower costs and fewer financial risks. It’s easier to outsource work for a particular project or aspect of your business than it is to find candidates for a new job, train them, and bring them up to date with company policies. Outsourcing usually comes with a service cost per hour, which makes it possible to estimate total costs and control expenses tightly.
Outsourcing can work for most companies, whether large or small, because it involves service functions that all companies need at some point, such as consulting, marketing and advertising, accounting, customer support, or inventory management.
Getting Started with Outsourcing
As a 50 or 60-something entrepreneur, you can make outsourcing work for your company while keeping things simple.
- Determine what exactly you need done
You can outsource just about everything about your business, from accounting and tax preparation to web design and online marketing. You can outsource a specific project or job, or an entire component of your operations. For example, many companies today have customer support centers in other countries.
If you want to market your company on social media but don’t have the time, you can outsource that. Or you can outsource a specific aspect of your web design project, like the graphic design on your website.
- Consider the cost of outsourcing versus the cost of doing it yourself or delegating it to your staff
If you need something done you may not feel comfortable with, like designing or building a mobile app, the decision to outsource is simple. However, for tasks/jobs you or your staff can handle, you may hesitate. You may be thinking, if you can do it, why pay others for it? It’s simple. Time. Outsourcing can free up time and resources which you can use for more effective tasks that generate revenue.
- Start small and safe
Outsourcing platforms like Freelancer.com or UpWork.com enable you to hire freelancers such as web designers, programmers, marketers, translators, and more at hourly rates, or on a per project cost. Comprehensive user profiles, ratings, and reviews help you screen candidates, while built-in resolution systems, identity verification, and payment protection minimize risks. The process is simple:
- You create an account, verify your identity, and post a new project describing what you need done.
- Wait for Freelancers to bid on your project.
- Chose what bidder(s) to work with.
- Communicate with the freelancers through that platform using a combination of chatting and voice or video calling.
- Set project deadlines and create payment milestones.
- Transfer work-related files through the platform.
- Work with other companies or agencies
Another way to outsource is to contact companies that provide specific services to businesses, such as web design, online marketing, or Internet reputation management agencies. These may not be available on the above-mentioned sites.
The best way to reach them is through recommendations. Working directly with agencies involves communicating through email, phone, and video conferencing, and usually requires more formal contracts, which can however be scanned online or faxed.
As you can see, outsourcing has many benefits. But for it to work, it’s important to use reliable platforms that enable you to find certified experts, compare service providers, carry out secure payments, and protect both your privacy and your money. Outsourcing is easy, however proper attention and research is necessary to find the right people for the job. They are out there waiting for you to contact them.