The pros and cons of outsourcing

Delegation

You may have been working hard on your business and your efforts are finally paying off.

But now your tasks are piling up as well. You may be dreaming of generating more sales, offering new services, or launching new products. But you’re already up to your eyeballs in work.

In this scenario, outsourcing can help you reach your goals—but only if you do it right. Below I have listed the top pros and cons of outsourcing, and tips to help you leverage the advantages of outsourcing.

Pros of Outsourcing

The pros of outsourcing

1. It frees up your time and allows you to work on what you do best.

When starting a business, you have to wear many hats. But as your business expands, it will become increasingly difficult for you to efficiently manage every single thing on your own.

By outsourcing time-consuming tasks, you can rechannel your time toward the critical aspects of your business, such as improving strategies, developing new products, and getting new clients.  

Once you have more time in your hands, maximize this new-found time using the 80/20 rule. Look at your task list and choose the important activities that will yield the highest results for your business.

You can also use the 80/20 rule when delegating several tasks to a virtual assistant or freelancer. Instead of simply creating a list of things they need to do, discuss the order of priority with them so they know which ones should be done first and by when. This ensures that you and your team are on the same page and everyone’s effort is contributing to your primary goals.

2. Outsourcing is great for recurring tasks.

This type of tasks can include social media, customer support, bookkeeping, or another area where you have established a process. Because you know your strategies work, you can easily train a freelancer to do these tasks while you develop systems for other aspects of your business.  

Make sure your standard operating procedures (SOPs) are detailed and organized. Aside from written instructions, include screenshots and video instructions that can help your new hire.

Making SOP’s may seem tedious at first, but it will save you time further down the line. The instructions you create can be used over and over as you add more people to your team.

3. Outsourcing lets you tap a broader labor pool.

As your business grows, you will need workers with different skill sets to keep things running well. Outsourcing allows you to focus on your strengths and hire out your weaknesses, i.e., critical tasks you are not good at. From graphic design, web development, marketing, app development, … there are remote workers who can bring in their expertise and add value to your company and your clients.

To find the right freelancer, be clear about the scope of the work, deadlines, and the quality of work you are looking for. Write detailed job descriptions, and specify the skills your ideal workers must have and the hours you need them to be available.

Another way your freelancers can add value to your business is by giving them space to share their ideas. As Connor Gillivan, chief content and marketing officer of FreeeUp writes in The 10 Most Common Mistakes of Outsourcing 2.0, “Your online workers can bring great ideas to the table, but you have to be willing to ask and openly listen.”

4. Outsourcing can help you expand your business faster.

Your success depends not just on the value you provide, but also on the number of people you have served. And you can definitely serve more people if you’re not doing a one-man or one-woman show.

Your systems and the quality of professionals in your team will have an impact on your business’s expansion. Keep improving your processes and hire wisely.

To increase your chances of hiring right, ask referrals from people you trust, or explore job platforms like FreeeUp that pre-qualify freelancers for skill, communication, and work attitude. These platforms can cut the time you spend sifting through a deluge of job applications, so you can focus on interviewing and onboarding qualified freelancers.

Get a $25 discount on your next outsourcing project!

FreeeUp offers Habitgrowth visitors an exclusive $25 discount for their first freelance project(s).

Save time, money, and become a raving fan in the process. Just like me!

Get this offer

Cons of Outsourcing

The cons of outsourcing

1. It costs money.

Ideally, you can make that money back, directly or indirectly, immediately or in the near future.

But when you’re just starting out, hiring can be scary. Chances are, you’re still building your name and brand, and your business cash flow is either on the negative or at best just breaking even.

Look at outsourcing as an opportunity cost. If you do the tasks yourself instead of outsourcing these, what other tasks would you have to give up? Are you letting go of hours you could have spent closing more deals?

As Seth Godin points out, “Once you know the value of the alternatives you’re giving up, you can be smarter about what you’re choosing to do.” Even if outsourcing is an added expense, used wisely, it can help you generate way more income than what you are spending.

If you are afraid to employ someone while your business is still financially unstable, consider outsourcing on a per project basis. You can hire a freelancer to help you complete current projects, or a consultant to help you set up a system. Once your business is generating more revenue, you can think about hiring remote workers on a more regular basis.

2. You have to let go of control and be confident that someone else will do it at least as well as you would do it yourself.

The quality of your service can make or break your business. So the idea of entrusting someone to do some of the work for you, or to represent your company, may feel like a gamble.

At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, you will have to let go and trust that your team can do things well on their own. This is the only way you can focus on growing your business.

Prepare for this stage by getting the right people in your team and setting up your company’s systems. Aside from providing instructions, have regular meetings with your new hires. Check on their progress and discuss concerns, so you can course-correct as soon as possible.

3. Outsourcing may require a little more effort in the beginning.

As I shared above, you need to document your procedures, write briefs, prepare templates, and interview potential freelancers. You also need to onboard new hires and, in the early stages, check their work regularly.

Look at these preparatory activities as a necessary investment to speed up your new hires’ learning curve. The documents you prepare will help your team deliver outputs that are as good as, or even better than, what you’re hoping for.

As your team becomes familiar with your system and preferences, they will be able to run your business with minimal inputs from you (think one-minute manager). They can even train new hires on your behalf.

4. You have to deal with resigning workers.

As in any business, some workers will stay with you for life while others will move on. A worker’s resignation can have repercussions on your business, especially if no one else in your team can take on that freelancer’s tasks.

You’ve probably been told: Diversify your investments. The same thing goes with your team. Avoid relying on one “rockstar” freelancer to do everything. If he/she quits, no one else can immediately fill in that role. This will force you to do some of the tasks yourself while going through the entire hiring and training process all over again.

Instead of relying on one freelancer, consider hiring several workers for different aspects of your business. Then let your senior workers train new hires. This way, you can be sure that tasks get done even if someone gets sick, goes on vacation, or resigns.

You can also minimize the costs of finding replacements through platforms like FreeeUp. Aside from pre-qualifying freelancers, FreeeUp shoulders the cost of finding a new freelancer should one of your remote workers resign.

Get a $25 discount on your next outsourcing project!

FreeeUp offers Habitgrowth visitors an exclusive $25 discount for their first freelance project(s).

Save time, money, and become a raving fan in the process. Just like me!

Get this offer

Conclusion

Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be challenging, but don’t let this keep you from building a winning team. Follow the tips in this post, and learn from successful entrepreneurs who have hired remote workers as well.

Adopt their best practices to help you hire right and set your remote workers up for success.

What outsourcing pros and cons would you like to add to this list? Are you struggling to identify which tasks to outsource first, or how to choose the right freelancer?

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About the Author

As an online time management coach, I help solopreneurs to organize their lives, become more productive, less stressed and accomplish more in less time. I not only share tips for tools and tactics, but also provide insights and strategies to accomplish more. Read more...

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