A great way to grow your business is by hiring freelancers to handle some of your most important business-building tasks. This process involves three main steps:
- Deciding what to outsource.
- Doing your due diligence.
- Developing a business relationship with your freelancer.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps…
Decide What to Outsource
You can outsource just about any task in your business. You may decide to outsource just one or two tasks, or you may decide to outsource everything. It all depends on your needs and your budget.
Need ideas of what to outsource? Check out these ideas:
- Content creation (blog articles, social media posts, newsletters, etc.).
- Product creation. • Video marketing.
- Copywriting (sales letters, ads, press releases, etc.).
- Customer service.
- Branding strategy.
- Overall marketing strategy.
- Research (e.g., product research, overall market research, keyword research).
- Search engine optimization.
- Paid advertising management (e.g., Facebook ads).
- Email marketing.
- Referral partner program recruitment and management.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course, as the tasks you need done will depend on your unique business. That’s why you’ll want to set time aside to compile a list of possible tasks that you’d consider outsourcing.
At this point, I’m going to assume that you’re not outsourcing everything. As such, that means you need to go through your list and determine which tasks you’ll outsource first. (As your business grows, you can outsource more.)
So, how do you determine which tasks to outsource first? Ask yourself these questions:
Which tasks would help you grow your business the fastest?
In other words, look at your list of potential tasks and determine which ones would have the biggest positive impact on your business.
For example, you may decide that setting up and running an affiliate program would be a great way to grow your business (and quickly), so you may decide to outsource partner recruitment.
Which tasks would a freelancer be able to complete more quickly?
If you’re unsure of how to do a task, or you find it just takes you a long time, then that’s a task you’ll want to consider outsourcing.
For example, if you need some technical work done – such as installing and customizing a complex script – you may decide to outsource it if the learning curve is too great. It may take you days to do the required research to even begin the task, where an experienced person may complete the entire task in just a few hours.
Which tasks would a freelancer be able to do for less cost?
In order to determine this, take what your time is worth per hour and multiply it by the hours it would take you to complete the task yourself.
To determine how much your time is worth, look at how much money you’re currently making per year, and divide it by the number of hours you work.
Alternatively, use your income goal/projection for the upcoming year and divide it by the number of hours you intend to work.
For example, let’s suppose you want to make $100,000 while working 1000 hours. That means your time is worth $100 per hour.
If a particular task would take you 10 hours to complete, then it “costs” you $1000. If you can find someone who’s willing to do it for less than $1000, then that’s a bargain.
With which tasks would a freelancer be able to create a better result?
Even if you can do something pretty fast and inexpensively, if you can’t do it WELL, then it’s better to have a pro do it.
For example, you may be able to write a sales letter fast – but if that letter doesn’t convert prospects to buyers, then you’ve wasted your time. Hiring a pro for this task will pay for itself very quickly since the letter will have better conversions than if you had created it.
What could you be doing instead if you outsourced a certain task?
In most cases, you’ll want to outsource lower-value tasks to others so that you can focus on higher-value tasks.
For example, you may outsource writing your blog posts to competent ghostwriters, which frees up your time to nurture relationships and do joint ventures with the top marketers in your niche.
Do Your Due Diligence
You can find freelancers by searching Google, asking colleagues for recommendations and posting projects on freelancing sites such as upwork.com. No matter where you find your freelancers, you’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure you only hire reputable freelancers who’ll produce great work.
Take these steps:
Check the freelancer’s feedback and ratings on freelancing sites.
If your freelancer does work on sites such as upwork.com, fiverr.com, freelancer.com, guru.com and similar, then check their onsite ratings. Look for someone who has a long history of providing good work on time and on budget.
Follow up with references.
If the freelancer doesn’t have any references listed, then ask for them. Preferably, get phone numbers so that you can have a real conversation with someone (rather than dealing with the anonymity of email, which doesn’t let you get the verbal cues embedded in normal conversation).
Review the freelancer’s portfolio, where applicable.
Check that the portfolio shows they create consistently good work across a variety of projects.
Search for the freelancer’s name in Google, and avoid any freelancer with a pattern of complaints.
Be sure your prospective freelancer has been in business for at least a year or two.
Talk to your colleagues to see if they have any experience with a particular freelancer.
Ask them about the good and bad points of working with this person.
Check that the freelancer’s rates are a good fit for your budget.
Don’t shop based on price alone. As the saying goes, if you pay peanuts then you can expect to get monkeys.
Ask the freelancer to complete a small project first.
In fact, you can hire three or so of your top candidates to see which ones produce the best work. Then you can hire the top one or two freelancers to complete bigger projects for you.
Now the third step…
Develop the Business Relationship
The best way to get good results over the long-term is to develop a good working relationship with your freelancer. Check out these ideas…
Provide detailed project briefs so your freelancer always knows exactly what you want.
You may have a vision of exactly what you want the end result to look like, but your freelancer isn’t a mind reader. That’s why you need to give them detailed information about what you want. Whenever possible, provide examples.
For instance, if you’re asking a writer to create a set of blog posts, then you’d provide:
- What the content will be used for.
- What sort of calls to action are needed at the end.
- Who’ll be reading the content.
- An outline for each post.
- Samples/examples of similar posts you like (e.g., “I like the conversational tone of this post.”)
- Notes on formatting and style (e.g., use plenty of bulleted lists, examples, and tips).
Offer praise for a job well done. If you’re only offering negative feedback/criticism on a project, it’s going to hurt morale. That’s why you want to make a point of offering specific feedback whenever someone does a good job.
Something like: “I really like the creativity you showed with this graphic – great job!”
Be sure freelancers know you’re always available to answer questions. If you act like it’s a burden to answer your freelancer’s questions, then your freelancer is going to shy away from “bothering” you with clarifications. Chances are, you’re not going to get good results if your freelancer doesn’t feel comfortable asking any and all questions.
Bottom line: make it a point to let freelancers know that you welcome all questions. Let them know you WANT them to ask questions, get clarifications, etc. And be sure when you answer these questions that you don’t give any impression that it’s a stupid question, that you’re too busy to answer, etc.
Let freelancers know about your expectations, and ask them about their expectations too. This will help create a good working relationship if you know what to expect of each other.
For example, if you expect your freelance writer to update you every three days while they’re working on a big project for you, then make that expectation known upfront.
Or, if you expect your freelancer to get on weekly phone calls with you, then let that be known upfront as well (as some freelancers may not be used to “meeting” with clients).
TIP: For more serious issues, such as payments and deadlines, you should create a written agreement with your freelancer that both of you sign. This agreement should protect both of you.
Surprise really good work with bonuses such as cash or even gift certificates. This will help you develop a great relationship and make it more likely your freelancer will give you preferential treatment in the future.
Be sure your freelancers feel valued and appreciated, and they’re sure to remain a long-term member of your team.