Would you like a simple technique to get better results as an online marketer? Outsource. If “outsourcing” sounds daunting, don’t worry – it can be simple and surprisingly inexpensive.
If you’ve been generating revenue online for a while, this likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard that outsourcing can make your life easier and help you to boost your profits. Rather than simply rehash what you may have heard before, I’m also going to try to give you a few specific tips that will help you outsource more effectively, whether or not you have any experience.
In A Nutshell:
First, a quick intro for the brand-newbies: Do you have work to do that you don’t like doing, or that you don’t know how to do? You can probably solve that problem by outsourcing the work inexpensively through any one of a variety of outsourcing websites. The process generally goes something like this:
- You post a description of the work you need done on an outsourcing website (could be for a 5-minute task, a full-time job, or anything in between)
- Contractors from around the world apply to your job posting, and tell you how much money they’re willing to work for (if you live in a developed country, you’ll probably get bids from contractors in developing countries who are happy to work for far less than you’d have to pay someone from your own city)
- After a bit of interviewing and testing, you hire someone, manage them as they work, and spend most of your time on other more productive/enjoyable tasks than the one you’ve outsourced.
- When the job is done, or at certain milestones, you pay your contractor by sending a payment through the secure outsourcing site where you hired him or her.
Where To Outsource:
A few of the most popular outsourcing sites include: Elance.com, Scriptlance.com, VWorker.com, Freelancer.com, Guru.com, and oDesk.com.
They all have advantages & disadvantages, but my personal favorite is oDesk because of their time tracking feature (they record the screens of your contractors as they work) and their hiring process (they have detailed contractor profiles, and also publish the results of tests that contractor’s can take to demonstrate their skill level in various areas.)
What To Outsource
If you think you can’t afford it or that you have nothing to outsource, think again! Here are just a few of the tasks that I’ve outsourced, many for less than $2/hour:
- Designing mock-ups for a website
- Link-building for SEO
- Designing banner ads (728×90, 300×250, etc)
- Writing high quality articles
- Creating a custom WordPress plugin
- Building entire WordPress sites from scratch
- Building a custom PHP website
- Creating custom software to mass-analyze potential domain purchases
- Finding/creating 100s of images for split-testing in Facebook advertising
- On-page SEO
- Flash animation
- Analyzing various WordPress themes, and then advising me on which is best for my project
- Much more!
I’ve even hired people to teach me how to do things online – those job descriptions sounded something like: “I don’t know how to do XYZ with WordPress. I need someone to do XYZ to my website, and then teach me how you did it so that I can do it myself in the future.” Just think: Instead of spending 10 hours pulling your hair out trying to figure out the inner workings of WordPress (for example), you can hire someone for say $2 per hour who already knows how to do the job… and within 2 hours he/she will have the work done and will also have sent you a detailed explanation of how to do it yourself. Pretty sweet!
And I’ve even hired contractors for non-business tasks such as touching up an old black & white photo of my parents! If your own time is worth $20 per hour, it’s pointless to do any task that someone else will do for $1 per hour.
A couple of tools that come in quite handy when outsourcing are:
Skype – Faster communication than email! Great for interviewing job candidates as well as communicating with existing contractors. Skype also has a screen-sharing feature.
Jing - Free, super simple, and easy to use software that lets you create up to 5 minute screen capture videos. Great for giving instructions to contractors when you want to show them how to do something. A video is worth a thousand words
Time Doctor – If you’re using an outsourcing website that doesn’t have built-in time tracking to record your contractors’ screens so you can see what they’re doing, you might want to consider using a third party time tracking service like Time Doctor.
A Few Tips
Before you get started, here are a few outsourcing tips based on my own experience (some of these are specific to oDesk):
- When searching for contractors or posting a job, I recommend specifying that you prefer contractors from the Philippines because that’s where I’ve found my best contractors (on oDesk you can’t target “Philippines” specifically, but you can specify the more general “East Asia”). I’ve also had good luck with contractors in Bangladesh and Russia, although they can be a bit more expensive.
- Specify the upper limit for what you’re willing to pay (usually I set it to $3/hour, and often mention an even lower limit in the written description) – otherwise you’ll get people bidding too high which will raise the “average bid” and may encourage additional high bids. If you do get a bid that is too high, reject that contractor quickly so they no longer appear on the list for other contractors to see.
- Before hiring someone for a big job, hire a few people for a very small job first to test them out (oDesk makes this very easy to do). Hiring multiple contractors has the additional benefit of generating extra (hopefully positive) reviews for your profile!
- When you’re new to oDesk, don’t be afraid to “invite” many contractors to apply to your job instead of simply posting a job and waiting for applications. You can generate a lot more interest in your job that way.
- When a job is finished and your contractor did a good job, tell your contractor that you’re giving him/her a 5-star review (this will look good on their profile), AND ask them to also rate you 5-stars if they were happy working for you (this will look good on YOUR profile and will make it even easier to hire high quality contractors next time). Don’t be afraid to specifically ask them for “5 stars”.
- On oDesk, avoid hiring people if you’re going to pay them less than $1 for the entire job. If you hire someone for a job and pay them less than $1 in total, your oDesk profile will indicate that you didn’t hire anyone at all. So if you hire 20 people for a simple task and pay them each $0.50, your oDesk profile will indicate that you posted 20 jobs and didn’t hire anyone for the positions (even though you did). Potential contractors aren’t as likely to apply for jobs posted by employers who appear to hire no one for many of their jobs. If you need to hire a large number of people to each perform the same a simple task (like completing a 3 question survey), it’s best to use a crowdsourcing site like MTurk.com.
Still on the fence about outsourcing? Just do it! A small outsourcing test will barely make a dent in your wallet and will open your eyes to a world of possibilities. It costs nothing to post a job on most outsourcing sites, so get started today. As Timothy Ferris says: “It’s time to learn how to be the boss. It isn’t time consuming. It’s low-cost and low-risk. Whether or not you “need” someone at this point is immaterial. It is an exercise… It is important to take baby steps towards paying others to do work for you. Few do it, which is another reason so few people have their ideal lifestyles.”
What can YOU outsource to simplify your life and free your time so you can make more money?