- Bonnie Rando Leys
Five reasons to outsource to a freelancer
Starting your own business is hard. There are so many things to think about, so much planning and risk. Then there is the accumulating to-do list, that monster seems to be composed of all your pet-hates, flunked school subjects and greatest fears. “Why did I start this thing? This was a terrible idea. Oh god, oh god, oh god…”
Don’t panic. Outsourcing can help. This post will explain why outsourcing (not offshoring) is a great way to gain expertise, save money and time, allow you to focus on your core business, and enjoy that piece of mind that comes from a job well done.
No one knows everything.
Sure, you may be brilliant at a few things (that’s what your business is about) but no one is brilliant at everything. When you outsource a certain task you are decidedly average at, you get an expert in place of a novice.
For a small to medium business, that helps level the playing field. You might not be able to afford an in-house designer but you can hire a freelancer with the skills to deliver a project that goes toe-to-toe with the big guys.
I can write but I cannot do math. I have no propensity for it. As a child it bored me to tears, I would daydream and draw during class and now, when I need to work out a pretty basic sum, I panic without a calculator. That’s why I outsource my business accounting to an expert. Because god help me if I had to figure this tax-and-income-business out on my own.
Yes, I should have paid more attention in math class, but my inability to do this one thing allowed me to see the advantage of outsourcing early in my career. I am confident in in my accountant’s expertise and ability to do this task for me – it’s what they studied for and what they do every day – I hear they even get a thrill out of Excel spreadsheets?!
There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do everything. It’s just good sense to accept it and hire someone to help you with the things you can’t.
2. Save money
Outsourcing can save you money.
A permanent staff member is a significant fixed cost to maintain, especially for small business and start-ups. Freelancers are a flexible solution for growing businesses, or those that are more seasonal in nature like event and conference promoters.
By taking on a freelance consultant instead of a permanent staffer, you only pay for the work – not the office space, equipment, sick leave, holiday pay, super contributions, recruitment and training costs that come with a new hire.
Some outsourcing companies or agencies will ask you to sign long-term contracts with complex terms and conditions. So buyer beware, while it may save money for big projects, it could be a waste of money for smaller projects with shorter time frames.
Define your project parameters clearly and always read the terms and conditions. Consider another small business to help you with your outsourcing needs as they can be more accommodating.
3. Gain time
By outsourcing some tasks to others, you can reclaim time in your day for something else.
That might be business-related like chasing sales leads, helping one more client, or shipping that product. It could also be something personal. Life isn’t all about work after all.
By delegating that project to a freelancer, you can leave the office at a ‘normal’ time and hang out with your kids. No kids? No problem, you could make that gym session or stop working on your days off.
I’m sure you can think of a thousand things to do instead of social media planning for your business. You may even want to do a dozen of those things, or you might want to stare at the wall for an hour each day. It’s up to you. Book the freelancer and do exactly what you want with your new-found time.
4. Allows you to focus on your core business
Outsourcing enables you to focus your efforts on your core business activities. This is usually what you’re good at so it makes sense to spend the bulk of your time and energy here.
Hire a freelancer and you can allocate your in-house staff to projects better suited to their expertise and skill set. Debra doesn’t enjoy writing the e-newsletter, she doesn’t have time and let’s face it, she’s more of a numbers person anyway.
By booking that freelance copywriter, you will improve staff morale, get Debra back to her spreadsheets where she is needed, and improve the quality of communications going out to your stakeholders.
Limited resources doesn’t need to mean limited potential. You can grow your business with the help of a freelancer.
5. Peace of mind
This links back to my first point. When you outsource a task to a reliable and competent freelancer you get peace of mind that that job is going to be completed on-time to a high quality.
Yes, like everything there is risk involved. You might get a dud. You might hire a freelancer without the skills for the job, they might miss the deadline, they might be an angry weirdo. But that’s like all hires – outsourcing or otherwise – there is a risk that you won’t get what you expected.
It’s important to research potential freelancers, check out their experience and credentials. Ask your network for a referral and test the waters with a small project first. Don’t be put off by one poor experience, there is a freelancer out there just waiting to wow you.