3 Steps To Effective Outsourcing For Online Entrepreneurs

by on May 2, 2012 · 23 comments

in Entrepreneurship, Outsourcing

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Outsourcing can be considered as one of the key tools for success in any online entrepreneurs arsenal. Often, you will find yourself working on repetitive, mundane tasks which tend to take your energy and focus away from planning and growing your business.  Online Outsourcing and delegation of these tasks is often the stepping stone for being “self employed” to being a truly dynamic entrepreneur.

After all, why did you quit your job only to find yourself stuck in another job? A job lot worse than your real job because you can’t wrap up and proceedings at 6pm every evening and go home.

So, what is the real key to effective online outsourcing and what exactly can you outsource.

Let’s look at some answers.

What is outsourcing?

In recent years the concept of outsourcing, on a large scale has largely been associated with customer service call centres, manufacturing facilities, training and even entire operations based in a foreign country with low labour costs. Many large companies have used offshore outsourcing to lower costs and generate more profits.

For individuals and internet entrepreneurs, outsourcing can simply mean delegating and assigning everyday tasks to a “virtual assistant” based in another country. Your virtual assistant or VA (I will be using that term for the rest of this post) can then spend time accomplishing tasks on a daily basis, allowing you to spend more time on developing ideas to grow your business.

online outsourcing

3 Steps To Effective Outsourcing For Online Entrepreneurs

Step #1

Listing tasks for outsourcing

The first step in effective outsourcing starts with listing all the time consuming tasks you can outsource. Typically for an online entrepreneur these task may include:

  • Market research
  •  keyword research
  •  Domain registration
  •  Setting up hosting
  •  Installing WordPress
  •  Ordering content
  •  Publishing content
  •  Optimizing content
  •  Social bookmarking
  •  Link building
  •  SEO
  •  Monitoring rankings
  •  Technical troubleshooting
  •  Coding and development
  •  Managing social media
  •  Managing emails
  •  Scheduling and appointments

As you can see, the seemingly simple tasks can quickly add up to a lot of work especially if you have diversified business model.

Here is the good news….

Almost all of those tasks can be outsourced to a virtual assistant by implementing simple processes as you will discover in the next few steps.

Step #2

Documenting your tasks for outsourcing

Essentially, this is what we call creating the “training manual” for your virtual assistants and is easier than you think. Make a list of repetitive tasks you manage on a daily basis and simply write down the step by step by process for every task with appropriate screenshots wherever possible.

The niche site guide I offer on Nichesense blog, which has now been downloaded over 500 times is nothing more than a detailed process of what my VA’s have used to build over 50 websites in a single month. It took me no more than a day to document the entire process from start to finish.

You can use the “manual creation” strategy for tasks as simple as adding a new domain to your hosting account, ordering content or even managing your emails!

Step #3

Delegating your tasks for outsourcing

This step is all about forecasting and planning.  I breakdown the most common tasks I listed in Step 1 into a Google spreadsheet complete with colour coding which can be managed through a shared dashboard. I also plan out my tasks at least 4 weeks in advance so my virtual assistants always have plenty of tasks to tackle on a daily basis.

Here is what a typical task manager spreadsheet looks like:

online outsourcing

Once the VA finishes a task, it is simply marked as “done” with green colour coding. I will typically spend 15-20 minutes at the end of every day to check if all the tasks were finished successfully. In instances where the VA encounters an issue, a comment is added with a description of the issue for me to check and resolve.

You can publish similar spreadsheets for a range of standalone tasks line managing your backlinks, content or to track specific metrics related to your website.

online outsourcing

Here is a bonus step.

Social media outsourcing

One of the most time consuming tasks for any online entrepreneur is managing their social media presence across a range of platforms.

I know what you are think…

That stuff is boring and time consuming!

Yep, I agree. But, here is a fact. If you want to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen niche, than you ought to build your social media presence and engage with other like minded entrepreneurs.  Having a big social media presence often leads to more traffic, more leads and more opportunities, regardless of the nature of your online business.

Once again, you can easily hire a dedicated virtual assistant to manage your entire social media presence. Remember, your time is much better spent on developing strategies to help grow your business than tweeting or publishing Facebook updates.

Let me give you an example.

Exactly 3 months ago, I had just under 300 twitter followers, it was extremely frustrating for me as I simply did not have enough time to grow a large and targeted Twitter following that would have allowed me to share my content and drive more traffic to my blog.

What would most Internet Marketers do? Go out and buy 5000 Twitter followers on Fiverr. Seriously, that is the biggest waist $5 if there was ever one. Why? because none of those followers will ever read or retweet anything you have to share.

Enter my social media manager. In just under 3 months, she has worked as part of my team to build a healthy 5000 strong, targeted Twitter following. My recent stats from getClicky show a whopping 1000 visits to my blog from Twitter alone!

My social media manager spends no more than 10 hours a week doing this and I simply don’t have to worry about finding Twitter followers or publishing Facebook updates.

Resources for outsourcing

Here are some great resources to help you build and expand on what you have learned in this post:

Odesk - Hire VA’s, PA’s, Designers, Coders and more…

Fiverr – Use it for just about anything except buying backlinks and fake followers…

Miss Virtual Friday – Michelle Dale’s “done for you” VA services

VA Passport - The ultimate virtual outsourcing resource

Virtual Business Lifestyle – Chris Ducker’s outsourcing blog with tons of great content and articles.

You can also download copies of my VA tasksheets using the links below:

VA Dashboard

Content Management Dahsboard

 

Have questions, comments or thoughts about how to use outsourcing? Let’s hear them below!

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Article by

Anshul Dayal is the CEO at Nichesense Media and shares his cutting edge Niche Marketing strategies here at Nichesense.com to help entrepreneurs build a successful online business.

Anshul has written 49 awesome articles for us at Profitable Niche Marketing For Online Entrepreneurs

Twitter: @anshuldayal | Facebook | Google+ | Blog → Nichesense Niche Marketing Blog

Guest post

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Muhammad Panji May 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Just trying to get my first thousand dolars :D if I can get at least USD 1000 monthly I plan to spent some part of the money to outsource article writing, especially for blogs in Indonesian language

Reply

2 Anshul May 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

Hi Muhammad, Here is how I see it. If you were to start outsourcing now, would it help you get to the $1000/month quicker? Writing articles are very time consuming so I would at least look at outsourcing some of that sooner rather than later (& its not very expensive).

Reply

3 Rema May 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hi Anshul,
Not surprised by yet another info-packed post from you. Very useful details indeed! But again, i will not need to outsource for another year or so or till I make my mark on the web. I am gaining a lot of knowledge from people like you and am implementing it slowly but steadily while making my living as a SEO consultant. I missed many of your posts last month due to a vacation and hope to read them very soon.
Thanks for sharing great info and helping people like me.
Cheers
Rema

Reply

4 Anshul May 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

Hi Rema, outsourcing is cheaper than you think, so my suggestion would be that if it helps to get to your goals quicker, than I would do it sooner rather than later. Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

Reply

5 Rema May 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thanks Anshul. I do see your point. Maybe I should give it a try. Thanks for the advice.
Cheers
Rema

Reply

6 S May 4, 2012 at 6:11 am

What kind of criteria do you set for social media managers? I would appreciate some more detail.

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7 Anshul May 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hello, criteria for hiring a social media manager or how they work? Overall it is quite simple. Always go with someone who has an understanding of your niche so it will be easier for them to find targeted followers/traffic. Make sure to ask them for previous portfolios they have managed and then you can always take them for a test drive for a week or so. At the end of the day, it is a low risk proposition, if you are not happy with an individuals performance, simply find another one.

Reply

8 S May 5, 2012 at 6:47 am

Can twitter and social media completely replace backlink building strategies? I am thinking of ramping my strategy down to two things:

1) Twitter (and 5 of the main social media platforms) — massive twitter follower building, into the 50k-100k
2) 60-120 Long Tail Keyword articles a month
3) Daily Long Tail Keyword Podcasts

What do you think Anshul? I believe Twitter is more powerful than any backlinking because it is a touchpoint, a link, and it gives off this transparency feel that you don’t get from simply copy on your site, or even a newsletter…

Reply

9 Anshul May 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

I would suggest using Twitter as one of your strategies but not all of it. No doubt you can drive a lot of traffic from Twitter, but it will take some time to build that many targeted followers and even then the average click through will be a relatively small percentage. Guest blogging on high traffic blogs is another powerful way to draw tons of quality traffic and links, so use a combination of 2-3 strategies with outsourcing in the mix.

Reply

10 Tzerwah May 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi Anshul,

Great content!
I am a newbie and will start my niche site soon.
I am going to outsource my article writing and blog post writing as i am not well versed in writing.
But i am thinking what is the kind of guidelines should i give for the above mention services?

Cheers
TW

Reply

11 Anshul May 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Hi Tzerwah, here is an example job posting for a social media VA I posted recently on Odesk:

https://www.odesk.com/jobs/Social-Media-Virtual-Assistant_~~072942d3a1005f73

You can use a similar descriptive format for any type of ad.

Reply

12 S May 12, 2012 at 1:29 am

Anshul,

The post is helpful. However, we don’t know how to train a person for this type of job; any hints as to the actual process they would be fulfilling on a monthly basis?

I will be using this for one of my jobs (http://storecoach.com/articles/article/store-coachs-insanely-simple-seo-plan#Q4) – it’s fairly comprehensive link building for ecommerce…but I think it may work equally well with my niche site, given that the link anchor texts are varied enough.

Thanks ahead of time.

Reply

13 Anshul May 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Create a simple PDF manual and hand it over to the VA or even better record a screen capture video. That is really the best way to train a person and trust me it doesn’t take very long if you put in the effort to create good training manuals.

Reply

14 Tzerwah May 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hi Anshul,

Thanks for the input.
Cheers
TW

Reply

15 Tzerwah May 17, 2012 at 1:42 am

Hi Anshul,
During outsourcing, do you create new wordpress accounts before outsourcing or get them to create and email back the log in information for you to change the password?
Thanks
TW

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16 Anshul May 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hi Tzerwah,

I normally get my VA’s to install everything, upload content, publish images, optimize and then send me the login info once they no longer need to access the admin panel.

Reply

17 lali May 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

would be better if you also share theoutsource price.

Reply

18 Anshul May 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Hi Lali, pricing can vary depending on the task you are trying to outsource. For eg if you are looking for a “generalist” VA, you can easily find a decent one on Odesk for as little $4-5/Hour. Good article writers can start from $6/hour and technical VA’s can be a bit more expensive at $10/hour. Regardless of the price you pay, there is always some training involved.

Reply

19 Lee June 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Hi Anshul,

Could you give me an idea of what would be a fair pay rate for an outsourced social media engager please?

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20 Anshul June 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hi Lee, You can easily find a good social media engager for about $6-$10/Hour on Odesk. In my experience higher rate doesn’t always translate to better skills so definitely start around that ballpark.

Reply

21 Outsource Made Simple July 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Well, the truth is Outsourcing isn’t that complicated or at least it doesn’t have to be. I hear a lot of people say that they don’t have time to hire workers for outsourcing yet they complain that they cannot complete their tasks due to limited time. I did some research of my own at Outsource Made Simple and learned some key points. After applying what I learned I have successfully outsourced my work and haven’t had a problem since. Point is, do some research before making up your mind and you will realize that it actually isn’t that complicated.

Reply

22 Anshul July 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

Thank for sharing that. Most of the people who have contacted me also have the misconception that outsourcing is expensive and they will do it once they can afford to, which is often the wrong approach to take and can hurt your progress and growth.

Reply

23 Luke Young August 14, 2013 at 2:42 am

Great article. I am waiting for further useful information in your site. Thanks for sharing great info

Reply

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