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.
3 Steps To Effective Outsourcing For Online Entrepreneurs
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
- 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.
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!
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:
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.
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:
Have questions, comments or thoughts about how to use outsourcing? Let’s hear them below!