Want to outsource all of your tasks so you can have a turn-key business on an hour or two a week? Well, so do I. Outsourcing can be a great solution to increasing productivity and crossing tasks off your list, bu
t there are a lot of myths out there about what, exactly, outsourcing is, and it’s important to consider the pros and cons of outsourcing jobs before you decide to take the leap.
Throughout this site, I consistently encourage you to think of your affiliate business as a small business, rather than simply a website. From that perspective, you should think of outsourcing in terms of return on investment, and consider both the hard and soft costs involved when dealing with contract workers.
Pros of Outsourcing
Outsourcing Is Affordable
This is the number one reason most people jump into outsourcing, but thinking of freelancers as nothing more than a cheap labor force won’t get you very far, and you’re likely to waste money on unnecessary or unimportant tasks just because they’re cheap.
When trying to decide what and how to outsource, I ask myself two questions:
- Is this task worth my time to do?
- Can I hire someone to do this task as well or better than I can?
Before even considering outsourcing a task, you should make sure that the task is actually worthwhile. Think of outsourcing, then, as a way of crossing items off your to-do list, not as a separate category of tasks. Just like anything you do, you should balance the priorities first, and then figure out how to execute on your job.
Outsourcing Is Good for Systemizable Tasks
Identifying systemizable tasks is the key to answering the second question above. You want to look for repetitive aspects of your business around which you can develop a consistent process.
In doing so, it forces you to get your ego out of the equation. As a small business owner, there are undoubtedly many tasks that only you can do, but I encourage you to consistently reevaluate what those tasks are.
If it’s a one time job that would take you more time to explain than to complete, you’re better off doing it yourself, but if it’s a repeat issue, there’s potential to develop an efficient process for it.
Outsourcing Is An Opportunity to Tap into New Expertise
Getting out of your ego also means recognizing what aspects of your business aren’t your strong suit. Whether that’s graphic design, content writing, or social media marketing, chances are there’s something that someone else can do as well or better than you can.
Identifying these gaps in your own experience will help you get ahead of the curve, because recognizing your own weaknesses is often the key to overcoming them.
Cons of Outsourcing
Neglecting Important Details
The biggest caveat in my mind when it comes to outsourcing has to do with the knowledge and experience you, as a business owner, are bringing to the table. If you’re unfamiliar with a specific area of your business (Basic SEO, for example) it can be tempting to have a “oh just get it done,” attitude.
The risk is that you waste time and money by giving your freelancer too much control, without having the background knowledge to guide them appropriately. If you truly have no clue about a task area, consider finding an advisor or mentor first to help you gain a clearer picture of the tasks you’re asking to be done.
You don’t want to budget only 5 hours for a 50 hour task, just as you don’t want to be fooled into thinking a 1 hour task took your worker 20 hours.
Possibility of Miscommunication
One of the major negatives of outsourcing (especially when you’re first starting out) is the high risk of miscommunication. If you’re not used to dealing with employees and task delegation, it’s easy to think your task description is clearer than it is.
The good news is that with patience and practice, the art of delegation can be learned, so try not to get too frustrated if your new freelancer doesn’t give you exactly what you’d hoped for. Reevaluate your own instructions before shifting the blame to the worker!
You Get What You Pay For
This isn’t necessarily a downside, but consider yourself warned. It’s easy to be seduced by offshore workers offering pennies on the dollar to their American or European counterparts. While you can find great deals, be sure to screen candidates thoroughly, and make sure you’re hiring someone with good experience and references.
A cheap freelancer is not a ‘good deal’ if they wind up producing unreadable, messing up your design, getting you banned in google, or destroying part of your code.
Start small with any new freelancer. I use the mantra: slow to hire, quick to fire.
I hope this article helps you consider some of the pros and cons of outsourcing jobs for your affiliate website or small business. If you’re considering outsourcing and unsure if you’re ready to take the leap, you might want to check out the best outsource martetplace websites and read up on common outsourcing mistakes.