How to Use Outsourcing for your Startup

As you begin to build your startup and reach a point where systems and processes are in place, you will run into a period where you begin to run out of time in the day. You’ve built up the tasks within your business to a place where you and your co-founders cannot run all of them and still continue to grow the company.

It is of utmost importance to make sure that you continue to build your startup instead of getting caught up in the nitty gritty day-to-day tasks. While the operations of your startup are important, your time and expertise needs to be focused on the growth of your business idea.

Where Most Founders Struggle

One of the most difficult things for first time and even seasoned entrepreneurs is letting go of something that they’ve built. Being an entrepreneur, I understand the feeling of building something and feeling like it is your own. You know that you can perform the task the best and it’s extremely difficult to pass it off to someone else.

However, if you want to build a valuable company for the long run, you must come to terms with this difficulty. You must find a way to teach others the processes that you have created so that they too can thrive within the operations of the business.

What We’ll Cover Today

In this column, I’ll outline how you can use online workers and outsourcing to complement your founding team and startup. I’ll cover what is outsourcing, where you can find them, and how they have helped me scale my startups at a faster pace. As with everything that has to do with entrepreneurship, there is a problem and we are going to solve it.

The Problem: Founders get caught up in the repetitive operations and lose focus on growing their company.

What is Outsourcing?

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, outsourcing is the process of hiring online workers from around the world to fill the needs of your business. These online workers remain remote and complement your startup in the fashion that you allow them to.

For a more in depth look at outsourcing and its most common mistakes, request a free copy of my eBook, The 10 Most Common Mistakes of Outsourcing…And How to Avoid Them

There are many misconceptions of what outsourcing is from the media and past use of outsourcing by large corporations. Today, outsourcing is merely another avenue for entrepreneurs to find great workers to join their growing team. With the evolution of the Internet and online working platforms like Upwork and FreeeUp, business owners are ever closer to people anywhere in the world.

Gone is the day of having to find your workers in the same city or zip code as you. Today, you can recruit, interview, and hire a massive population of skilled workers from tens of countries around the world.

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Doesn’t that sound like a tool you would like to start taking advantage of?

Where Can you Find Online Workers?

As I started to elude to above, there are a number of online platforms where you can hire online workers. The largest and most dominant is Upwork.com, formerly oDesk and Elance, before they merged. Upwork is an online platform where business owners and online workers can communicate and create work together.

Upwork

Example: I am an entrepreneur that is starting a new eCommerce company. I’ve built my store, sourced my products, and just recently launched to the public. The volume of orders and customer inquiries is coming in faster than expected and I’m in need of some extra help. My biggest demand is for a customer care representative who can work with the customers through questions about the products, returns, and exchanges.

I head over to Upwork.com and I can search for online workers with customer service skills. I fill out the criteria that I need including hours, years of experience, and English skills. Upwork’s search engine provides me with a list of hundreds of online workers who have the criteria that I chose.

I spend time sifting through the hundreds of applicants and I send my job description to the ones that I think are the best fit. I go through the process of interviewing them and finally I hire one of them for my team. Voila! I now have a customer service representative who is handling the operations of my online store so that I can focus on getting more customers.

Simple, right?

FreeeUp

After spending over 3 years hiring online workers from Upwork for my first venture, my business partner and I saw the opportunity to build a new business that offered a more hands-on outsourcing experience. It is called FreeeUp and it does exactly that specializing in eCommerce skill sets.

Instead of being an online platform where you can search for online workers with specific skill sets, we are an outsourcing solution where you tell us what you need and we introduce you to the best worker. We receive over 100 applications for workers each week and we have a team interviewing and vetting out the best ones.

FreeeUp is another example of an outsourcing solution that makes the process that much simpler. You don’t even have to worry about recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the right person.

Everything In Between

There’s hundreds of other outsourcing companies similar to Upwork and FreeeUp that exist on the Internet. They fall in between the online platform and the hands-on solution. At the end of the day, the purpose is the same…make hiring online workers easier for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Scale your Startup at a Faster Pace with Outsourcing

To conclude this column, I return to the problem that I presented at the beginning…

The Problem: Founders get caught up in the repetitive operations and lose focus on growing their company.

I was once a victim of this problem until I discovered the power of outsourcing. As a startup founder, you are most likely strapped for cash and not in a position to hire full time team members from your immediate area. Even when you have received funding, you want to make sure that you are spending your money as wisely as possible.

From my experience, I’ve found that you can surround your founding team with part-time, skilled workers through outsourcing that will allow you to grow your company at a faster pace in the first year of business. I highly recommend hiring online workers for the different teams that are evolving within your company.

eCommetize Example

eCommetize is now 5 months old and we are in the process of forming our support system of online workers. We’re earning regular monthly revenue, but we’re not in a position to hire another full time employee. However, we are in a position to hire 4-5 part-time online workers who specialize in certain aspects of the company that we are starting to build.

We have product data to reformat into our standard template. There is a part time worker. We have orders to be fulfilled and tracking information to be sent out to customers on a daily basis. There is a part time worker. We have hundreds of products that need to be listed on new stores. There is a part time worker. We have a social media strategy that we need to implement. Another part time worker. And we have graphic design work that needs to be performed to make our online stores look as appealing as possible. Say hello to yet another online worker.

Value your Time

Do you see what we are allowing ourselves to do by outsourcing these particular tasks? My cofounder and I are freeing up our time to continue to focus on what is most important to the growth of the company. I’m talking about acquiring new customers, managing finances, working with current clients, and developing our internal proprietary software.

If we were to get caught up in the operations of running the business, we would never have time to build the company that we envision. Value your time as a founder of your startup and utilize online workers who have the skills you need on your supporting team.