How to Outsource your online (or offline) business

April 14, 2009

Many successful internet marketers have very similar beginnings. They found out about a way they can make money online, did some research and decided to give it a try. When they started, it was a one-man show. They did everything from the design (which in many cases was pretty pathetic) to the product development, the copywriting to the marketing, and all of the other dynamic aspects of running their online business. After a while, many internet gurus (as we know them today) experienced some form of burnout.

I am one of those individuals who has experienced that burnout. I remember spending every waking moment in front of my computer, trying to learn more and more and impliment more and more. Although I do not consider myself to be a “guru”, I do consider myself to have achieved a decent measure of success online.

However, it become quickly apparent to me that if I were to continue making a good income online, I needed to take a serious look into the topic of outsourcing. This was quite a scary thought for me. I had 2 main issues with the concept of outsourcing:

  1. I would be giving up control of certain aspects of my business. Different people would be doing different things and those people aren't inside my brain.
  2. I'm not an extremely rich guy. Yes, my business was bringing in a few thousand dollars monthly. How could I spend money hiring others instead of using the money to pay off more bills.

Taking those two fears into consideration, there was one overriding factor that made those two fears almost insignificant. I did not have enough time to do anything that was important to me. My life was becoming consumed with my business and everything suffered – even my wife, which is unacceptable. I HAD TO outsource. It was no longer just a choice, but a necessity.

How I started

It was time for my blog to be redesigned. The design I had previously was NOT efficient, and to a certain extent was losing me business. The old Leslie would open up photoshop and start designing. It would've taken me many hours to finally come up with something I liked. The new Leslie decided to outsource it. I posted a listing at www.scriptlance.com, describing what I needed done. Within hours, I had a few bids and over the next 2 days or so, I had received numerous bids from people all over the world – many of which had very impressive portfolios and really good prices.

I finally made a decision and what you see today is a result of my first attempt at outsourcing – a design that far exceeded what I could've done. One that's optimized to capture attention and conversions.

How I continued . . .

At this point, I was extremely excited. I wanted to outsource almost everything – From design to marketing, coding to development and even trading. Some mistakes have been made along the way, but it has been an amazing experience overall. More things was being done, and I had more time on my hands. My profit margins for each aspect of my business are not as huge, but there are more aspects to my business so that I haven't noticed a drop in income. Not only that, but I am setting myself up for long term success.

Where To Start

The internet is a beautiful thing, allowing you to network with people all over the world. There are a number of websites out there that can be used to find quality work at a very reasonable price – less than many people think.

Here are a list of sites I have used to find outsourcers. There are many more out there, but I can only speak to those that I've personally used:

Elance – Elance is a very professional outsourcing site with an elaborate rating system where you can find individuals to do just about ANYTHING. Cost: $4 per hour+

Getafreelancer and Scriptlance – Also very good. This is where I got the person to design the blog that you are looking at right now. Cost: $4 per hour+

Bestjobs – This is a company that's based out of the Philippines. It is not as professional as the others and don't even have a rating system. However, it's my absolute favorite site. The people I've worked with so far have been very polite and great at what they do. Using this site, I was able to find a great virtual assistant to work for me on a project for 40 hours weekly at a ridiculously low rate of $400 per month. Cost: $2 per hour+

How to make sure you get what you want

One of the challenges to outsourcing is that the person that is doing the work can't see inside your brain. Here are some tips that you can use to make sure you get the best bang for your buck:

  1. Before posting your job to one of the above mentioned sites, review job descriptions that other people used for projects that are similar to yours. This will give you a good idea of details that need to be included.
  2. Be very clear about your expectations in terms of what will be required, how payment will be made (i.e. Paypal, Money order etc), and turnaround time.
  3. Be as detailed as possible. There are many aspects to a project that you don't think about when you are doing it yourself, because you know what you want (usually). These details need to be outlined in great detail when getting someone else to do a job for you. It is better to provide too many details than too few. You'd be surprised at what you get if you are not detailed. On the first draft of my blog design, instead of the superhero in the header, I had a person that looked like a Hindu God with 8 hands holding ipods, tvs and other consumer electronics. To say the least, I was not pleased. For the second revision I included details like what colors I wanted, and even gave links to specific images that were good examples.
  4. Treat your outsourcers well. If you find someone that is really good at what they do at a great price, you will most likely want to work with this person more. In order to do this, you need to keep them happy. One way to do this is by giving them bonuses.

If the subject of outsourcing is of great interest to you, I would recommend for you to read the book “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. Tim Ferris is popular for his concept of the “New Rich” – people who have outsourced almost every aspect of the business, and in some cases, even their life. It's a very good read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves overwhelmed with their daily tasks.

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12 Comments

  • onna says:

    You have come through again!! I am working on doing some outsourcing for one of my blogs and needed to know where was a good place to start!! Thanks!!

    onnas last blog post..Net Income Solutions

  • onna says:

    You have come through again!! I am working on doing some outsourcing for one of my blogs and needed to know where was a good place to start!! Thanks!!

    onnas last blog post..Net Income Solutions

  • Tammy says:

    Leslie,

    While I normally enjoy your posts I have to say this one really upset me. Especially, the BestJobs description. This is EXACTLY why so many of us good USA workers cannot get jobs on Elance or Getafreelancer. We cannot compete with $2 an hour, PERIOD! Now I am willing to work for a low wage but this is rediculous.

    Shame, Shame!!

    Tammy

    Tammys last blog post..Downsizing our lives

    • Hi Tammy, I guess everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I do understand where you are coming from, but the fact of the matter is – Some people can’t afford to pay $10 or $5 per hour. For them, the choice is between not getting any help, and paying someone in a different country. No one is asking you to compete with them and lower your rates to $2 an hour. You probably couldn’t survive on that. But they can. What you are saying almost sounds like you are telling me that I’m wrong for hiring someone who is not an American, almost as if only I should only hire Americans. I mean, I’m not even American.

      People in other countries deserve work too and the internet has made it very possible for it to be a mutually beneficial relationship. So, if you are upset at me, I will accept that. However, I do not think I’m doing anything wrong. The person that worked for me was very grateful for the money, and I was VERY pleased with her work.

    • Tammy says:

      Leslie,
      I am not saying people from other countries don’t deserve to work. What I am saying is that I live in “America” and I support American workers. I do know that you are not American. But I did read that you were blessed with the ability to come to America for your college education and probably still live here. If you loved America enough to come to our country then why don’t you love America enough to help support our country?

      I guess you hit a hot spot for me because when I hire workers for anything, even online work, I always hire my fellow American and I pay a descent wage because I know how lucky I am to live in this great country. Example being, I paid $12 an hour for some easy online work that I simply didn’t want to do myself. Now I am not rich either but I believe in supporting my fellow Americans.
      I guess this is a situation of “to each their own”.

      I still respect the work you do but was seriously disappointed how you outsourced. No hard feelings, I just had to get out my opinion.
      Tammy

    • Yes Tammy, I am blessed to live in America. I’ve also been blessed to have lived in the Caribbean and in Europe. I do currently live in America and don’t ONLY outsource to other countries. I do also work with people who live in the US. I’ve paid up to $20 an hour for some work from Americans, and will continue working with Americans. However, some jobs, I just can’t afford to pay that rate one. I’m not trying to justify my actions, but that’s the reality. I understand that you are sensitive to that, and I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this point. But you can say that you hired your “fellow American”. I guess for me to be able to say something like that, I would have to hire a Caribbean 😉
      I do thank you for sharing your opinion though – no hard feelings.

  • Tammy says:

    Leslie,

    While I normally enjoy your posts I have to say this one really upset me. Especially, the BestJobs description. This is EXACTLY why so many of us good USA workers cannot get jobs on Elance or Getafreelancer. We cannot compete with $2 an hour, PERIOD! Now I am willing to work for a low wage but this is rediculous.

    Shame, Shame!!

    Tammy

    Tammys last blog post..Downsizing our lives

    • Leslie says:

      Hi Tammy, I guess everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I do understand where you are coming from, but the fact of the matter is – Some people can’t afford to pay $10 or $5 per hour. For them, the choice is between not getting any help, and paying someone in a different country. No one is asking you to compete with them and lower your rates to $2 an hour. You probably couldn’t survive on that. But they can. What you are saying almost sounds like you are telling me that I’m wrong for hiring someone who is not an American, almost as if only I should only hire Americans. I mean, I’m not even American.

      People in other countries deserve work too and the internet has made it very possible for it to be a mutually beneficial relationship. So, if you are upset at me, I will accept that. However, I do not think I’m doing anything wrong. The person that worked for me was very grateful for the money, and I was VERY pleased with her work.

    • Tammy says:

      Leslie,
      I am not saying people from other countries don’t deserve to work. What I am saying is that I live in “America” and I support American workers. I do know that you are not American. But I did read that you were blessed with the ability to come to America for your college education and probably still live here. If you loved America enough to come to our country then why don’t you love America enough to help support our country?

      I guess you hit a hot spot for me because when I hire workers for anything, even online work, I always hire my fellow American and I pay a descent wage because I know how lucky I am to live in this great country. Example being, I paid $12 an hour for some easy online work that I simply didn’t want to do myself. Now I am not rich either but I believe in supporting my fellow Americans.
      I guess this is a situation of “to each their own”.

      I still respect the work you do but was seriously disappointed how you outsourced. No hard feelings, I just had to get out my opinion.
      Tammy

    • Leslie says:

      Yes Tammy, I am blessed to live in America. I’ve also been blessed to have lived in the Caribbean and in Europe. I do currently live in America and don’t ONLY outsource to other countries. I do also work with people who live in the US. I’ve paid up to $20 an hour for some work from Americans, and will continue working with Americans. However, some jobs, I just can’t afford to pay that rate one. I’m not trying to justify my actions, but that’s the reality. I understand that you are sensitive to that, and I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this point. But you can say that you hired your “fellow American”. I guess for me to be able to say something like that, I would have to hire a Caribbean 😉
      I do thank you for sharing your opinion though – no hard feelings.

  • These online businesses have helped much in creating jobs for Filipinos. Thanks a lot!

  • These online businesses have helped much in creating jobs for Filipinos. Thanks a lot!

  • […] In my opinion, this is essential to online success. If you are going to be successful online, you will have to learn how not to do everything yourself. For some people, this is easy to do. Some people don’t know how to build a website (for example) or set up an autoresponder. I’m not one of those people, and because of that, it took me a while to grasp this concept and I wish I grasped it earlier, because since I started outsourcing, my life got much easier, and YES, I started making more money. The internet makes it relatively easy to do this. If you need suggestions as to how you can go about doing this (very inexpensively), I recommend reading my article on How to Outsource Your Business. […]

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