Freelancers are generally responsible for all aspects of their business; from client acquisition all the way to invoicing. This lifestyle can be a busy one, and it is no wonder why many modern freelancers are outsourcing part of their business processes.
It can be highly advantageous to outsource work as a freelancer, whether it be to help with completing projects or essential business processes. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of outsourcing work, what types of work can be outsourced, as well as how to navigate the subcontracting process from start to finish.
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Why and When You Should Outsource Work as a Freelancer
Around 37% of small businesses use outsourcing to handle at least one of their business processes, and 24% report that doing so increases productivity. Outsourcing certain tasks can take a great deal of stress from freelancers who manage all of their business processes by themselves. Tasks that should be outsourced include time-consuming processes, expertise that the freelancer does not possess, and repetitive tasks.
Some specific examples of tasks that can be outsourced include:
- Accounting: When dealing with multiple clients at one time, it can be difficult and time-consuming to deal with cash flow management, invoicing, and tax filings. A freelance accountant can help you manage your finances and deal with client payments.
- Marketing: Marketing is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of knowledge and constant updates on trends and algorithms. Freelancers can outsource marketers to reach potential clients and increase awareness of their business.
- Data Entry: Data entry involves transferring data from physical or digital sources into databases, spreadsheets, or other systems. Outsourcing this process can be cost-effective and time-saving for freelancers.
- Content Creation: Freelancers can benefit from outsourcing content creation tasks such as writing blog posts, articles, social media updates, or creating multimedia content like videos and graphics. This helps in maintaining a consistent content strategy while freeing up time for more pressing tasks.
- Market Research: Freelancers can outsource market research to gather valuable insights about their target audience, competitors, and industry trends. This includes conducting surveys, analyzing data, and preparing reports.
- Specialized Expertise: Some projects may require certain skills or knowledge that the freelancer does not possess. Outsourcing those skills can be beneficial to successfully complete the project and maintain client satisfaction.
Outsourcing these tasks to subcontractors can provide freelancers with a plethora of benefits, including:
- Increased Efficiency: Leaving time-consuming or repetitive tasks to subcontractors can free up time to focus on more valuable work, which can increase productivity and efficiency.
- Peace of Mind: 42.9% of freelancers report being burnt out from long workdays. Not only can freelancers save time by outsourcing some of their workload, but it can also create a sense of relief to know that experts are taking care of important tasks.
- Access to Specialized Expertise: Subcontractors often possess specialized skills or knowledge in specific areas, which saves freelancers from having to invest in extensive training or acquiring new skills themselves.
- Faster Turnaround Times: By delegating certain tasks to subcontractors, freelancers can significantly reduce turnaround times. This can also help to increase client satisfaction and gain a positive reputation.
- Expanded Service Offerings: Outsourcing tasks can allow freelancers to expand their service offerings without having to develop new skills or expertise themselves. They can take on a wider range of projects by leveraging the capabilities of subcontractors.
- Focus on Core Business: Outsourcing non-core or repetitive tasks can free up time and energy to concentrate on high-value activities that directly contribute to business growth. Freelancers can use this extra time to focus on client acquisition, project management, and building strategic partnerships.
Finding Reliable Subcontractors or Agencies
Where to Find Subcontractors & Agencies
Post on freelance job boards such as Upwork or Freelancer.com specifying the skills that you are looking for, as well as a description of the job. These platforms provide profiles, portfolios, ratings, and client feedback to help you assess the freelancers’ competence and reliability. Look for freelancers with a proven track record and positive reviews, and send them an offer.
If you prefer to hire an agency, search online for agencies that specialize in the job that you want to outsource. For example, if you are looking to hire an accounting firm to manage your finances, simply search ‘Accounting Firms Near Me’ or ‘Best Accounting Firms in [Your Area]’ on Google or Bing. Browse the results until you find one that you like, and enquire about their services. Otherwise, you can seek recommendations from colleagues, friends, or business contacts who have previously worked with freelancers or agencies for recommendations.
For critical projects, consider conducting interviews or trials to assess the agency or freelancer’s competence and compatibility. Ask relevant questions about their experience, approach to projects, and problem-solving skills. If feasible, assign a small paid task or trial project to evaluate their work quality, communication, and ability to meet deadlines.
Open Communication & Setting Expectations
Clearly communicate your project requirements, goals, timelines, and expectations upfront. A reliable freelancer or agency should actively listen, ask clarifying questions, and provide feedback to ensure a thorough understanding of your project. Establish effective communication channels and set regular check-ins to keep track of progress.
Contracts & Milestones
When working with subcontractors as a freelancer, it’s essential to have a written contract that outlines the scope of work, payment terms, deadlines, and any other important details. Define milestones or deliverables to ensure progress can be tracked and evaluate if the freelancer or agency is meeting expectations.
How to Manage Collaborations & Workflows
Finding and hiring a subcontractor is only the first step toward increased efficiency and streamlined workflows. In order to maintain a positive working relationship with your subcontractor or agency, you must manage your collaborations in a professional manner.
Build a Solid Working Relationship
When working with subcontractors as a freelancer, it is crucial to build a professional and solid relationship with them, and even more so if you want to work with them long-term. Take care to be friendly and show interest in their lives and talents.
Set Clear Expectations
At the very beginning of your collaboration, express your objectives for the task that you have given to the subcontractor. Be clear about your expectations, including deadlines, milestones, and specific deliverables.
Foster Open Communication
Throughout your work together, foster open and honest communication between yourself and your subcontractor. Use communication channels such as Slack, which connects to project management platforms such as Asana, allowing for a streamlined workflow.
Use Project Management Tools
With project management tools such as Asana or Monday.com, you can easily define and assign tasks to the subcontractor. Many project management tools connect to messaging platforms which further streamlines your communication. Projects can be managed through one easy-to-use platform, saving the need for you and the subcontractor to constantly update one another.
Ensuring Quality Control & Deliverables
To ensure that all deliverables are of the highest quality, set standards and expectations at the very beginning of your work together. Provide clear and detailed guidelines for each task, and conduct quality checks on a regular basis.
Setting standards for the quality of the project is crucial for completing the work within the given period, as well as for ensuring that the work meets your expectations. It may also reduce the need for edits and adjustments. Ask the subcontractor to give you regular updates on their progress, so that you can do a quality check at each one.
It is also important to provide constructive feedback to the subcontractor or agency. When the project does not meet your expectations, express why, and advise the subcontractor on how to better the work. However, remember that positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback; you can boost morale and employee satisfaction by specifically mentioning the things that you liked about the project.
Evaluating and Adjusting Outsourcing Strategies
Continuously evaluate your outsourcing strategy, and determine whether it is sustainable in the long term. Think about ways that you could improve the strategy for the next time you are hiring a subcontractor.
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether your investment paid off. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is the cost of outsourcing the work sustainable long term?
- Did hiring a subcontractor or agency provide significant benefits?
- Is the cost of outsourcing the task(s) worth the results that the subcontractor brings to your business?
- If you could redo the project, would you hire the subcontractor again?
If you determine that the cost was worth the benefits, then it would be worth outsourcing the task again. However, if you felt that the cost did not bring you sufficient benefits to justify hiring a subcontractor, then it may be time to rethink your strategy.
Outsourcing work as a freelancer can be a strategic and effective way to empower growth in your business. By delegating certain tasks to subcontractors or agencies, freelancers can unlock numerous benefits. It enables freelancers to focus on their strengths, scale their business, and deliver exceptional results.
Evaluating and adjusting outsourcing strategies is crucial for long-term sustainability. Conducting cost-benefit analyses and assessing the overall value provided by subcontractors or agencies helps determine the effectiveness of outsourcing decisions.