Did you know that you can outsource anything for your eCommerce store?
Gone are the days when you have to work in your business overtime just to stay ahead of the flood of customer emails, orders to fulfill, suppliers to track.
If you’re like most business owners, you have experienced overwhelm. There are so many various tasks that need to get done! If you’re a solopreneur, then you probably have tons of tasks lined up on your to-do list. The good news is that you don’t have to do them – and you really shouldn’t.
It brings much better value to your business when you are able to really work on it instead of getting bogged down by these repetitive, stressful tasks. And you can start quickly and safely outsourcing most of the tasks that take up a lot of your time.
Get tasks checked off the list and free up your time to do more important business tasks!
Outsourcing to freelance niche experts is the way of the future, and you can outsource anything with the FreeeUp 5-step process:
(1) Identify the Task to Take off your Plate Now
List out all of the tasks that you are doing yourself. Then list out other tasks that should be getting done but aren’t because you just can’t do any more.
Which of these tasks are you least qualified for? Mark them and order them from the most time-consuming to the least. Then add a budget range next to each of them.
Which of these tasks are simple and repetitive? You can outsource anything, but these are the tasks that you want to outsource first. They take up a lot of time, and don’t require your expertise as a business owner. Moreover, even if they are simple, you may not have the necessary expertise to get them as efficiently as someone with a lower hourly rate than yours.
Here are a few examples of eCommerce tasks to outsource first:
- Customer Service
- Inventory Management
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Management
- Product Listing Optimization
Especially if it’s your first time hiring for your business, or your first time outsourcing anything, you want to ease into the process. Choosing a task that’s easier to handle helps you to focus on using the process to your advantage. You are already up to your ears in work, so you don’t want to worry about more than honing your hiring skills and adapting this process to suit your specific needs.
Pro Tip: Don’t be tempted to outsource a big project straight away. Doing this is a good way to get even more overwhelmed.
Bonus: For an easier time sorting tasks, you can use this TATM Sheet template to list out and filter tasks according to the ability, time, and money they require.
Describe the Task
Clearly write out the details of the task that you’ve chosen to outsource. This is a very important step.
Why spend time on this?
You, of course, don’t need to know how to do the task because you’ve been doing it. And you may think that you can easily explain it to someone else without having to spend precious time writing out a description. But it’s very different when you’re actually onboarding someone. This description will also help you a great deal when you’re searching for the right fit for the task.
You should also get all the details down on paper so you can think through each aspect of it. You may be able to do the task automatically but can easily forget certain aspects of it when explaining it to someone else. The description will help you see and communicate to a potential candidate:
- the basic skills for the task
- your personal preferences for how the task is done
- your expectations for outcomes
- the special tools needed to get the task done to your specifications
An accurate description that you’ve invested some time in will help you get organized. This will prepare you to find, interview and hire the right fit. Without it, you will likely spend a lot more time than it takes to just do the description – you will waste precious time (and energy!):
- trying to attract good matches
- interviewing the wrong fit time and again
- getting frustrated
- wondering what’s wrong – why you can’t find god people
A description that has all the important details will attract a few, quality applicants and dissuade those who aren’t a good fit.
(2) Identify the Right Freelancer
Think about the qualities that make a person the best fit for the task, for you and for your business. For instance, you may highly value:
- verified skills and adequate experience to do the task well
- working times and a communication style that match your own
- language proficiency for smoother communication and/or task performance
- niche experience and passion for the product or service offered
You may find that you have already mentioned these key qualities in your task description. Clarify those that aren’t obvious so that they stand out to applicants. Work in any that you haven’t yet mentioned so that potentials will do a self-assessment before applying.
(3) Find the Right Platform
Using an online hiring platform is the easiest, and many times, the safest way to outsource anything. There are so many freelance websites out there, though.
You need to partner with one that has built a good reputation for taking care of clients and pooling the best freelancers. You can’t find and hire the right freelancer to take over your task if the platform they’re working through isn’t a good fit for you.
Different platforms have different ways of doing things, too. You need to find the one that suits your preferences so the relationship will be smooth.
To illustrate, here’s what we offer at FreeeUp:
- pre-vetted freelancers - tested for skills, experience, and attitude; only the top 1% allowed into the network
- fast hire experience - submit a task description and wait to be introduced, usually within 24 hours
- free top-level assistance - contact top assistants through various channels and even the founders themselves
- no turnover guarantee - fast replacements for freelancers who quit without notice plus credit towards replacement costs
- secure payment options - make weekly payments through ACH (US only) or credit card, or set up a PayPal retainer
- specializes in eCommerce-related tasks - store development and management, Enhanced Brand Content, social media content and graphics, copywriting and content writing and optimization, product marketing and management, project management, etc.
What platform characteristics are the most important? Consider what you value the most when it comes to hiring. Use these to choose the platform that matches with your priorities and makes the most sense for you and your business.
Once you’re on the platform, post your task description and gather applicants. (The selection process will differ on each platform, so be sure that you look into this before you make your decision.)
(4) Interview the Best Matches
The platform you’ve chosen may make freelancer profiles available for you to browse or send you their top picks. Whichever is the case, the goal here is to create a shortlist and conduct interviews efficiently.
You do not want to waste time interviewing everyone. You need to have it narrowed down to ideally 1or 2 and at most 5 promising candidates before you start interviewing. This gives you enough time so you’re not rushing through interviews and can focus on a few people to find the best fit.
The interview is your chance to verify anything that’s unclear on freelancer profiles, portfolios, introductions, resumes, and the like. You need to prepare specific questions and topics for discussion around these gaps. You will also want to get more details about their experience, work habits, and other points that are important to you.
Schedule a good time to do a video call with the freelancer. This is important so you can check visual cues and body language. You may also want to check their interpersonal skills if they’re going to be dealing with other people, especially your customers.
During the interview, it’s important to be personable. You want the freelancer to feel comfortable so that they speak openly with you. This allows you to get more information and identify any red flags that tell you they’re not the right fit.
Record the conversation or take notes during the interview. You need to carefully review everything later on to choose the best fit. Notes also help you to ask follow-up questions when you didn’t get the information you were targeting.
Pro Tip: Choosing the best fit isn’t a simple matter of picking the best from your short list. You are looking for the perfect match. At times, none of the people you interviewed may qualify as the best fit. This can be frustrating, but it will be more frustrating later on if you settle for someone who isn’t the right one for the task.
Go back and figure out what went wrong in the process. Fix it and start over. It’s good practice in any case so that you can perfect this process in action for next time. Remember, you can outsource anything, so you may be doing this a few dozen times before you’ve taken everything off your plate. It’s worth it to perfect the process for your business.
(5) Hire and Onboard the Right Fit
Finally, you’ve found the right fit! Now it’s time to hire them and prepare them to integrate into your business.
Schedule a good time to do an onboarding call with the new hire. Let them know that this will be an introduction not to the task itself, but more on how they are expected to work within your business.
Using the task description you created as a guide, guide the freelancer through your expectations. Be very clear about everything that’s important to you. Discuss each area until you are confident that they understand and accept them. You want to be on the same page right away – both literally and figuratively.
I know for a fact that you can outsource anything for your eCommerce business. My business partner and I have done it, and we have achieved amazing growth and profit because of it. We developed this 5-step process from our years of experience – including both bad and good hires! We still hone and use this process today to hire the best freelancers from all over the world, and so can you.
If you put serious effort into each of these steps, you can outsource anything quite easily. Before long, you will have freed up a lot of your time by hiring freelancers. With them easing your load and helping you grow without breaking the bank, you can focus on taking your business to new heights.
Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, CO.