If you’re a tech entrepreneur who makes a living writing code, designing web pages or creating new apps, it’s easy to get overloaded with work. Of course, as a for-profit business person you never want to turn down work and leave money on the table. Nor do you want to miss bringing a new client on board. What’s the solution? Look to outsourcing.
Every major corporation on earth outsources some of its business functions. Others hire non-company workers to do the majority of the work. Even the medical profession has gotten in on the outsourcing train; some experienced doctors don’t even treat patients anymore. They manage the general practice, train new hires and make sure the practice meets the many legal requirements that physicians face. That’s a case of 100 percent outsourcing, which is not what you want to do as a web professional.
Here are several approaches you can take when your workload gets to be too much, but you don’t want to hire permanent employees to pick up the slack:
Stay Small at First
When you decide to outsource a job or two, try to keep the task as narrow and as small as possible. It takes a while for business owners to learn how much of their work they can safely give to someone else to do. Perhaps you need your annual tax return prepared and hire a local accountant to do the work. Keep in mind that next year, or two years from now, you might have an in-house employee doing this job. Consider outsourcing just a part of the job, like preparing your Schedule C, Sole Proprietor document. If you don’t need to have someone do the entire tax return, just have them do the piece you want help with.
Never Outsource Proprietary Systems
Be careful not to give the farm away. That’s a short way of warning you not to let freelance workers see any of your proprietary systems, like apps you’ve designed or patented systems you developed for a particular client. You need to always be prudent about what type of work you outsource and make sure to have workers sign privacy statements before your hire them for short jobs.
Stick with Specialized Outsource Chores
Law and accounting firms know a thing or two about outsourcing, so take a cue from their experience. The way they approach the situation is to only outsource for specific, narrow tasks. For example, accounting firms often hire seasonal workers for tax preparation. Law firms often outsource defined research projects or transcription tasks.
The same system can work for web professionals. You might be overloaded with chores related to graphic design, aws logging, security audits or similar jobs. When you hire an individual to take on small jobs, there’s not a big-time commitment to explaining the work. Outsourcing is about saving you time, not losing a long-term client and developing relationships with skilled freelancers you can use from time to time.
Keep the Good Freelancers
You have a nice option when you find a highly skilled freelancer who is willing to do multiple outsource tasks for you. One, you can give the person an occasional bonus and hope they stick around. Face it, it’s hard to find talented people who don’t have regular jobs somewhere else. So, if you don’t want to turn your great freelancer into a direct hire, make sure you sweeten the pot a bit with a bonus, free concert tickets or a raise in what you pay them per job.
Two, you can hire them to work for you on a regular basis. The goal of outsourcing, however, is to use people for short-term, fill-in work. But many web professionals learn that they eventually need to expand. If that’s the case, you have a ready-made job candidate.
Consider Permanently Outsourcing a Few Tasks
After you get used to the feel of outsourcing, you could discover that a few small jobs lend themselves to hiring out. This is the time to decide whether you want to put a small number of jobs on your “permanently outsourced” list. Many sole proprietors hire part-time assistants to take care of a set of routine tasks, both technical and managerial.
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