Outsourcing work to service providers and freelancers can free up your time and let you get one-time projects and recurring tasks done without having to add workers to your payroll. Here is a list of 24 tasks that can be outsourced.
Outsourcing is the practice of farming out some business work activities to outside individuals or companies instead of having the work done by the business’ own employees.
Outsourcing services and individual tasks allow a business owner and existing employees to focus their time on the tasks they are experts at. Meanwhile, it lets a small business get work done by professionals without having to hire them as employees for projects or recurring tasks that don’t have to be done onsite. And, as we’ve learned in recent years, there are many types of work that can be done remotely.
As the “gig economy” continues to heat up, an increasing number of freelancers and independent contractors are becoming available to take on tasks that don’t require in-house employees. In fact, a 2019 study by Upwork and Freelancers Union found 57 million Americans freelance.
Additionally, there are many small businesses whose sole purpose is to perform work on an outsourced basis for small and big companies alike.
Depending on the circumstances, outsourcing to freelancers and other service providers could save your business money by eliminating the costs of payroll taxes, health insurance, office space and furniture, and equipment. The caveat: if the “freelancer” is really acting as an employee, you need to treat them like an employee and would still need to pay payroll taxes and other required benefits.
What tasks and services can you outsource?
Here is a list of 24 tasks and services that can be outsourced to freelancers, independent contractors, and other small businesses.
- IT– Everything having to do with computers can be managed remotely. This includes:
- Software and app development
- In house and customer support (help desk)
- E-mail systems management
- Website hosting
- Server hosting
- Hardware repair and acquisition
- Data backup
This could be multiple freelancers or contracting with an IT outsourcing company that manages all of your IT needs.
- Administrative Tasks- No longer do you need an old school “secretary” or even a newer-school “administrative assistant” on site. A virtual assistant can handle most administrative tasks off-site at a fraction of the cost.
- Fulfillment– When your product is digital or has a small footprint, sending it to somebody and having them send orders out is a great job for a freelancer. You can often pay on a per order basis. If you’re doing a high volume of sales that require fulfillment, look for a full-fledged fulfillment service rather than a freelancer.
Accounting/Bookkeeping Services- Since the amount of cash that comes into a business is less than in the past and there are excellent cloud-based accounting programs, outsourcing accounting services is easy to do.
RELATED: 18 Tips For Better Results When You Outsource Work
- Blog Management– Companies of all sizes use their blogs as a central piece of their media strategy. Whether you need someone to write the blog content or just post it, the work can be outsourced. There’s no need for somebody in-house.
- Search Engine Optimization- Called SEO for short, search engine optimization helps your blog or website get found in search. It’s necessary to attract more people to your website. While you can do it yourself, outsourcing SEO services to an expert may get you better results and be a better use of your time.
- Social Media Management Services– Same as blogs. As long as you or somebody on your staff can feed the person enough images and information, you can outsource social media management to a service provider. Service providers who offer these services to multiple clients will get the work done more quickly and efficiently than you would yourself.
- Graphic Design- Every business creates ads, signage, and other media. There are plenty of great graphic designers willing to work on a per-project basis.
- Video Production- Whether creating promotional video content is a cornerstone of your business or an occasional activity, a freelancer can increase the quality and quantity of videos you produce.
- Lead Generation- Finding people to pitch isn’t hard but it’s time-consuming. Train a freelancer to data-mine for you. You can hire people for as little as a few cents per lead.
- Telemarketing- Telemarketing is an inefficient task because most of the calls won’t produce clients. A few calls do, however. Instead of wasting your time on non-productive calls, use a freelancer to make the calls and qualify leads. If the lead responds, they respond to you and you take over—at least at the beginning.
- Email Marketing- Email marketing lets you stay in touch with clients and prospects, getting them to visit your website and make new or repeated purchases. But creating and setting up emails can be a drain on your time. Here again, you benefit by outsourcing the work to an independent contractor.
- Sales– As you get larger and the leads start pouring in, you will need help. Hire a freelance salesperson that can take over leading your potential customers through the sales funnel.
- Data Entry- Have a business that creates a lot of data that needs to be manipulated? Definitely don’t do this in-house.
- Translation– If your business is multinational, everything has to be created for multiple languages. Use outsourced translators.
- Transcription- Whether you need to transcribe interviews for your blog, dictated medical reports or just about anything else, you can outsource the work to service providers.
- Supplier Sourcing- Looking for vendors but don’t have time to shop around? Yes, there are freelancers for that.
- General Labor- If you have equipment, facilities, and other items that need maintenance, hire local freelancers to do the work instead of going to established companies. Many of these freelancers work for bigger companies but make extra money on the side after their work hours.
- Delivery– Do it Uber-style. Hire people who can respond at a moment’s notice. Have a list of people you can call on a per delivery basis.
- Legal– There’s no need to keep an attorney on staff or on retainer if you don’t have a lot of legal work to handle. Your community is likely to have excellent business attorneys who can help with everything from creating boilerplate contracts for your business to use, to more specific legal matters. Be sure to look for an attorney who specializes in the type of legal assistance you need such as intellectual property, property rental, or tax law.
- Payroll- You could use software to prepare your payroll yourself, but doing so is a big time drain. It also means you have to remember to file the payroll taxes and reports on time or you get fined. Outsourcing payroll to a payroll company is a much more efficient and saves you time and aggravation.
- Tax Preparer- You only need them once or, at the most, a few times per year. Sometimes your accountant has enough knowledge in tax law but if not, freelance tax professionals are easy to find. Just make sure they work in your state so they’re familiar with your state’s tax laws.
- Event Planner- Have a big event coming up? That’s a huge task but a freelance event planner will think of everything you would forget about. Event planners, in particular, gain skill with experience so hire somebody with a lot of events similar to yours under their belt.
- Project Management- If you have a business that deals with a lot of ongoing jobs, freelance project management can take on projects once you reach capacity.
How to Find Freelancers and Outsource Services to Use
There are many ways to find freelancers. One is to look at the services offered by members of your local business groups. Many of the service providers may be freelancers or run small businesses that provide services to other small businesses.
Another way is to use outsourcing sites like Upwork or Fiverr to find qualified people to do your work. For example, use this search box to see how to search for freelancers on Fiverr:
Related: How to Use Fiverr to Find Talent
This is only a small sampling of the freelance jobs that any small business can take advantage of. Because freelancers operate on a per-project basis, you don’t have to worry about the natural ebb and flow of your cash flow. When they’re needed, hire them. When they’re not, they’ll work for somebody else until you’re ready again.
Freelancers allow you to get rid of the idea that you’re too small to do something. Whatever needs to be done, you can hire a freelancer for it.