Is Outsourcing for You? Everything You Need to Know...
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Your guide to avoiding common outsourcing pitfalls and getting the most bang for your buck.
In preparation for this article, I decided to do some digging. I wanted to see how many articles on outsourcing were written by independent third parties who wouldn’t benefit from having their reader decide on outsourcing.
There weren’t many.
So I’ll begin with a disclaimer: I am a copywriter. I work best with clients in the life coach & self help niche, who are passionate about forging a relationship with their readers, built on a foundation of high-quality, relevant and dynamic value in the form of custom content that has an immediate, valuable, and reciprocity-inducing effect on your readers.
I am not for everyone, and prefer working with clients who prioritize their clients and readers, and want to provide them with services and content that will really change lives and build a life-long relationship towards health, happiness, and fulfillment.
Phew. That was a mouth-full. I wanted to get that out of the way so we can focus on your journey, instead of wondering when I’m going to try and sell you on my services. It doesn’t do either of us any good to work with people who don’t understand our voice and vision.
I want to give you a guide to making your decision on whether outsourcing is for you, or not. I want you to leave this article feeling confident in your ability to find the perfect partner to outsource the parts of your work that you a) don’t have time for, b) don’t have the technical skills for, and c) simply don’t want to do. And the good news? You don’t have to.
You may find that reading this article confirms that you don’t need to outsource right now. Save the information you learn for a later date, when your growing success leaves you unable to consistently devote 100% of your energy to the many action-items that now need your attention.
Have we covered all our bases? Good. Time to dive in.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the process of delegating tasks and sections of running your business to other parties outside of your company. As mentioned above, outsourcing is seen as a highly effective method of redistributing your time and energy by passing off parts of your work your schedule no longer allows time for, are not as skilled at accomplishing, or don’t want to deal with.
In the life coach world, outsourcing might look like hiring:
- A Web Developer to build your website
- A Designer to piece together various themes and images for your work
- A Copywriter for one-off web content and/or consistent inbound marketing copy that
hooks readers and Google
- A Coding Expert to finish creating the new app that works in tandem with your ebook on
- A Brand Marketing Strategist to deep dive into your target audience and strategize how to
design your company inline with your values, and make them resonate more with your
- A Social Media Coordinator to implement your brand strategy and provide value-guided
inbound marketing content across a variety of social media channels - whichever you find is
most relevant to your target audience.
Whatever your needs might be, outsourcing can be an efficient way to boost your company’s ROI by elevating the quality of your business through individuals or companies who are experts in providing the value you are seeking.
You wouldn’t be alone in deciding to outsource. Demand Metric reports that 62% of companies outsource their content marketing, with 70% of consumers feeling closer to companies prioritizing content marketing. Even Coca Cola spends more money on creating custom content than on TV ads.
With more and more companies realizing the perks (and profits) in creating custom content specific to their target audience, outsourcing is becoming, in some ways, the norm. After all, when done effectively, “content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads” (Demand Metric).
No one wants a Jack of all Trades anymore.
Not when there are already millions of people advertising their businesses online. In order to stand out, you need to be specific in your skills, and why you are the right choice to help your client with their problems.
So if you find that pushing your business to the next level means finally getting consistent in writing your 1-2 SEO-friendly 1000 word blog posts per week - which is what Google needs to mark you as an authority in your niche - but find writing isn’t quite your jam? Hiring a copywriter to channel your voice and passion into highly relevant and engaging work to get your readers excited and invested might be a great way to spend your money.
Look at it this way - if you’re an electrician and you come home from work to find a leak in your ceiling, you could look up a youtube tutorial and probably do a decent job patching it in about 15 minutes. Or - you could hire a plumber to find the source of the leak, saving you time, money and effort in heading off a larger problem down the line by making your current system run more effectively and efficiently. It’s one thing to plug a leak, it’s another to find the source and fix it when the skills needed are outside the scope of your practice.
How Do I Know I Need Outsourcing?
There are many reasons you might decide to outsource. Here are some of the more common ones:
The skills/product you need is outside the scope of your practice. You know what you do well, and the technical skills needed are just not in your wheelhouse.
You’re balancing other priorities and don’t have the time or energy to learn the prerequisite skills & put them into action. While you might be interested in becoming more self-sufficient and internalizing all operations, it may not be feasible right now. Finding balance in your priorities might mean delegating to those who can get you what you need more efficiently while reducing stress and increasing your ROI.
You’re seeing your business stagnate/hit a plateau and nothing you do is working. If you are already following all the marketing gurus and putting in the time with creating your blogs and subsequent inbound marketing strategy and ads, but you are seeing high bounce rates, un-clicked pages, and your enthusiastic calls-to-actions being ignored? Bringing in an outsider as an independent third party to review and fine-tune your passions into a cohesive message that resonates with your audience could be exactly what you need to push your business to the next level of success.
Your business has been expanding, and you need to reorganize your priorities to focus on further growth. Congratulations! This is the best problem to have - it means you have been doing so much, that you now no longer have time to do all the busy-work, and can prioritize your focus with your clients and dreaming up your next big business moves! It also means finding a reliable partner in crime who can attune themselves to your distinct voice, and provide the same quality (or higher) of services to maintain your already stellar reputation and consequently build more trust and affinity with your growing community.
So you’ve been wrestling with the conundrum - to outsource, or not to outsource. Yes, that is the question. You spin the die and land on… Outsourcing.
Your next decision: sourcing through thousands of freelancers, or going corporate with a pre-made marketing team.
Independent Freelancing or Corporate?
There are a number of pros and cons to consider when deciding between an independent freelancer and a larger-scale company.
Who hasn’t heard of the ever-growing number of sites facilitating freelance work at (often) dirt-cheap rates that reflect their quality in their pricing. Sites like Fiverr, Upwork, PeopleperHour, Flexjobs, even Facebook groups provide endless resources for finding freelancers ranging in quality and experience.
This can be great - with deep digging and scouring through portfolios, you can often find great writers looking to build their portfolio, and offering lowered prices in order to build long-term connections through quality service.
It can also mean there is no testing for quality standards, and you may go through a few sour grapes who are not reliable when it comes to delivery of your content/product, and clearly more invested in their paycheck than in the deliverables their work gives long term.
Although I hate the concept of “you get what you pay for”, as I think the baseline level of service should always be exceptional regardless of pay - this would be a good lesson in the possible consequences of choosing a freelancer from one of those sites.
This is not your only source of freelancers!
These sites cater to freelancers who are a) trying to get their start and are not as experienced, or b) more experienced and make their living moving quickly and selectively through these pay-to-play sites, prioritizing monetization and goal-completion over long-term relationships built on parallel values and investment in your success.
More experienced freelancers use LinkedIn, targeted ad campaigns, smart posts in high-visibility niches and profiles, and word-of-mouth. Try looking through LinkedIn or doing a simple google search using the keywords that highlight your main priorities and goals. You might be surprised at how many established professionals come up.
Corporate Marketing/Branding Team
Alternatively, if you outsource with a marketing team from a company that specifically works in building up businesses through cohesive brand strategy and marketing campaigns, everyone on your team is likely to have passed some sort of vetting progress that ensures everyone at the company meets a certain level of standards of quality. They will likely have methods for ensuring a high standard of quality across the board in all their services.
The downside? They often operate with a higher density of clients, and use cookie-cutter techniques and strategy to create a ‘unique’ product within the mold of their templates that is far from exceptional, leveraging the polish of their brand as their value. It might be more difficult to collaborate with a larger company, and fostering a communicative one-to-one relationship might simply be out of the question.
The larger structure of marketing companies simply means you may not be their biggest priority. That being said, there are plenty of amazing marketing companies that will quickly and efficiently deliver your product above and beyond your expectations, at a slightly higher cost that includes internal operating procedures, but don’t blow through your budget.
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:
What to look for when Outsourcing?
Whether freelance or corporate, you should make sure that your soon-to-be-collaborator has the experience you’re looking for, and that their voice matches your brand. When doing your research, and later when you’re chatting with them in your discovery call - make sure to measure and inquire about their expertise and investment in your vision and goals.
Here are some arenas you should investigate:
—> Experience How do they carry themselves? Do you feel confident in their ability to deliver? Do they have samples for you to review? How many testimonials and/or references do they have, and what do they say?
—> Brand Voice Do they really understand what you are all about? Can they speak to your values and goals using your voice? If they don’t truly hear you and can’t emulate you, then they’re not the right ones for you. As my dad says, are they “Chameleon enough” to take up your causes and champion them as their own?
—> Rates Firstly, are the rates they’ve sent sustainable for you? Secondly, are they overcharging you? You might be able to find similar quality without the brand-value of larger more established businesses looking to impress with high rates. Make sure the value they offer is appropriate for the rates they propose. Compromising your values and spending more than you’re comfortable with when you’re unsure of the outcome will likely lead to frustration throughout the process and a sense of wanting to make everything perfect. Make sure everyone’s on the same page.
—> Samples & Testimonials Although I already mentioned this, it is important enough to reiterate. Make sure your potential partner has work for you to review, or references you can chat with! How else can you judge whether their sales pitch will match their actions and follow-through? Don’t feel scared to ask follow-up questions or for more samples - if they are professional, they should feel comfortable sending you more work from their portfolio.
—> Discovery Calls Although not all companies/freelancers offer free discovery calls, I find that I am only interested in working with those who do. We are all on a journey to survive and improve the lives of those around us. If they are nickel-and-diming you before you even get started, don’t do it. While it might be indicative of someone with little time who is already established in the field (which points to a lack of prioritizing YOUR goals), it can also point to a partner who will only work till the money runs out, rather than till the job is done.
—> Do you like them? Can you see a communicative working relationship with them? How do they communicate? If things are tense right from the first discovery call, or you find that you simply keep misunderstanding each other - you might not be the best partners. They can provide value, without being the right ones to speak to your value. Don’t settle for less than what you are looking for.
—> Are they bringing ideas to the table? See what they’re made of. Test how much they’ve invested in learning about you and your business beforehand. If they’re any professional worth their salt, they’ll have a few ideas and directions in which to take your business in order to elevate your platform and connect with more readers (and convert passive leads to active clients!)
—> Reliability & Consistency This one might be a bit difficult to figure out beforehand, but that’s why it’s better to start with a short-term project before signing on with a freelancer or marketing-team. It’s always a good idea to see if the product they deliver is consistent with their advertising, and how reliable they are when it comes to delivering your product on time.
—>*If Corporate* Will the team you start with be the team you end with? Turnover rates and internal hand-offs in the corporate world are frustrating, expensive and expected. Check out online reviews and ask for referrals for other clients in the coaching niche who have worked with them to hear their perspective before signing on for the long and unfortunately stress-laden term of your contract.
That was a lot of information. Make sure you take a breather after finishing this. Remember, while it can be daunting thinking about the amount of freelancers and marketing teams out there, it can be similarly and frustratingly futile to pour your time and energy into parts of your business that you don’t like doing, and aren’t serving your business goals.
Outsourcing can be a stress-reducing and cost-effective way of boosting your business and reaching more people, more effectively - as long as you are careful and considerate of sourcing the right partner who hears you, sees your vision, and is excited to be a part of your journey.
Thanks for your time, I hope you found my blog post engaging and informative! As always, I’d love to hear more about your business goals and needs. Feel free to contact me to set up a Free 30-Minute Discovery Call, or leave a comment below!
Looking to give your company a boost, but not ready to outsource?
Here is a collection of articles to give you some structure and inspiration on your journey:
Thanks for reading!