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The 12 Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Key Jobs

By April 16, 2014 4 Comments

If you’re the owner of a design business, you’re probably like me; driven, passionate, committed and determined to let your business take off.

Naturally it’s your baby, and often it’s difficult to shake off old habits. What old habits am I talking about? Well….

(a) If something is worth doing it’s worth doing right.

(b) And if you want something done right it’s worth doing yourself.

What I’m trying to say is that often we take the whole burden of running our own design business onto our own shoulders and we don’t allow others to share the burden.

Trust me I was terrible! I wanted to do everything because I wanted it done right. But as your company grows you’re going need to start trusting people, as otherwise you’re going to drive yourself into an early grave with exhaustion!

If you don’t rely on other people, you won’t enjoy your job, and that’s when your business will suffer.

It took me a while to learn, but now I have amazing support

As my Web123 Reseller program got bigger, I thankfully had the support of my designers, support staff, marketers, copywriters and more…. but it wasn’t always like that.

Before the Web123 Reseller program got to that stage, we were a pretty small team of passionate designers who wanted to succeed. So we had to outsource key jobs so that we could get ahead. It allowed us to spread the work load and focus on what was really important.

Outsourcing your key jobs can be a scary…. but it can also help get your design dreams to the next stage.

So should you outsource key jobs within your business? Let me give you the 12 pros and cons of outsourcing key jobs from your company:

The 6 advantages of outsourcing key jobs

  1. Save costs: Running a company can be expensive. After all you have to pay for the rent of an office, utilities, and of course, your employee wages.By outsourcing, you can pay on a ‘per job’ basis, which makes it an also lot easier to plan out your companies’ finances. What’s more, you can eliminate key costs such as rent and office utilities by working from home, or running from a smaller office.
  2. Expand your company’s skill set: If you need a designer, developer, copywriter, etc., to join your team, you may find it easier looking for higher level of talent by outsourcing. Previously you would of been limited by who would of been willing to work a 9 to 5 in your local area, but now with the internet, you can research and hire some of best workers anywhere in the world today.For this reason, it’s also easier to expand the skill set of your entire company, as you can more easily find and hire freelancers with incredibly specific skill sets.
  3. Better use of your time: This is probably the main reason why I decided to start outsourcing; I was quite simply running out of time. I only have so much time in the day, and believe it or not, I also enjoy spending *some* of that time with friends and family (no matter how passionate I can be about Web123).By outsourcing you can eliminate some of the more tedious and/or time consuming jobs from your day to day to do list. Now… I have people who do a lot of the “cog” work for my business, allowing me to concentrate of components of my jobs that actually help my company to grow. The high value tasks as I like to call them.:)
  4. Extend service hours: Let’s be honest, we don’t all want to be chained to a desk. Some of us even like this little thing called ‘sleep’ sometimes. 😉 Despite this though, it’s fair to say that extended support hours are in greater demand.If you have a lot of prospects that are based in other countries, you may find it difficult to serve their needs or convert them into clients. However by outsourcing your support services (even in part) you can now offer extended hours, giving yourself a big competitive advantage.
  5. Quickly implement new technologies: This is one that can often be overlooked, but ultimately very important for a growing design business. If you looking to make a significant change to your systems, you don’t HAVE to hire someone just to implement/manage it.Instead, you can outsource someone on a temporary basis to take your business to the next level. This can be a lot easier and more affordable for you.
  6. Staff flexibility: Outsourcing doesn’t need to completely replace your staff (in fact, you’ll likely start off outsourcing, then move on to full time staff as you grow), but one thing outsourcing can do is give your staff a greater deal of flexibility.If you have a staff member who needs to become part-time, or if you can only afford part-time, outsourcing can help you fill the void that they leave behind.

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The 6 disadvantages of outsourcing key jobs:

  1. Miscommunication: Outsourcing can be an amazing way accomplish more work and quicker. However it can go wrong, and usually it will be down to miscommunications. This can be a literal miscommunication, when a language barrier causes a freelancer to misinterpret your brief, but more often it is due to miscommunications via email and a lack of clear systems and processes to begin with.Many of us are excellent talkers, and can explain a job better when we are talking to someone in person. If you’re not careful, you can miscommunicate the job when sending them details in writing. Keep this in mind when sending briefs via emails to freelancers, as this kind of misunderstanding is more common than you think.
  2. Training time: Even if you hire the most talented of freelancers, the reality is that you will likely need to do a lot of training to get them to do the job as you need it. For example, if you were to hire a copywriter for your business, it may take them few attempts to get your style right, but once they do, will likely be able to replicate it fine.If you’re looking to outsource any job, don’t presume that the freelancer will get it right first time, and take into account that they will likely need to warm up into the role you are giving them.
  3. They may not be as dedicated to your cause: A great thing about having your own team right on your door step, is the camaraderie that comes with it. It’s all “all for one and one for all” as you all drive to make your business work.I’ve outsourced to some talented and professional freelancers in my time, and the reality is that you just won’t get that same sense of loyalty from somebody who is freelance.So keep this in mind when working with a freelancer; don’t get too attached to them, as one day they move on… and more suddenly than you can imagine.
  4. More potential distractions: This is really more for the freelancer to worry about, but you need to keep an eye on it. Ultimately, many of the people you will outsource to will be working from home. Nothing wrong with this… but as we all know there are so many temptations at home lying in wait!So what do you need to do? You’re paying per job / per hour… so when your work is delivered keep out a close eye and see if you are getting what you are paying for. And if you’re not? Consider trying out another freelancer. Sounds harsh, but they owe you the best work they can do too.
  5. Loss of managerial control: Ultimately you are going to lose a little bit of control. It’s inevitable. It so much easier running your team to a high standard when they are all under the same roof at the same time. So be prepared, especially if you’re a bit of perfectionist. You may need to adjust your expectations when outsourcing your work.
  6. Security / confidentiality costs: Be VERY careful about what information you give out to freelancers, and what you give them access to, as ultimately you can give them the ability to damage your company if you give them too much.For example, don’t give them main passwords to your programs, give them limited access to the specific programs they need.It’s easy to presume that everyone is a professional like you, but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself being held over a barrel when your own freelancer withholds access to your own programs or documents.

So should you be scared of outsourcing? Absolutely not.

The only problem of doing pro vs. con articles, is that usually you finish off with the cons. However I want to leave you today by telling you to give outsourcing a chance.

After all, it’s not like you have to throw all your eggs into the freelancing basket! The great thing about outsourcing is that you can start with a single affordable job, and if it works, you can invest more money into.

When looking for a freelancer to outsource to, choose someone who is credible (with lots of positive reviews), flexible (with excellent communication skills) and has a track record of good quality work via their portfolio.

For me, taking a chance on a freelancer was what helped me take the first step towards turning the Web123 Reseller program into a full time, and profitable, business. If I hadn’t taken that bold step, I wouldn’t of been able to get my business to where it is today.

Don’t forget, everyone who joins The Web123 Reseller program can get access to our exclusive freelancing services. We can help you speed up the development of your design business too!

> To find out about how the Web123 Reseller program can build your design business, click here.

What do you think? Share your comments below.

 

Author Bianca Board

After 20 years inspiring more than 10,000 designers and small business owners to take control of their business, Bianca is now spearheading Foxley, a brand spanking new SaaS platform for designers. She is deeply passionate about helping distil the complexities of running a web design business - to make it easier for all designers to make the leap from designer to design entrepreneur. She’s a translator of web jargon, a lead generation master, a champion for small businesses and you can Google her brain for endless strategies on how to transform your business.

More posts by Bianca Board
  • Thanks for the info on outsourcing. Quite an eye opener!

    • No worries at all Nicholas, my pleasure! 🙂

  • Samantha Long

    I agree with everything that has been said on this article. Both pros and cons are very accurate.
    For the pros: it will save you LOTS of money when you outsource, especially to other countries. Like the Philippines. It’s no secret that the Philippines is growing in both the BPO and KPO industry, and the reason for this is that you can save at least 50% when you outsource the job there.
    Cons: At the same time, because of the distance, there may be misunderstandings and although Filipinos are good English speakers, you still need to train them to help them achieve the level that you’d want them to be on.

    But like the conclusion, you should not be afraid to outsource your tasks. I know, because I’ve been outsourcing for 5 years now, and if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’ve been outsourcing to the Philippines. I don’t hire freelancers though. I hire from businesses who have employees, and they do the task you need done. So the security risk is lower this way.
    I have tried a lot of services and the latest one I’ve tried (3 months ago) is filwebasia.com .

    They’re well known and comes highly recommended. On that note, remember to CHOOSE WISELY. Do some background checks to ensure that you’re not risking your money and business.

  • iam_kristine

    It is always beneficial for a company to consider the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing before actually outsourcing it. Thanks for sharing this Bianca! 🙂

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