I try to do everything on my own when starting a side hustle. Logistics, marketing, customer service, it’s all on me. I find it’s hard to let go and let someone else do the work for me, believing it’ll eventually cost me more in time in the long run. I also tend to think it’s too cost prohibitive to involve anyone else. But what if there was a better way to operate? What if I told you could scale your side hustle without necessarily working more or costing a fortune? You can do this by outsourcing mundane tasks so you can save yourself time and money.
Outsourcing Your Side Hustle
Let’s say you make $25 an hour on your side hustle doing part-time photography, wouldn’t it make sense to hire someone to do some of the work for you if you paid them less?
The first rule of outsourcing is that you should eliminate tasks before you delegate them. If you’re not delegating the right jobs, then no matter how efficient they are performed you’re not getting ahead. This means you should simplify the tasks at hands to the most basic fundamental principles and eliminate the rest. If your tasks are not well-defined, then you will likely waste more of your time fixing the mistakes of other people than you would if you did it yourself.
The second rule is to focus on tasks that are time-consuming. Let’s say you’re focusing a lot of your efforts on admin work like accounting, responding to customer emails, or social media. Chances are you should delegate these tasks. Think of the 80/20 rule. Focus on delegating the 20% of tasks that take up 80% of your time.
How do you do this?
- Define a list of tasks you want to outsource. Think about tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list or cause you the least amount of joy.
- Define these tasks to the simplest parts. If you can create a checklist even better.
- Think about if these tasks can be straight out eliminated after you have simplified them.
- Draw out what the remaining tasks may look like using a flowchart.
There are outsourcing services located within North America but you will be paying anywhere between $25 and $100 per hour. You should determine what your hourly rate is with your side hustle, and then see what makes sense for you. If you look abroad to say China or India, your hourly cost will be something like $4 an hour. The beauty of this is when you sleep someone will be working on your project, often having it ready to go when you wake up. Now that’s efficiency.
Do a Trial
There are risks to hiring abroad, namely that English may not be their native language. To mitigate this risk, do a trial first. Try outsourcing for basic tasks first, and then work your way up. Don’t be afraid of canceling the service if it’s not working out for you. Finding the right fit is important for your business.
You don’t want to hand over the keys to your business overnight. Try small repeatable tasks at first and then work your way up testing along the way. By the way, if a task takes you 15 minutes to draft up an email for a task that takes you 15 minutes to do yourself, don’t outsource it. You’re looking for efficiencies, not redundancies.
Look for a Firm with Multiple Staff
You don’t want your business to be contingent on one point of failure. If your assistant is sick or leaves the company you hired, you don’t want things to come to an abrupt halt. Look for a firm that has multiple people that can fill in on as a needed basis; three or more is preferred.
Look for a Reputable Firm
Depending on what you are looking to outsource, there could be sensitive information that is being transferred back and forth between you, your business, and the outsourcing firm. Check reviews online, and see if they have policies in place that limit any abuse that may occur (very unlikely if you find the right firm). To mitigate any problems further, look to do the following:
- Create custom logins for your accounts if they require access. If you suspect any abuse, you can easily change them.
- For payments online, have a specific credit card with a limit only high enough as required. If you suspect anything, you can easily get the credit card company to refund you the purchase, and cancel the card. The alternative is to pay using debit, but banks are far less understanding and could take you months to get your money back.
Make These Requests
- To mitigate any potential English barrier, ask for someone with “great” English. Tell them you need them to deal directly with customers whether by phone or email (even if they don’t). This request will likely have the firm present their best English speaking employees.
- Simplify your tasks into an easy to follow checklist. Tell them to ask any questions if they have them. The last thing you want is for someone to work 10 hours on a task that should’ve taken 30 minutes. Expect questions at the beginning, but over time as they get used to the task (assuming it’s repeatable), you need to spend less and less time supervising and double checking their work.
- Check in regularly. This goes back to the second point. If they are not asking questions, check-in. This saves you time and money.
- Set deadlines. You would want your deadlines to be realistic, but at the same time have your deadline to be time restrained. You do not want to assign a task that is due in 4 weeks that could be done in one day. By doing this, you are encouraging either a) procrastination b) giving the impression that the task is more important and time-consuming than it is or c) giving more time to be asking questions than doing the task at hand
- Set your tasks in order of importance. If you are assigning multiple tasks, rank them. Preferably only a couple tasks at a time so they can remain focused.
- What do you consider your core skills and services? Which ones are outside your expertise?
- What time zone are you in and what hours are your availability?
- How do you handle a situation when you do not know the answer?
- What methods do you prefer for communication? (email is best)
- How do you prioritize your inbox?
Recommended Outsourcing Companies
Freeeup pre-vets all freelancers and only allows the top 1% into their network. This ensures that quality is high. They also help you find a match that fits right for you, eliminating the pain of trying to find the right freelancer; if that freelancer quits, they replace them within 1 business day with another appropriate freelancer. Depending on your needs they offer over 85 different skill sets (including virtual assistants) broken down into three different levels below.
|Basic Level||Mid-Level||Expert Level|
|Location||Outside the U.S.||Within the U.S. and outside the U.S.||Within the U.S. and outside the U.S.|
|Hourly Rate||$5 to $10 per hour||$10 to $30 per hour||$30 to $75 per hour|
Upwork is one of the largest freelancer sites in the world, offering pretty much any service you can think of including virtual assistants. How it works is you post a job, describing your project and the specific skill attributes you are looking for, and then Upwork analyzes your post and suggest freelancers that fit your criteria. You can also search the site for talent, filtering for things like hourly rates, location, reviews (tip: look for a lot of positive reviews), and job success rate. I love Upwork and use it a lot myself. Note that Upwork takes a 20% commission off of the service, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at hourly rates.
Magic offers personal assistants that charge per minute rather than requiring a monthly subscription plan, which makes it a good match for those looking for quick tasks. Pricing is 59 cents per minute and you can cancel anytime (works out to about $35 per hour). You text the service that you need to be done and you’ll be communicating instantly with a team of on-demand personal assistants.
Timeetc offers you a trusted go-to person for your every need, whether business or personal, offering college-educated U.S. based assistants. Because of this, you won’t need to worry about language barriers and you’ll be able to accomplish more faster giving you time to do what you love. They offer a free consultation and trial, with the following pricing:
|10 Hours||20 Hours||40 Hours||60 Hours|
|Cost per month||$250 a month||$480 a month||$880 a month||$1260 a month|
Each plan allows you to roll over any unused hours to the following month and you can switch plans or cancel at any time. The downside is Timeetc is more expensive than outsourcing overseas, but the time you save may make it worth it.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, MyTasker can be an excellent choice. It is slightly more expensive than other overseas options, but you get what you pay for. They offer the following prices:
|Hourly: 10||Hourly: 40||Full-time||Pay as You Go|
|Price||$140 a month||$450 a month||$1,200 month||Varies|
|Hours||10 per month||40 per month||160 hours||24/7|
The only downside is you can’t roll over any unused hours but the pay as you go option is nice if you know you only need a few hours. They also offer a trial with $1 to sign up.
Onlinejobs.ph is an online marketplace for those looking to outsource to the Philippines. They offer thousands of jobs on their website, from writing, design, programming, SEO, and more. You would provide the terms of the job, like the schedule, rate, and the job descriptions and pay $69 a month for the service in addition to the hourly rate you would negotiate with the assistant, which can range between $6 an hour and $14 an hour depending on if you’re looking for low or high skilled workers.
Legal Disclaimer: The views expressed by Mr. Dumont on Money Sensei are solely his and not intended as investment advice nor a guarantee of any financial return. Mr. Dumont is not an investment or tax professional, so the information contained on the blog is not a substitute for professional advice. The contents of this blog are accurate to the best of his knowledge at the time of posting, but rules and laws are ever-changing. Please do your research to confirm that you have the current information.