The covid-19 pandemic has been a shock to people worldwide for many reasons. The effects have been devastating and tragic, and it has demonstrated just how unstable and surprising the world can be. As business owners, we want to control everything, but sometimes we just need to focus on what we can control.
When it comes to growing a small business, we can, for example, mitigate financial risk by utilizing the power of outsourcing. While it’s always great to hire people locally when possible, outsourcing relieves much of the stress of hiring and training new employees. In addition, if your business is relatively new or seasonal, hiring an employee on a permanent contract can be a risk in itself.
With outsourcing, you can typically pay per project rather than per hour, and there are rarely any permanent contracts. In addition, you do not have to pay a recruitment firm to find a highly talented freelancer; you can just use a website such as UpWork or PeoplePerHour. With outsourcing, you can hire talented people from across the world and also look to take advantage of geo-arbitrage. Combined with the latest apps and tech, outsourcing can scale your business quite substantially without any permanent increase in expenses.
How to Hire Someone on UpWork
UpWork is a great website to use if you are looking to hire a highly skilled freelancer to help out with web development, digital marketing, video editing or copywriting.
To use UpWork for the first time, go to UpWork.com and click to “sign up.” Enter your details and then go to your dashboard or click “jobs” in the top menu.
Click the green button that says “post a job.” On the next page, select whether or not you want to hire someone short-term or long-term and click “Continue.”
Next, enter the name of your job. For example, if you need a video editor, you could name the job “Video Editor (expert) required to edit videos for Facebook Ads.” It can help add the word “expert” in your job title somewhere, as you will often get many inexperienced beginners bidding for your job otherwise.
Now you need to choose a job category, choose the most relevant one – for example, “video editing.” Next, you will need to enter a description. Describe who you require – for example, an expert in video editing with previous examples of work. What you need – raw footage to be edited to be used in Facebook video ads. Include any specific details, for example, how long will the videos be, what transitions will you need, will you want captions adding? Bullet points can help to outline what you need clearly.
Next, you need to choose if this project will be a one-off, ongoing or complex. You can also add a screening question if you like; this is typically to ensure that people have read the job description correctly.
On the next page, you can select what expertise you require; for example, you might want someone who is an expert with Adobe After Effects. After that, you need to choose what level of experience you require from a freelancer – choosing “intermediate” can often give you a balance between expertise, experience and price.
You will now need to choose where you want the freelancer you hire to be located geographically. You can select specific countries or just select “worldwide.” Worldwide is usually the best option, as you will get people will perfect English offering to do work for you, while they are based in countries such as India and the Philippines. Freelancers based in countries with a lower cost of living will typically offer to work for you at a lot lower rate per project.
On the Budget page, you can choose to pay by the hour or by fixed price. If you have a fixed budget, it’s often best to opt for the fixed-price option. When you are done, click “Post Job Now.” You will typically get lots of bids and requests for work within the first hour, but this depends on what the job entails. For visibility, it’s usually best to select “Only UpWork Talent” and then choose if you want one or multiple freelancers to help on your project.
Receptionist Duties & Phone Answering Services
Using a virtual receptionist or a phone answering service is often a great idea. With a highly professional, award-winning phone answering service such as Moneypenny’s, you can provide an excellent branding touchpoint as your receptionist greets and provides polite assistance to any of your callers. Capturing all calls with a 24.7 service, you’ll never have to worry about missing a business call again. In combination with a phone answering app, you’ll effectively have a small business phone system and a receptionist for a fraction of the cost.
With a phone answering service, you can also dramatically reduce the number of unwanted interruptions you have to endure per day. With the number of spam and scam calls increasing in recent years in both the UK and the US, unwanted calls can be frustrating, to say the least. Research shows the interruptions increase stress levels, can triple error rates, and take on average a rather incredible 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from. With a virtual receptionist, you can have spam and scam calls filtered out and ask your receptionist to only put calls through to you if they are potential clients or customers.
On the next page, choose if you want local or worldwide freelancers bidding on your job. Typically, it will cost a lot less to hire someone overseas if you are located in the US or Europe.
Email Filtering & Answering
In addition to phone answering, another cost-effective way to free up more of your time is to hire a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can help out with a range of administrative tasks, including filtering out unwanted emails and answering basic or frequently asked questions.
It can be a good idea to hire 2 or 3 virtual assistants, to begin with, and give them a task each. Then after a set amount of time or jobs, employ or hire the best one on a long-term basis.
Virtual assistants can help with:
– Email filtering & answering
– Data entry
– Appointment booking & confirmations
– Research e.g., find the cheapest flights
– Design presentations
– Create and send invoices
– Research and send gifts
– Pay bills
– Schedule social media posts
Tim Ferris brought virtual assistants to the attention of many entrepreneurs in his best-selling book The 4 Hour Work Week. He has some great tips on his blog about hiring and training virtual assistants, including this post which outlines how to email and communicate with virtual assistants based overseas.
Using UpWork, PeoplePerHour or oDesk is an excellent idea for outsourcing tasks and projects related to graphic design, digital marketing and web development. Although outsourcing these highly skilled tasks can save you a lot of time and money, you can free up a significant amount of your own time and free yourself from administrative tasks using a phone answering service and a virtual assistant.