As a startup founder you must have thought about outsourcing at one point in time during your entrepreneurial journey…I know I have and would be surprised if you haven’t.
Being an entrepreneur or a startup founder is far from easy, in fact it’s extremely demanding and painful. As a startup founder you’ve got so much on your plate, from crafting the business strategy, developing a product, forging strategic alliances to building the sales pipeline and managing the cash flow...clearly the list goes on and on but you get the point.
With so much to do and finite resources e.g. time, money and people, it becomes extremely difficult to focus and prioritize tasks which are to propel you and your startup forward without stall. Failure to prioritize and progress your startup could very well lead to your startup demise.
To avoid such horrible destiny and give your startup a fair shot at a success, your only viable option is to surrender to outsourcing and make the most of it…unless of course, you’re one of the Silicon Valley sweethearts endowed with millions of dollars of seed funds sitting in the bank.
In addition to giving your startup a fair shot at a success, outsourcing will enable you to reap myriad of benefits including the most notable three articulated here below…
1. Cost Cutting
It’s no secret, starting and running a successful business cost money. From the initial setup cost also known as capital expenditure or CAPEX to operational day-to-day expenses also known as OPEX, expenses keep on mounting with no end in sight.
This is particularly painful for entrepreneurs or startup founders in the early phase of their business e.g. first 18 months when revenue is hard to come by and break-even often times, close to impossible.
One way to reduce OPEX and alleviate pain particularly in the early days is to outsource various tasks or parts of day-to-day operation to a third party. This could be another business or professional freelancers via freelancing platform. Clearly if you’re a startup founder with limited resources, you’ll most likely be interested in the latter due to a considerably lower cost.
In addition to considerable OPEX reduction, outsourcing to professional freelancers will enable you to have a predicable and manageable OPEX throughout your business operation. Furthermore, depending on your startup operation and requirement, you’ll be able to rapidly scale up or down in terms of resources and never spend more money than you really have to.
Unlike fully loaded (salary+benefits) employe which could cost you an arm and a leg, professional freelancers are compensated for time and material (T&M). In other words, they get paid on hourly basis which could vary from one freelancer to the other.
Hourly rates greatly depend on freelancer’s country of origin, experience level, skillset etc. among other things. Nonetheless, expect to pay anywhere between $15 and $50 an hour for professional services e.g. blogging, inbound marketing, web development etc. In seldom cases if you’re looking to outsource highly specialized business or legal services, hourly rates could be even higher but then again, those are exceptions.
Word of caution though, shy away from shady freelancers with hourly rates in low single digits e.g. $3-$5 you often find on Freelancer, Upwork or Fiverr freelancing platforms, for you’ll only waste your time and money.
Luckily for you, world is filled with exceptional freelancers of various backgrounds and skills hence, it shouldn’t be all that challenging to find the right ones for your startup but you’ll have to know where to look. More on that later on…
2. Focus on Your Core Business
Any serial entrepreneur who’s been down the painful and risky entrepreneurial journey will tell you that as a startup founder you’re it and the buck stops with you. You’ve got to be wearing multiple hats on a daily basis whether you’re prepared for it or not, it’s just the way of entrepreneur’s life.
You and your Co-Founder (if you do have one) will be solely responsible for EVERYTHING e.g. business setup, admin, finance, marketing, CORE BUSINESS, web development and everything in between. Add to this long list of deliverables, time constraint and limited budget and you’ll have a recipe for disaster…chances are you’ll need lots of help, we all did at an early phase.
So, instead of trying to do it all yourself and fail miserably on your head, you’ll have to seek help. Unless you’re a Silicon Valley sweetheart who’s able to raise millions in seed round and hire top guns to help you with admin, finance, marketing, web development etc. you’ll need to get creative to get the help that you need.
Your best bet is to outsource most if not all of your non core services to a third party, ideally professional freelancers via freelancing platform you can trust. This way you will be able to focus on your core business and that which you do best. In addition, you could possibly also tackle other supporting business functions e.g. admin, finance, marketing etc. if you’re qualified and experienced, of course.
3. Access World-Class Talent and Expand Capabilities
Thanks to the fast proliferating gig economy and new trends of solopreneurship, freelancing and digital nomads, millions of highly educated and talented professionals – mostly Millennials – are available for ‘hire’, literally.
As far as Millennials are concerned, full time employment is something their parents and older generations embraced and were proponents of, they on the other hand want freedom, independence and mobility. This new business paradigm is your very opportunity to make the most of it as a startup founder.
Outsource everything that you can’t or don’t want to do in house for whatever reason e.g. budget or time constraints, insufficient skills set etc. Make the world your playground and simply pick and choose the best and the brightest talents worldwide to work on your startup remotely.
While you can most certainly come across exceptional professionals via their own websites, you best bet is to go via professional freelancing platforms and there are quite a few out there worth looking at e.g. Toptal, Parttimerz, PeoplePerHour etc.
Sure, if you Google ‘professional freelancing platform’ you’ll probably see hundreds of them but to save you time, focus on the ones that can offer you quality rather than quantity. As a startup founder, time is one of the most precious resources and as such, the last thing you need to do is waste it looking at subpar freelancing platforms.
Clearly, the aforementioned freelancing platforms differ greatly one from the other but in essence, all of them offer myriad of dedicated professionals to help you start, grow and ultimately run your startup for years to come.
Wrapping it up
While the old adage ‘it takes money to make money’ stands true today as it did in years past, today however, you as a startup founder can start a business with little to no money by being creative and resourceful.
One way to start a business with limited budget is to leverage the gig economy and myriad of professional freelancing platforms which feature professional freelancers of diverse background, experience and skillset.
Outsourcing is the name of the game which will help you reduce your OPEX, increase your productivity by focusing on your core competencies and finally tap into a rich global talent pool at affordable rates and with relative ease.