If you want to maximize the profits in your affiliate marketing business there comes a time when you have to consider outsourcing. Letting go of some of the important task you need completing for your business to operate can be difficult, but it’s the only way you can grow.
Thinking about your core skills and experience can help you to make decisions about what to outsource. For example, I really enjoy writing and feel I have knowledge and expertise in my niches that it would be hard to find elsewhere. I don’t enjoy repetitive work like posting updates to social media or creating backlinks, so it makes sense to pay someone else to do these things. This frees up more of my time to focus on the bigger picture and developing new income streams.
On-shore or Off-shore Virtual Assistants?
The decision as to whether to outsource your affiliate marketing business on-shore or off-shore is one you need to carefully consider. The services offered by some of the countries commonly used for off-shore outsourcing have improved over the past decade, and things like language barriers are less of a concern nowadays. Personally I still wouldn’t be happy to outsource customer contact over the telephone to a country like India, but that’s just a personal choice. Remember that your reputation can be on the line when you hand aspects of your business to third parties.
I’m very happy to hand tasks like article writing and SEO work to off-shore countries. The difference in wages means you can get work done at the fraction of the cost, and I’ve had very few problems with quality. One of my best writers is in Italy, and I’ve had excellent material produced in Eastern Europe and South America. I find being able to communicate effectively is key when you outsource, and this can be easy thanks to tools like Skype.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
You may begin outsourcing for the cost and time savings, but there are many more benefits if you manage the process well. Many small businesses outsource tasks like tax returns, distribution and accounting, so it’s not a huge leap to consider what other things you can delegate.
One of the key benefits I’ve gained from outsourcing is that I can start new projects much more quickly. It could take weeks to get a new website up and running when I tried to do everything on my own, but I can now take a project manager role and cut both time and costs. I’m also more willing to take risks with new ideas as I can manage several projects at the same time.
Being able to focus on your core business activity has to be one of the greatest benefits. For example, a professional photographer earns his money by taken pictures. If he spends hours every week managing a website, posting to social media and dealing with emails he is distracted from his money making activity. These other tasks could be outsourced for just a few dollars a day.
Outsourcing can also give you access to skills and expertise you may not have. This can help to level the playing field with larger competitors. You may not have a marketing department or in house designer but you can access the expertise and resources they offer by hiring freelancers.
Outsourcing Routine Tasks
If you have any reservations about handing control of some aspects of running your business to someone else, it makes sense to start with some routine tasks. Depending on the type of business you run this could include data entry, order fulfilment and posting to social media. Internet business owners can also outsource article and blog post writing, moderation of comments and handling emails. Repetitive tasks like creating backlinks to improve SEO of a website are perfect for passing to a freelancer.
There are an increasing number of websites where you can hire people by the hour to do this kind of work, but eventually it makes sense to look for a virtual assistant. Cloud technology makes it very easy to access and share work from anywhere in the world, and your virtual assistant can work effectively from thousands of miles away. All they need is access to the Internet. I recommend that you make sure a virtual assistant is fluent in your language before you appoint them, as communication is key. If you work to tight deadlines and need work completed urgently it’s also worth thinking about time differences between countries. It’s no good asking someone to deliver something in a few hours if it’s the middle of the night where they live.
Outsourcing Skilled Work
Once you’ve established a way of delegating and outsourcing routine tasks you can take things to the next level. My business wouldn’t be half the size it is today if I hadn’t been prepared to do this.
I’ve always had an interest in marketing, but I haven’t really kept up with trends and technology and realize it’s best to leave this to the experts. There may come a time when I’ll appoint a marketing or advertising agency, but for now I rely on a small team of freelancers to do everything from website design to keyword research. I only pay them when I need them, so my costs are kept to a minimum.
Social media marketing is another important part of my business I don’t feel I have the expertise to do myself. I understand the basics of it, but it seems to change very quickly with new platforms and methods appearing every month. I supply articles, ideas and photographs to a freelancer who posts and distributes them.
Where To Find Good Freelancers
Finding reliable freelancers isn’t as difficult as you might expect. For small tasks I use Fiverr.com, and have never had a problem with the quality of the work. The rating system means you can get a very good idea of how good the person’s work is likely to be before you place an order. For more complex work I use Elance.com and Peopleperhour.com. Once you build a relationship with a freelancer you can work with them on a direct basis.