If you are self-employed, you will no doubt have experienced many of the well-known pros and cons associated with being your own boss. You will generally have the ability to earn more than you would in a similar role as an employee, you can enjoy more flexibility in terms of when you work and where you work; and working for yourself can give you more purpose and motivation than a normal 9 to 5 job.
If you are looking for a competitive edge, to reduce expenses and to expand, whilst mitigating financial risk, then outsourcing could well be the answer. With outsourcing you can hire individuals or teams for specific projects, without having to worry about all the red tape and administrative tasks associated with hiring a new employee. You will also be able to pick from a global talent pool and you can typically expect to pay less per hour than you would if you were hiring locally.
Many companies in the past have chosen to outsource their entire customer service center. Many customer service call centers for financial institutions in the UK for example, have chosen to outsource to Mumbai in India. With British and American call centers experiencing high rates of absence and employee turnover (according to this report), it can often be a recruitment nightmare attempting to employee hundreds of call centre workers in the UK, that are enthusiastic and professional enough to provide a high level of customer service.
On the flip side, in India – call center jobs are well-respected and well-paid. According to Glassdoor.co.uk the typical pay for a call center representative in India is around 15,000 rupees per month – about $250
If you would like to free up more of your time, but you are not sure what you want to outsource, it can help to make a note of your daily tasks over a week. Total how many hours you spend on each task, then assign a value to the business for each task. Then look at how much it can cost to outsource the lower value tasks on your list. If you spend several hours replying to the same types of emails for example, or deleting spam and clearing out your inbox, a virtual assistant could be a good idea!
You don’t have to outsource overseas to save money. If you need help with your incoming calls then consider using a call answering service. Moneypenny offer a range of tailored packages, with a dedicated receptionist who knows your business as well as a full-time employee.
You can also opt for a 24/7 service. Your calls will be handled around the clock, reducing any interruptions which will allow you to focus on the work at hand, or switch off and relax with the family.
You will eliminate the need to hire and train your receptionist and will many phone answering services you can cancel at any time – without the need for an HR tribunal! Having a virtual receptionist, especially when coupled with a virtual address, can create the illusion of size and help to create a professional image for your company and brand.
Virtual assistants are also very popular with entrepreneurs and become a feature of many more businesses when Tim Ferris advocated hiring them in his book The 4 Hour Work Week. The typically free up an individual’s time by scheduling appointments, filtering out unwanted emails, preparing PowerPoint reports and booking trains, taxis and hotels.
If you were to make a note of how many hours per week you spent on these tasks in could easily be in the double figures. Virtual Assistants & receptionists can also help you to stay focused on the work at hand by dramatically reducing interruptions and the number of times spent doing repetitive, ancillary tasks. In turn, this can reduce levels of stress and anxiety as you don’t have to remember to do as many things – you free up your “psychic bandwidth” as psychologist Dave Allen calls it.
If you hire a virtual assistant from overseas, from the Philippines for example, you can typically hire a virtual assistant for a few dollars per hour.
You may also need to look into the best ways of communicating with your assistant, as many people get it wrong by being too vague and assuming an assistant overseas will know certain things that you do. For example – sending an email to an assistant asking them to book a dinner appointment in Midtown New York without explaining where Midtown is and without giving a budget can lead to lots of unnecessary back and forth emails.
You can hire virtual assistants from websites such as UpWork
In this case, the term “freelancers” refers to highly skilled individuals and teams that you would hire for a specific project.
Using a website like PeoplePerHour, it is possible to hire highly skilled computer coders, web designers, graphic designers and online advertising consultants – amongst other things!
PeoplePerHour is pretty straight forward to use as well. Just go to the homepage and search for what you want – what skillset you need – for example, you could search for “graphic designer” if you need a logo creating.
You will get a pretty vast list of profiles in the search results. You can see a profile image, how many projects they have done, the price per hour. When you hover your mouse cursor over a profile, it will also show you the percentage-rating and the number of projects that the freelancer has completed. It is probably best to contact a freelancer before hiring them, explaining your specific requirements – to do this simply click the “contact” button beneath their profile image.
Alternatively, you can log in and click “Post a Project”. You give specific details about the job you need completing, for example, “Design a Facebook Cover Image for Auto Business” and then sit back and wait for all the freelancers to contact you! Payment is normally submitted to PeoplePerHour before a job has begun, and then you can release the payment when you are happy that the job is completed.