Are you one of the 45% of entrepreneurs struggling to cope with their stress? If so, you probably don't have enough hours in the day to complete all the necessary tasks to maintain and scale your Shopify store.
If you can relate, start outsourcing some of the work. Period.
This then begs the question, what should I outsource and how do I go about doing it?
Never fear, we're going to break this down for you here in this blog post. Let's delve in!
What Should You Outsource?
First things first, make a list of all the tasks you undertake on a regular basis. That way you'll get a better idea of what jobs are eating away at your schedule. If you're not sure, start tracking your time using an app like RescueTime.
This is handy for tracking your productivity and assessing how much time you spend doing individual tasks on your computer.
As you do this, you'll notice there are specific tasks you spend more time on; these are typically the bits and pieces you're great at. Whereas other activities are more like to be associated with diminishing returns- if that's the case, consider outsourcing these tasks.
Here are a few jobs that might fall under that category:
1. Order Fulfillment
If you're not utilizing the dropshipping business model, outsourcing order fulfillment is a godsend. As you scale your Shopify store, you'll eventually need to move your inventory out of your home.
Over time, you won't have the space to store it all! This is where outsourcing order fulfillment comes into its own.
This is how it works:
In short, order fulfillment providers stock your goods for you. Then, once you receive an order, they'll package your merchandise and prepare your goods ready for shipment. It's usually pretty standard for these services to organize a courier to collect and deliver the parcels.
Typically, order fulfillment providers have several warehouses at their disposal, which means delivery times are pretty speedy (on average customers only have to wait between one to two days for their delivery).
2. Social Media Management
Building a strong brand is vital when it comes to social media marketing. Unfortunately, not all business owners boast the expertise or the time to adequately pull off these tasks.
Here are just a few examples of the kind of social media tasks you might need help with:
- Crafting, scheduling, and publishing engaging posts on your social media handles.
- Utilizing Facebook’s Insights to make marketing campaigns more effective
- Establishing the voice of your brand
Social media consultants are usually your best post of call for these kinds of jobs. As you start searching for an outsourcer, ask to see customer testimonials. This is crucial for ensuring the talent you're hiring is reliable.
You should also ask what strategies they propose undertaking regarding the following platforms:
Once you've hired someone, set a regular time for you to communicate with them. The purpose of these conversations should be to track progress across all your social media platforms. This is the only way to identify and rectify any mistakes surrounding your current social media strategies.
3. Data Entry
There are tons of repetitive tasks that all fall under the category of ‘data entry.' For example:
- Uploading new products to your store catalog
- Deleting products you no longer stock
- Migrating content to a new e-commerce platform
There are tons of routine jobs like this that keep your online store running smoothly. As important as they are, they're time-consuming, so when you spend too much energy on these jobs, they can hinder the progression of your business.
This is why getting the right freelancer to handle bulk data entry tasks is essential for freeing up your time. That way you can focus on other money making activities.
If you're a smaller brand, you can probably get away with just hiring an individual. Whereas, if your needs are more complex, you're probably better off hiring a larger company. Typically, these organizations have access to more sophisticated resources to handle these kinds of data entry tasks.
4. Your Website
When we talk about outsourcing the tasks associated with your website, we mean is its;
Unless you’re a pro at this stuff, it's usually better to leave your site to the experts. You don't want to waste your precious time building, developing, and maintaining a high-quality e-commerce website.
Top Tip: Agencies are usually good places to outsource web design too. You're typically assigned a point of contact, who dedicates themselves to ensuring your work gets done on time and to an excellent standard.
If you're thinking of hiring a freelancer to handle your web development, you should note, different freelancers specialize in various tasks.
Some are amazing with WordPress and web design; others excel in web app development, others coding, etc. The best thing you can do is carefully look at all their previous work, and get a feel for the kind of industries they've worked for. From there, you'll be able to judge whether the freelancer is a good fit for your project.
5. Content Creation
Blogging is terrific for boosting your ranking on search engines. It's also an incredible technique for positioning yourself as an authority in your niche.
When customers think you know what you're talking about, they're more likely to buy from you- it's a simple as that.
Ideally, someone from your team would publish top-notch content each week. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible. Instead, you could outsource your content writing needs to a professional freelancer.
Top Tip: As you start searching for a freelance writer, set them a test assignment. This is the best way to see how good they are at communicating in addition to getting a feel for the quality of their work.
Handy Hack: Don't be afraid to test a couple of writers. This gives you a better understanding of what’s possible for your brand.
You should note, professional writers often expect some kind of fee for conducting a trial assignment. So you'll need to factor that into your budget when you're compiling a short list and setting trial tasks.
Similar to data entry, ‘general' tasks get in the way of our productivity. If you can relate, then a virtual assistant is the ideal solution. Below are just a few of the tasks a VA might do for you:
- Manage your calendar (including travel arrangements, appointments, meetings, etc.)
- Prepare presentations, reports, spreadsheets
- Run personal errands
If you're thinking of hiring a VA, here are a few things to help ensure your working relationship is a successful one:
- Provide your VA with training. This is the best way to ensure they have the skills to get the job done- this is especially true if you require them to use specific software.
- Set clear deadlines for tasks to be completed.
- Ensure your communicate clearly and effectively
- Use software like Google docs to share documents.
- Schedule regular Zoom calls. This is essential both for building rapport with the freelancer and for monitoring their progress.
7. Product Descriptions
As you begin to scale your Shopify store, your inventory will start to grow. However, writing compelling product titles and descriptions isn't a task you can afford to neglect. Good quality copywriting can be exhausting and time-consuming, especially if you're selling something that has a few variants. For example:
Despite the products being very similar to one another, you need unique product titles and descriptions to boost your SEO.
Product descriptions only become an issue when you need to add extra items to your catalog. So, there isn't usually enough work to warrant hiring a full-time copywriter. This is where outsourcing to a pro is worth its weight in gold.
Top Tip: Once you've hired a copywriter, clear communication is essential. Your instructions should be as specific as possible- this drastically increases the likelihood of the writer nailing your brand's voice. If possible, provide examples of copy you like the sound of so the writer has a better idea of your vision. Also, if you have a set structure for your content in mind, it never hurts to lay it out.
8. Managing Your Accounts
Cashflow is essential for maintaining any business- so keeping a close eye on your books is vital. Unfortunately, it's all too common for small companies to make bookkeeping mistakes. For example, you might forget to:
- File receipts,
- Track your business expenses,
- Balance your books,
- Record petty cash transactions,
One of the advantages of hiring a pro to manage your accounts is that you'll work with professional bookkeepers who make it their business to understand the ever-changing tax laws- so you don't have to!
9. Customer Service
Customer service is the backbone of any digital store. If you don't have an effective customer service strategy, you're 42% more likely for a customer to abandon their cart!
In light of this, you need to ensure your customer queries are dealt with both quickly and professionally.
Top Tip: If you're considering outsourcing customer service, you need to assess the needs of your prospects. Here are a few things you should consider:
- What kind of services of customer support services do they want, that you can't provide at the moment?
- Do you often find your inbox is full of customer emails outside of your team's working hours?
- Are there too many customer support requests for your staff to handle?
Once you've assessed the demands facing your business, you can outsource the amount of service you need based on your budget.
10. Market Research
Market research is crucial- as much as you think you know what your audience wants, you probably don't.
Instead of your judgment, let the stats guide the kind of products you sell and the way you market your store. Without reliable market research, you can't implement effective marketing campaigns to scale your Shopify store. Understanding the behavior of your customer is essential for getting a clearer idea of why consumers purchase your products, and more specifically, from your brand.
With a professional market research consultant you'll enjoy the following benefits:
- A better understanding of where you stand alongside your competitors
- Access to more accurate data concerning your target demographic.
- The necessary software to process big data, most online store owners don't have access to this kind of resources.
Payroll is an essential function for keeping your business ticking over. As you start to scale your Shopify store, you'll have different team members with a variety of salaries.
It's in these kinds of scenarios that manual operations take a lot more time and effort to process. Unfortunately, this makes them prone to human error- and when your employee's salaries are at stake, that's never a good thing!
If you choose to handle Payroll yourself, you'll also have to track both federal and state laws relating to wages. Not only is this exhausting but the legal complexities involved can be costly if you don't abide by these regulations (even by accident).
Whereas, when you outsource payroll, you shouldn't have to handle these issues. Find a freelancer or agency offering a high level of customer service. Your outsourcer should be willing to communicate with you on a regular basis and provide appropriate advice if necessary.
Top Tip: ask your potential outsourcer to provide you with customer testimonials from satisfied clients. This is usually a good indicator of whether they provide decent customer service.
Ideally, you want a local service (or at least within a reasonable driving distance). This gives you the option of picking up checks in the event of an emergency.
Handy Hack: Ensure the payroll company you're considering is bonded so in the event of any potential financial mishandling your business shouldn't feel the impact as much.
Did you know organic search brings in as much as 51% of traffic for both B2B and B2C sites? As SEO is so important, it makes sense to hire an expert.
When you outsource SEO to a pro, you know you're accessing reliable techniques that'll bring you closer to your overarching business goals.
The alternative is to pay a premium on SEO tools and to take a lot of time training staff. Therefore, it's hardly surprising, so many business owners choose to outsource this job.
Top Tip: Before you commit yourself by signing a contract, ensure the freelancer/agency is willing to deliver tangible results. What do you want your SEO marketing to produce?- Higher Google rankings? A boost in traffic? More social media followers? Whatever your goal is to Scale Your Shopify Store, make sure your outsourcer knows.
Too many business owners set their freelancer's non-measurable targets. The beauty of Google Analytics is that your SEO progress is measurable. That way you can tell if your freelancer is a good investment. If they're not- head back to the drawing board and try again!
13. Graphic Design
Unless your brand handles graphic design-related products, you should hire an expert designer. Here are a few of the visuals you'll need to create:
- A company logo,
- A banner image,
- Your product catalog,
These are all essential for helping you to build a strong brand to scale your Shopify store, so if you want a professional looking aesthetic, it's best not to leave them to chance.
Here are a few tips for hiring a top-notch designer:
- Get recommendations from people you trust.
- Ask for references from their previous clients, and peruse through their portfolio to see what they're capable of.
- Give your designer clear instructions on what you want, that way the designer can convey whether they're able to do the job justice.
Other things to consider:
- Your budget: Before you hire a freelancer, work out what you can afford. From there, you can source the appropriate services.
- How will you handle potential conflict? For both your protection and theirs, have the freelancer sign a contract before they undertake any work. This contract should stipulate: how much you'll pay them, how they'll be paid, their payment schedule, the quantity of work expected from them, how conflicts will be resolved, etc.
14. Email Marketing
Email marketing when done correctly should bring in profits. You can use email campaigns to do everything from:
- Promoting new products,
- Sending coupon codes to customers,
- Sending reminder emails to consumers who've just abandoned their carts,
This is where a professional freelancer can help you scale your Shopify store.
Your email marketer or agency should do the following:
- Test and check the data to work out the optimum time for sending an email blast to your list,
- Analyzing and tracking click rates and conversion rates,
- Keeping an eye on what kind of email headers your list responds to,
15. IT Support
There's nothing worse than a website or a server crashing or suffering from a malware attack. Often, when these technical issues occur, we have no idea how to handle them. Unfortunately, unless you're a computer whizz, only a professional IT support team can solve some of these issues.
If you don't have access to in-house experts, you'll need to outsource the talent. There are tons of IT support companies out there who'd be happy to help you scale your Shopify store.
However, some companies offer better deals than others— an excellent quality service should also provide you with security and website support as part of their IT support package.
16. Photography and Videography
Top notch product photos and high-quality videos are essential. They're fantastic for improving your credibility and gaining the trust of your following. If you're tweaking your product catalog, you'll want images and videos that exude professionalism.
One of the downsides to owning an online store is that customers can't see or feel your products, so you have to provide them with stellar visuals. This is where the services of a professional come in handy.
If you're trying to source a freelancer, you should try either:
- Photographer Central
- Find A Photographer
These sites make it easy for business owners to find talented photographers in your local area.
Alternatively, if its a videographer you're after, peruse through all of the following options:
- Recent film graduates (or soon to be graduating film majors)
- Digital marketing agencies
- Social media
- Recommendations from friends and colleagues
Are You Ready to Scale Your Shopify Store?
If you want to scale your Shopify store, then we hope you consider outsourcing some of the tasks we've listed above. As you begin hiring freelancers, you'll be amazed at how much extra time you'll accrue- and what's not to love about that?!
Have you had any experience outsourcing work? If so, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject! Also, if you have any advice on the subject please feel free to share, we love seeing lively conversations in the comments. Speak soon!