A Beginner’s Guide to Outsourcing eCommerce

This is a guest post by Connor Gillivan, Co-founder of FreeeUp

When you’re running an eCommerce business, you know there are a lot of tasks to be completed—big, small, and varying in the skills needed. A lot of the tasks that come along with running an eCommerce store are really easy to outsource, including copywriting, order processing, customer service, support chat, web development, marketing, and more.

Hiring freelancers could be the next step toward freeing up your time and building a scalable eCommerce business.

When You Should Start Outsourcing in eCommerce

There are quite a few situations that could indicate your “right time” to start outsourcing eCommerce store operations to freelancers. Some of the most common scenarios include:

  • There’s more work than there is time – When you can’t keep your head above the water with all the things to be done on your store, it may be time to start outsourcing. If you don’t, your business will suffer because you simply cannot do it all.
  • You’re stuck in the operations of your business – If you’re spending all your time managing emails or completing trivial tasks, picture a life where you can focus just on the things you enjoy doing in your business. The rest of your work can be completed by freelancers.
  • Your business growth is lagging – When you spend all your time on menial business tasks, business growth strategy often falls to the wayside. Because of this, you and your business become stagnant or even worse – fall behind. If you notice that your bottom line has suffered or has failed to grow month over month, you need to reevaluate your strategy.
  • You don’t enjoy your business anymore – When you get caught up in the everyday tasks and are no longer having fun, you will get burnt out as a business owner. If you don’t enjoy your business anymore, something needs to change! Why not hand over certain tasks that you don’t enjoy or don’t have time for and spend your time doing the things that you do enjoy!

How far can you take outsourcing? Well, technically you could outsource all of your eCommerce tasks. Some eCommerce store owners take it to that level, while many don’t. But hopefully, you can start to see the potential of outsourcing for your business.

5 Most Common eCommerce Tasks to Start Outsourcing

Once you’ve realized that using freelancers is optimal for your business, it’s time to decide which eCommerce tasks to outsource. As mentioned above, just about any eCommerce business task can be handed off to a skilled freelancer, but here are the most common:

  1. Order Management
  2. Customer Service
  3. Website Development
  4. Marketing
  5. Bookkeeping

Managing Freelancers Once They’re Hired

Most of the determining factors around how successful your outsourcing efforts will be are centered around what happens after the freelancers are hired.

Starting on the right foot requires setting clear expectations with the freelancers. Document what you want them to do and when, and answer any questions they may have. The more guidance you can provide, the better your experience is likely to be.

When you have freelancers working on projects for you, you’ll want to hold regular check-in meetings and lay out a system for providing updates. You can do this by Skype, email, or in your project management system.

When it comes to using freelancers in your eCommerce business, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, including avoiding the 10 most common mistakes of outsourcing. And once you start using freelancers, you’ll see the big benefits it can have on your eCommerce business.

Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com, a  freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. 

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