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Amazon outsourcing can be a drain on resources when you aren’t prepared for the process.
Time is your most valuable resource as a business owner.
Everything that your business needs takes time. Time is essential for the execution of all those processes that keep the business running. No matter how big or small these tasks are, they take time to complete. Apart from that, you need time to make plans to grow the business.
If Amazon outsourcing is eating up your time, you won’t be able to do much more than keep your business afloat. And time, as they say, is also money. There’s no money to be made without the time to do what it takes to make it.
Money, of course, is an essential resource in the world of commerce.
You need money to pay for everything that goes into your business. Money pays for inventory as well as inventory management, store improvements and the time of those who will work on them – everything. If Amazon outsourcing is such a trouble spot that it drains you financially, there won’t be enough to keep items in stock or improve the customer experience. You won’t have enough money to do much of anything, in fact, to support your business.
It doesn’t make any sense at all for any business to keep bleeding such precious resources. That’s why we have these 13 tips for you here. Use them to make your Amazon Outsourcing experience a time- and money-saving operation.
Plan Amazon Outsourcing
One of the most common pitfalls that business owners fall victim to is rushing Amazon outsourcing. Doing things quickly is usually the default mode for Amazon business owners. Doing things quickly looks like saving time, but this is not true when it comes to hiring.
1. Know your store
Take a good look at all the tasks that need to be done for your Amazon store. Consider the storefront itself and everything that goes into its maintenance and improvement. Think about products and customers and the marketing and advertising you need to support sales. Break it down all the way to the task level.
2. Know what you need done
Ask yourself which of these tasks are the most value-adding urgent, and the most repetitive and time-consuming. Separate the tasks that you think no one but you (and your partners, if you have any,) can do. Then separate from here the tasks that are most value-adding for you to do and that you love to do. This leaves the tasks you hate doing and don’t have adequate skills or experience for.
3. Know who you need to do it
You now have 4 general groups of tasks to work from:
- repetitive and time-consuming
- urgent and value-adding
- business owner and partners only
- passion and expertise required
The first two groups are the tasks that you can outsource to basic and mid-level freelancers, depending on their complexity. The third is what you keep on your plate. The fourth is composed of tasks that you can outsource to expert-level freelancers.
4. Prioritize tasks to outsource
The repetitive and time-consuming tasks are what you should tackle first. Don’t be distracted by the tasks that are urgent and value-adding. The repetitive and time-consuming tasks are what will free up more of your time and cost less to outsource.
Start with what will free up more time with less cost.
Focus on the tasks within this group that can be outsourced to basic-level freelancers first, then list out the tasks here that need a higher level of skill and experience. Examples of these tasks include:
- data entry
- appointment setting
- product listing uploads
- research and supplier outreach for product sourcing
Move on to the urgent and value-adding tasks. You need more time and money to cover hiring for these tasks, and getting the repetitive and time-consuming tasks out of the way solves this problem. If, however, you see a few tasks here that can better achieve that goal, move them up to the appropriate spot on the list.
The definition of what tasks are urgent and value-adding depends on your business needs. On Amazon, however, there are a few standard tasks that are considered urgent because they can heavily impact your performance scores and bottom line. Examples of these tasks include:
- inventory monitoring and purchasing from suppliers
- customer service for inquiries, complaints and returns
- listing optimization
The last group to tackle is composed of the tasks that are not urgent but require someone with both the passion and expertise to execute them properly. Examples of these tasks include:
- professional product images
- graphic design and image editing
- Amazon Advertising
With this nice list, you can start planning how you will get everything outsourced.
5. Know what it will cost
Freelancer rates vary widely for different tasks, skills, and experience levels.
At FreeeUp, we have three categories that make the rates easier to navigate: basic, mid and expert. The difference between these skill levels ties in nicely with the task separation activity above.
Basic-level freelancers are for tasks that don’t require a lot of skill or experience, and range from around $5-$10 an hour, depending on what country they are in. Mid-level freelancers cover tasks that require greater levels of skill and experience, and range from around $8-$35 an hour, again, depending on where you’re hiring from. Experts take on tasks that require very specialized skills and lots of experience, and range from around $20 to upwards of $75 an hour.
Use these estimated pricing charts to help you figure out your Amazon outsourcing budget. Think about factors like language proficiency, working hours, and whatever else suits your preferences. Then note the range that you expect for each task considering the whole package.
6. Create an Amazon outsourcing budget
From the top of your outsourcing priority list, think about the hours needed to complete each task daily or weekly. Add up the amounts and compare them to what you can realistically afford long-term. You don’t want to start the hiring process if you’re just going to have to let these people go later. Hiring is an investment, so make sure you can see it through to your expected returns.
Now you know how many tasks you can start hiring for, and when.
Hire Step by Step
Even if you can afford to pay 7 freelancers right away, you don’t want to hire them all at once. This is a fast way to get overwhelmed and end up back where you started with no time and no money.
7. Your time investment
Think about the time that you need to spend looking for the right fit for each task. You’ll need to find the right freelance marketplace to hire from, set up your client account, post task descriptions, and review interested candidates. The time requirement varies from one freelance website to another, so you’ll need to look into that, too.
Then think about the time that you need to spend getting new hires set up. When you hire the top 1% of pre-vetted freelancers, they already know what they’re doing. You don’t need to train them. You still need to work with them for the first few weeks, however, to get them acquainted with your business and the way you like things done.
If this is your first time hiring, set aside 5 hours a week for this process. As you hire more, you will know more accurately how much time it takes and can adjust accordingly.
8. Hire one at a time
Several reasons make it sensible to hire only one freelancer at a time. The main ones are:
- If you’re already pressed for time, hiring just one person can be extremely demanding.
- When money is an issue, you don’t want to stretch the budget too thin until you’ve grown revenue a bit more.
- If you’re new to hiring, you’ll want to go through the process carefully so you can make improvements along the way to avoid mistakes.
Hire the freelancer you need to take the first priority task off your plate (or out of the hands of someone who’s not well-suited to the task). This will free everything up so that the next hire goes more smoothly.
The Hiring Process
Follow these steps to find the right freelance marketplace to hire from, set up your client account, post task descriptions, and review interested candidates.
9. Find your hiring partner
The right freelance marketplace for you depends on what your business needs and what your preferences are. As an Amazon seller, you can narrow down the myriad of hiring platform options to the ones that have a specialization in serving Amazon clients.
From there, think about the specific tasks you need help with to narrow down the list further. Then think about what’s important to you as the business owner. Time and money are obvious factors, since you’re reading this because they are significant pain points in your business.
Create a shortlist of the marketplaces that offer a fast hire experience and where you can hire the freelancers you need at reasonable rates. Then choose the one that offers you more of the perks that you value.
Finally, find out what you need to set up your client account on your chosen platform and get that done.
10. Post task descriptions
You likely already have the basics of the platform’s hiring process down. Now it’s time to go through the details of it as you start your first hire with them.
Take that #1 task on your list and spell out everything that you can about it. Go into detail about what skills are needed, the steps and smaller components of the task, what level of experience you prefer, when you want the task done, etc. The details will take care of filtering out most freelancers who are not good fits.
Make your task description neat and easy to understand.
11. Sort applicants
Some freelancers may be interested in the task even if they don’t fit your description 100%. Not all marketplaces are like FreeeUp where everyone is encouraged to apply for only the tasks that they can do 100%. You need to step in here to sort through applicants and remove the ones that don’t score on each of the points you listed.
You can eliminate some just by looking at their introductions, profiles or portfolios. Don’t dismiss anyone for a lack of information, however. They may not have permission to share details about past work. Just take out the ones that you can clearly see are not the right fit.
Set up interviews with the remaining candidates, from the best ones onwards. Prepare to find out all the details that are missing. Pay attention to their character and attitude. Share expectations. Then pick the one that meets your standards 100%.
12. Hire the perfect fit
Yes, 100% is important, that’s why it’s on here repeatedly. You should never settle for someone who isn’t the perfect fit for the task. You may not find them right away, and that’s fine. It’s better to invest a bit more into finding the perfect fit that to simply hire the top candidate from that first batch of applicants and hope for the best.
Wait for more applicants if you have to. The best of the bunch may work out ok, but that leaves a lot of room for error down the line. Do what you need to do to get the perfect fit so things run smoothly over the long term. This is how you get the most value from each hire.
13. Onboard and get to work
When you’ve found that perfect freelancer, work closely with them to get them ready to rock it every day. Hiring is never complete without onboarding. Make sure that you are 100% on the same page about the task. Make sure that the freelancer has everything they need to do that task at the highest level. Then you can pull away to let them do their magic and just be available for questions and feedback.
Amazon outsourcing can indeed quickly consume your resources if you’re not careful. There are so many roles to fill that Amazon outsourcing can easily spin out of control. Getting things off your plate so you can enjoy some freedom is extremely addictive. It does nothing but trap you even more, though, unless you are in complete control of your Amazon outsourcing.
Use these 13 tips to stay on top of Amazon outsourcing so that it works for you and not against you. Then you will have ample time and money to achieve your business goals. That, of course, includes the freedom you sought in the first place, and everything that goes along with it.