Does this scenario sound familiar? You worked long and hard to gain the reputation as a dependable and respectable developer. Business is going pretty well; work is coming in.
You should be feeling happy, but instead you’re overwhelmed by all the little stuff you never intended to drain your time. Answering emails, writing contracts…ah, the joys of being self-employed.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of places in your business where outsourcing to a freelancer will save you time, headaches, and money. Here are 7 services you can start outsourcing now to refocus your time back on your projects.
We choose to highlight contract outsourcing first because it always pops up among the most hated of tasks among developers. This tedious but necessary work can be handed over to a professional to give you back your freedom. Or you can automate your process while still having a hand in it. Check out Bidsketch for the latter.
Bidsketch allows you to create custom, professional contracts and proposals for a low monthly fee. They can be crafted to reflect your branding through HTML/CSS design, or you can take advantage of their built-in templates. The fees start out modestly, under $30 per month for the basic account. They also have an upsell feature where your clients can select additional services before they electronically sign.
Before you get to the dreaded contracting phase with a new client, it all starts with the back-and-forth game of “the proposal.” Planscope is unique in their approach to the proposal by involving clients in a collaborative proposal agreement process.
No more investing tons of research and planning time into proposals, only to find they reject you based on price. Here, clients will have a chance to interject their own pricing and see exactly what they are getting for what they are willing to pay. Projects are broken down by how many hours they take to complete, which gives clients realistic expectations of when work will be done.
Planscope offers a full project management platform. The layout is similar to Trello, with status updates and opportunities for clients to view progress and comment. If you have ever been stalled waiting for a client to provide additional information, you will love their approach of blocking areas in need of info and consistently reminding clients the project will not go forward until they provide what is required of them.
Phone calls, Emails, and Research
Every new freelancer loves the beginning of their business. When the emails are starting to consistently fill their inboxes and client calls are highlighted on the calendar. Then one day, you look up and realize you just spent 2 hours answering them – and suddenly it sucks. The answer? Stop.
Virtual Assistants can be a godsend for your business. While you are coding and testing, your VA can be handling all the non-essential correspondence. You choose which tasks to delegate over to them, and then go about your merry time never having to answer one of those random, “How much does a website cost?” emails, ever again.
Sites like UpWork are a great place to start looking for a Virtual Assistant that meshes well with your work habits. A good Virtual Assistant will be able to use your tone in correspondence and save you a bundle in time and energy costs. They are also great for researching and general calendar management.
Content is king. Future clients love being able to find out a bit more about your company, and if you have a blog, trust that they will take a peek. Offering industry relevant advice is not only adding value to their day, it shows them you stay current with trends and that you care about your craft. There’s just 1 problem: they can be time-consuming.
You have several options for outsourcing your blog. Hiring a blogger to write your posts is 1 option. Check out ProBlogger for bios if this sounds like a route you might be interested in.
Maybe you know what you want to write about, but just don’t have the time to edit and post your blogs; the second option is an editor. Send them outlines and crudely written posts to clean-up along with access to your backend for posting and be done with it. PostPolished offers unlimited blog proofreading, editing, and posting starting at $139/month.
Additionally, Fiverr is a site where you can find, virtually any service under the sun, available for $5. While we wouldn’t recommend them for complex tasks, for posting blogs, this inexpensive option might be one to look into.
Just because you know how to do something, doesn’t mean you should be the one doing it. SEO is important but thanks to the constantly changing rules (Thank you Google!), it can be hard to keep up with. Outsourcing your SEO to a freelancer will save you a weekend of time when you could have been coding. Try posting on UpWork to find freelancers who specialize in this.
Cross Browser Testing
Your work has to look and operate well on every browser, every device, every time. This means a major investment in hardware, effort, and time commitment on your end. Using a service that specializes in cross-browser testing, like BrowseEmAll, that can allow your product to be viewed on multiple browsers and catch bugs before they go live will alleviate the stress associated with the task.
Getting paid is easily the most important part of your business, but invoicing can be a real drain. There are apps like Freshbooks to explore; it still requires a small amount of work on your end, but definitely worth the investment. Depending on the size of your business, you might choose a local firm. Look around and see what feels right.
While we are on the subject of money, if you don’t already have a CPA or your business is new, take a look at EntrePayNeur. This service deducts your quarterly federal taxes on a schedule you setup (ie biweekly, monthly etc.) No more nightmares about Uncle Sam stealing your iMac. Entrepayneur is currently in Alpha testing and all Alpha and Beta testers will receive free memberships for the life of their accounts.
You Don’t Have To Do It All
While there are certain aspects of your business that you probably don’t want to outsource, there are plenty more here freelancers can help out. Even if you are a freelancer yourself, think of it as building your own mini-empire, designed to keep you working on what you’re best at, and delegating the rest.