Many times when you are starting a new eCommerce business, you’re doing all of the tasks from product creation to marketing to fulfillment. And it makes sense to do this when you’re just starting out and have a shoestring budget. But if you’re not focusing your efforts on revenue generating activities for your shop and stuck doing the day-to-day tasks, it’ll be hard for you to grow. That’s where outsourcing comes in.

For example, when I was running Crafty Pie, my custom guest books were very popular. But the problem was, I had to put together proofs for each guest book and send it to the customer before they were made so they can see how it looks. Sometimes there would be a bit of a back and forth before they signed off on it and I can send it off to the printer. So a lot of my time was spent proofing and I wasn’t able to focus on other areas of the business like marketing and product creation. 

Something had to give. So I finally broke down and hired a VA that had some design experience. I used a site called Worldwide101.com. They are a little bit more expensive but the VA was located in the U.S. and had premium skills. They also vetted all of their VA’s for you and then narrowed it down to a few for you to interview and choose from. 

I liked this process because I didn’t have time to use a site like Upwork or Craigslist to post a job listing and then sift through all of the applications. My VA was great! She was very talented, reliable and had many different skills so I ended up using her on not just the proofing, but I had her deal with the customers directly and also do my email newsletter. 

This is just a small example of what you can outsource. So if you have the budget to start with or as your shop grows, I highly recommend it. Here are some tasks you can outsource in your eCommerce business.

1. Virtual Assistant (VA)

Like mentioned above in my example, virtual assistants can help you with a multitude of tasks like managing your email, formatting presentations, managing your social media accounts, blog research, booking your travel, customer service and much more. Check out this article on Virtual Staff Finder for more information on what a virtual assistant can do for you.

VA’s can be paid by the hour or a set number of hours each month. They can be part time or full time. They can be based in the U.S. or outside of the U.S. 

Where to Find VA’s:

How Much Does it Cost?

  • For general non-U.S. based VA’s $450-600 a month for full-time
  • For general U.S based VA’s – $1000-1500 a month for full-time

2. Outreach

When I say outreach, I’m talking about influencer outreach and link building. When you’re first starting out, in order to get your site ranking it’s important to have sites with authority that link back to your site. So any time you have a new piece of content on your blog, you could email these sites and ask for a link back.

Just be careful who you work with and make sure they’re not incorporating any black hat tactics. You want quality link backs from relevant websites. Otherwise, you’ll get penalized. For more info on link building, check out this advanced link building guide on Quick Sprout

Influencer outreach is when you reach out to influencers in your niche like bloggers, instagrammers, youtubers, etc. that have a following. You would ask them if they’re interested in receiving your product for free in exchange for a review. Some of these influencers will do this for free and some might require a fee depending on how large of a following they have. You can use a site like Famebit.com to reach Youtubers and other social media content creators.

How Much Does it Cost?

  • Link builders can cost anywhere from $4/hr for non-U.S. to $50/hr at the high-end for someone more experienced. 
  • Famebit campaigns start at $100 and go up to $10,000+ 

Where to find link building and influencer outreach services:

3. Shipping/Fulfillment

If you carry inventory, it can be annoying to keep everything in your home when you’re first starting out and it can be costly to rent a warehouse space. Shipping can also be a pain because you have to make sure you have the right shipping supplies on hand, do all the packing and take it to the post office or UPS store. 

Instead you can use a 3rd party logistics (3PL) company to do all of this for you. An example of a popular 3PL is Amazon’s FBA (fulfillment by Amazon). They can house your inventory and handle all of the shipping and returns. You don’t have to sell on Amazon to use this service. But you could easily do so since your inventory would already be housed in their fulfillment service. 

How Much Does it Cost?

  • Amazon FBA is roughly 15% for each product. 

Where to find shipping and fulfillment services

4. Web Development

If you’re using a site like WordPress, I highly recommend WP Curve for basic development services like updating your theme and plugins, small design tweaks, bug fixes and security backups. I personally used them for Crafty Pie when I was running my site on WordPress and WooCommerce.

You can also hire a web developer for more complicated projects on somewhere like UpWork. 

How Much Does it Cost?

  • WP Curve starts at $79/hr.
  • A developer can range from $10-60/hr depending on location, skill level and experience.

Where to find web development services

5. Graphic Design

Not a skilled designer? No problem. You can easily outsource your design work from logos to product packaging to website design to business cards. 99 Designs is a great site to post a design brief and have a bunch of designers send you a design that you can then choose from. 

If you need ongoing design services, you can hire a freelance graphic designer.  

How Much Does it Cost?

  • Logo design can start at $50. 
  • Website design can start at $599.
  • Ongoing graphic designers can range from $15-50/hr depending on their skill level.

Where to find graphic designers

6. Product Photography

Product photography is really important. You can’t have blurry, unappealing images on your shop. Also, if you plan on selling on Amazon, they have specific rules for product images and will reject your product listing if it doesn’t follow those guidelines. You can read more about their requirements here

Even though I did a lot of the product photography for my stationery business, I decided to outsource it for my yoga products business because I was selling those primarily on Amazon and wanted to use a photographer who had experience photographing products for Amazon.

I found a great photographer on Fiverr, who was very reasonably priced and experienced with Amazon product photography. All I did was send was send him my products, he took 5 high-resolution photos of each of them and then sent them to me to be used on my product listings, marketing materials and anywhere else I needed them. It was quick and inexpensive. 

How Much Does it Cost?

  • Can range between $5-50 per product depending on the complexity of the product, how many different shots you need and if you need props or live models. 

Where to find product photographers

7. CONTENT CREATION

Having a content marketing strategy is an essential marketing tool for your business. You need to be putting out a lot of content in order to be bringing value to your customers and also to get higher rankings in the search engines. But it can take a lot of time and resources. There’s everything from writing blog articles to email newsletters to landing pages to product descriptions. And if you’re not very skilled in this area or don’t have the time to do it consistently, you could be losing out. 

So outsourcing your content creation could be a good option if you don’t have the time, resources or skills. I’ve personally used Express Writers before. I had them put together an eBook that I gave away for free whenever someone bought my product on Amazon. It was an eBook related to the product and made it stand out from similar product listings. 

How Much Does it Cost?

  • 500-1000 word blog articles range from $10-45 per article
  • eBooks range from $450-550 for a 15 pages

Where to find content creators

Do you have any tips or questions on outsourcing tasks for your online business? I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.

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