Home-based business opportunities are rewarding, but exhausting. There's just such an enormous amount of work to be done. One person can only wear so many hats. To run a successful business, you have to be your own CEO, CFO, accountant, sales representative, creative director, marketing specialist, copywriter and business analyst — and that's just the tip of the iceberg!
Where would society be without the division of labor? Allocating responsibilities to those best suited for the task is an absolute necessity for any business.
Fortunately, you don't have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps on your own. With the advent of outsourcing, you can hire freelance labor at favorable exchange rates all over the world. Not only is there an already massive well of talent to draw from, but the freelance marketplace is set to exponentially expand in the coming years.
As you can see from the above graph, there is a gigantic market of freelance workers, and that means an extremely viable source of labor for you to employ.
The freelance economy has never been bigger. Consider the following statistics:
Of all US businesses, 75 percent (about 22.5 million businesses in all) didn't have a single paid employee in 2011. That's a whole lot of one-man/woman operations.
In the same year, freelance businesses reported $990 billion in total revenue, an effective increase of 4.1 percent since 2010. That's an enormous amount of money, and sizable growth for a single year.
Around 80 percent of the freelance businesses in 2011 reported less than $50,000 in receipts. These enterprises have an infinitesimally small amount of overhead when compared with the overall revenue reported. In essence, freelancers are quite profitable in their entrepreneurial ventures, which in turn means they aren't likely to seek more traditional forms of employment in the near future.
According to market statistics, not only will there will be a steady source of outsourced labor for the foreseeable future, but the number of potential freelance employees is also set to increase.
To be more specific, a study by Intuit predicts that by the year 2020 in excess of 40 percent of the American workforce, or 60 million individuals, will be considered either freelance workers, independent contractors, or temporary workers. Within the next seven years, small and individual businesses should increase in number by more than 7 million. Compounding the influence of this growing population of self-directed workers is the estimation that it will be more difficult to find jobs that offer full benefits and full-time work.
If you're wondering how all these numbers relate to you and your ecommerce ventures, as it turns out the majority of these businesses are poised to be web- or mobile-based. They're also most likely to be involved with a workforce that transcends geographic boundaries.
How can your home business opportunity benefit from freelancers?
You may now be asking yourself: "What are all of these people getting paid so much money to do, exactly?" Freelancers follow their hearts and make full use of their talents. That can mean a lot of things, but for you it means committed workers who know their jobs, and are willing to work at very reasonable prices.
More than half of freelance workers are currently self-described as either designers or writers. These are the liberal arts majors who are sick of everyone telling them they have useless degrees. Perhaps in the traditional workforce that's true, but elsewhere there's still a great demand for people with the ability to write persuasively or design beautiful web pages.
Designers make up 20 percent of the freelance population. Writers divide themselves into 3 distinct categories. Professional writers account for 18 percent of the total, editors and/or copy-editors make up another 10 percent and the last 10 percent use the moniker "copywriter."
The rest of the freelance market breaks down like so:
This has all been an interesting adventure into the land of statistics thus far, but here comes the good stuff. Let's explore how you can utilize the specialized skills of all these free-spirited online employees.
These freelancers can add aesthetic value to your website by producing high-quality customized images to adorn your banners, sidebars, backgrounds and so on. Just as Popes of times past commissioned the Renaissance greats, including Michelangelo, to paint palatial sprawling masterpieces, you too can discover fresh and potent talent and put it too good use. Fortunately, you can do so for a great deal cheaper, as well.
Copywriters are an essential investment for a serious ecommerce website. In order to persuade visitors to buy your products, you'll need a wordsmith who can write persuasively. There's a reason that writers are the largest demographic among freelancers. The demand for high-converting and compelling copy is rampant.
Editors are equally important. To appear professional, your content has to give the appearance of fastidiousness. That means being error free in all of your offerings. Simple spelling and structural mistakes are easy to make, but not quite so easy to spot. That's why a professionally trained eye is required. Editing your webpages is a fundamental step in securing sales online.
Web developers often offer themselves up as turnkey solutions. These folks can build a professional ecommerce site from the ground up, and they often have potent network connections with each and every other member of this list. They will add functionality, flow and design to your website.
Finally, you have marketing consultants. These slick and savvy negotiators make it their business to be known and talked about. They have expertise in multiple areas: inbound marketing, social media and online marketing, content marketing, and even direct marketing. A good marketer is an expert in his or her field, and will know exactly how to advertise your products and increase your sales.
Because freelancers are so numerous, they make an effort to gain visibility. Thus, it's quite easy to find them. There are a number of resourced dedicated to connecting you with the skilled workers you need to meet.
You've probably at least heard of Elance. This popular site allows you to post your job offerings, listing your criteria as you see fit. You can then review freelancers and their job proposals, profiles, resumes and former employer testimonials. Best of all, you'll find many freelancers available at dirt cheap rates.
Upwork.com is another website that runs along the same lines as Elance. Freelancers have profiles for you to browse, you can post jobs, and so on. It's basically another hub where you can find skilled workers for low prices.
Problogger is a bit higher up the ladder, and unsurprisingly, is a bit more specialized. Here you can post writing, copywriting or blogging gigs for talented writers. The quality of freelance writers will be much higher here on average, and as a result quite a bit more expensive.
LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for sourcing talented professional freelancers. Join groups and engage in discussions with the types of folks you might want to hire, and then approach them with your job offers. Alternatively, post your job openings and start accepting freelance bids.
This is the heavyweight division of freelance Internet marketing. Only high-powered, influential, and super savvy marketers make a big splash in this forum. Not only is it a great place to meet potential freelance employees, but it's also a great resource to learn everything there is to know about online marketing.
Finally, you can attend physical industry events and meet freelancers in person. Perform a little bit of research on Google to find out when and where events for freelancers are happening near you.
The best part of outsourcing all of your busywork is that it frees up time for you to spend on the most important tasks you've got on your agenda. And once you've got your business running like a finely tuned engine, you can hire employees to handle even your important tasks. Then you can concentrate on R&R and early retirement. Isn't that what you're really aiming for anyway?
So enlist the help of a freelance marketer, copywriter, graphic designer or whatever best suits your needs and start focusing on the things you want, instead of the things that steal your focus.
What are your experiences with outsourcing? Tell us about them in the comments section.