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Too much on your plate? Here are 6 tasks you can outsource

If you've got an epically long to-do list, it might be time to bring in reinforcements. Here are 6 tasks you can outsource to a freelancer or virtual assistant.

As an entrepreneur, your plate is always full.

The tasks just keep piling up. Your inbox is full, you have 17 Excel spreadsheets open at once, you haven’t checked your social media notifications in a week, and you keep catching typos after you publish blog posts.

Your to-do list is too long for just one person to tackle. You can’t do it all on your own — and that’s okay.

It’s time to call in reinforcements. Namely, virtual assistants (VAs) and freelancers.

Outsourcing repetitive tasks can give you precious time back to focus on growing your business. From data entry to social media management, there are plenty of things taking up your time that can be outsourced to a third party.

In this article, we’ll cover six tasks that you can outsource to save time (and your sanity).

But first, is outsourcing really worth it?

Yep — and here’s why.

Why outsource tasks to a virtual assistant or freelancer?

The average small business owner is responsible for 4.2 roles — but you’re only one person. You can’t juggle it all at once, especially if you’re trying to avoid entrepreneurial burnout.

And that’s especially true when you consider this mind-boggling stat: Workers tend to spend 2.8 hours a day on productive tasks.

As a full-time business owner, that number is definitely higher for you. But chances are, you’re still working on some tasks that aren’t the best use of your time.

When you outsource those low-growth, repetitive tasks to freelancers or a virtual assistant (VA), you can get back time to focus on higher-growth to-dos.

Hiring a freelancer or virtual assistant might seem like an unnecessary expense, but the benefits often outweigh the costs:

  • Bring in an expert to tackle the tasks you don’t have time for (or really don’t enjoy doing).

  • Save costs and time over hiring a full-time employee.

  • Overcome excuses as an entrepreneur

These benefits are why 70% of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) report having hired a freelancer, with 81% saying they plan to do so again.

Hiring a virtual staff — like freelancers and VAs — has also been shown to increase productivity.

Research says that remote team members are up to 13.5% more productive than their in-office counterparts.

All in all, outsourcing tasks to a freelancer or VA can help you take some of your least favorite, lowest-growth business tasks off your plate, freeing up time for you to focus on growing your business.

Now, there’s just one more question to answer: Which tasks should you outsource?

6 tasks to outsource if you’re short on time

#1: Organization and admin work

When people think of outsourcing work to a virtual assistant, they often think of offloading time-consuming tasks like data entry and transcription — and those are certainly part of many VAs’ jobs.

But VAs can help business owners with a wide variety of tasks, which is probably why the global outsourcing market — which includes VAs — amounted to 92.5 billion dollars in 2019.

Hiring a virtual assistant lets you hand off low-growth tasks while you focus on more profit-generating projects in your side-hustle.

Some of the most common VA tasks include:

  • Calendar management and scheduling

  • Data entry

  • Project management

  • Event planning

  • Email marketing

  • PR outreach and follow-ups

  • Managing accounts payable, invoicing, and expensing

  • Customer support, including moderating social media accounts

  • CRM software management

  • Competitor analysis

  • Transcribing video and audio files

  • Vendor management

  • Webinar management

  • Social media marketing

Phew. If that list seems to span a wide range of skills, that’s because VAs are some of the most versatile team members out there.

When you look for a VA, make sure you know which tasks you want them to focus on — and that you have the budget to compensate them fairly based on their skills.

The current market rates for VAs are:

  • $25–40 per hour for general admin skills

  • $30–50 per hour for advanced skills

  • $50+ per hour for specialized skills

To find the right VA, we recommend starting with this list of the best virtual assistant services, including:

To make the most of your relationship with your new VA, check out these tips for working with a virtual assistant.

In the meantime, let’s move on to some more specific tasks to outsource — like accounting and bookkeeping.

#2: Accounting and bookkeeping

If you’re anything like me — not a numbers person — there are one hundred things you’d rather do than crunch numbers.

Now, if you’re earning less than five figures from your business and don’t have a ton of expenses to keep track of, you can probably manage your business’ finances using a tool like QuickBooks.

If you’re earning more than that, working with a freelance accountant can take the nitty-gritty of balancing the books off your plate and simplify your financial management.

Accounting is one of the most commonly outsourced business processes.

And there’s a good reason for that. Accounting is one of the most important tasks for small businesses — especially when you consider that 29% of startups fail because they run out of cash.

Having an expert accountant on-hand to manage your business’ finances can help you:

  • Estimate, manage, and pay quarterly taxes

  • Manage your cash flow

  • Keep track of and follow the

Unlike accounting software, a bookkeeper or accountant can give you personalized advice and answer questions in greater detail since they’re familiar with your specific tax situation.

Some bookkeepers even specialize in helping professionals in specific fields. For example, Friedman, Kannenberg & Company, PC specializes in providing accounting services to musicians, bands, music equipment retailers, and music schools.

To find an accountant that knows the ins and outs of your industry, Google “accountant specializing in [your industry]”.

Look, as a small business owner, accounting services are among the first you should consider outsourcing (unless you really enjoy analyzing tax codes — I won’t judge).

In addition to numbers-heavy tasks like data entry and accounting, you can outsource creative and technical work, too.

#3: Web development and design

It takes people about 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about your website.

That’s why having a good web developer in your corner matters.

Your website needs to be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and informative. And, in today’s age of instant gratification, it needs to be fast.

26.9% of ecommerce website visitors will wait less than four seconds for a page to load, and 45.4% of visitors said they would be less likely to purchase something if the page load speeds were slower than expected.

You also need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Traffic from mobile devices accounts for about half of all web traffic worldwide, and visitors are five times more likely to leave your site if it isn’t mobile-friendly.

Plus, Google announced in 2018 that they’re boosting the rankings for mobile-optimized sites in their mobile search results, so having a mobile-optimized or responsive site can help your search engine optimization, too.

(You can check your site’s current mobile-friendliness with Google’s mobile-friendly checker tool.)

Outsourcing your website work to an experienced web developer and designer can help you create a website that loads quickly, works beautifully on mobile, and fits your brand image.

That last piece is essential, especially when you’re just starting out. Consistent branding across all your channels increases revenue by 33% and boosts your brand visibility by up to 4x — that’s why it’s one of our top branding tips for entrepreneurs.

So, where can you find web developers and designers to make your website shine?

Some of the top sites to find a web developer include:

However, if you can’t find a website designer to fit with your budget, you do have another option: Podia’s creator-friendly, no-code sales page builder for selling digital products.

The Podia Website Builder lets you create a website to sell an unlimited number of digital products — online courses, memberships, and digital downloads — without ever having to enter a line of code, troubleshoot a finicky WordPress theme, or install a confusing plugin.

Just take a look at the website Mallika Malhotra, brand expert and photographer, built with Podia’s site editor:

Mallika customized her website to fit her brand and style without needing a developer or designer to build it from scratch.

Podia also takes care of mobile optimization, site speeds, and all of the other technical hassles, so Mallika — and you — can focus on creating and selling products instead.

Try the site builder out for yourself with a 14-day free Podia trial.

A good-looking, easy-to-use website is a must-have, but without great content, it can only take you so far. Luckily, you can also outsource copywriting and content creation.

#4: Copywriting and content writing

Building and executing a content marketing strategy takes a lot of time — especially considering that the average blog post takes 3 hours and 55 minutes to write.

If you want to put out weekly content, that’s an extra four hours per week that most solopreneurs don’t have to spare.

Plus, different types of content require different types of writing.

Blog posts and ebooks call for copy that informs, educates, and entertains. On the other hand, copy for landing pages and ads requires writers who know how to inspire action and sell with their copywriting.

Even if you feel you have a way with words, that’s a lot to juggle when you’re handling it all on your own. That’s why many businesses choose to outsource content creation. (Bonus: You don’t have to deal with overcoming writer’s block.)

There are a lot of talented, experienced freelance copywriters and content marketers out there to help you create content that engages your audience and drives sales.

You can outsource writing tasks of all sorts, including:

  • Sales copywriting

  • Blogging

  • Writing press releases

  • SEO services, like keyword research, link-building, and backlinks

To find talented freelance content writers, Jodi Harris, the director of editorial content and strategy at Content Marketing Institute, recommends these tactics:

  • Reach out to your professional network and ask if they have writers to recommend.

  • Post the assignment on a writers’ job board focused on freelancer services, like Upwork or LinkedIn Pro-Finder.

  • Work with a creative staffing agency or content marketing platform like Contently. (This option tends to come with a higher price tag, however.)

If you don’t have the budget to outsource content writing, we built this sales copy generator to help you create ready-to-publish sales copy in minutes. You can also check out this guide to simple SEO tips if you want to tackle search engine optimization without hiring outside help.

And even if you keep written content creation in-house, you can make sure your blog posts and copy are top-notch by outsourcing proofreading and editing processes.

#5: Editing (writing, video, and podcasts)

Your audience wants to see — and hear, read, and watch — great content from you. Consumers love content.

Take podcasts, for example. 64% of Americans listened to some sort of online audio (like a podcast) in 2018, with weekly online audio listeners reporting an average of nearly 17 hours of listening a week.

On the visual side of things, people are expected to watch an average of 100 minutes of online videos every day in 2021. And as of 2018, American adults spent over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, or reading media.

That’s a lot of content your audience could potentially enjoy from you — and a lot of content you could use to earn your audience’s trust, loyalty, and dollars. But poor quality content is unlikely to convert viewers into customers.

That’s where editors come in. A talented editor is the difference between good content and great content.

In written content, editors can help writers sound their best, get their point across clearly, and avoid common writing mistakes.

You can also use a tool like Grammarly as an extra check, but it should never fully replace a human editor — even if you’re proofreading your own work. Grammarly’s AI sometimes misses errors (or finds errors where there are none).

On the podcast side, editors can help creators with any editing, mixing, and mastering before uploading a new episode. Polished audio is particularly important if you plan to monetize your podcast.

Depending on what you’re looking for — and how much you’re willing to pay — podcast producers can help with everything from reducing background noise to giving editorial input that helps your show tell a better story.

Last but not least, video editing is another time-consuming task that outsourcing can take off your plate.

Whether you’re trying to build your YouTube audience or just sending out webinar recordings, having a good video editor lets you turn raw footage into engaging, professional content.

To find freelance editors for all types of content, check out freelance marketplaces like Upwork or Freelancer.com.

Just remember this age-old saying: you get what you pay for.

Instead of choosing freelancers who promise the lowest rates, seek out experienced editors. It’ll help you get the best service possible — and save you a lot of time (and a big headache) later on.

Like video and audio editing, our final task on the list is one that takes a lot of skill and time to master, making it the perfect candidate for outsourcing.

#6: Graphic design

Let’s get this out of the way: Photoshop is hard. (And I’m not just saying that because I got a C in my high school graphic design class.)

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you don’t have time to master graphic design. But visual content is a key part of branding and online marketing.

In fact, up to 90% of purchases are influenced by visual factors, and 40% of marketers said that original graphics helped them reach their marketing goals last year.

Working with a freelance graphic designer can help you build your visual brand across your website, digital downloads, social media profiles, and beyond.

Freelance graphic design deliverables might include:

To save even more time, you can commission ebook and slide templates that you can use over and over, so you don’t have to create those assets from scratch every time.

A graphic designer can also help you repurpose your existing content into graphics.

For example, turning a data-heavy blog post into an infographic makes the content easier for your audience to absorb — and infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.

To find a graphic designer, check out design marketplaces like DesignCrowd and, of course, UpWork’s design section.

Both websites connect businesses to tens of thousands of freelance designers, with design projects ranging from web design and email templates to packaging and t-shirt design.

If you can’t afford to outsource design, here’s a guide to creating graphics for your website on a strict budget, including some helpful business logo makers.

Here’s the bottom line: Like all of the tasks we’ve covered today, visual content is a vital part of building your business — one that you don’t have to tackle on your own.

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Outsource these 6 tasks to shorten your to-do list

“There aren’t enough hours in a day” is a cliche for a reason: It’s true, especially if you’re an entrepreneur trying to build a business single-handedly.

Working with a virtual assistant or freelancer can help you get back some of those hours. To recap, here are six tasks to consider outsourcing:

  • Organization and administrative work, like data entry, schedule management, and transcription

  • Accounting and bookkeeping to keep you on top of your cash flow and tax requirements

  • Web development and design to create a UX/UI your audience will love

  • Copywriting and content writing, so your content marketing and sales copy stands out from the crowd (and the Google search results)

  • Video, podcast, and written content editing, so you don’t have to worry about typos or choppy audio

  • Graphic design and visual content to show off your brand identity and grab potential customers’ attention

Asking for help can seem daunting, and there’s often a lot of pressure for entrepreneurs to handle it all on their own. But there’s no shame in outsourcing tasks so you can get back to doing what you do best  --  creating and growing your business.

A portrait of Rachel Burns

About the author

Rachel is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites – alongside their creators – thrive. When she’s not writing, you can find her rescuing dogs, baking something, or extolling the virtue of the Oxford comma.