Passive income is the dream for many affiliates, but it takes a lot of hard work to build your business to a level where you can afford to work a four hour week. Time is your most valuable resource. When you start to scale your business, you’ll quickly discover that trying to do everything yourself isn’t a healthy or sustainable strategy.
How can you scale your affiliate business without running yourself into the ground?
Outsourcing enables you to lighten your workload, focus on the dollar-productive tasks, and take your affiliate business to the next level.
- What is Outsourcing?
- Benefits of Outsourcing
- Where Can You Find Freelancers/Remote Workers to Outsource Work?
- 8 Best Freelance and Remote Worker Websites
- Which Affiliate Marketing Tasks Can You Outsource?
- How to Hire Freelancers and Remote Workers
- How to Manage Remote Teams and Freelancers
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the process of hiring individuals outside of your business to perform specific tasks and services. In simple terms, it’s a way to get things done that you don’t have time or the skillset to do yourself.
Time Intensive Tasks
These are the tasks that you need to do, but that you struggle to fit into your schedule. For example, content writing is a vital part of any affiliate business, but it’s also one of the most time-intensive. Do you have a backlog of content that you can outsource to a freelance writer?
Leveraging the skills of specialists is vital for every successful business. For example, let’s say you spend 3 hours creating a new logo for your website. If you pay yourself a meager $10 an hour, you’ve spent $30 of your time, and the finished logo looks amateurish because you have no experience. You’ve also neglected some of the more dollar-productive tasks of your business. Not a great result. Instead, you could have paid a freelance graphic designer $30, ended up with a professional-looking logo, and spent 3 hours on a task that generates revenue for your affiliate business.
Benefits of Outsourcing
Hiring a freelancer or remote worker to help you with these types of tasks can help you to scale your business and affiliate income. A recent survey of small businesses reveals the benefits of outsourcing:
1. Increase Efficiency
As an affiliate marketer, time is your most valuable resource. You should spend your time on the tasks you are good at, and that generate revenue for your business. Every hour that is spent on time-consuming tasks outside of your skillset is a waste. As your affiliate business grows, so does the number of day-to-day tasks that keep everything running while you further scale your business. By outsourcing these tasks, you can increase efficiency by focusing on the tasks that actually generate income.
2. Increase Available Expertise
We live in a connected world where you can easily find and hire experts from around the globe to help you scale your affiliate marketing business. From email copywriting and content writing to video production and social media marketing, there are plenty of promotional techniques and methods to grow your affiliate business. You can’t be an expert at everything. Leveraging other people’s skills and learning to delegate is an essential skill for any entrepreneur.
Outside experts can also bring different perspectives, enabling you to learn from an experienced professional, and help you to gain new insights to improve the effectiveness of your affiliate marketing efforts.
3. Increase Flexibility
You can outsource as much or as little as you need to. If you are going through a busy period starting a new affiliate site, you can enlist some help to manage the workload. Once everything is up and running, you can cut back and take on some more of the tasks you outsourced.
If you’re thinking about outsourcing, you’ve probably already hit the wall that every affiliate marketer encounters at some point in their career. You reach a point where maintaining your current business limits your ability to grow any further. It’s frustrating, but you can only get so far on your own. By enlisting the help of others to deal with certain aspects of your business, you also increase your flexibility and ability to identify and capitalize on new niches, ideas, and trends.
4. Free up Time for Other Tasks
Delegating tasks to freelancers and remote workers will free up your time to focus on essential areas of your business. Writing new content and promoting it on social media can be a fulltime job itself. Not only can outsourcing these tasks free you up to focus on developing new sites and growing your business, but it can also help to get back some of your free time. Most people start their career in affiliate marketing because it allows them to live a more flexible lifestyle, but you can end up working more hours than when you were working for someone else if you don’t learn to delegate and seek help from other people.
5. Reduce Operating Costs
One of the most compelling benefits of outsourcing is to reduce costs. The majority of affiliate marketers can’t afford to take on a full-time social media manager or copywriter, but you can take on a freelancer for specific tasks. You’ll still need to pay your freelancers, but they don’t come with any of the overheads incurred when you hire an employee.
From hourly rates to set project fees, there are lots of different ways to pay freelancers, but generally, you only pay when the work is completed. If work slows down, you can cut back and reduce the number of tasks you outsource. This means that you only spend money when you need to.
Where Can You Find Freelancers/Remote Workers to Outsource Work?
Outsourcing is a great way to scale your affiliate business, but where can you find freelancers and remote workers?
A good starting point is to find out where freelancers advertise their services and find work for themselves. According to a survey of freelancers by Upwork and the USA Freelancer’s Union, 66% of freelancers find work online:
You can ask friends and family if they know of anyone that can help, and you can also post your jobs on relevant social media groups and job boards, but the fastest way to find a freelancer with a proven track record is to use a freelance website.
The majority of these websites use different systems, with varying ways of communicating and hiring freelancers. However, the majority follow a similar five-step process:
Submit your job listing and describe the type of work you are offering.
Receive proposals from candidates.
Compare the portfolios, pricing, and reviews of the different candidates and choose a freelancer.
Agree on the scale of the project and the terms of the contract. Depending on the website, you might need to pay the fee into escrow while the work is carried out by the freelancer.
When the work is completed, sign off on the project and release the payment to the freelancer.
So what are the best websites for finding freelancers?
Here’s a rundown of some of the best websites to hire freelance talent online.
8 Best Freelance and Remote Worker Websites
Fiverr is the largest online marketplace of freelance talent. Whatever the task you need help with, you’ll find someone on Fiverr that can work on your project. There are millions of freelancers offering their services for very affordable rates.
This means you can find some great value freelancers, but it also means that you need to be very selective over your choice of freelancer. You generally get what you pay for, so if you pay $5 for a 1,000-word product review, don’t expect the quality to be high.
As you browse through the directory of freelancers, you can view the ratings previous clients have left as a guide to help you choose the right freelancer.
How Does It Work?
You can narrow your search by selecting the category of work you are looking for and browse the “Gigs” that freelancers have posted. Once you identify a suitable candidate, you can contact the freelancer and hire them to work on your project.
How Much Does It Cost?
You will pay the full price of the gig the freelancer has listed in the directory. You can pay via PayPal, credit, or debit card. The freelancer receives 80% of the fee, with Fiverr keeping 20%.
99Designs is a great marketplace for any design and branding work that you need. You can find logo designers, web designers, and branding specialists from around the world. The quality of work is generally much higher than Fiverr, but so is the price.
How Does It Work?
Rather than browsing a directory of freelancers, you create a project brief to help candidates understand what you are looking for. You can either enlist the help of 99Design staff to find a freelancer for you, or you can create a contest and allow freelancers to view your brief and submit ideas and design proposals. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, you hire the freelancer to complete the project.
How Much Does It Cost?
99Designs is a considerable step up in price and quality from Fiverr. For example, to start a logo design contest, you need to pay a $299 fee. If you want professional branding to help your affiliate website stand out, this is the place to find the best freelance design talent.
Upwork is one of the largest freelance websites with over 2 million freelancers and hundreds of different categories of services. From content writing and social media marketers to programmers and video editors, you can connect with skilled freelancers around the world on Upwork. There’s a good mix of experienced freelancers and low-cost freelancers, so you can always find something that fits your budget.
How Does It Work?
Create a job listing and post it on the website, and freelancers will send you proposals to work on your project. You can review all of the proposals, or save time by looking at a recommended shortlist of candidates Upwork compiles from the proposals.
You can also search through the directory of freelancers and encourage any freelancers you think would be a good fit to submit a proposal. Once you have chosen a freelancer, you can arrange an hourly contract or agree on a set price for the project.
How Much Does It Cost?
Upwork only takes a commission from the freelancer’s fee, so the price you agree with the freelancer is what you will pay. However, they do charge a 3% transaction fee. For example, if you negotiate a $100 fee with the freelancer, you will be billed $103 in total.
Toptal is a high-end freelance website. Freelancers applying to join Toptal face intense screening, with only the top 3% of applicants make it through to join the network. The freelance designers, developers, and financial experts that make it through are some of the best around. However, they also charge high-end prices.
How Does It Work?
Submit a job description, and Toptal will review your listing and get in touch to ask a few questions before connecting you with a freelancer that matches your requirements. Once you’re connected with a freelancer, they will work on your project for a free trial period before you confirm the hire.
How Much Does It Cost?
Toptal charges an initial upfront deposit of $500, and the rate for freelancers can vary from $60 to $200 per hour, depending on the service required. It’s expensive, but it is a great place to connect with some of the best freelancers around.
Freelancer is one of the more established freelance websites on the list. There’s a massive directory of freelancers from around the world, and you can view all their portfolios and even contact them without creating a job listing. Freelancer uses a milestone system for projects. You set a milestone, and when the freelancer hits the milestone, you release the payment.
How Does It Work?
Similar to Upwork, you can create a contest and wait to receive proposals from freelancers, or you can browse the directory and invite freelancers to place a bid to work on your project.
How Much Does It Cost?
For a basic project listing, you pay a 3% fee on top of the price you agree with the freelancer. If you check out the fees page on Freelancer, you’ll find there’s a host of additional extras you can add-on to your project, including nondisclosure agreements and promoted job listings.
Guru is another huge freelance website. It’s geared towards more professional freelancers, rather than entry-level, but you can still connect with over 3 million freelancers worldwide. You can join for free and browse through freelancer profiles before you decide to create a job listing.
How Does It Work?
Create and post a job listing to receive quotes from interested freelancers. You can evaluate candidates by browsing their portfolios, history of earnings, and feedback to identify the most suitable freelancer. Once you’ve made your choice, contact the freelancer to agree on terms and complete the hire.
How Much Does It Cost?
Guru is free to join, but you’ll need to pay a 2.9% fee on top of the price you agree with the freelancer.
PeoplePerHour is a freelance website with a massive number of freelancers and remote workers available for hire. Like Upwork and Freelancer, you can browse through the directory of freelancers, view their portfolios, and read the reviews left by previous clients. The “Hourlies” feature enables you to find a fixed rate freelancer, so you don’t need to negotiate or worry about any surprises when it’s time to pay the invoice.
How Does It Work?
Create a job description, and the PeoplePerHour AI system will automatically contact suitable candidates and encourage them to submit a proposal. Review the proposals, choose a freelancer, and pay a deposit to begin the contract. When the work is finished, you sign off on the project, and the payment is released to the freelancer.
How Much Does It Cost?
PeoplePerHour is based in the UK, so all pricing and invoices are in British Pounds. It’s free to join and post a job, but you will need to pay a 5% transaction fee + £0.60, and a 5% service fee for debit cards, credit cards, and all electronic payments.
8. Creative Market
Creative Market is a different type of freelance website. Rather than hiring a freelancer to complete a project, it allows you to purchase ready-made creative products, including logos, WordPress themes, stock photos, website templates, and more. It’s a fast and easy way to buy creative products.
How Does It Work?
It works like your typical e-commerce marketplace. Browse the marketplace, select the digital product you want, proceed to the checkout, and complete your purchase.
How Much Does It Cost?
The price you see in the marketplace is what you will pay at the checkout.
Which is the Best Freelance Website?
Each freelance website caters to different clients and different budgets. Check out what each one has to offer. The right choice for you depends on your budget, how you like to work with freelancers, and the type of work you want to outsource.
Which Affiliate Marketing Tasks Can You Outsource?
When you begin your career in affiliate marketing, taking on different tasks is part of the learning process. It’s always a good idea to get some experience of what’s involved in a job before you start outsourcing. That way you’ll have a better idea of the quality of work you should expect from a freelancer, how long it should take to turn around, and how much it should cost. This learning process will help you understand what to look for in a freelancer.
As you start to scale your affiliate business, you can outsource some of the following tasks:
Informative, accurate, and trustworthy content is the backbone of an affiliate website. If you want to drive free traffic from search engine results, you need to publish well-written content consistently. But writing high-quality content isn’t a fast and easy process.
The average time spent writing a blog post has increased over the years, with 57% of blog posts now take 3 hours plus to write.
Average time spent writing a typical blog post:
Internet users are getting better and better at distinguishing quality content from cheap filler content that offers little value. With so much content being published every day, you need to be posting high-quality stuff if you’re going to cut through the noise and build an audience.
You can accelerate your content production by outsourcing to a freelance content writer. There are thousands of cheap content writers available on freelance websites, but if you want content written by someone with a track record of successful projects and knowledge in your niche, you’re going to have to pay higher rates than the bottom tier of content writers. That being said, quality content doesn’t need to break the bank, and there are some great affordable content writers you can outsource to.
For the majority of affiliates, product reviews are the number one source of commission. Affiliate marketing has boomed over the last ten years, resulting in thousands of freelance writers that specialize in reviewing products. From Amazon products to software and digital products, you can find a freelancer that can help you with your review content. Outsourcing to a specialist reviewer might cost a little more than your non-monetized content, but reviews bring in the majority of your revenue, so it’s worth paying for an experienced writer.
Copywriting and content writing are two different tasks that require different skills. Content writing is all about researching and presenting information in an informative, educational, and entertaining way. Copywriting is all about understanding the pain points of your audience and convincing them to take action.
Good copywriting can make or break your affiliate business. You need solid content, but strong copywriting is essential for your landing pages, email copy, and PPC campaigns. If you’re generating traffic but not seeing many conversions, hiring an experienced professional to write or look over your copy can be a great way to boost your revenue.
Video Content Production
Internet users are spending more and more time watching video content. By 2021, the average time spent watching online video is set to increase by 20% and reach 100 minutes per day:
With video becoming increasingly embraced by internet users, you should be looking at how you can capitalize on engaging video content to promote your affiliate offers. If you don’t have any experience with video, you can hire a freelancer to help you create and edit your video content.
Freelance SEO professionals can help your website to rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP). Learning how to implement SEO strategies properly and putting that knowledge into practice takes a considerable amount of time. Search engines are also constantly changing their algorithms, so keeping up with the latest best practices can be a challenge. If you need some help with your link building or on-page SEO, a freelancer is a cost-efficient way to increase your chances of ranking at the top of the SERP.
If you’re earning significant commission from an affiliate website, translating your website into a different language can be an easy way to boost your income. There’s generally less competition for non-English websites, so this can be an easy way to scale your affiliate business without having to invest in creating an entirely new site.
Do your research to ensure that your merchant ships to the territory you’re targeting, that the product is within the affordability of the average income in the country, and that there are no restrictions or legal issues selling the product. For example, supplements face strict import restrictions in some Scandanavian countries. Once you know that there’s an opportunity, hire a freelancer to translate your content and expand the reach of your affiliate business.
Research is a vital part of your affiliate business. From keyword research and competitor analysis to identifying new niches and finding affiliate offers to promote, there’s a considerable amount of research that goes into every successful affiliate website.
You can save time by outsourcing some of these research tasks to a freelancer. If you hate spending hours of your time looking for keyword opportunities for new content, you can hire an SEO expert to do the leg work for you. A cheap freelance is ideal for basic research tasks, but you should invest in an experienced freelancer with a proven track record if you’re going to be basing important decisions on the research they provide.
There are loads of website builder templates and WordPress themes you can use to create your website, but creating a unique and appealing design requires technical skill that takes a long time to learn. How much you want to learn about web design is up to you, but ensuring your website is user-friendly and appealing to both visitors and search engines is essential for the success of your affiliate business.
When it comes to outsourcing, you can hire a freelancer to design your entire website, or outsource some smaller design tasks like your logo and landing pages. Whatever you choose to outsource, hiring a freelancer will save you time and result in a more professional design than you could create yourself.
Social Media Marketing
Social media goes hand in hand with digital marketing and affiliate promotion. Research from the Global Web Index shows that social media platforms are where people spend 33% of their time online:
Promoting your content and affiliate offers on social media is essential, but it can be a significant drain on your time resources. You can use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to help you manage your social channels, but outsourcing some of your social media tasks can be a great way to maintain a human presence across your profiles and engage your followers. With the growth of social media marketing over the last decade, there’s plenty of freelance social media managers available for hire on freelance websites.
How to Hire Freelancers and Remote Workers
Now you know where to find freelancers, and you have an idea of the different tasks you can outsource, it's time to hire some help. When you make your first hire, you want to limit the amount of risk involved. Think carefully about the work you can outsource, and choose a low-risk task. For example, if you hire a designer to create a logo, the worst that can happen is that you end up paying $30 on a poor quality logo. Don't rush into hiring a full-time freelancer before you get a feel for the quality of their work and whether the working relationship is productive.
Here's a rundown of what to look out for when you outsource your first task:
1. English Speaking Freelancer
There are plenty of talented freelancers from every corner of the globe, but ensuring that your freelancer has a good command of the English language will save you headaches and problems further down the line. You can teach a content writer the basics of SEO, but trying to teach them English is a whole different ball game.
2. Make a List of Your Requirements
Think about the qualifications and experience you want your ideal candidate to have for each task you are going to outsource. For example, if you want a freelancer to write about a specific topic, ensure that the candidate you hire has experience writing in the niche. Aside from the particular work involved in each task, hiring freelancers with knowledge of the platforms and software you use is an excellent way to cut down on training and reduce the duration of the onboarding process.
3. Create an Onboarding Process
Creating an onboarding process makes it easier to integrate remote workers into your team, adapt to your workflows, and understand what you expect from them. For example, if you outsource content writing, creating a style guide can save time and effort for both you and the freelancer by making it clear how you want articles to be structured and establishing the style of writing.
If you use a project management tool, you can easily set up an onboarding process. This also cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend training each freelancer, especially as you scale your affiliate business and start to take on more freelancers.
4. Write a Detailed Job Description
The majority of freelance websites require you to submit some form of a job description. The more information that you can provide in this job description, the better. Freelance candidates can get a good idea of what you're looking for, you can cut down on time wasted reviewing irrelevant proposals, and it makes sure everyone is on the same page before you start negotiating a contract.
Avoid posting a job description like this:
Save yourself and candidates some time by being transparent and upfront in your job description.
5. Reach out to Ideal Candidates
Posting your job description and waiting for proposals to come in isn't the most efficient way to find freelancers. Browse the directory of freelancers to find ideal candidates and invite them to submit a proposal. You can usually browse through freelancer profiles and check out their portfolios, qualifications, and previous feedback to determine if they're a suitable candidate. Professional freelancers that provide quality work generally aren't short of offers, so if you don't reach out and make contact, you won't find the best candidates.
6. Set up a Test Project
Once you've found a freelancer, the best way to determine if they are a good fit for your affiliate business is to test their skills by assigning a small task. This task should be similar to what they will be doing if you hire them for more work. For example, if you're hiring a content writer, test out the working relationship and their skills by getting them to write a small 500-word article on a topic in your niche. Pay your freelancer for this test, and if they perform well, increase the amount of work you outsource to them and bring them through your onboarding process.
7. You Get What You Pay For
With so many freelancers available, it can be tempting to try and save some money by choosing the freelancer with the lowest rates. However, you generally get what you pay for. You can find up-and-coming freelancers willing to work for lower rates to build up their feedback, but choosing a freelancer purely on price is a bad strategy. Cheap freelancers can end up costing you more in the long run when you have to spend time correcting their work or hiring a new freelancer to start the project from scratch.
The above tips should help you to hire a freelancer for your affiliate business. Spend some time reviewing portfolios and proposals to screen applicants and make sure that expectations are clear on both sides of the working relationship before you start a contract.
How to Manage Remote Teams and Freelancers
Taking your affiliate business to the next level and outsourcing to freelancers can be an exciting step in your affiliate career, but managing remote workers comes with new challenges.
A key advantage of outsourcing is to free up more of your time. However, if you don’t manage your remote workers efficiently, you can end up wasting time and getting frustrated at the lack of progress. It’s important to look at the challenges that remote workers face and identify ways you can help your workers to be more productive.
As you can see, remote workers face a number of challenges. There are steps you can take to help your remote team and ensure that productivity is maximized. Here’s a rundown of the top tips to help you get the most out of your remote employees and scale your affiliate business.
1. Utilize Technology
Communication is the number one challenge that remote workers face. Utilizing the right tools to collaborate and connect with your team can go a long way to keeping everyone on the same page and engaged. You can use email and the built-in tools available on freelance websites to get started, but as your team grows, tools like Slack and Monday are much better options for managing remote teams and keeping everything organized.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Make it clear what you expect from your team by setting realistic expectations for tasks and projects. Establish a deadline, define what should be delivered, and explain how you will measure the success of the task. Once you have been working with a freelancer for a while, they should have a good understanding of what you’re looking for, but take the time to make expectations clear when you start the working relationship.
3. Judge Freelancer Work On Outcomes
It’s important to remember that hiring a freelancer isn’t the same as hiring an employee. Experienced freelancers have likely worked remotely for years, and they know what works for them. You should set clear expectations from the get-go, but don’t try and micromanage your remote workers. Instead of trying to monitor and manage your remote worker’s hourly activity, judge them on the work they deliver. That’s why setting clear expectations and outcomes for tasks is vital.
4. Don’t Micromanage
Successfully managing remote workers requires a balance between being there when your team needs help, but allowing enough independence for your workers to think for themselves and learn how to solve problems.
Don’t micromanage and try to do everything yourself. If there’s a problem or something that needs to be improved, help your remote worker to understand the issue and how to solve it. Provide assistance when they need help, but don’t do all the work yourself. Giving new workers enough space to learn and become more effective will make you a more efficient team moving forward.
5. Be Available
Allowing your worker’s space to learn and solve problems on their own is essential, but there will be occasions when you need to step in and offer advice. That’s why effective communication is so important. Make yourself available when your freelancer needs help and work with them to overcome the issue. Google Drive is a great free option for sharing and collaborating on files and documents. Once you’ve helped them overcome the challenge, they should be better prepared and able to work independently when they encounter a similar problem in the future.
6. Clear Task Brief and Feedback
When you assign work to a freelancer, try to be as clear as possible about the task and what you want them to achieve. The same goes for providing feedback on submitted work. You can use tools and collaboration software to speed up this process and illustrate your points more clearly. For example, if you need to provide feedback on a mockup design for your website, it’s much faster for you and clearer for the freelancer if you record a short screen capture video than sending over a long email.
7. Trust Your Team
If you take the right steps screening applicants during the hiring process, there’s no reason not to trust your remote workers. If a freelancer has good feedback from previous clients and a strong portfolio, you should trust them to complete the work you assign. Start with small tasks and gradually increase the level of responsibility as they complete projects.
Take precautions and avoid handing over any important passwords and financial details to somebody you’ve just hired, but don’t assume that every freelancer is out to scam you. Make sure freelancers have access to all the information they need to complete the tasks you assign.
Lots of people choose affiliate marketing as a career because of the freedom it offers. You can work when you want and from anywhere in the world. But when you start to scale your affiliate business, and things begin to take off, you can find yourself working around the clock to keep up the momentum. Outsourcing enables you to regain your freedom while keeping the majority of the profit you generate from your affiliate sites.
Time is the most valuable resource you have. By outsourcing some of the time-consuming tasks, you can maintain a sustainable and healthy lifestyle while increasing revenue and growing your affiliate marketing business.