Outsourcing Repetitive Tasks for Your Ecommerce, Amazon or eBay Business So You Can Focus on Growth



 

Outsourcing Resources:

 

 

 

Transcript

In this video we’re going to talk about outsourcing and how you can use outsourcing in your commerce business. Now, way, way, back in the day when I was selling on eBay and when I first started my e-commerce stores selling apparel, I didn’t have access to outsourcing and it was really difficult managing a lot of the basic task of dealing with selling online because some of them are tedious and they’re quite boring and some of them are tedious but really time consuming for your average entrepreneur.

lot has changed since then, I think when I was starting out, there was no access to outsourcing and outsourcing websites so, basically what you had to do was get to the point where you could afford to pay a part or full-time employee but then you had other issues to deal with, especially if you’re selling out of your home or your garage or a building on your property. Some people have sheds or small buildings on their property or you have a small office and you didn’t necessarily want to have people on site, that presented a complication.

Now, you have access to a vast talent pool of people all across the globe that can help you with various aspects of your business and you can hire them on a contract, a part or full time basis. So I’m gonna give you a rundown of the kind of things that you can outsource and how you can go about it strategically.

First, I’m gonna tell you I have a little bit of a bias, I’ve tried various things. I’ve tried Odesk, which is pretty much the go to for anyone to get started in Odesk, and I think Odesk is great and it allows you to tap into a talent pool.
One of the things that I don’t like about Odesk is when you start to add on various contractors, it is very easy for your cost to get out of control. An example is, you might want to have someone who’s on staff to edit your photos, which I highly recommend, then you have someone who’s answering your emails and then you have someone else who may be helping you put your products online or list them on eBay or get them listed on Amazon.

Now, the thing is, you have to allocate each person a certain amount of hours per week so that they can get their work done and then if they run out, if they max out those hours you have to bump it up to the next level but you can’t bump it back down until the close of the pay cycle. So, this may be really confusing to you but what happened to me with quite a few contractors, is they would log in to my projects just to tick off time, just to get hours billed, you know saying things like looking for instruction or waiting for instruction.

With Odesk, you have a window of opportunity to dispute it but you have to really be on top of it and it was a very difficult thing for me to manage because often, I didn’t start catching that until I was too late to dispute the charges. I really, really hated that about Odesk. It’s very easy for someone to just start trying to do whatever they can to get the maximum hours that you’ve allotted to them and I didn’t outsource for a while after that and I still kind of feel a little salty about the whole thing.

I didn’t outsource for a while until I came across a different way of outsourcing and that’s what I’m going to share with you, a site where you can find people who are pretty much looking for a full-time work but if you don’t need them full time, you may be able to work with him part time with some caveats and I’ll explain that. The philosophy that I was exposed to was that, when you hire people just for specific tasks you run into that problem, you run into a cost problem and you also run into the problem of them not being available when you need them and having to have backups and a whole bunch of different people and it’s not a very effective way to outsource for things that you need consistently.

So let’s talk about what you can outsource with your business and one way to go about it. First thing is if you’re taking photos definitely outsource your photo editing and this is something where you can find someone who has a skill set that you need a lot of time with, who can also edit photos because a lot of people looking for work from home work will have a copy of Photoshop and can learn it and some will know it better than others.

When I was selling apparel on eBay, one of the things you do with eBay is you take a lot of pictures and it is very time consuming to edit all those photos or to crop it or to adjust an image or just whatever it is that you do. Photo editing was one of the quickest and top things I outsource. I take the photos from my camera, I put it in a Dropbox folder, I have a naming convention for naming those folders so that the names of the folders are related to the item that’s photographed so that I don’t have a hard time finding them because they don’t have random names like 10/1/09 04 .jpg.

So I have a little system put them in a Dropbox photo folder the graphic designer picks them up at its theme, puts them in another Dropbox folder or FTPs into the website or puts them wherever you want them and they’ll edit them however you tell them to edit them. That’s one of the things you can get off your plate really, really easily. Another thing you can get off your plate really easily is listing, putting products on your website, listing products on eBay, listing products on Amazon.

You have to develop a system, you have to be organized but you definitely can take that tedious work off of your plate and have someone help you with that so that you can focus on other things. Now, you may not have someone right off the bat who can write your descriptions but over time you can train someone to write your product description so that they can get really good at it and also bring in information that you may not want to find, say for example, you’re selling a product and you want to Google or research historical information about the product or the maker of the product but you don’t have the time for that, that’s something that you can have someone help you with. The other common thing to outsource is customer service and this can be via email or telephone. So, if you’re selling on a marketplace like eBay or Amazon its mostly email customer service but if you have an e-commerce website, it typically involves telephone and customer service.

Now, one of the great things about outsourcing to the Philippines, which is where I obtain, employees from the Philippines is that call centers are all over the place, so it is very, very, easy to find someone in the Philippines who has worked in a call center for an American company that has really good English, some even have an American sounding voice. One of the ways you can easily, easily, screen for customer service reps, when you post a job posting is to give them a task where they leave you a message with some kind of information, like you can say, “This customer called and asked about the order status and their tracking number is not working and we don’t have any updated tracking information.

It will take us maybe a day or so to get it from the carrier please leave a voicemail message,” as if you were leaving it for that customer. You give them a Skype number or something that they can call relatively easy from their location. An even better way I do, I don’t have them call a number, I tried that and I liked it so much that I have to record their audio on their computer and send me in mp3 or wav file. The reason I have them do that is because if they’re looking for a customer service work from home job they should have a headset and they should know how to record their own voice because there may be instances where they’ll need to do that for you.

When you do that you can pretty much hear who sounds good and who doesn’t and you can read out all the people who don’t sound good and then go on to testing for their written communication skills for their thoroughness with answering customer emails or even live chat queries or just whatever else that you’ll need. So, that’s three things, those are three easy things I think, you can find someone to do to help you with your business and typically you can get someone who can do all three but they probably won’t be as good at one of the three, for example.

If you have someone who handles your customer service, they probably will be very good at listening as well because when they’re dealing with your customers, answering their questions or dealing with any post-purchase issues they’ll develop a familiarity with your products that will then help them with your listing and writing descriptions. We had a customer service rep that was with us for quite some time and because she dealt with customers so much she was really able to write about the products, it didn’t happen right away it does take some time however she was only mediocre with the photo editing.

So, typically that’s kind of what you might run into. You might be able to get someone who’s really good with all three over time but don’t expect anything kind of crazy. If you only have an occasional need for photo editing, you probably can get away with having your customer service person do it. If you have a lot of photo editing, then you may want to have a part-time graphic designer on staff. So let’s talk about how much this costs. You’re typically looking if you’re hiring someone from the Philippines with about a mid-level range experience, you’re looking between US$400 to US$500 dollars a month in base salary.

That doesn’t include bonuses or incentives or the thirteen month bonus which is required in the Philippines but are linked to more information about that. So, the prices can go up you know with more experience and you can find someone a little lower. I wouldn’t go much lower than that, especially on customer service. If you want someone to handle the phones because if you’re looking for someone to handle telephone customer service, then that means they’re working during their night and that’s very difficult to have someone do.

So, you don’t necessarily want to try to get a lower, lower, pay percentage because if they get the opportunity to work during their day even for the same amount of money they’re gonna prefer that. So, that’s kind of what you’re looking at, with regards to what it will cost you and I think if you understand that, that is available to you and you can utilize that in your business, it really changes your perspective of running your business and it really changes the game. I know when I was selling on eBay, I couldn’t handle that listing. It was just taking up a lot of my time.

You still have to source products and then you still have to ship product and there are just so many things that you can outsource. Before a lot of small business owners those are the things that they don’t really know that they can outsource and then kind of get bogged down into doing all of these things by themselves and not making an efficient use of their time.

So, if you’re trying to sell on a marketplace like eBay or Amazon or you have an e-commerce store, look into this, look into the link below for the website, which is a search engine of resumes of, I think hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands Filipino workers who are looking for work from home jobs, who have typically laptop computers and pretty decent internet connections and some experience working online doing various tasks.

You can hire someone that can help you grow your business, so that you can focus on the things that only you can do and you could take some of these other tasks and have someone else do them. So, I hope you learned a lot, thanks and continue coming back and checking out our content.