Time is one of the most valuable resources you have. Spend it wisely, and you will see your business grow and thrive. Spend it poorly, and you'll end up having to put out a lot of fires.
Most business owners know what they need to do to move their business ahead. The problem is that they often have too much on their plate, and they try to do it all themselves. They might be able to complete some high-value work, but too much of their time is sucked away by tasks they should be delegating.
This is where freelancers come in. They may not know the ins and outs of your business, but odds are they know their area expertise well and can take over many of the tasks you and your team are having a hard time keeping up with.
Here are five ways freelancers can save you time.
1. Outsourcing your writing and editing
Content is important -- especially if you're running an online business. It can even factor into your website value. The problem is that you may not particularly enjoy writing, or you may not even be good at it. Fortunately, there are plenty of skilled writers for hire out there. You don't have to do all of the writing yourself, and you can even outsource all of it if you so desire.
With this in mind, you may need to take some time to find a freelancer who can deliver on the kind of content you're looking for; most writers will also require a little bit of time to learn about you and your business.
Once you've found one writer or several you enjoy working with, consider entering into a long-term business relationship. Don't be too quick to commit, but if you're happy with the work being delivered, then it will be better to work with those who can supply consistent and predictable results than to try to find new writers to fit a mold.
2. Analyzing data
Data -- especially big data -- has become a huge topic in business. Making data-driven decisions means making fewer mistakes. Instead of relying on gut instincts, you can use your data to make informed, strategic decisions for your business.
There are still challenges associated with data, of course, but personnel can be one of the hardest things to figure out. It's one thing to collect and amass large amounts of data; it's quite another to analyze and visualize it. If your business is still small, then it's important to narrow your focus and choose one or two metrics to focus on. An experienced freelancer should be able to comb through your data to find the most relevant pieces of information and report on it.
Data can also be analyzed to find potential SEO opportunities or to spot shortfalls in your business, which is one of the reasons it's so valuable.
3. Coaching you through issues and providing an outside perspective
It's easy to lose perspective on your business. After all, you're knee-deep in it every single day, and you may have personal biases that are hindering your ability to see things as they are. There could be impending challenges in your business you aren't even aware of. On the other hand, that important breakthrough could be just another push away when you're on the cusp of giving up.
Fortunately, you can hire life coaches or business consultants to help you work through these issues. Oftentimes, you don't even need to make massive changes to see a difference. Little tweaks can have a huge impact on the future of your business.
It's easy to become frustrated, but if you do the same things expecting different results, your business will grow stagnant. Sometimes, you just need someone to help you see the forest for the trees.
Outside perspectives are extremely valuable, especially those that come from experienced coaches and consultants. Don't be afraid to leverage their skills to get ahead.
4. Handling the minutiae
Are there tasks you don't particularly enjoy handling? Do you have tedious or boring work that nevertheless requires human attention?
From podcast transcripts to appointment scheduling, tasks will eat away your time and resources. Freelancers can take this work off your hands and free you up to focus on what matters.
Mechanical Turk is a perfect example of a service you can use to find workers that are willing to do smaller amounts of work for little pay. Other similar services include RapidWorkers, Microworkers, ShortTask and so on.
No business models are exciting 100 percent of the time, which means there will always be a need for someone to handle the minutiae in your business. Work with freelancers to get this side of things sorted out.
5. Helping you get organized
The value of a general personal assistant or virtual assistant cannot be overstated. Business owners should not be fielding every call and email, and scheduling every appointment, especially when an assistant can take over these duties for a small fee.
There's a lot to do in a single day, and it can be hard to stay organized and to make sense of it all. Tasks and to-do items can pile up, leaving you overwhelmed and working long hours just to keep up. In most cases, delegating the smaller tasks can allow you to stay focused on revenue numbers and business growth, serving your clients and so on. But if you have major organizational and structural problems, then you can also look into coaches or consultants for help.
There are many aspects of your business that can be outsourced. Don't just hire out for project work. Consider the long-term value of working with freelancers, as they may be able to help you for months and years to come, and will likely appreciate the work.
Some things should be done in-house, but not everything. If you're clear on your vision, there's no reason why you can't share that and instill it in the freelancers you hire.