Outsourcing when you don't have money

Some days ago, I wrote about how difficult it is to outsource when you don't have time.

Even more difficult it is to outsource when you have little capital.

I've tried delegating Failory's work many times in the past, even when Failory's revenue was around $0. I've been successful a few times, and failed most of them.

Here are some things I learned, divided in 4 outsourcing methods I've tried:

Hiring interns

Hiring interns can be a great way of delegating work when you can't afford to pay for a freelancer or an agency. Interns may be happy to work for you in exchange of experience and guidance.

Acadium is a tool that connects student marketers with companies looking to get marketing work done. I've hired some interns through there, in some cases successfully, in some others completely failing.

Working with interns is hard. I guess that the lack of cash payment makes them be less motivated and interested about your business and work. Here are some considerations you should have:

  • Finding the right interns is hard → I've had more success when hiring interns from Failory's newsletter, rather than complete strangers who haven't heard of the website before.
  • Delegating to interns is time-consuming → You'll need to spend a great amount of time explaining and reviewing tasks. In some cases, it doesn't even make sense to delegate as the time you'll spend explaining the task and checking the work is bigger than if you'd do it yourself.
  • Interns don't tend to have experience → If you're looking to outsource a complicated / technical task, interns may not work. The quality of the delivered work will be low.

Unexperienced freelancers

Another method I've applied, particularly when outsourcing content creation, has been to hire freelancers with little experience or who were building their portfolios.

As they are interested in getting some quick jobs and have something to show to future clients, they tend to be willing to do work at lower rates than experienced freelancers.

The thing is that, being unexperienced, the quality of the work might be low. Provide them with detailed instructions and review the work in detail.

Hiring in exchange of a percentage of revenues

Some experienced freelancers or interns might be willing to join your company and be paid a percentage of your revenues, with the belief that revenues will increase in the future.

In this way, you may be able to get more quality work from experienced people. However, it'll be difficult to find these people and you'll have to give up to part of your monthly profits.

Productized services

Finally, I've outsourced many tasks, particularly design-related ones, to productized services. They tend to be cheaper than agencies and freelancers, as they have estandarizad processes for what they do.

I've used many unlimited design services in the past (even wrote a guide about them), being able to outsource at a fraction of the price agencies and freelancers had quoted me.

The quality of the work can be high. Though I wouldn't recommend it if you're on a rush and need the work done quickly.

Date: February 18