Obviously I’m in favor of outsourcing a lot of things to people who work exclusively for you. I outsource SEO, Writing, Article submitting, programming, small random tasks, manual tasks, web maintenance, reporting, adwords, …
But, there are a lot of things that don’t require a full time person. They require someone else to do it for you every once in a while. Here’s how I outsource some of these things:
Graphics: I get graphics done a few different ways. One, I have a designer who does contract work. He’s reasonably priced (most designers aren’t) and is pretty good. I don’t mention who he is because then he’ll get too busy to work for me anymore.
Recently I’ve also been using the “Contests” feature at sitepoint.com. There you can let other people compete for your work where you say I’m willing to pay $XXX for “Such and Such” to be done and then you get a bunch (or a few) people doing different designs for you and you get to pick the best one. Similar to the logo concept developed at logoworks, but here 1) you get to name your own price, 2) you get as many people as you want submitting designs, and 3) you can have any sort of graphics done.
Basically, you can have multiple people compete for your job ahead of time without having to pay anything up front. If you’re not happy with any of them, you don’t pay anything. If you like multiple ones, select more than one as the winner.
Simple, effective, outsourced.
Copywriting: I hate writing copy. I hate everything about it. Sales copy is worse because it matters. If I have to write sales copy for a business, that business stops and doesn’t get done. So, I always find someone else to do the copywriting. I’ve used quite a few different services, none of which I’m happy with, so I’m going to tell you what they are and then ask for your feedback.
I’ve done copywriting projects on elance. The problem with this is that you never know how good of copy you’re going to get. If it’s sales copy, you might get something good, you might get pure garbage. You can read someone’s feedback, but it doesn’t always mean it’s going to work out.
I’ve used Copywriting Club once before. It sounds like a great solution to this problem, but the one time I used it, I bought the silver package, then was told that I was getting “platinum” level copy because one of the owners wrote it for me, and then I sent over 1000 clicks to the sales page and it never converted a single time. This was in a market I had researched and tested and the copy totally sucked. I should probably test it again, but the one time I used it I wasn’t very happy.
I’ve used a few individual contractor copywriters also. The problem with this is it’s expensive. You can pay $45,000 for a single sales page. Yes, you’re likely to make that back, but that’s a lot of money for sales copy. There are quite a few people out there who will do this for between $4000 and $10,000. Ask around to people you know. You don’t necessarily need the best copywriter (depending on your business). If you can test and tweak and manipulate the copy then you can outsource it to “someone” and just get it done.
My brain is kind of fried right now so that’s all I can think of. As I come up with more things I outsource outside of full time employees I’ll post them. Feel free to comment with any suggestions.