HOW TO OUTSOURCE YOUR AMAZON OPERATIONS
Amazon has continued to shape e-commerce business over the years. This big-box retail giant has made online selling and shopping so lucrative and competitive. Behind the success of every Amazon business is complete hard work from inventory management, shipping and handling returns, to creating marketing campaigns and managing customer feedback. It’s difficult for a seller to run an Amazon business alone if they also assume the roles of accountant, administrator, SEO, marketing specialist, and customer service rep.
Find an Innovative Solution – Outsource!
Many e-commerce entrepreneurs seem to be unaware of the resources and innovative solutions available to them that can help grow their Amazon businesses. It’s pretty common to hear about sellers getting caught up in everyday tasks, which leads to unfavorable results.
Here’s what you need to outsource Amazon operations efficiently and hire effective people who will help your business grow:
Define a hiring budget.
You know what you need done and you know who you want to do it. Now you need to find out how much you have to spend on getting the help you need.
Step 1. Check Your Business Scalability
To help you decide what to outsource first, you need to revisit your current business process. This includes understanding which part of your business needs reinforcement. Are there areas that you’ve ignored because you just don’t have the time? Maybe you didn’t enjoy doing them or didn’t have the expertise? Rank these tasks according to your personal skill set, and the value that you and your business get from doing them yourself.
Most likely, you will find that the items that get pushed to the bottom of the list are the ones that are wither repetitive and labor-intensive or highly technical, such as:
- Product Sourcing
- Listing and SEO
- Inventory Management
- Order Fulfilment
- Amazon PPC
- Customer Service
Albeit mundane, these tasks are necessary. Moreover, they need specific expertise and experience to properly execute. A task well done means productivity, and this means efficient use of time and money.
Now to the real pain point. You may not have a huge budget to spend on hiring people. However true, this doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Skilled remote freelancers are a good choice for Amazon businesses.
They are perfectly scalable, for starters:
- You can hire only when you need help.
- Hiring remote freelancers can be much more affordable than hiring locally.
- With a larger pool of global talent, you have more options to choose from, so you can find someone with the specific availability that you need.
They also bring you the following advantages:
- You can look for remote freelancers with the experience you need from that larger pool of global talent.
- Freelancers tend to be more positive workers who are highly skilled in their specific fields – they have the freedom to specialize in the areas that they love, and are motivated to up-skill continually to get better projects and keep their calendars full.
- Freelancers tend to work faster since they don’t have job security and depend on their reputations for the next gig.
If you have a smaller budget, you can start with simpler tasks or hire lower-level freelancers who you can teach the ropes to. If you have a larger budget, you can hire experienced freelancers who are ready to get to work. Either way, you save money, plus you save your time so you can focus on growing your business. The end result is more profits, and a better hiring budget for the next round. It’s a wonderfully scalable hiring model that gives you the freedom to keep growing.
Step 2. Put Value on Your Time
In business, there is no room for wasting time or money. Every second and every cent count. This is the part where you want to ask yourself “How much do I make in an hour?” and, “How much am I worth?”
To find out, take your earnings from the previous month and divide that by the number of hours you worked for that month. Apart from the figure itself, take into consideration the days you work in a week and the extra time you put in on holidays when it gets really busy. More importantly, reflect on the family occasions you’ve had to miss, and the opportunity cost of missed chances because you were stuck doing this and that.
The result can be surprising and depressing at the same time. But it will help you realize how much you need help.
Distinguish which responsibilities can be outsourced.
As an Amazon business owner, you need to understand that it will be difficult to expand your Amazon operations without help. Now that you know your value as the business owner, you can start prioritizing accordingly. What should you be doing? What gives you the best value for your time? What can you not afford to pass off? This is what you keep, and prepare to let the rest go. Sorting out which tasks you can pass off to someone else is essential in order for you as a business owner to avoid losing sight of the bigger picture.
Step 3. Outline the Tasks You Need to Outsource
Before you start looking for help, you need to make sure that the person you will hire has everything they need to do the work. Think about the level of experience you require for the specific tasks. Think about the unique aspects of your business, and your personal process.
Start small with one or a few tasks, so it doesn’t get overwhelming. You can always come back later – after you have someone all set up on one area – and hire again for another set of tasks, or add a set of tasks to someone’s workload as appropriate.
Create a workflow for each of the tasks you plan to assign. Include in the outline who will be providing this and that. Prepare and secure the platforms where the freelancer can access the information that they need to work. Make sure you clearly define these details so the process can run smoothly.
For example, say you’re selling skincare products and need to interact with a skincare manufacturer. By teaching your freelancer how to engage with all points of contact you can more effectively free yourself from that task.
Step 4. Define the Ideal Worker
Finding out what kind of worker you need is a critical step to outsourcing your Amazon operations. You need to know which specific skills and qualifications they need to possess to be able to carry out the tasks well. Your task flows will help here, especially when it comes to things like Amazon-specific skills and experience.
Now think beyond the technical side of the actual work. You are going to be spending a lot of time with this person, and they will have close contact with your business. You want to be sure that you see eye to eye so you don’t run into a lot of issues.
Communication is a very important skill that many business owners overlook. Think about how you communicate, and what kind of person you want to communicate with. For instance, is it important to you that you get frequent updates via chat, or do you prefer to be left alone until you reach out? Attitude is also a vital consideration. Make sure that you are aware of the red flags that signal a poor work attitude, such as a lack of enthusiasm or being unprepared. Be ready to catch these signals when interview time comes.
Once you know what tasks you can pass off and how much you can spend for each one, you can begin thinking about who you need to help your company grow.
Find the right person for your needs.
As you go through the next steps, remember that you should hire only if you are completely satisfied. Don’t rush – settling for someone who you don’t think is really a good fit will only lead to disappointment. When you are both on the same page with regard to expectations, goals, work times, and all that, it’s easy to get started and build a strong working relationship.
Step 5. Look into Freelance Platforms
There are plenty of online platforms that have a large pool of skilled Amazon freelancers. Upwork, for example, holds the largest number of freelance workers you can browse and invite to bid on your project. FreeeUp is known for their pre-vetted freelancers who are pooled from the top 1% of marketplace applicants. These remote freelancers are skilled and experienced, and tested on communication guidelines. Other freelancer marketplaces have their own unique selling points.
If you want to have more control over your options, choose from the many platforms like Freelancer, Upwork or iFreelance that give you the full range of available freelancers to choose from. If you prefer the fast hire experience, go for a more specialized platform like FreeeUp that save you the time it takes to go through numerous interviews. You submit your requirements, get introduced to a freelancer, and have a short discussion to get acquainted if you like, or simply hire.
Step 6. Interview and Onboard
Once you are confident in a freelancer’s skills and experience, there are a few more important things to discuss:
- Expectations and Terms
- Business Goals and Culture
- Preferred Form of Communication, and
- Mutual Availability
Onboarding requires a few things:
- Going over the workflow you’ve outlined
- Setting up accounts and verifying access for the freelancer
(Note, if you’re using ManageByStats to manage your Amazon business, MBS offers the ability to add users and assign rights — making it handy to grant access to freelancers, allowing them to perform needed tasks within the program.)
- Setting up times to meet and get updates.
Step 7. Manage the Amazon Freelancer
Managing freelancers can be the most challenging part of the process of outsourcing your Amazon business. There are different ways to handle remote workers, but here are some important Dos that you shouldn’t miss:
- Use a good project management tool
Project management tools are a great way to integrate task management and monitoring for an Amazon freelancer. Most professional freelancers have their own task management/to-do/CRM apps for personal workload management, but you need to set up a system where you can both have access to materials and updates. Plus, you can also choose which one best fits your Amazon business and your personal working style.
Some popular apps Amazon sellers use are Asana, Trello, and Bitrix.
- Run weekly meetings
If you are a busy entrepreneur who prefers to focus on growing your business rather than micromanaging assigned workers, weekly meetings are perfect. It’s the best way to check if tasks are being done correctly. You are also given the opportunity to uncover errors in your processes and fix them. It is also a great way to monitor the progress of an Amazon freelancer, and find out if there are any problem areas that they need help with.
Outsource Your Amazon Business
With this simple and scalable process, you can smoothly outsource your Amazon operations and gain the ability to grab more opportunities to grow as an e-commerce entrepreneur. You have access to unlimited resources with spot-on skills. You don’t have to wait to start saving precious time and earning bigger profits. Start hiring professional Amazon freelancers and enjoy one of the best investments you can ever make for your business.
Connor Gillivan is a serial eCommerce entrepreneur and an expert in online hiring, eCommerce, and bootstrapping businesses. With his first eCommerce business, he sold over $20 million worth of product and managed over 60 freelance workers. He is now the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of FreeeUp.com, the hands-on hiring marketplace connecting hundreds of online business owners with reliable, pre-vetted remote workers. He is an avid writer on his own site, ConnorGillivan.com, and his business advice can also be found in top publications such as WebRetailer.com. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.