The following is a guest post written by Connor Gillivan.

The key to a successful eCommerce business is to have the right people working on the right tasks. While this is something that’s supposedly expected, more often than not, this is exactly where business owners miss the mark.

This is not to say that hiring within eCommerce is easy.  Working with someone from the other side of the world will always be difficult considering the time and cultural difference. You are bound to make a few outsourcing mistakes.

If you want to make the most out of the freelancers you’ll hire, you need to be organized.  You need to have a system in place so you can ensure that you are getting the right person and you are giving them everything they need to perform their tasks properly. This is what reduces the chances of making those mistakes.

With that being said, here are 6 of the most common mistakes business owners commit when it comes to outsourcing within eCommerce:

The first thing you need to understand as a business owner is that outsourcing requires proper planning and strategy.

You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you’re going to outsource tasks to someone. You need to keep in mind that you’re going to be shelling out money so you need to make sure that your budget is not just going to go to waste.

A good practice would be to assess which tasks are crucial, which tasks take time, and which tasks require someone else’s expertise.

Once you have determined each one of these tasks, write them down so you can narrow each one of them even further into possible sub-tasks.

For example, if you are looking to outsource social media management, what are the other tasks you’ll need the freelancer to do?  It could be broken down into the following:

  1. Research/information sourcing
  2. Content creation
  3. Post scheduling
  4. Comment moderation
  5. Metrics Review
  6. Reporting

With all of this properly documented, you’re making sure that no stones are left unturned and that you are making no mistake by outsourcing the tasks that you really need help with.

Interviews are crucial regardless if you’re hiring a freelancer or a full-time employee.  It’s your opportunity to get an idea of what the freelancer is like in terms of their attitude, skills, and work ethic.

As early as possible, have your questions pre-written so you don’t have to come up with something on the fly during the interview itself.  Think of the things that you consider critical in hiring the right person.

What makes them the best person for the task?  What advantages do they have over other candidates?  How can they contribute to your business through the skills and knowledge they have?  The more specific you can get, the better.

Once you have your questions organized, schedule the interview online via Skype or any other similar software.  It is better if you can do a video call so you can talk to them face-to-face.

Use the same process for each of the candidates so you’ll have a better means of comparison once you’re done interviewing everyone. Remember that this is your best chance to identify which candidate is the most qualified so do your best to get everything organized.

When it comes to business, quality doesn’t always come cheap.  If you want to get the services of the best people in the industry, you need to be willing to spend.

Think of hiring as an investment.  If you spend more on hiring top-quality talent, you’ll be reaping the benefits sooner than later.  Spend less and settle for sub-par skills and you’ll generate average results and miss your target numbers.

Consequently, a higher rate isn’t always an indication of above-average skills, either.  This is the reason why getting the interview right is crucial because it’s one of the ways to assess if the freelancer is worth every penny you’re willing to pay them.

Freelance marketplaces today make the process easier for you because you’ll have visibility, ratings, reviews, and feedback on the candidates, much like what Upwork has to offer.

There are also marketplaces like FreeeUp that make this much simpler than that by providing you pre-vetted candidates to interview.  This means they have already been assessed and meticulously interviewed before they’re even introduced to you.  All that’s left for you to do is to see if they are the perfect match to your requirements.

The bottom line is if you chance upon a freelancer that has all the skills you’re looking for but comes at a high price, don’t be afraid to give them a shot.  Don’t let the price tag influence your decision if you want the best for your eCommerce business.

As important as the interview process is, properly onboarding a freelancer after hiring them is crucial.

It’s essential for you, as the business owner, to set freelancers up for success.  It would be a mistake to think that just because you’ve hired them, that you can just leave everything for them to figure out on their own.

This is the stage where you can lay everything out so you’ll be in sync in terms of how and when you want to accomplish your business goals.

To kick things off, it would be good to set your expectations, first and foremost.  Do they have to work in the same timezone as you? How do you want them to keep you posted with regard to their tasks?  Are there important dates or deadlines you would like them to know?

You have to be very clear and precise before they begin working on your project so you can avoid misunderstandings.  Have these expectations documented, too so you will have a reference in case of any miscommunication.

This is also the best time to introduce them to tools or software you’re using.  It is your responsibility to grant them the necessary access to the tools they need to perform their responsibilities.

Lastly, try to establish how you want to communicate.  Can they just drop you a chat message via Slack or Skype or do you prefer email?

Getting someone to help you is great for the business but you have to do your part in getting them everything they need to contribute.  At the end of the day, their success is your success so do your due diligence in making things easier when possible.

Diversification is essential to business growth and that includes the freelancers you hire for the different tasks in your eCommerce business. We all know that “putting all your eggs in one basket” is not advisable when it comes to business. Although this can help you save money, it can also affect the quality of the work.

If your budget allows it, try to diversify the freelancers you outsource to.  Hire a dedicated person for each of the tasks you need help with instead of having a blogger do other tasks like customer service, for example.

The quality and efficiency of the work will always be better when you have one person whose focus is only on the tasks you hired them for.

Having a variety of talents and skills within the business also ensures business continuity in the event that one of the freelancers you hired leaves. Having one freelancer carry multiple responsibilities is a bad idea.  While it does save you a few bucks, you’ll be in deep trouble if they can no longer work for you one day.

A standardized and documented process for each task is essential for business success and growth.  Operating without these is like driving a car without a clear and definite destination.

If you want to take your business to the next level, you need to establish standard operating procedures right from the beginning.  This will help new freelancers you onboard understand the vision and direction your business is taking as well as policies to follow in daily operations.

From the reports you need on a weekly basis to the what they need to do in case they’re unable to work to how you want them to handle inquiries, having these procedures documented will help them know what to do without asking you every time a situation comes up.

It’s a good thing that there are apps like Flowster which allow you to create your own SOPs, making the whole process of establishing your processes easier and faster.

Final Thoughts

Hiring the right talent and outsourcing eCommerce tasks is no walk in the park.  One of the ways to get things right is to learn from other people’s mistakes, specifically, the ones we provided above.

If you’re outsourcing for the first time, make sure to follow the guidelines we provided so you won’t waste time and effort hiring someone who will leave sooner than later because things didn’t work out.

Plan carefully, set up your interview process, and make sure to properly onboard freelancers so you can make your business run like a well-oiled machine.  It’s not easy to identify the right fit, but it’s not impossible if you’re careful.

About the Author

Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of He currently lives in Denver, CO.

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