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How To Outsource Online Course Work For Creative Teachers

This lesson will help online course teachers learn about outsourcing hard work or common tasks so that creators can get back valuable time and do more with the help of others.

If you’re one of the many frustrated teachers out there, you may want to consider outsourcing some of your responsibilities. Whether you don’t have the time or you’re lacking a skill, outsourcing can become your secret weapon for success. Delegating tasks can provide you with the help you need to maintain balance and focus.

We are planning on reviewing what is outsourcing and why would a course creator consider it. We’ll go over some common tasks that creative course teachers could have someone else do. Then we’ll go over different kinds of helper types and how to get started with them. Finally, we’ll brainstorm on what are some good things to work with in your newly found free time.

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What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is when a business hires a third party to complete one or multiple tasks. For example, a company could outsource office cleaning to an agency that insures it happens every night using a 15 step process.

Basically, anyone with a need or desire can get help with certain tasks or responsibilities. The company could be a single freelancer, a small business with a few employees, or a larger with 100 or more employees. The outsourced party that does the work could be an employee of the company, a contractor, or an agency. More on this later…

The work you require can be a short-term or long-term commitment – it simply depends on your needs. For example, a company can use an agency for just a few months until their maintenance person comes back from sick leave or have that agency use any available cleaner month after month.

According to the Small Business Administration, more than a third of small businesses are outsourcing some aspect of their company, so rest assured that you can too, even if you are just starting out. Some tasks are bound to slip through the cracks if you’re managing every aspect of the business yourself. So if don’t have the time or skills available, you could delegate tasks to another helper. 

Why Would A Course Creator Outsource?

As your business grows, you’ll need to delegate tasks and prioritize responsibilities so that you can stay focused on what’s important and what’s fun for you.

You Need Time Off

You may eventually want to take time off with a week long vacation, have weekends off, or simply slow down after working so hard to get your business going. Having a helper will allow you to achieve your business dreams of success and flexibility without you having to sneak in chunks of work that nobody else will do during your time off.

You’re Opportunity Costs Are Too High

Over time you will discover that you can perform and create high-value work like creating courses or freelancing. So you should consider delegating any low-cost work that can be done well for less than $25/hr, so that you can earn high-value work of greater than $50/hr.

You Don’t Have The Skills

No matter how determined you are, there comes a point when you must come to terms with your skill level. As much as you may want to make advanced video graphics or update the course server, you may not have the foundational skills or time to learn how to do these things with quality. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s more than ok to focus on your zone of genius while letting someone else use their other skills to do something well, quickly, and cost-effectively.

You Can’t Handle The Amount Of Work

In some cases, you may have the skills to do a task like handle daily questions and comments every day on your community or social channels, but you simply don’t have the time to handle the sheer quantity of tasks. In this case, you may want to hire a community manager or social media manager to provide high-quality answers in a timely way. They can handle the 1 to 2 hours of work a day based on your income and audience expectations.

You Don’t Have The Experience Or Perspective

Sometimes you may have the foundational skills but your brain is just not wired to see things like an experienced expert. For example, you may teach about writing children’s poetry but you also need some rich graphics for your course slides. You may know the basics of creating shapes and text, resizing, and cropping, but you don’t have the time to learn the necessary vector graphics program skills and your brain doesn’t usually think in terms of shapes.

Examples Of Outsourced Course Work

Now that outsourcing is on your radar, you may be wondering what tasks you should delegate. Practically any task in building a course can be outsourced, from content development all the way to operations.

If you are an online course teacher, here are some things you could get help with while

Graphic Design

Many of us may need help with the graphics, art, backgrounds, layouts, and illustrations for your sales page, course content, video overlays, or bonus resources.

Sales Copywriting

Even if you write ok, copywriting is a whole different way of writing and thinking. And since your course sales page is so critical to your business, you may need an expert to help you create all the sections and Call To Actions (CTAs) in a convincing manner.

Video Editing

After you create many hours of content, you may want to get someone to not only edit the mistakes for even more hours but also to add titles, overlays, different camera angles, transitions, and music.

Social Media Marketing

Once your course is live, you’ll want to do launches and periodic marketing about your course. Some of this could be one time work but other marketing should happen every week. Hiring part-time help along with creating a good procedure document will help you keep your prospects and students stay engaged, happy, and educated.

Tech Maintenance Support

If you’re not a techie, then outsourcing technical operations can be a life saver. Just like a non-techies outsource their business website updates and problems to IT administrators, you can do the same for your course operations. You can get help with your course maintenance so that experts make sure your course runs perfectly 24×7 without losing any revenue opportunities or getting refund requests due to access issues. Outsourcing your tech gives you maximum business flexibility and control according to one Harvard Business Review article.

Choosing Between Contractors, Employees, And Agencies

The next big question is “Who will you outsource to?”

There are several options to choose from when considering who to choose for outsourcing. After all, they will be managing the most essential components of your business, so it’s important that you choose wisely.

Either way, you can decide if this help is just for a few hours a week or month, full time with 40 hours, or extra-time with more than 40 hours a week for big jobs.

Freelance Contractors

Using contractors and freelancers is the most popular choice when it comes to outsourcing for small businesses.

These workers are not technically employed with your business, since they dont get W-2s, but they do contribute to your business. If they work a large number of hours over the year, they may require a 1099 earnings form in the US. Contractors typically don’t get benefits such as insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which allows you to keep some money in your pocket.

However, these employees are usually juggling multiple gigs, so don’t be surprised if turnover rates are high. You can find part-timers and freelance employees on platforms like, Fiiver, Upwork, and even Indeed. The best part about contractors is that you have no commitment, and you can hire help for just a few hours or ongoing.

Employees

Unlike a contractor, a full-time or part-time employee is an internal resource that works directly for your company. This also means that you should have your course business properly setup with regard to legal, finance, and taxes.

Employees are usually very dedicated and informed about the business goals and work.

Unfortunately, employees can be expensive, slow to onboard, hard to fire, and you may not have enough work to keep them on over the long term.

These employees will work longer hours, but in turn, they’ll want higher wages and inclusive benefits. In the long run, a full-timer could end up costing more than a contractor. However, providing a full compensation package increases retention and helps to ensure that you have employees who are in it for the long run.

Agencies

Hiring an agency is probably the most costly yet the most complete option of the three since they need to charge a margin to manage your work and pay for the workers. They also prefer to work on larger or long-term projects.

Agencies are reputable, efficient, and experienced companies that can quickly and easily manage your tasks. Agencies will take care of your needs as the workers change over time. They might offer different levels of support to fit your needs and your budget. 

Some agencies prefer that you don’t have direct contact with workers, and this can hurt your goals of having a team manage your students.

Create Standard Operating Procedures For Courses

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are documents that explain every step of a job for workers.

In many cases, you will know exactly what it is you want to be done, in which case you should create an SOP for your help.

The SOP could include items like:

  • Ordered checklists
  • How to handle certain events
  • What to say for certain situations

In addition, you will want to provide cheat sheet documents or wiki about your key files, emails, URLs, systems, and tools.

Finally, don’t forget to have the working agreement address confidentiality, trademarks, and ownership via works for hire.

How To Start And Prioritize Your First Course Helper

Getting started with help can be a bit painful, so here are some tips to help you get started.

What Area Of Your Business Is Falling Behind?

If you are starting to fall behind on important work then you should seriously consider getting help. There are some thing that you simply dont want to fall behind on such as : bills, fixing the course server, or student questions.

Look For Jobs That Happen Multiple Times

If you find that a similar low-level task keeps coming up several times a month and it is tedious but can be handled with a procedure document, then that is a great task for you to outsource.

Start With A Small Short Job

To verify communications, skills, responsibility, and culture fit you should start your first helper with a short term job that is task based or will require just a few hours a week or month. Make sure to establish how you will communicate with your help and how fast you are expecting an initial response as well as tasks to be completed. For more ideas on Service Levels check out How To Choose Your Online Course Support Speed and Quality.

How To Best Use Your Free Time As A Creator

Now that you have extra time on your hands, what should you do with it? Outsourcing can give you the resources to get back to the things that are most important to you. Here are some good options.

Taking Time Off

The first option to consider is nothing! You probably outsourced some of your tasks because you didn’t have enough time to begin with. While it might be tempting to start a new task, it might be beneficial to just rest and focus on the work that you have in front of you. 

Improve Your Course Or Create A New One

How long have you been trying to rewrite your syllabus? Maybe you’ve been meaning to do some research on that new LMS. You’ve been trying to tackle that to-do list for a while, but you didn’t have the time. Now that you’ve outsourced some of your responsibilities, you can begin making adjustments to your current course offerings. 

Freelancing

Depending on your main business, you can choose to use your free time to serve freelance and earn money by working for individual clients. While this freelancing is not passive income, it can help you earn fair money and learn skills that you may be able to teach in the future.

Enhance Your Skill Set

Now that you have help, you can consider taking a course, registering for a webinar, or reading a good book. Learning something new will help expand your mind and also make you a better teacher for your future students.

Lets Summarize Course Outsourcing

As an entrepreneur and teacher, outsourcing can be extremely beneficial to your business. Though it might seem scary to share the details of your business and rely on another person, there are many legitimate ways to find responsible professionals who can support your course business with integrity.

If you’re considering outsourcing, you should know what is the main driver. Is it to save money? To save time? To get better quality? The answers to these questions will affect how you approach the next few steps.

Next, you’ll want to figure out what could be outsourced and what should you do first. Once you know what work you’d like to outsource, consider your hiring options. First-timers, should start with a part-time or job-based freelancer. Larger businesses can consider full-timers or agencies for more comprehensive and professional results. Whatever you decide, be sure that you consider the cost of each option and how it will financially and operationally impact your business.

Lastly, you can start thinking about what you want to do with your extra time. Remember that creatives need rest in order to keep creating with energy! Therefore, it’s perfectly fine to take a break and regroup. However, if you’re ready to start something new or do some other high-value work, that’s ok, too! As a business owner, try to use your time to grow or improve the business.

If you happen to need help with your course technical maintenance or student tech support that’s our sweet spot – to find out more visit Automate Your Student Operations.

For more creative teacher help building, operating, and growing your online courses, check out our ArtsyCourseExperts blog and subscribe to our email for regular tips.

More Tips For Online Teachers

The following articles and resources can help you think about what to outsource as well as what to work on with your free strategic time.

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