How to Outsource an App – Outsourcing App Stuff You Don’t Want to do

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Many people dream of making a living from selling apps. If that’s your goal, outsourcing is the best decision you will ever make. Some might even say that it’s essential – especially if you’re just getting started in the app development world.

We’re constantly told that the app lifestyle is made up of passive income, white sandy beaches, and a lifestyle that trumps retirees.  But the truth is, you’ll never reach that goal without scaling and automating your business.  And to do that, you need to become an outsourcing guru.

Successful app development requires experience and expertise from a variety of key players. At the minimum, you can have a multi-million dollar app business with just these three basic roles:

  • Project Manager – Provides strong leadership from beginning to end.
  • Designer – Responsible for the look, feel, and user experience.
  • Developer – Creates software that satisfies the project requirements.

You can also hire virtual assistants, ASOs, marketing experts… the list goes on. The takeaway here is that you don’t have to try to do everything yourself.

That’s one of the major benefits of outsourcing. It frees up your time, so you can focus on growing your business. You also gain instant access to skills, resources, and expertise that you don’t have.

You can hire inexpensive contractors if you’re willing to train them. If everything works out, you’ll get a badass long-term contractor on the cheap. If that’s not your thing, you can pay a little more for an experienced contractor who can hit it out of the park right away. Your choice.

The aim of this article is to show you how to make killer apps using outside resources. There’s a lot to consider, so let’s learn how to outsource an app…and do it right.

What tasks should you outsource?

The answer really depends on what you need help with. When deciding what to do yourself, always consider the opportunity cost. How else could you spend your time? In general, you’ll do well by sticking to the following guidelines:

  • Keep doing things you’re good at. Maybe you’re an awesome project manager. Or maybe you have sweet design skills. Focus on your strengths.
  • Outsource things you suck at. Don’t waste time trying to become something you’re not. The results will probably still be mediocre.
  • Outsource time-consuming tasks. When it comes to mundane or repetitive tasks, it’s best to spend your time elsewhere.

There is one catch though.  DON’T outsource a task you’ve never performed. Successful entrepreneurs know how their business works.

Secondly, NEVER resist scaling because of monetary concerns. If you do things right, the money will come. Know your numbers and set trajectory margins.

Project management, design, and development are the 3 most essential tasks, so focus on those areas first. Down the road, you might also want to invest in the following:

  • Virtual Assistants – Practically everyone should hire a virtual assistant. If you think those pesky little tasks aren’t adding up to wasted time… you’re wrong. A virtual assistant will completely unclog your schedule. Hire one!
  • ASO – For titles/keywords. You can find decent freelancers for as little as $5.
  • Analytics – The job almost everyone hates. But it may be the difference between thousands of income you’re missing.  Hire someone to give you the breakdown.
  • Traffic – Hand your analytics report to a traffic pro. More traffic = more opportunities.
  • Social Campaign Wizards – If you’re running your own social media campaigns, you’re wasting your time. These guys rock!
  • Support – Often overlooked, but super important. A trusted support team gives your company the professional edge.

Preparing to hire a contractor

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You can’t just slap some vague job description on a freelancing website and hope for the best. Well, you can… but the results won’t be very good. Before outsourcing a task, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to do.

Take the time to clarify your priorities and set goals. If you’re hiring a developer, you’ll need to create a spec with clear instructions. Make a list of key features – the things you absolutely need. Also make a list of nice-to-have optional items.

Establish your project timeline early. Determine key milestones and deadlines with a list of specific deliverables.

Finding good freelancers

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Hands down, the best way to find good freelancers is through word-of-mouth. If you know someone in the business, ask for recommendations.

If that fails, check out freelancing websites like Elance, oDesk, and Fiverr. You’ll find plenty of reviews, plus you can also take advantage of built-in payment protection.

You can also use Google to find freelancer websites and forum discussions. Look for portfolios with similar work and search for positive comments.

Choosing the right freelancer for the job

Now that you’ve found a handful of freelancers with potential, how do you choose the right one for the job? Consider the following criteria:

  • Reputation – Are other people happy with the work? Find feedback, reviews, and legit testimonials.
  • Communication – Communication breakdowns can ruin a project. Freelancers should be available via email, Skype, etc. It’s a good idea to hop on Skype for an introductory chat.
  • Portfolio – Has the freelancer done similar work before? This speaks to their expertise as it relates to your project.
  • Deadlines – Look for a proven track record of shipping working apps on time.

At the end of the day, choose someone you’re excited about. That’s key. Secondly, price is important, but always choose your freelancer based on overall value.

Making outsourcing work for you

Hiring the right freelancer is only part of the challenge. There’s still a lot of work to do. You can start by asking the chosen freelancer to sign an NDA. There are basic templates all over the Internet. Find one you like and get it done.

Get EVERYTHING in writing. I’m talking about every last detail. It doesn’t mean that you don’t trust the person – it’s just good business. When hiring a developer, ask for a detailed scope document. Review it thoroughly before signing off.

Finally, constant communication is essential throughout the entire process. I can’t emphasize this enough. Get regular updates and provide constructive feedback to keep the project on track and on budget.

How to avoid getting burned

There are tons of good freelancers out there, but you also have to watch out for the bad ones. Play it smart. Don’t dive head first into a big investment.

Sometimes it’s an innocent mistake. It turns out that the freelancer doesn’t have the time or expertise you need. When working with a new freelancer, start with a small test project. It makes it easier to get out before you get in too deep.

Unfortunately, you also have to watch out for straight-up scammers. NEVER pay up front until you know and trust the freelancer. If you’re working with someone new, you might want to stick to freelancing websites that offer escrow payment protection.

The most important thing is to protect your business – no matter what. If you get a bad vibe, trust your instincts and head for the door.

Hopefully this article will give you the confidence you need to try outsourcing. If you do the hard work up front and choose your freelancers wisely, outsourcing can be enjoyable and profitable.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 7.40.45 PMReady to get started and grow your business?  Get details and walkthroughs with the How to Hire Awesome App Developers Playbook

Have you outsourced certain aspects of your mobile app business? Tell us about your experience in the comment section.

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