What do you outsource?

As a growing bootstrapper, I’m thinking about the best ways to put money to work to either increase sanity or sales or customer satisfaction, etc.

I’m curious - for the bootstrapped and profitable out there, what are the things that you’re most happy with having outsourced? Could be anything from hiring a house cleaner to outsourcing support, marketing, or bookkeeping, to hiring a sales person, etc.

And it doesn’t have to be something that you’re hiring someone for specifically. Maybe it’s a SaaS or app you’re paying for. But basically anything where you’re trading money for time.


  • Bookkeeping
  • Quotes/Invoices/Vendor Registration forms (B2B so get a
    lot of manual busywork)
  • Graphics/Web Design
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Here are some things I’ve specifically outsourced in the past:

  • Twitter account management
  • Logo design
  • Tier 1 customer support on forums
  • Writing email autoresponders after providing an outline
  • Setting up a reliable DB backup system for AWS servers (and testing it)
  • HTML mockup creation from wireframes/use cases
  • Payroll accounting
  • House cleaning for our family (does wonders for you and your partner’s sanity–if you don’t do this, consider it!)
  • Email campaign prep
  • Website setup

Things that I pay for instead of writing myself/maintaining myself:

  • Email autoresponders (Mailchimp, Drip)
  • Stripe account handling (Baremetrics)
  • eCommerce shopping carts (EDD)
  • Source code repository (private GitHub)
  • WordPress professional hosting (WPEngine)

I probably have more, but that’s what springs to mind off hand.

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Thanks @daverodenbaugh!

Twitter account management - how did that work out?

Tier 1 support - how did that work out? I’m playing with the idea of outsourcing support but I’d want the quality to be reallllly good. 99% of the tier 1 stuff I see drives me insane.

House cleaning - good call. This is something I have a hard time with philosophically but also heard it on zenfounder the other day and it makes sense.

Tougher design work and… less than I should.

I have this idea of a renaissance man in my head that I like to try to be, which can be a curse. On the plus side, I can calculate/perform payroll by hand in minutes, custom build racks of servers, rebuild an engine, do basic electrical/plumbing, etc. I have probably “wasted” untold hours on it all, which isn’t as cool to say.

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Logo design (sometimes)
Customer support (although I jump in sometimes)
Some research or manual work that is easily explainable, easy to do but takes a lot of time.
Lately I’ve also been looking for a web developer but that’d be more “hiring someone” than outsourcing.

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Thx man. How are you outsourcing support if you don’t mind sharing some details?

Customer support. This was the biggest win I had from outsourcing.

I wish I had done this years earlier. It turns out that other people can do this as well as me. Or 90% as well. Or even 110% as well as I do it. It frees me up so much to do other business things.

The key for outsourcing customer support is to train well, document well, guide well, and monitor well. You can’t just say, “Hey you, please do my customer support!”


where do you buy such services?

Ya also curious how you’re outsourcing support. You’re selling me on the idea :slight_smile:

I am looking to do this as well. Where did you get people? I am considering ODesk.

Finding the right people to whom to outsource is hard - and this includes support help. I’m afraid I have no wonderful tips about how to make this easier.

I found my customer support agent through my personal network.

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i don’t think there’s an “easy” way to outsourcing custuomer support. I just hired someone remote part time and trained them for about a month, created also a bunch of “process” documents describing how to act in each situation, wrote canned messages, etc. but as others have said, it made a HUGE impact in my quality of life (I do have a big customer support load).

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Re: support. When looking for support help in the past, one place we’ve found success is with our existing users. If you have someone who is already volunteering their time on your support forums or some other channel, hiring them to do some front line support can cut out a lot of time in training, etc, as they already know your product and have a rapport with your customers.

This. A thousand times over. Tier 1 support for my plugins isn’t hard to document and train someone on. I have clear points when it needs to be handed off to a developer for more in depth analysis. So I just trained them using that philosophy and it’s worked well on both plugins. They spend about 3-10 hours a week answering forum questions, each. Saves me tons of time.

And a similar thing with Twitter follower management–I’ve used a VA in the Philippines to grow my followers from 18 to 670 in the span of a year. I use TweetAdder to do that and I wrote a document for her to use, how to find the “right” followers, what to do to get them, and so on. I use Buffer to tweet the articles and I barely spend 10 min a day on that, if that.


I outsource a lot of stuff now. It’s taken me some time to learn how to vet someone but it’s an evergreen skill.

I outsource:

  • Programming (after a LOT of vetting and trying several programmers)
  • Graphic Design
  • website design (I tweak and maintain it myself)
  • copywriting assistance (I do the copywriting myself but get help from one or two other folks)

That gives me more time for:

  • Usability studies. These are INCREDIBLY useful and helps with the A/B testing below.

  • A/B testing (both on Adwords and our landing pages).

  • Working on LifeCycle Emails (tips, etc. via email)

  • Working on an email “course” in our field.

  • Tech Support. I’ve never outsources Tech Support b/c it provides such an opportunity for UX feedback.

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That’s really interesting. Re: tech support - that’s one of the biggest reasons I don’t want to outsource it.

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I might feel differently if we had more “tech” and less “support”. But often it’s more support oriented. Folks are confused or something. And as soon as we see something we can do to avoid more of the same calls, we just do that.

That’s really interesting. Re: tech support - that’s one of the biggest reasons I don’t want to outsource it.

You can still get that input without the grind of the daily same-question, same-response by periodically injecting yourself into the process, but still have someone else do the primary task of responding.

I agree that at an early stage, outsourcing is the wrong solution. But when you’ve spent the last month answering the same questions several times a week, it’s time to look for a process to solve that problem IMO.

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I’m sure you probably have more experience than I do with this, and my support volume is still fairly low, but I think the “daily same-questin, same response” is exactly the pain that I want to feel in order to know what areas of the app / documentation need to be improved.

But when you’ve spent the last month answering the same questions several times a week, it’s time to look for a process to solve that problem IMO

Agreed, but I think the ideal process to solve that is improving the software / documentation so they don’t have to send the support email in the first place.

I’m sure this can’t be applied to all problems or all customer bases, but that’s where I’m focusing right now.