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10 Key Online Hires For Your Startup

Elance_Keith | August 17, 2011

All great business owners know that a brilliant business idea doesn’t become a success without the help of many people behind the scenes. Though your business may be just a startup now, it’s never too early to start planning for success, especially if you can do it in an affordable, flexible way. As an entrepreneur, you are no stranger to rolling up your sleeves, doing all the work yourself and wearing many hats. However, there is a cost that comes with doing everything yourself—the opportunity cost of all the strategic initiatives and great ideas you never implement because you are too busy to grow your business.

Today, there is a new way to build a business. You can launch a startup without renting an office and without hiring employees. Instead you can build a virtual team. Whether it is IT, marketing or creative services you need, top talent is ready to work for you only when you need them.

Here are 10 essential jobs you can outsource online from the start:

Website Developer
These days it’s more important than ever to have a website that is both great looking and highly functional. Depending on the needs of your business, you can hire someone to help with a simple WordPress blog site or a sophisticated e-commerce site.

Mobile App Developer
It seems every business these days has a mobile app. Maybe you just want to provide customers with access to your website from mobile devices or maybe you want to create a new revenue stream for your business by selling a mobile app. Either way is a smart move, considering that 40 percent of adults use the internet, email or instant messaging on a mobile phone, up from the 32 percent of Americans who did this in 2009 according to the Pew Research Center. Turn that app into an opportunity to monetize and you may be able to boost your bottom line as well.

Virtual Assistant
It’s never too early to get an assistant. Find someone you can rely on and then outsource tasks only when you need extra help. Rates will vary per hour or per project, so it’s likely that you can find someone that fits into your budget. Find a good virtual assistant and it’s almost like cloning yourself.

Content Writer
Writing comes up a lot in business no matter what industry you are in. Your website or blog needs content, your marketing and press materials need to be written, even product descriptions need polishing. Unless writing is your hidden talent, consider hiring an online writer to save time and to keep things professional. Even if you are a writer, you may find it to be a big time saver to outsource some of the more standard content on your site.

Market Researcher
Everyone needs customers, but how can you be sure enough customers even exist for your product or service? Information is critical, and market research can help you understand—and act on—the dynamics of your local or global market, market trends, customer satisfaction with the products and services in your area and how your competitors are performing. Market research will help you better understand your business landscape, who and where your customers are and how to meet their needs.

Social Media Marketer
As a business owner, you simply cannot ignore the power that social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter have for brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention and idea exchange. The problem is that these networks require their own type of strategy—adding friends and followers won’t be enough to market your business. A social media expert can effectively leverage these tools so that your company develops its own voice, and your customers will be listening to what it has to say.

Graphic Designer
Your business needs a brand—a logo, a website, some business cards, potentially some print or web advertising, etc., so you’ll need to find a graphic designer that can turn your vision into something real. If you’re trying to carve your niche in a crowded marketplace, your image can potentially be a huge differentiator between you and your competitors, so finding a great graphic design professional will become an integral part of establishing your company.

Lead Generation Specialist
Customers make the business world go round, and a skilled and experienced lead generation specialist can help you find them. Techniques include sourcing affiliates, driving traffic to your website, collecting information from interested prospective clients or researching key decision-makers within your industry. How should you approach new potential clients? These specialists are sales and marketing professionals and can help determine the most effective and cost-effective lead generation approach for your industry.

Whether you’re starting your first company or a veteran business owner, the odds are that you’re going to need a lawyer to offer legal advice or help with legal problem. At the least, you’re bound to be greeted with critical paperwork (service agreements, distribution agreements, etc.) that commands a set of trained eyes. That’s why it’s important for any business, big or small, to have an ongoing relationship with a good lawyer.

SEO Expert
The old axiom “If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t apply here. Search engine placement is critical to anyone with a website; even if you do build it, they won’t come if they can’t find you. Search engine optimization (SEO) specialists help your site gain high rankings. The algorithms change constantly so techniques naturally evolve—unless you’re in the web field, you’re unlikely to have the necessary skills.

So now that you have a list of people that will help get you off the ground, start cultivating that team of online professionals so you can focus your energy on doing what you do best—growing your business.

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .