Outsourcing for vegan and ethical business owners: How to focus on what matters

Running a small vegan or ethical business can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to do everything on your own. You may feel, as a small business owner or sole trader, that you don’t have the budget to bring help on board. At the same time, there are only so many hours in the day, so it’s vital to use your time as productively as possible.

Have you thought about outsourcing? It’s a great way to create space for you to focus on growing your ethical business more efficiently.

It might also be more affordable than you think!

If you outsource to people who perform specific tasks day in, day out, it will probably take them a fraction of the time (and money) it takes you to complete the same tasks. Plus, by handing over to trusted experts, you’ll be free to focus on the areas of your business where you shine.

You might not want or be able to afford to outsource everything. People often start with the tasks that they struggle with the most, or that would most help their business to grow.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are 10 outsourcing possibilities:

1.      Marketing and social media

Social media can be a great way to promote your vegan or ethical business, but it can also be time-consuming. You can consider hiring a freelancer or social media agency to manage your social media channels, create content and run marketing campaigns.

One of the benefits of this is that they should be able to help you think strategically about your social media use, helping you to grow your audience and your message.

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

There are some fantastic online and in-person communities of ethical and vegan business owners, where you can share tips and collaborate on marketing initiatives. A quick Google search should help you find communities in your area.

There are also social media scheduling tools such as Planoly, Loomly or even Canva Pro that let you plan and schedule your content across multiple platforms, so you can handle your posts in batches and post in several places at once.

2.      Website design and maintenance

A professional-looking website is essential for any business, but designing and maintaining a website can be a complex task (depending on what you want your customers to be able to do on the site).

You can outsource web design and maintenance to a freelance web designer or a web design agency.

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

There are many affordable website builder platforms which you can use to create a simple website if you don’t want to hire a professional. Most of these platforms offer pre-built but highly customisable website templates.

3.      Accounting and bookkeeping

Keeping track of your financial records can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not a numbers person. For peace of mind, you might want to outsource your accounting and bookkeeping to a freelance bookkeeper, accountant or accounting firm.

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

You can use cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks, Tide or FreshBooks to help you manage your finances more efficiently. With most of these solutions, you can take photos of receipts, send out quotes and invoices, and easily track your cashflow.

4.      Legal advice and support

Legal issues can arise in any business, and it’s essential to have a good understanding of the legal requirements relevant to your vegan or ethical business. You can seek legal support from a solicitor who specialises in your industry or in small business.

Want an ad hoc solution?

If you need one-off legal advice, you may be able to find support through industry associations, which often provide legal resources to their members. Some business bank accounts include a legal helpline service. There are also a number of companies online that provide template versions of legal documents, all written by solicitors.

5.      Customer service

Responding to customer enquiries and managing customer service can be time-consuming. Did you know that you can outsource customer service to a third-party service provider who can manage customer enquiries through phone, email, or chat?

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

There are several ways you can streamline or even automate some aspects of your customer service. Options include using chatbots to help customers 24/7 or setting up autoresponders via email, which are triggered by specific customer actions. Another option is to set up a Knowledge Base or answer FAQs on your website, so that people can access important information quickly and easily.

6.      IT support

Managing your computer systems, network, and software can be complicated, especially if you don’t have a technical background. At the same time, you may not need full-time IT support. It’s always a good idea to identify someone you can call on if your tech fails. Many people use a third-party IT support provider to manage and maintain their equipment and software.

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

When you’re exploring new software or IT equipment for your business, find out as much as you can about IT support that comes with the product. You may find that you can access fantastic technical support via an online chat facility, for example. Choosing cloud-based options can protect your data/files in the event of hardware failures.

If you know of other vegan and ethical businesses, it’s worth asking who they go to when they need IT support. You might be able to come to an agreement to share services. If you know someone who is tech savvy (perhaps a helpful friend or family member), you could always suggest a skills swap to help each other.

7.      Content creation

Creating engaging content for your website, blog, or social media channels takes time, but is important for connecting with customers and building your authority as an expert. You can outsource content creation to a freelance copywriter, content writer or content marketing agency to create high-quality content on your behalf.

It’s common to worry whether the content will feel authentic if it’s been written by someone else. Never fear, a good copywriter or content writer will write in a way that reflects the unique voice of your business and is perfectly targeted to your customers!

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

If you write your own content, think about different ways that you can repurpose it to get as much mileage from it as possible. For example, can you pull soundbites from a blog article and turn them into social media posts?

There’s a huge buzz around AI content-creation tools such as ChatGPT and VEG3 right now and some small businesses are using these tools to generate blogs. If you take this approach, it’s important to review the AI-generated copy and add your own spin to it to stop the content from sounding bland and formulaic.

8.      Graphic design

Creating graphics for your website, social media channels, or marketing materials can be challenging if you don’t have a background in graphic design. However, you will probably want to develop a clear visual identity for your ethical brand, so it’s not something you can ignore.

The best way to ensure a unique and powerful, as well as cohesive, brand identity is to outsource to a skilled freelance designer or a graphic design agency. There are graphic designers available at a wide range of price points, so it’s worth shopping around.

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

A tool like Canva includes a vast range of templates that you can customise and use for your business. If you use the Pro version, you can set up a brand kit with your preferred fonts, images, logo and brand colours to help you create future designs that all reflect their shared brand identity.

9.      Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is a complex and ever-changing field. Getting the SEO basics right offers your ethical business a chance to be more visible in online searches, to reach wider audiences, spread your message, connect with like-minded people, and grow your reputation, but this can be time-consuming.

There are a huge number of companies offering SEO support, some with more current knowledge than others. If you can find a trusted, ethical SEO company to outsource to it can be an incredibly effective way to grow your business.

Want a do-to-yourself solution?

There are some fantastic digital courses aimed at teaching small business owners about SEO. You can also find tutorials on YouTube to walk you through the basics.

10. Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) provides administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients from a remote location, usually from their home office. Virtual assistants can work independently as freelancers or as part of a virtual assistant company, and they can provide a wide range of services, including administrative support, social media management, customer service, bookkeeping, website maintenance, graphic design, and more.

Many small business owners choose to hire a VA because the assistant is able to cover many of the tasks we’ve talked about in this blog, providing a single point of contact and continuity. A VA will often have an hourly rate, and you can agree to a set number of hours per week, month or quarter, depending on your budget.

Want a do-it-yourself solution?

The chances are that this is what you’ve already been doing! Outsourcing can feel like a huge step – no one knows your business better than you do – but it can be a gamechanger in terms of taking your vegan business to the next level.

Before you outsource

If you do decide to outsource, the key is to evaluate your needs carefully and find a provider who can meet your requirements and budget.

  • Which tasks are taking the most time?
  • Which tasks do you enjoy/are you good at?
  • Which tasks do you dislike/struggle with?
  • If you could hand specific tasks over, how could you use the freed-up time more productively in your business?
  • Where would having someone more experienced to help in your business make the most difference?

These questions can all help you decide what you want to outsource first.

Finally, as the owner of an ethical vegan business, it’s important to work with people who work in an ethical way too. There are VAs, copywriters, marketing companies, SEO experts and others who work exclusively with sustainable and ethical cruelty-free businesses.

You can find some in the Ethical Globe Directory (see the Vegan Marketing, Graphic Design, Website Design & SEO Services category or Virtual Assistant tag, for example).


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