How to Scale a Consulting Business by Outsourcing to Virtual Teams

Want help outsourcing & hiring virtual assistants? We make it easy! Learn More, Speak w/ an Expert, or Request a Callback


An Asian woman with headphones working on a computer.

If you want to know how to scale a consulting business, this post is for you. We’re going to go over how to use outsourcing strategies to remain profitable while sustaining growth. With the right talent and plan, you can take advantage of the best opportunities available.

Why Outsourcing is Critical for Scaling


Outsourcing gives you access to a global talent pool. This means you can offer clients specialist services that you may not have in house. The competitive edge of this wider range of expertise can also open doors to new opportunities.


When you outsource repetitive and time-consuming tasks, you free up your business to build a stronger in-house core. Focusing on core consulting activities leads to faster project turnaround times and the ability to take on more clients.

Outsourcing gives you flexibility like no other solution can. You can rapidly scale your team up or down based on project needs without losing time or money. This is because you won’t engage in traditional recruiting, hiring, and training activities.


Saving on costs is the main key for how to scale a consulting business effectively. Outsourcing is a very cost-effective way to access specialized skills at lower rates compared to hiring full-time employees.

First, you don’t have to pay benefits or rent office space. Done right, you can can build strong and loyal outsourced teams for less than you’d pay in-house.

Planning Your Outsourcing Strategy

A man in a suit sitting at a table thinking.

Identifying Outsourcing Opportunities

You need to analyze your business processes and identify the non-core activities you want to outsource. List all your major departments and their functions, then note all the individual processes involved. Identify who is responsible for each process step.

Analyze each process to see which ones directly tie into your core competencies or a competitive advantage. You also need to know if any directly generate revenue or contribute to our value proposition. Take note of any that require specialized skills or knowledge that’s unique to our business.

Think about the amount of time and resources each process consumes. You want to know if the value it delivers outweighs the cost and effort required to carry it in house.

Outsource first the non-core activities that save you the most money while being easy to document and standardize. Then outsource short-term tasks and those that require specialized skills you don’t have. 

Choosing the Right Virtual Teams

You should always choose team members who are teachable and fit into your company culture. Beyond these criteria, we included some key criteria below that we prioritize when building virtual teams.

Technical Skills and Experience

Make sure that each candidate you evaluate has the technical skills and experience they need to do their work. This is the main thing.

Ask them as well about specific freelancer tools and methodologies you require. They should be comfortable working virtually, including using video conferencing platforms, project management tools, and communication channels effectively.

Soft Skills and Character Traits

Choose candidates who have strong written and verbal communication skills. Active listening skills are also important in a virtual environment. Make sure they can collaborate well and work seamlessly towards shared goals, building rapport and trust despite physical distance.

Time management and self-discipline is non-negotiable for effective virtual teams. A main key for how to scale a consulting business is highly organized and self-motivated teams. 

Critical thinking, adaptability, and independent problem-solving are additional skills that you should look out for. 

Integrating Virtual Teams into Your Business

A smiling man talking to a lady on a video call on his laptop.

Setting Up for Success

Define your reasons for choosing to hire virtually so you will know what team size and structure you need. Plan out the specific roles and responsibilities you will hire for, and when. These roles must integrate seamlessly with existing workflows.

Make sure you provide your virtual team with all the technology and tools they need to communicate and collaborate effectively. Give them clear and standardized procedures and communication protocols to follow. All key processes must be documented.

Ongoing Collaboration 

You need to have a structured remote onboarding process specifically designed for virtual team members. This should include introductions to the company culture, tools, workflows, and the people they’ll work with.

Provide virtual training on effective communication and collaboration techniques in a remote environment. Encourage feedback and regularly adapt strategies to make things work better. You can’t learn how to scale a consulting business if you can’t listen to the people on the ground.

Use project management tools to maintain transparency within both virtual and in-house teams. Create opportunities for members to connect and build relationships.

Develop and consistently apply clear performance metrics and goals aligned with overall objectives. Give regular feedback and recognition to keep hires engaged and motivated to perform.

Managing Outsourced Teams

Building a Culture Across Borders

Building a unified company culture with remote teams requires intentional effort. You need to bridge the physical gap and create a sense of belonging within a scattered workforce. Here are a few key strategies we use:

  1. Clearly define your company’s core values and make sure everyone knows them.
  2. Foster a culture of open communication and transparency where you share goals, challenges, and successes. This builds trust and tells remote hires that they are valued members of the team.
  3. Create a culture of ownership to encourage hires to own their roles within the company. This starts by telling each one how important their work is for the business as a whole.
  4. Meet with teams regularly to discuss projects, celebrate wins, and address concerns so everyone feels part of the team dynamic. Make some of these fun team-building activities and social events. 
  5. Emphasize the importance of a work-life balance to encourage hires to keep healthy boundaries. You will not only mitigate the risk of burnout, but also foster a culture of trust.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many cubicles in a large, open office space showing how to scale a consulting business with oursourcing partners.

How do you ensure quality control when outsourcing key business functions?

Consider the following key methods to ensure quality control when outsourcing:


Carefully research and assess potential partner agencies and freelance marketplaces. The companies you choose to work with and through should have a proven track record of quality work. They should also have experience in your industry, and be able to provide references.

Don’t jump into any deals until you have clearly outlined contract specifications, and the potential partner agrees to your terms. Include the detailed scope of work, quality standards, deliverables and timelines, and other typical sections in your contract. 

Alongside the contract, submit a Service Level Agreement. This document defines the specific performance metrics you expect the outsourcing provider to meet. Include items like acceptable uptime, response times, and error rates.

Working Together

Implement an effective performance monitoring and reporting system. Ask for regular progress reports and conduct quality audits and client satisfaction surveys. 

Keep the lines of communication open so you can quickly identify and address any issues.

What are the best practices for onboarding virtual teams?

To effectively integrate new virtual hires, you need a well-structured approach. 

Setting the Scene

As soon as you sign the agreement, send each new hire a welcome package with essential information and a remote onboarding schedule. Remind them to check that all the tools they need for work are set up beforehand to avoid technical hiccups. Adding company swag is a nice finishing touch. 


Introduce new hires to the team members and leaders they will be working with. Video conferencing is a great tool for this. You can facilitate an ice breaker activity to build positive rapport. 

Use a buddy system where an existing member works with a new member. This helps hires with questions and navigating the virtual workspace. 

Make sure everyone knows your expectations around communication and feedback. This includes training sessions, meetings, and milestones. Make sure everyone is clear on your expectations around work hours and deadlines, too.

A woman on a sofa writing in a notebook with a cat and a cup of coffee beside her

How can small consulting firms start outsourcing effectively?

Small consulting firms can start outsourcing immediately. The key is to identify needs and goals and what specific tasks you can outsource in line with them. 

We normally recommend starting with tedious, repetitive work like administration, research, data entry and analysis. You can also consider outsourcing work that requires special skills, like graphic design and social media management.

More than knowing how to scale a consulting business, you need to know how to leverage the right partners. Look for qualified outsourcing providers with a good reputation and experience in your industry. If you are hiring independent contractors, ask for recommendations from trusted colleagues.

Start with smaller projects on a trial basis to assess the fit and quality of work. Just make sure you are very clear on your end to attract qualified partners and avoid misunderstandings.

Use project management tools to help you track assignments. Make sure you have security protocols in place on both ends. All parties should sign non-disclosure agreements, too, to protect sensitive information and intellectual property.

What are the risks associated with outsourcing and how can they be mitigated?

Outsourcing can be risky, but only if you don’t take steps to avoid the common pitfalls.

  1. Clear expectations around work can limit the risk you take by passing tasks off to strangers. 
  2. Establish communication systems and encourage openness to avoid misunderstandings. Clear guidelines and regular meetings can foster stronger connections, which helps, too.
  3. Make sure you are clear about seeing all the costs upfront before you sign any contracts or agreements. Think about other hidden fees, like currency fluctuations, and understand how your outsourcing partner will handle them.
  4. Don’t rely on a single partner for all your outsourced work so you don’t suffer huge disruptions in case an issue arises. 

How does outsourcing impact client relationships in a consulting business?

Outsourcing can have a very positive impact on client relationships. That is, if you can mitigate possible negative effects of allowing a third party to step in between you. Outsourcing offers:

  • a wider range of expertise leading to more effective solutions;
  • improved efficiency and better resource allocation to improve core consulting activities like strategy development;
  • more affordable services without compromising on quality so you can remain more competitive; and,
  • scalability based on project needs so you can easily handle both larger projects and accommodate fluctuating client demands.


What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


Knowing how to scale a consulting business is knowing how to outsource effectively. This is half the battle towards simultaneous profitability and growth.

Want help outsourcing & hiring virtual assistants? We make it easy! Learn More, Speak w/ an Expert, or Request a Callback



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know how we scaled to 35+ VAs?

Learn how we scaled FreeUp to 8 figures and an exit in 2019 with 35+ virtual assistants.
More outsourcing

Related Posts

Want Better Virtual Assistants?

It’s possible! Subscribe below and we’ll send you our Hiring Packet. A pack of 4 resources to teach you about outsourcing.

You’ll get our case study, VA calculator, 5 VA Keys video training, and a few other bonuses!