How To Make Outsourcing Work, Without The Stress And Disappointment
Oftentimes, entrepreneurs get it in their head that they need to be a jack of all trades – that when they start a new business it is up to them and ONLY them to get it off the ground… But that’s impractical, unrealistic, and frankly, impossible!
All of the greats in every industry outsource tasks and jobs they don’t know how to or cannot do themselves.
“Outsourcing is an excellent way to give you the freedom that entrepreneurship is meant to give you, as a business owner,” Chris Drucker – an expert in virtual business management – says.
There are times when it’s beneficial to hire someone to join your team, and there are times when it’s more beneficial to hire someone to do one gig. Especially if they work for a wage that’s lower than the minimum wage wherever you are.
According to Ari Meisel, founder of Less Doing and inventor of the OAO (Optimize, Automate and Outsource) system, “Delegate everything you don’t truly need to do yourself — trust me, more things fit under that umbrella than you realize…no less than 90% of your day can be delegated to someone else.”
Accepting from the very beginning of a new entrepreneurial endeavor that you CANNOT do it on your own – and seek out freelancers – is going to accelerate the growth of your business!
Let’s run through some of the big ISSUES people run into when looking to incorporate freelancers into their business:
The fear of getting started
Relinquishing control of certain aspects of your business is going to be tough – especially for us perfectionists out there. Your business is your baby! But if you’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t maintain parts of your business on your own anymore (or know that a specialist is going to be able to do it better) – then it’s time to get the ball rolling.
“I don’t have time to explain how to do this to someone”
If you have enough time to do this task over and over again, you have time to explain it to someone!
And if it’s a matter of slowing down your productivity you’re worried about, the founder of Traitify Dan Sines says “we found that [hiring freelancers] actually made us more productive overall.” Having to make everyone on your team feel like they’re in the loop and a valued member of the team requires consistent upkeep.
Bad communication / cultural barriers
A lot of the freelancers you’re going to find online for reasonable prices are going to be from another country. Odds are, English isn’t their first language, and their culture is different from your own. This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage or deterrent – you’ve just got to be aware of it going in. Their communication patterns might be different from what you’re used to!
It can be a little challenging at first to explain what you want from a freelancer. Especially if you’ve been doing everything on your own. You might get pinged back with an “I don’t understand your instructions” after your first few hirings. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be hiring freelancers – it just means you need to spend a bit more time outlining the project at hand.
Not setting clear expectations / not having expectations met when final product received
In the same vein as not giving good instructions, giving clear expectations is an essential part of the outlining process. If you don’t set clear expectations, you’re not going to have your expectations met when you receive your final product. If you want your new products’ logo designed in a very specific style, make that style known to the graphic designer from the get-go, or you’re going to go through a bunch of unnecessary rounds of edits.
Relinquishing (at least some) control of a project is tough. You’ve got a vision, and the people working on the project for you need to follow through with that vision perfectly! But that’s never going to happen, and micromanaging them is not going to make the finished product come to you any faster or better. Plus, you’d be surprised how well a freelancer can capture your vision with the right direction and room to be creative.
Not sure if the ROI is worth it
You might be asking yourself “why would I pay someone to do this task that I could just be doing by myself?” But the better question to ask yourself might be “If I pay someone a bit of money to do this low level task (or task that would take me way longer to do), what high level task could I focus on instead?”
As Thanh Pham from Asian Efficiency puts it: “Outsourcing has become more affordable than most people think. You can start on a small budget, say $100 a month, and get surprisingly a lot of work offloaded. Not only will it free up valuable time but you can also focus on the work that you enjoy the most.”
Now that we’ve covered some of the obstacles you might face when incorporating outsourcing into your work, let’s go through our Golden Rules of Delegation:
Always assume you haven’t explained it right
When outlining a project/creating a screencast to send to a freelancer, always err on the side of over-explanation. Including too much information in a screencast in order to ensure that the freelancer knows EXACTLY what they’re doing is better than slowing down the progress of the project by needing to answer a bunch of questions they have.
Taking the time to do this benefits not only the freelancer, but YOU – according to online marketing expert Amy Porterfield: “I always take at least 30 minutes before I outsource any project, open up a Google doc and map out the specifics… Yes, this project outline is helpful to the contractor, but it’s equally helpful for me to get organized and focused before I hire someone to run with it.”
One of the biggest outsourcing time sucks is figuring out which sites are going to work best for you and your business. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite technologies that have helped us grow our business from the get go:
- Google Drive: We store article drafts, financial spreadsheets, SOPs and all of our media content in Drive – pretty much everything that is essential to our business. It’s easy to share specific documents or folders with freelancers so they have easy access to the materials they need.
- Google Docs: Obviously this is part of the Google ecosystem we just mentioned, but Google Docs in particular makes the list because of its editing software. You can suggest edits and add comments to existing documents without immediately deleting and replacing the work the freelancer has done.
- Screencasting: Screencasting is the way of the future – and it has made meetings almost completely obsolete for our company. Thanks to screencasting, we spend less than an hour in meetings a week TOTAL. Our favorite softwares for screencasting are Snagit (paid) / Quicktime (free) / Zoom (free) / your phone’s built in software (free). We use screencasting to send video SOPs, quick tutorials, information and feedback to our freelancers.
- Lastpass: This is a password vault that allows you to share your passwords with employees and freelancers without actually handing over the keys to your account. This is great if you need an expert to come in and quickly resolve an issue in your account, because you can grant and revoke access to the account at any time.
- Upwork, Freeeup and Fiverr: These are great forums if you’re looking for pretty much any kind of freelancer. We always suggest these three sites to anyone who’s just starting the process of incorporating freelancers into their business, because you can get pretty much anything on these sites for extremely fair pricing.
- AskWonder.com: This site allows you to get research done FOR you in less than 24 hours. Got a big project with a fast-approaching deadline? Need some key information about it, but don’t really have the time to spare to deep dive? This site is perfect for you.
- Rev.com: If you post a lot of media content to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or any other video sharing sites, you need Rev! It’s a service that rapidly provides you with captions to any of your videos, and they only charge $1 per minute of the video.
- Clarity.fm: If you’re in need of some expert business advice but don’t really have any personal contacts that can offer it, this site’s going to change your life! You can get on the phone with some of the top experts in a range of industries, and pay for the amount of minutes you stay on the phone with them!
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