How To Outsource The Boring Stuff
How To Outsource The Boring Stuff (And When To Do It Yourself)
Outsourcing is basically 'delegating outside the company'. You delegate tasks you can't or won't do, whether it's time, tools or ability that are needed.
Here are some tips on how to do it effectively:
1. Define what only YOU can do.
Some tasks need your input and yours alone. Someone has to decide the heading of the ship. Someone needs to know the overall destination.
The more successful you become, the less labour and the more decisions you have to do/make.
2. What's left is what others can do.
This can be almost everything, if you are a sole trader.
If you have employees, give them the interesting stuff do, according to their abilities.
Outsource the boring, tiring, technical, complicated or repetitive remainder.
Here are jobs typically outsourced:
- Inbound Customer Service
- SEO and Online Marketing
- Marketing & Sales Support
- Outbound Telemarketing
- Web Design & Development
- Back Office / Admin Support
- Virtual Assistant Services
- Accounting and HR Management
3. List the skills needed.
Let's say you need a programmer. What education, experience, qualifications and references should the ideal candidate have?
Using a job or freelance board? Then ...
- 3b. Get ideas from other job specs, but don't go crazy!
You will be surprised at how in-depth some specifications are. People can have very good ideas about what to ask for.
Writing a 3000 word spec for 300 hours worth of work may make good candidates pass on your job. If they do take it up, you made a big barrier to getting it done properly and on time. Your 'little job' has become a monster!
If they can make the same money doing something easier, why tackle your nightmare job?
What you think is 'quick and easy', probably isn't.
If it is, it's only because the guy doing it learnt how to do it 'quick and easy' over 10 years. Why should he let you have his skills and knowledge for $10 an hour?
Keep the job simple. That way, it has a much better chance of getting done.
- 3d. Post the job.
You get replies. Use them to clarify the job description further, if needed.
- 3e. Have a standard reply to applicants.
Don't waste time giving tailored responses at this stage. Applicants can wander off.
- 3f. Invite to interview.
There will be three candidates that look promising. If you can get them to come in, do so. You can judge people better, in person.
- 3g. Pick one and give them a quick trial, say, a week.
If the first turns out to be a bum, try the next on the list. Let the failed applicants down gently.
4. Pay the going rate and give bonuses.
Good work should be rewarded and thus, encouraged. In British eyes, outsourcing = cheap. This is a stupid attitude. It will mean your work gets done late, badly or not at all.
Remember the old saying: 'You can get it done cheap, fast or good quality; pick two out of three'.
Also: that ultra-cheap bidder might have faked his portfolio and massaged his reviews. Don't buy on price alone.
TIP: Pay small amounts in stages and on time. You get some work you can use, they get some money, everybody's happy.
5. Set deadlines and monitor them.
Workers will let deadlines slide if they can. It's your baby, not theirs. Remind them occasionally.
5c. They reply if they care.
If they don't reply, then they don't care.
This often happens after a) You paid them a fat wad upfront via Western Union or b) They've worked out that, due to mission creep, they'll be making £1.50 an hour working for you or c) Your 'little job' has turned into a nightmare that they, subconsciously, want to escape from.
6. Have an exit strategy.
Everything material has its end. Work out how you will sever the relationship in advance. This should be when the work has been done satisfactorily.
If not, have a plan in place to drop the current contractor and hire a replacement.
6b. Decide when it's over before you start.
Don't be the guy that's asking for free upgrades 6 months after a job that ran over 3 months in the first place. That ain't right, man!
You outsource a simple task at a good rate and give bonuses when warranted. Trust me, your minions will love you for it.
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