There’s no doubt about it, but outsourcing is the key to major success. There’s simply not enough hours in the day to do all the jobs yourself and, even more importantly, you’re not going to be an expert in all areas of your business. So…
…it makes sense to get someone who is to do it!
Outsourcing is what is known in traditional business as… staff.
The major difference is that outsourcers aren’t required to come into your place of work. This means you don’t need an office and you don’t need to hire someone in the local area.
And that is what makes it most effective.
It means that you can utilise the differences in currency values across countries to get maximum value for your spend.
There’s plenty of articles around the web saying you should outsource your work to the Philippines and India. To contradict them there’s also plenty of articles saying you should only outsource repetitive tasks to those countries and stick with the US and Europe for more complex and advanced projects.
Which is right?
And that’s because they’re missing the point entirely. It’s not about the country someone is working from, it’s about the person themselves.
But more on that in a minute.
First of all you need to choose from one of two major routes to outsourcing work, and those are:
- Finding independent freelancers
- Using a company that has staff in all areas and who can grow with you
I’ve done both, and there are benefits to both of them.
When you hire independent freelancers you need to give them small jobs to start with while you learn their true abilities. Of course, when you hire them you can ask questions that make your chance of getting a skilled person. But, you never truly know what their work will be like or how they’ll work until you start working with them.
So, you have to start small and build up the difficulty of their jobs. Sometimes you’ll find you hit a ceiling of difficulty that they can’t get past. That’s no problem, you now know what work you can give them and what their strongest areas are. On occasion you’ll find someone who keeps rising to new challenges.
These people are diamonds. When you find someone like this, never ever let them go.
By hiring independent freelancers you will find at some point that you need to hire a virtual assistant to help you manage them as there’s too many for you to keep on top of who is doing what, whether they’re hitting their deadlines and concentrating on growing your business.
And, of course, sometimes independent freelancers will decide to do their own thing. That means you may have spent a year working with someone, helping them and understanding how they work for them to head off and do their own thing.
In contrast, hiring a company provides you security. You will be assigned a single point of contact and that person will do administrative tasks for you and project manage anything else that the company they work for can complete.
Need a new Wordpress plugin. No problem, ask your assistant to write a brief and then get them to project manage the development from their companies in-house developers.
Need a new website. No problem, repeat the process above.
And this can be done with graphic design, website development, coding and many other things.
There’s also the backup of having someone to take over if your normal assistant is ill or goes away on holiday.
The downside is that you are totally reliant on a single company, the longer you are reliant on them then the harder it becomes to break away from them should you need to. While this isn’t a particular downside for a lot of businesses, it may be for some.
Generally these companies also have ceilings to the level of complexity they can work to, particularly in regards to programming. However this is seldom passed by most businesses.
They’re cheaper to hire for advanced tasks, but they can take longer to complete.
You will still need independent freelancers for specialised jobs. However, they can be managed by your assistant.
But, the major benefit is that you can offload 90%+ of your workload (after training your staff) with one point of contact and minor management.
Most companies, while starting with a single month, will want you to sign in to a longer contract. That means a longer commitment, which may not be something you want to do. Using freelancers you can simply employ them on a per job basis.
The first thing to determine when you’re structuring your business is how you want to run your outsourcers for the next one to two years.
Of course, you can always change this but it’s important to know how you’re going to start and what you think will work best for you.
And that bring me back to the point that most people forget.
It’s not about the country someone is working from, it’s about the person themselves.
Don’t expect to find the right person first time round. But at the same time, give each person you employ a chance to prove their value. Work with them to help them achieve what you want them to.
The ultimate goal when you’re outsourcing is to find people who understand you, understand how your business works and where you want to get to. You must like them otherwise it will never work however good they are at their job.
Of course, they have to be capable of doing the job as well but that is not the sole requirement when outsourcing.
The more you do it, the more you’ll understand what it is you’re looking for and how to find those people. One thing that I always like people who work with me to have is the confidence to question me.
If they think something can be done better and shouldn’t or should be done, then I want to hear why. That’s team working to grow as a company. I don’t want to always be agreed with just because I’m the boss. And if that’s happening in the initial interview period, then that person is never going to be able to question me in the way I want them to.
The bottom line is. There’re are only so many hours in a day, if you want to grow and become truly successful then… you’re going to need to outsource.