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Outsourcing for Success

Running a business can be expensive and time-consuming—especially when you're first starting out or operating a one-man (or one-woman) show. Hiring full-time or even part-time help may be out of the question, but you know that if you want to grow and scale your business, something has to give.

The concept of outsourcing has grown in popularity over the years, both for its time-saving and money-saving benefits. Recent statistics show that 37% of small businesses outsource at least part of their process to focus on their core business, improve quality of service, solve capacity issues, or meet their business needs. Even big-name companies like Peloton are outsourcing production as a way to cut costs. 


If you're ready to start outsourcing for success but have questions on the hows, whys, and logistics of it all, keep reading.

What Should I Outsource?

This is obviously the first question you should be asking yourself. Take a look at the tasks and projects on your to-do list. 

  • Is there anything that you aren't particularly good at? 
  • Is there anything that is taking up a lot of your time?
  • Is there anything that doesn't need your personal involvement to be completed?

If you're a financial whiz but can only muster up mediocre copy, why not outsource to someone who has a flair for the written word?

If you spend a lot of time answering customer emails or responding to inquiries, why not outsource those tasks to a Virtual Assistant and give yourself some time back to focus on big picture tasks?

Yes, you could probably teach yourself how to build a website (you can learn anything on YouTube these days), but millions of people already have that skill set and expertise who can help develop and manage a professional-looking site on your behalf.

Hate social media but recognize the importance of having an online presence? Outsource. Don't have time to balance the books? Outsource. Do you lack the space or manpower to ship your products? Outsource to a drop shipping service.

The bottom line is you can outsource nearly anything and everything. Time is money. Paying someone for something you could potentially do yourself might seem counterproductive, but your time is valuable. And by freeing yourself from the weight of more mundane tasks, you can focus your thoughts and energy on building and growing your business - which is the goal!

How Do I Get Started?

You don't have to outsource everything at once. In fact, it's probably best to start small and then gradually delegate more and more tasks. If you need help with web design, copywriting, and accounting, you're likely going to need three separate individuals who excel in those specific niches. This means you have to find, screen, interview, and (to a degree) train three people to take those tasks on. That's a lot to handle simultaneously.

Start with your most pressing need first. Then crunch the numbers and set a budget for what you can realistically pay to outsource the project to someone. 

Next, create your project description. This is one of the most critical parts of the outsourcing process. You need a detailed, clear description of the project and defined goals and expectations. How can you expect an outsider to know if you yourself don't know what those things are? 


Where Do I Find People to Outsource To?

  • Ask people you know. Maybe someone in your professional circle is a web designer or videographer or analyzes corporations for a living. They might be looking for a side hustle (who isn't these days?) or could point you to someone who is.
  • Use a Third-Party Site. This is the most straightforward direction to go. Many websites can help match you with the right freelancer, including Fiverr, Upwork, DesignCrowd, Dribble, and FlexJobs. 


How Do I Know If They're the Right Person for the Job?

Screening and vetting the right fit can be a time-consuming process. Some sites will allow you to search profiles based on ratings, experience, costs, niches, etc. Other sites will allow you to request services, and freelancers can send you bids for the project.

As you begin the selection process, whether online or through your own network, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pay attention to Ratings and Reviews: How satisfied have other buyers been with their work? This is a pretty good indication of what you can expect if you work with them. Did they deliver on time? Did they provide the expected service? What, if any, were the negatives of working with this individual? 
  • Check out their portfolio. If they don't have one, ask for samples. This likely won't apply to hiring a Virtual Assistant or Accountant, but for things like web designers or copywriters, you should absolutely take a look at their past work to see if it meets your standards.
  • Don't sacrifice quality. You get what you pay for. Yes, be smart about it (that's why you established a budget in the first place) but don't take the first cheap offer that comes along, especially if it's too good to be true. Someone who is severely undercharging compared to their colleagues is undercharging for a reason. 
  • Make sure they understand the project description. Have they worked on similar projects in the past? How long have they worked in the industry? Can they meet the deadline? Do they have specific working hours when they can be reached? Invite them to ask questions. (The good ones will.) Remember, you're looking for someone to make your life easier, not add to your responsibilities. You may want to look elsewhere if you sense they will need a lot of handholding and support (beyond what's expected at the beginning of a new project). 
  • Compare, compare, compare! Don't just pick the first person who checks off the boxes because you're in a hurry to delegate the project to someone else. Review at least 5-10 candidates. How do they stack up against each other? Compare prices, experience, portfolios, and even your conversations with them. 


Final Thoughts

Outsourcing is a great approach to help you grow and scale your business. But it is an investment and should be approached as such. You are not only investing money, but you are also investing time and energy into finding, vetting, and supporting the right people to help you meet your goals. 

For more advice on the power of outsourcing and hiring freelancers, check out these episodes from The Liquid Lunch Project. 


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