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Outsourcing – Yay or Nay?

Welcome to my latest series – Expert Briefs.

So, let's jump in.

The question I asked our experts today is:

“What is your #1 tip that you'd give someone who's making some money online but is spending too much time in front of their computer — to encourage them to begin outsourcing?”

And, here are our expert replies.


Connie Ragen Green of BigMoneyTinyList.com says:

I was reluctant to outsource any part of my business for two reasons. First, I believed that no one would care as much about my business as I did, and that it would not be done the way I like it. Second, I was sure that I was not making enough money yet and couldn't possibly afford to pay someone else to help me.

One Saturday afternoon in the spring of 2007 I was struggling with setting up a new web page. I was using FrontPage 2003, a program no longer available, and the settings were way off. My graphic was too far to the right, and the text would not align properly. I had a charity event to help with in my community that evening, and I was determined to get my work finished first.

After two hours of fighting with this program I finally decided to ask for help. I called the woman who had shown me how to set up my websites in the past, and asked her if she could please create the page I needed and have it ready for me by Monday. She said yes. I trusted that this situation would all work out, and left for my event.

On Monday morning I received an email with the link to the new web page. I could not believe my eyes! She had done a beautiful job, and what she had created was far better than anything I could have imagined. She had created a new graphic that was crisp and clear, and added a design along the bottom of the page that made it look professional. Her fee to do this was less than I had thought. I looked back at my homemade page and promised myself right then and there that I would always outsource this type of work.

Within a month I began outsourcing my article submissions, and now I have others do what I am not good at and do not like to do on a regular basis.

My #1 tip is to take a look at the one thing you know you are not very good at doing, and may even dread doing, and find someone who can do it for you. This will free up time and energy that will be better spent doing the parts of your business you love.


Mark Mason of MasonWorld.com says:

The key to outsourcing when you are just getting started is identify a task that meets four criteria:

1) It's a small manageable task that can be easily explained

2) It's a task that you really don't like (like link building, posing articles, or updating plugins, etc)

3) It's a task that does not have to be absolutely perfect and is not time critical

4) It's a task that has to be done over and over again

Once you find a task like that, then you should be jumping up and down to get rid of it.

The key to success is a great procedure. Do the task yourself one last time. Video yourself doing the task. Review the video, and outline the key steps. Provide the outline and the video to your new virtual assistant.

Don't let the term virtual assistant scare you. A VA can be anyone (your mom, a person you never met in India, your cousin's boyfriend who is between jobs, your 14-year-old son, etc). The key thing is to take action. The more you outsource, the more you'll like it.


Shannon CherryShannon Cherry of The Power Publicist says:

OK, I'll admit it… I'm a control freak.

Being a control freak has it's benefits. After all, it allows me to know every aspect of my business. However, being a control freak can also limit your ability to make more money in your business.

For example, I can create my ezine every week. But I'm no pro, so it takes me about 3 hours to do the same work Amy, my administrative director, can do in just half the time. And since she charges much less an hour than I do, I can outsource to her and make more money doing high-value client work.

But still, I am a control freak, so it's hard to let go, even when I see the obvious value. So here's my secret: written systems.

I have a complete knowledge base in a free project management system called Officezilla (www.officezilla.com). In that knowledge base, I've put a complete checklist of each task, like how to do the ezine, in exactly the way I want it done. Any person I assign the task can follow the checklist to make sure it's done just the way I want it.. That way I am still in control, get my work done AND make more money.


Ronnie Nijmeh of PLR.me (<-click for a free offer from Ronnie) says:

My #1 tip to begin outsourcing is to make your tasks as bullet proof, simple, and structured as possible. That means creating some kind of system or format to follow.

I've made the mistake of giving people too much, too fast, with too much freedom, and that just burns people out.

I've also made the mistake of trying to hire one person to tackle multiple jobs and that's a recipe for disaster. I'd spend more time teaching and training than if I had just done the job myself in the first place.

But whenever I've fully documented the task, ensured the person completely understands the instructions, and the person has the right skill set for the job, things tend to work out quite well.

The more specific the instructions are, the less that can go wrong, especially if you're going to use video tutorials using JingProject.com.

The bottom line is, your business isn't an island and you can't possibly do everything yourself. The better you get at outsourcing, the faster your business will grow, and the more you'll make.


And, here's my 2 cents. I wrote this before reading the others just to make sure I wouldn't let their ideas sway mine.

 

Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

One of my favorite topics to discuss is outsourcing.

You'd be amazed how it flummoxes everyone from the newest newbies to the seasoned gurus and everyone in between.

Buy why? Why is it so very confusing?  Most of us manage to outsource quite nicely in our day to day lives.

I oftentimes pose this question to my coaching clients –

If you get a cavity, will you fill it yourself? (I hope not!)

When you go to a restaurant, do you head back into the kitchen and cook your own food? (That's just silly.)

And, if your appendix burst right now, would you go online to search for how to take it out at home? (Please say “no”.)

Of course not!

But, why do we think it's ok to do everything ourselves in our businesses?

I can't figure out what it is, but I think I'm starting to narrow it down.

  • Lack of confidence in ourselves.
  • Lack of confidence in the potential of our business.
  • Fear of losing control.
  • Costs. (Oftentimes, though, you can get help for a lot less than you think it'll cost.)
  • Not knowing who to outsource work to. (Needing a recommendation.)
  • Not wanting to take the time to outsourcing. (You think: “It's quicker to do it myself.”)

No matter which of those it is, there comes a point with all of us, where you HAVE to outsource — at least if you ever want to be able to go on a real vacation where you leave the internet behind and relax with your loved ones.

I know. I know. If you've been following me for any amount of time – you've heard this song and dance before. BUT! While outsourcing isn't perfect, it's a heck of a lot better than putting the chains on your wrists from a job that you've created for yourself where you can't escape.

So, my #1 tip for outsourcing is to try it.

Choose something small and work from there.

  • Graphics to promote your products.
  • Submitting some articles that you've written to the article directories.
  • Finding blogs to guest post on and contacting the owners.
  • Answering some emails regarding customer issues.

It really doesn't matter where you start. The big thing is taking that first step so that you can enjoy the FREEDOM that comes with the online lifestyle.

Start small. Don't go crazy. But, when you find someone who you work well with – build on that relationship so you have access to great people who know your style and who you're comfortable working with. When I need a project done, I have my own personal rolodex of fabulously skilled people who I turn to on a regular basis. Not only does it save me time – but it also helps me to get great prices because they already know what I like, they know that I'm easy to work with and that I pay on time.

Of course that's just one tip. I'm full of ideas. In fact, as you'll see in a moment, I've created an entire course about how to outsource in your online business – including a free ecourse about common outsourcing mistakes that you can get immediately. Keep reading for details.

How Can You Learn More about Outsourcing?

Well, I happen to teach a course on the topic.  🙂

You can check it out here: www.OutsourceWeekly.com (Be sure to sign up for the free “Outsourcing Mistakes” lessons on the top of the page.)

Please post your reasons for Outsourcing (or for NOT Outsourcing) – as well as your tips, questions, or concerns – below. I do read them all, and will try my best to answer as many as I can.

Thank you!

Warmly,
Nicole Dean

I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Lynda Marousek
    Reply

    I am outsourcing all of the technical aspects of building my blog. I know nothing about it and because I’m still employed full time while I get this business off the ground, I don’t have the time to sit and figure it out. The one problem I’m having though, is no matter how cheap I find help for, it takes me a little while to save the money I need for each additional step. However, the fact that I’m making these steps at all is a huge leap in the right direction!!! I also have found that by outsourcing I’m getting some lessons on how to do certain things on my own so I don’t have to ask anymore.

  • The Mom
    Reply

    Hi there Nicole et al! Yes, The Mom is hanging around NicoleOnTheNet again trying to learn stuff. 😀

    Okay, coming from someone who gets outsourced to (does that make sense) I have to agree that going too fast, throwing too much out to your va, is a real bugaboo when it comes to outsourcing.

    I LOVE the ladies who outsource to me — kiss kiss! Why? Well for several reasons (you probably already guessed one)… But, seriously, I love the pace that they outsource projects to me. They always give me time to get comfortable with one task before they ask me if I want another one.

    To me (and I venture to guess most va’s) that is what makes a successful relationship between those doing the outsourcing and those who are outsourced to.

    Okay, that’s my 2 cents worth. Thanks to all you great experts for this glimpse into outsourcing.

    p.s. Love the briefs, N! Only you. 😉

    • Lynda
      Reply

      I love that you are a VA speaking from the other side of the fence. I’m up and coming into the VA world and one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t know how to do something I was asked to do. I have found comfort in two different things here. A) your comment that people that outsource to you work with you to get comfortable with one thing before asking if you want more and B) a lot of the experts said they send instructions with their tasks. You’ve all helped me tremeduously!!!

  • Lynn Brown
    Reply

    Outsourcing saved me a lot of time. Time that afforded me to be with my family more than being in front of my computer.

    The best task to outsource is ‘article writing’ and ‘article submitting’. I found it to be the best investment towards my online business success.

    When I am discussing my (OBSP) online business success plan with a new client, outsourcing is one of the things that is surely included. Even when you are starting out, it is so important to outsource which WILL build your business and your sales!

  • Heidi
    Reply

    For me the basic reasons I haven’t outsourced much is lack of money and not knowing who to trust with the work I need done. I found one person who updated one of my blogs and I was very happy with it. Now when I need more work done he doesn’t answer my emails and I have to look for someone else I guess.

    When you’re first starting out and haven’t made any money yet it’s hard to find the money to pay someone so you do it yourself.

  • Virtual Subcontract Team
    Reply

    Amazing even as a subcontractor there are things I can outsource out to someone else. One thing I like to suggest is to barter with someone your services to receive theirs. We all have our areas of expertise that can be helpful to others.

  • Lynn Brown
    Reply

    I thought the same thing Heidi. My first outsource project was 5 articles. And I didn’t know what I was doing so it was hard for me to be critical of the work I got back because I didn’t explain or direct the outsourcer properly.

    So I found that I could ask for ‘examples’ and that was a huge help. It didn’t cost anythingt to see how someone ‘writes’. And believe me, there are so many different styles.

    Anyway – I thought I would throw that out there as well. Ask for ‘examples’ or ‘samples’ of their work before you hire them 🙂

  • Emma
    Reply

    Hi,

    anyone got any good ways to find people to outsource to? Particularly blogging, article writing and submission etc.?

    Thank you – it’s great to see it’s not just me finding this subject quite daunting!

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