A Small Business Guide To Outsourcing

By June 2, 2015eCommerce
Two hours left before knock-off time… you still have a pile of work to do, you need to be in a meeting that will start in 15 minutes, and you have to make a very important client call. You look around, all your employees are busy with tasks that they’re assigned to do. You check your schedule for tomorrow, and you see an even busier day ahead!

Sound familiar?

For a lot of small business owners, it’s normal to attempt to do it all yourself. It’s just easier that way, right? You know how high-quality the end product will turn out to be because it’s you who’s doing it, and you can save some funds by not hiring another employee.

All good?

No!

So what’s the problem?

The problem is… you’re doing it all wrong.

Let me make it simple: you’re working on tasks that will give you a $100 return, when you can easily delegate that and instead focus on tasks that will give you a $1000 return. 

Time is money. As cliche as it sounds, it’s absolutely true.

As business owners, we have to make sure that we’re using our time for the tasks that will give us the most profit. This is why when business is thriving and work is piling up, outsourcing is your best friend. 

If you’re afraid that you’ll hire the wrong people and waste time and money, don’t worry! Having outsourced various tasks for quite a few years now, I already know best tips.

Today, I’m going to share them with you, so you never have to fail at outsourcing again.

But first, updates!

Before we start tackling on the tips for outsourcing, let’s discuss the recent changes in the outsourcing industry.

Just when freelancers thought that the merger between oDesk and Elance was the biggest thing this year in the outsourcing industry, they’re surprised with another announcement: Elance-Odesk is now called UpWork. Check them out now: www.upwork.com.

Hourly Vs. Fixed Rate

When you plan to outsource, you have to decide which one is best for your needs, hourly vs. fixed rate. If you’re not familiar with how this works, let me briefly explain it to you.

Outsourcing platforms such as UpWork, Freelancer, Guru, among others have an option to bill employers hourly.

Hourly

  • How does hourly work? If you hire someone to do work for you, they will have to download a free software where their work (mouse clicks, keyboard typing, web pages viewed, etc) will be recorded. Then, they will be billed based on the total number of hours worked,.
  • Is hourly the best option? Productivity-wise, yes. However, some freelancers prefer to go hourly because they can drag the time worked and get paid more. So you have to be very careful when choosing this option.

Fixed-rate

  • How does fixed-rate work? There are other freelancers who dislike going hourly, because they would rather work at their own pace and time, and get paid based on their output and not on the length of time worked. This is why there are fixed-rate arrangements. You, as their employer / boss, will have to decide the payment regulations of your work relationship.
  • Is fixed-rate the best option? Again, this depends on your needs. For writers, designers, and other creative workers, fixed-rate is the way to go. Funding-wise, fixed-rate is also a good option because you know that you’ll only spend an exact amount for the project, no matter how long it takes for them to finish it. However, you will have to make sure that your freelancers are well-aware of the deadline.

Alright, now that you know the difference of the two, it’s time to proceed to the tips. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt which will help you succeed with Outsourcing:

Tips To Succeed With Outsourcing

Know your least important and “safe” tasks. 

Although we need help, we have to make sure that our client information is still protected, this is why we have to be very picky about the tasks that we’re going to outsource, especially if we’re hiring someone on a “per project” basis only.

So create a list of all the tasks you’d like to delegate and choose the ones you can safely outsource first to get a feel for it, and to also build trust with your hire.

Be very specific about what you need.

In order to get the results you want, you have to make sure that you’re very specific about the details. From creating your job post to interviewing the applicants, you have to reiterate your demands and make sure that they meet every single one of them.

Pro Tip: Add questions on the job posting to see who takes the effort to answer them. Anyone who posts a word or two should be disqualified, no matter how amazing their profile looks! You don’t want someone who is too lazy or lacks the attention to detail to answer your questions. Chances are they’ll struggle to meet your brief.

Think long-term when interviewing the applicants.

Although you would probably only need help with some tasks that will last for a week or two, it’s such a time-saver to hire someone whom you’ll have no problem rehiring, especially for more complicated tasks. So make sure you ask them about their skills, check their reviews and feedback, and ask for as many work samples as you can.

Pay well.

As they say, you get what you pay for. Although there will be low-bidders, most of them probably are new to the platform and does not have any experience. It’s always so much safer to spend a little more on those who have already established a career in the field.

Stay on top of the project. 

Although you’re outsourcing to get help, it’s important to see to it that you know the progress of the tasks you’ve outsourced. You can do this by either requesting your freelancers send you a daily / weekly accomplishment report, or call them every once in a while and request a brief project update.

Outsourcing can be scary for some small business owners. It’s not easy to give someone on the other side of the world access to your business. But believe me, there are so many honest and hard-working freelancers out there, you just have to carefully select and guide them so they produce the kind of work you need.


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