5 Tips for Your First Time Outsourcing

I’m a huge advocate of outsourcing — as I talk about in my book Do Less, Get More, it’s one of the best ways to win time back from your schedule so you can start to focus on what you’re naturally great at. But I also know that it can be a little hard to start outsourcing if you haven’t done it before. Here’s how you can get the best experience from the get go:

1. Be very clear on what you want out of the relationship.

Being unclear about what you actually want a contractor to do is probably the number one mistake people make when outsourcing. If you’re not sure what you want them to do, then there’s no way they’re going to be able to read your mind. So before you ever start looking for people, figure out exactly what it is you want out of the relationship.

For example, if you’re hiring a  VA, how many hours a week do you want them to work? What projects do you want their help on? Are there any specialised skills or industry knowledge they’ll need to have? The clearer you are, the better you hire!

2. Ask for recommendations.

There are tons of sites where you can hire people very cheaply to take care of all kinds of things for your business, but the quality of the work will definitely be hit and miss. It’s better to go with a recommendation from a friend — or even in a Facebook group — than just trying to find someone cold.

Once you’ve got some good recommendations, don’t just assume they will produce great work for you too … make sure to ask to see examples of their work.

3. Understand the conventions of the industry.

Different types of industries all have different conventions around hiring, whether that’s bookkeeping, personal assisting, copywriting, graphic design, or something else.

For example, when you hire a copywriter, they’ll probably ask you for a creative brief — a short document in which you explain what you want, your customer avatar, and give them information about your branding. Likewise, a graphic designer may ask you for a flat plan if you are asking him or her to create a workbook.

If you’re not sure what you should be sending the person you want to hire, then just ask! By giving them what they need to work in a format they’re comfortable with, you’ll make it much easier for them to give you want you want.

4. Allow for revisions.

Don’t try to outsource something very important on a short deadline. You need to allow enough time for any revisions that need to be made, and besides, you don’t want to try to start a working relationship with someone when you’re both stressed.  The longer you work with someone, the quicker it will be to turn around work as the more they get to know you, the fewer questions they need to ask.

5. If it’s not working out, end it quickly, but graciously.

There’s no rule that says you have to stick with the first person you outsource something to. If you’re not 100% happy with the way that the work was done, the quality of the work, or the way that the contractor relates to you, then you should look around for someone else.

For me, it’s crucial that someone is level headed, calm under tight deadlines and able to work at a fast pace. That’s definitely not for everyone. However, when I find a relationship that does work, I’m the most loyal person there is … often recommending my suppliers to the detriment of my own work!

I’d love to know … what do you outsource (or wish you could)? What are your best tips for finding great people to work with? Tell me below in the comments!