Over the last few years I have made it a practice to outsource as much as possible. This last month I was finally able to out-task one of the last steps of my routine tasks to my assistant and what a relief! As I write this I am traveling with my family (my husband and 7 children) for a month long vacation!
Learning to out-task your business and replace yourself is not something that is easily done. It is a process and something that takes time to learn, but once learned, the benefits are great!
Is your business completely dependent on YOU?
If it is, then you know what you have to do, outsource! Recently a family member was seeking some advice on how to start a business based on an idea she had. The problem was, she wanted to basically give someone a check to develop her idea for her and then just enjoy the profit.
My response was, “Don’t we all!” In reality things don’t work like that. The biggest mistake business owners make when they start outsourcing is that they try to hire one person to do all the tasks of the business owner. You either have to pay someone a whole lot of money to be YOU and do YOUR responsibilities, or you take the risk of everything being done incorrectly and you have to do it all over again with several different hires.
So what can we outsource or out-task?
Almost everything. But to different people.
Step one is to break your project down into different tasks.
Let’s say you want to write and sell an e-book. This one project can be assigned to multiple people. One person can write the e-book. Another can create the graphics and design. Another can edit and proofread it. Another can create the landing page sales page graphics. Another can write the sales copy for the landing page. Still another can program website and install the shopping cart and e-mail auto-responder series.
Each of these pieces of the puzzle of the project can be easily outsourced. It is your job as the business owner to map out the strategy and process and to put all the pieces together! Once you have a good project manager, your project manager can make sure your vision is carried out!
The second step is to clearly define the project and your expectations to the people you are outsourcing to.
It is not enough to say you want an e-book. You need to specify the page length, the target market (who they are writing to), the call to action at the end of the e-book, if you want double or single spaced, if it is a How To Guide or an informative history lesson and so on. Also know that everyone is different. You can provide the same instructions to ten different people and get ten completely different projects back all of them having some how interpreted your instructions in a different way!
The third step is to set a schedule.
You want to set a deadline and to check and review the work before allowing them to get too far ahead into the project. A lot of times the people you hire on oDesk or other outsourcing sites are juggling multiple clients. You want your project to take precedence so you can test your new hire out and either give them new work or go on to the next person.
As you do steps one to three, keep track of any problems or issues your outsourcing staff had. Record their questions in video or How To Guide form. Keep all your training material in an easy to access central location such as a specific project in Basecamp or ActiveCollab. When you hire new people, instead of having to create new training material from scratch, you can give them access to your training guides and just tell them to go read the training guides you have created.
Another way to do this is to set up a series of auto-responder e-mails. Every time you hire a new writer for example, add them to your e-mail list. Your training can be automatically delivered to them via e-mail. If you have created videos or powerpoints with audio, you can add your training material to a private membership site for your staff only! You can set it up so your new hires can automatically access everything or you can set it up so that each of them will receive specific daily training for the exact tasks you have hired them for.
Training Your Outsource Team
- Break your project down into different tasks by specialty
- Define your project
- Define your expectations
- Set up a schedule
- Keep track of problems
- Make training materials from those problems
Next week, we will discuss how and when to find a Project Manager.
Extracted from StomperNet SEO Intelligence Report, October 7, 2011.
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