3 Lies about Outsourcing and How to Overcome Common Outsourcing Mistakes

Outsourcing has become the entrepreneur’s key to earning more revenue while working less. It’s the answer to making business dreams come true. Or so it seems.

But here’s the thing. Outsourcing could lead to several mistakes that will cost you MORE time, MORE money, and LOTS of headache and frustration. Outsourcing can be a smart way to go … and there’s a smart way to do it. Let’s start by taking a look at the common mistakes – the lies you might have heard – that could lead you down the wrong path.

In January of 2006 I first heard about the concept of outsourcing. Basically, a business owner pays someone else to do tasks that need to get done for the success of the business. These are tasks that many times business owners either don’t want to do, or someone else could do less expensively … some tasks, for instance, could be outsourced for as little as $10/hour.

And so, let’s say you chose to do that task yourself, you’d essentially earn only $10/hour. Since you most likely charge your clients more than that, it makes sense to outsource that work.

Sounds pretty nice! Decide which tasks to outsource, hire someone, and then tell that person what to do!

And that’s where it get’s tricky …

Communicating what you need and how it needs to be done to satisfy you and your clients takes TIME. And suddenly you’re spending a great deal of time explaining and communicating to get the task done to your satisfaction … and suddenly you wonder, “Am I really saving any money here?”

Many business owners have a hard time communicating what they want someone else to do.

You know what you want, you can visualize it. But you and the person you hired have different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge bases. Misinterpretation results and you don’t get the product or service you expected.

It takes time to learn how to convey your ideas to get the result you want! And that means money, too.

In April 2007, Tim Ferriss presented an intriguing concept in a book he authored. Have you heard of The 4-Hour Workweek? Sounds good, right? But here’s the thing. Tim himself does not work just 4 hours per week. He doesn’t clock in for half a day per week and then hit the golf course. If you know Tim, you know he works just as hard as the next entrepreneur.

Tim is using semantics. His definition of “work” means something that you do not want to do yourself. You still need to do all the other parts of the business that you enjoy. If there are tasks  you don’t like to do, then that qualifies as work. He’s telling you how to only do four hours a week of THAT work. And to get down to four, he’s telling you to do what I call delegation. Delegate the tasks you don’t like doing!

For example, a social media presence is probably an important marketing tool for your business. But do you love scheduling your posts across all your social media accounts? If you don’t, that’s something you might outsource. But coaching your clients or designing websites for your customers … the part you like doing… that’s not work.

Outsourcing seems like easy money. It’s not. Not usually. Sometimes we get a new lead, a new prospect, but we don’t have time to do the project or task. So we think, “I’ll hire someone to do this for me! I’ll charge the client more than what I pay to outsource the project! I’ll make some money and not do any work … how great is that?!”

Yes, this sounds like a no-brainer.

But consider this:

  • It takes time, money, and resources to attract the client and manage the project.
  • You become the liaison, the go-between, the back-and-forth communicator between the client and the person to whom you outsourced the task to.
  • When clients are not happy with the results or request a change to the service, this must also be managed and communicated. That takes time and energy and suddenly your profits become less and less, perhaps even a loss!
  • Small or growing businesses demand a prioritization of resources. Essentially, you need to be ready and able to accept more profitable opportunities. In other words, don’t grab at every little chance to outsource – that will ultimately make you less available for better and bigger projects to build your business. It’s okay to say no to projects. And as a leader of your business, you need to figure out what is worth a “yes” and what demands a “no”.

Now let’s explore the outsourcing mistakes that will cost you money and time

Outsourcing your business processes will work for a while and you’ll probably get the results you wanted. For awhile, right up until the point where you need to switch from one virtual assistant to another, or move to a different marketing company.

When you don’t have your own business processes established and instead let the assistant or team you hire to create them for you, you are setting yourself up for a disaster. Big mistake.

Let me share the results you’ll get, but don’t want, when you jump into outsourcing without a plan. Each result here will end up costing you money and time to overcome.  

Outcome #1 – The One-Timer

The person you hire, especially at $10/hour, isn’t a business systems thinker. They won’t be thinking in terms of your future projects. They don’t think in terms of business systems that work for you overall. You’ll have that one project in okay shape, but it won’t work for future projects and things get complicated.

Outcome #2 – The Past-Present-Future Challenge

The person or team you hire in this outcome is a business systems thinker. But – and it’s a costly one – they won’t know about your pre-existing systems in order to make your operations seamless. The system this person sets up for you will work about half the time. Not the odds you want. They either ignore the past or don’t know enough about it, and, when they leave, they’ve left you nothing to help your future teams. No documentation available, so your business systems are, once again, starting over from scratch. Tick-tock, Ca-ching.

Outcome #3 – The Hodgepodge

After hiring multiple people or teams, you have a hodgepodge of business processes that do not communicate together. This results in broken systems and a lot of extra manual work for things that could’ve been automated by now.

I know this one well as an Infusionsoft Consultant. When my Infusionsoft Concierge clients hire me to fix their business systems, I sometimes go into an app that’s been there for awhile.

When I go inside the product, I can tell when a lot of admins have been in there working. I can predict what I’ll find when I see names I recognize. Admins have their own styles with different naming conventions, different standards, and different ways of doing their work inside the app.

You can imagine what happens over time when many hands are in the pot, so to speak. Different admins means different schools of thoughts, different training experiences, and different business strategies.

Sometimes it takes dozens or hundreds of hours to research all the different pieces left behind by different admin users.

Another mistake – please don’t expect your $10/hour assistant to be your business thinking partner or strategist. At that price point the person is rarely qualified to be that person. You may find a diamond in the rough who can become that person with mentoring and training over a long period of time.

 

Our best tips to successful outsourcing

Should I outsource, then?

Outsourcing is a fine option if:

  • You can communicate your vision to a team and provide a detailed plan of action.  
  • You have tasks that are skill-oriented, like transcribing or scheduling your social media posts.

Outsourcing is not a great option for you if:

  • You aren’t clear on exactly what you want or how to get what you want.
  • You need a strategic plan.

Some tasks lend themselves better to outsourcing. These include:

  • Lead Magnet Design
  • Landing Page Design
  • Transcription
  • Social media graphics and scheduling posts
  • Proofreading
  • Data entry

On the other hand, the following are not tasks that should be outsourced:

  • Developing a strategic marketing plan
  • Direct communications with your clients and customers
  • Any tasks that require core business competencies
  • Project management

Prioritizing from you needs to happen.  One of my clients once told me, “If you give a problem to a smart person – they will immediately sit down and try to figure out that problem – never stopping to think if that problem should even be solved in the first place.”

You might see this a lot with developers and programmers. Web development projects can quickly get out of control. Many web developers will find problems in the code and work to fix them without stopping to think if the problem really needs to be solved!

Let’s say the impact of the “problem” is minimal and only affects one or two contacts per day. If it takes the developer twenty or more hours to resolve, at a rate of $100+/hour, is it really worth paying over $2,000 to fix such a small issue? Sometimes it’s not a good investment to fix something that will only impact a few hundred people per year.

If you decide to give your team members free reign or limited direction, you’ll likely have well-meaning people headed down a rabbit trail, creating complicated systems to problems that aren’t problems to you, or aren’t the problems you wanted help with!

You must have a system. Not everyone thinks in terms of systems and efficiency. Every time you solve a problem in your business, think beyond that one instance. Think more systemically about your business and other problems that could and will arise.

Sure, you can slap a Band-Aid on quickly, but what if you really need surgery? Do you want to keep fixing over and over and over again? Take some time and do it right for long-term benefits.

You can read more about how to systemize your business in this blog post I wrote here.

Think of it as trying to stop flooding waters with sacks of sand … every time it rains. Wouldn’t it be smarter and more effective in the long run to build a dam and solve the problem once and for all?

You can spend a lot of your resources – time and money – if you choose the Band-Aid route, or you can fix it right the first time and avoid a lot of headaches, hassles, and money-draining fixes… which makes more sense to you? An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure?

When you fight your business battles – set yourself up for success. Fight not only the one battle – but all future ones by creating systems. Get an efficient system now. Piece-sealing and bandaging as you go, only cuts back on your profits, your energy and your time.

Document your processes. The difference between a small business and a big business is documentation. Before outsourcing, spend time documenting your processes. Again, it’s the smart thing to do to avoid wasting time and losing revenue.

You can read more about how to document your processes in this blog post I wrote here.

If you found this post helpful, leave a comment below.

If you found this post helpful, check out my other… links to learn more.

Hubpages, One More Thing To Outsource Now

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

http://hubpages.com/tour/hubpages/
http://hubpages.com/tour/hubpages/

As you are probably well aware by now, hubpages are one more avenue you can travel down to increase the traffic coming to your website. However, there may be many who have yet to turn down Hubpage Street due to lack of knowledge or just plain lack of time. Let’s be clear, there is no good reason for you NOT to take advantage of every single road that will bring more visitors to your site. Higher traffic equals soaring profits equals the success you set out for. So let’s get to it!

If you have not begun your walk down the Social media path, starting that walk with hubpages may be a great idea. And here’s the way to get started today. Outsource this task to a writer or company who can write effective articles for you. Writing quality articles is one way that many online businesses gain visibility. But the thing with articles is that they are time consuming. You as the business owner are dedicated to those tasks which directly build your business. Therefore, you are to assign writing tasks, not attempt to complete them yourself.

Outsourcing hubpages is a task you can do relatively quickly. Through word of mouth, online directories, or companies which specialize in SEO and marketing, you can find quality writers to create articles directly related submission. So while you want a quality writer, you will also want to make sure you work with a person or company that can handle the behind-the-scenes portion of hubpages as well.

In order to find the right tags to use in your hubpages, some research is necessary. It is not difficult. In fact, it is a simple Google search. But the real issue here is not the level of difficulty of the task; but the amount of time it will take you to research both keywords and tags for your hubpages. This is why it is highly recommended to find a quality writer or company that will invest the necessary time.

While you may pay a little bit more for a professional company to handle these sorts of tasks (I know how tempting it can be to outsource to the lowest bidder), this is just another investment into your business – your future. When you continually look at the big picture, which is to drive as much quality traffic to your site as possible, then you can easily see the necessity in hiring the right person or company to write your articles and hubpages the first time around.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

http://blog.hubpages.com/by Ryan Hupfer
http://blog.hubpages.com/by Ryan Hupfer

In building a high functioning, profitable website, outsourcing is a must. It is the fastest way to get ahead of the competition that may be lagging in taking a step towards their success. Outsourcing to quality professionals can move you in the right direction quickly and consistently. Your job is to seek out the right people to do the job and then let them run with it. Hubpages and other articles are some of the easiest things that you can outsource, but also some of the most important tasks you will assign. Do it right the first time and you will quickly reap the rewards of outsourcing to your business.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Outsourcing for your Small Business

outsource

Small businesses, even home-based businesses, can follow the trend of outsourcing. For quite some time, large businesses have been on track with outsourcing activities such as payroll and accounts payable / accounts receivable; and now more and more business owners are realizing that there really is something to the outsourcing game.

One thing to keep in mind when beginning your journey into outsourcing work to a professional not employed by your company is that it does involve a fair amount of time and commitment. While finding a person or a company who will take on the activities you wish to outsource can be relatively simple, you’ll want to make sure to check work samples and references of candidates you are considering.

Once you have found the person or company with whom you will work, there is sometimes a period of adjustment for both you, the company, and also for the employees you do have working directly for you. Transitions can go much easier when you have a clear plan spelled out and meet with members of your staff to ensure understanding. It is important that everyone has a crystal clear understanding of their role, and their responsibilities when work begins to be outsourced to others.

Outsourcing companies, most of the time, will be good at what they do. For instance, many online businesses engage in outsourcing their SEO, or their Google Adwords campaigns because these are tasks that require a lot of time and almost constant attention to changes. Care should be taken, however, in considering an outsourcing company. There have been a few that make promises they just can’t keep in order to earn more business.

virtual assistant

When choosing which tasks you will outsource, you want to consider what your point of difference is when compared to your competitors. If prices are the selling point of your business, then outsourcing customer service to an overseas company could be well worth the savings you will receive on the payroll side of things. However, if your company’s highlight is that nobody can beat your customer service, then you definitely want a full time staff member who will be invested in providing that customer service beyond what your competitors can offer.

While outsourcing is becoming more widely used with every inch of web growth, the best thing you as the business owner can do is analyze where you can take full advantage and see the most benefit from outsourcing. There are some tasks that you will definitely want to keep in house. Those tasks will differ from one business to another depending on how it is run. Tip-toeing into outsourcing is not a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with trying out a few providers to get a feel for how they can best meet your needs. In fact, beginning in such a manner would be more advisable than entering into a long term contract with a company up front.

Some examples of tasks that can be outsourced are: multi-media, social networking such as blogging and Twitter posts, sales and marketing, presentations, website design, SEO, and writing. These are only a few of the many tasks that can help your company grow at a lower cost than you might otherwise pay. Take your time, but give outsourcing some serious consideration.

Hubpages, One More Thing To Outsource Now

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

http://hubpages.com/tour/hubpages/
http://hubpages.com/tour/hubpages/

As you are probably well aware by now, hubpages are one more avenue you can travel down to increase the traffic coming to your website. However, there may be many who have yet to turn down Hubpage Street due to lack of knowledge or just plain lack of time. Let’s be clear, there is no good reason for you NOT to take advantage of every single road that will bring more visitors to your site. Higher traffic equals soaring profits equals the success you set out for. So let’s get to it!

If you have not begun your walk down the Social media path, starting that walk with hubpages may be a great idea. And here’s the way to get started today. Outsource this task to a writer or company who can write effective articles for you. Writing quality articles is one way that many online businesses gain visibility. But the thing with articles is that they are time consuming. You as the business owner are dedicated to those tasks which directly build your business. Therefore, you are to assign writing tasks, not attempt to complete them yourself.

Outsourcing hubpages is a task you can do relatively quickly. Through word of mouth, online directories, or companies which specialize in SEO and marketing, you can find quality writers to create articles directly related submission. So while you want a quality writer, you will also want to make sure you work with a person or company that can handle the behind-the-scenes portion of hubpages as well.

In order to find the right tags to use in your hubpages, some research is necessary. It is not difficult. In fact, it is a simple Google search. But the real issue here is not the level of difficulty of the task; but the amount of time it will take you to research both keywords and tags for your hubpages. This is why it is highly recommended to find a quality writer or company that will invest the necessary time.

While you may pay a little bit more for a professional company to handle these sorts of tasks (I know how tempting it can be to outsource to the lowest bidder), this is just another investment into your business – your future. When you continually look at the big picture, which is to drive as much quality traffic to your site as possible, then you can easily see the necessity in hiring the right person or company to write your articles and hubpages the first time around.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

http://blog.hubpages.com/by Ryan Hupfer
http://blog.hubpages.com/by Ryan Hupfer

In building a high functioning, profitable website, outsourcing is a must. It is the fastest way to get ahead of the competition that may be lagging in taking a step towards their success. Outsourcing to quality professionals can move you in the right direction quickly and consistently. Your job is to seek out the right people to do the job and then let them run with it. Hubpages and other articles are some of the easiest things that you can outsource, but also some of the most important tasks you will assign. Do it right the first time and you will quickly reap the rewards of outsourcing to your business.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Outsourcing for your Small Business

Small businesses, even home-based businesses, can follow the trend of outsourcing. For quite some time, large businesses have been on track with outsourcing activities such as payroll and accounts payable / accounts receivable; and now more and more business owners are realizing that there really is something to the outsourcing game.

One thing to keep in mind when beginning your journey into outsourcing work to a professional not employed by your company is that it does involve a fair amount of time and commitment. While finding a person or a company who will take on the activities you wish to outsource can be relatively simple, you’ll want to make sure to check work samples and references of candidates you are considering.

Once you have found the person or company with whom you will work, there is sometimes a period of adjustment for both you, the company, and also for the employees you do have working directly for you. Transitions can go much easier when you have a clear plan spelled out and meet with members of your staff to ensure understanding. It is important that everyone has a crystal clear understanding of their role, and their responsibilities when work begins to be outsourced to others.

Outsourcing companies, most of the time, will be good at what they do. For instance, many online businesses engage in outsourcing their SEO, or their Google Adwords campaigns because these are tasks that require a lot of time and almost constant attention to changes. Care should be taken, however, in considering an outsourcing company. There have been a few that make promises they just can’t keep in order to earn more business.

When choosing which tasks you will outsource, you want to consider what your point of difference is when compared to your competitors. If prices are the selling point of your business, then outsourcing customer service to an overseas company could be well worth the savings you will receive on the payroll side of things. However, if your company’s highlight is that nobody can beat your customer service, then you definitely want a full time staff member who will be invested in providing that customer service beyond what your competitors can offer.

While outsourcing is becoming more widely used with every inch of web growth, the best thing you as the business owner can do is analyze where you can take full advantage and see the most benefit from outsourcing. There are some tasks that you will definitely want to keep in house. Those tasks will differ from one business to another depending on how it is run. Tip-toeing into outsourcing is not a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with trying out a few providers to get a feel for how they can best meet your needs. In fact, beginning in such a manner would be more advisable than entering into a long term contract with a company up front.

Some examples of tasks that can be outsourced are: multi-media, social networking such as blogging and twitter posts, sales and marketing, presentations, website design, SEO, and writing. These are only a few of the many tasks that can help your company grow at a lower cost than you might otherwise pay. Take your time, but give outsourcing some serious consideration.

Don’t Forget Why You Do What you Do!

As a business owner who is striving to grow an online store, a corner store, or a large service oriented company, you have probably felt the minutes slip right through your hands as time wears on. Time; it’s your most valuable asset; and yet it is the one thing that can be the hardest to gain control over.

In all of the hustle and bustle of building a website and then creating quality content that will rank your landing page or pages, it is common to lose sight of the big picture. At the center of the big picture of your business is your why. Without that motivating factor, there will come a time when you can no longer push tworldhrough obstacles like ever changes SEO practices and marketing techniques.

When you started your business, hopefully you chose something you love. At the very least something you can maintain an interest in! Beginning in this way allows you to stay motivated throughout the process of outsourcing work or building your website and then marketing it. This inspiration that you feel when planning for the future of your business is critical in maintaining the energy it will take to build it up.

The main way that business owners stay on track is through goal setting. Writing down your business plan, mission statement and goals is highly important. Mission statements are personal and should include that dream that you wish to achieve and why. I twebbusinesshink of a mission statement as somewhat of a personal dream statement. Next comes the business plan, for without that, you may easily lose direction.

If you have a business plan but it’s stuffed in the back of your desk drawer, I suggest you pull it out and put in somewhere you can see it regularly. The same goes for your mission statement. Frame them and display them on your desk if that’s what it takes to really pay attention to them. In your business plan, you should include what work you can handle on your own, and what work would be better handled through outsourcing.

Outsourcing work to skilled SEO writers and web designers can seem a task that may be costly; but in the long run, there are some tasks that would just take you too long to complete. Therefore, outsourcing will save you money and add the bonus of growing your business faster!

Staying motivated in your business can also be facilitated through time off. You heard right; taking time away from the desk, the office, the phone and the email can rejuvenate you and remind you why you started your own business to begin with. When growing a business, there are many important aspects to tend to; marketing is important, SEO is important, web design is important, this is true. But above all, your dream is important! It was the dream that ignited the spark that got you going, and it is the dream that will see you through. Do what it takes to keep it alive.