Outsourcing is quite a lively topic for most modern businesses. No matter if you’re an online entrepreneur, a product creator, an affiliate, or a blogger, at some point in your career you’re probably going to search for opportunities to outsource some of your daily tasks.
The big point here, obviously, is to get things done in a way that’s cost effective, timely, and provides a good quality result.
Now, there are many articles online that teach where and how to find people, how much you should offer per hour, and so on, but there isn’t so much advice on planning your outsourcing and managing it effectively.
Let’s face it. When you outsource a given range of tasks to someone, you’re basically hiring the person, so you need to find an effective way of being a remote boss… that’s just the way it is. Therefore, here are my tips on how to make it happen.
This guide does not cover how to hire an outsourcer.
Categories of work you want to outsource
This is the most important thing you have to take care of before giving your outsourcer any tasks.
If you’ve decided to hire someone in the first place then you probably already have a general idea of what you want them to do. This is the moment to take a piece of paper and write it all down.
For instance, some of the kinds of work an outsourcer can do for a professional blog:
- content writing,
- SEO and link building,
- social media management,
- blog commenting, and so on.
Once you have such a list, you can even review your initial idea of hiring an outsourcer… Will they have enough work to do each day?
Prepare training materials
No matter how experienced your outsourcer is, you always need to prepare some form of training materials for them. Don’t assume that your new employee will immediately get a grasp of things you require them to do.
If you want to have a quality business partnership then training is a must.
Go through all the essential things your outsourcer needs to know, and new skills they have to master to be able to handle your work. Try to get to the bottom of what you want them to do, and design your training to cover all of that.
Treat it as the ultimate resource. This means that whenever your outsourcer faces a problem with a task you’ve given them, they can take a look at the training materials and solve it.
The best way to create your training is in PDF and video formats.
Use a team management tool
Managing your outsourcer’s work through email, Google Drive, Excel spreadsheets, or any other similar tools will be very tough. It’s actually a lot easier to use a tool that’s been specifically designed to handle this kind of work.
The one I can recommend is Teambox. It’s easy to use and it even has a free plan until you reach a given volume of tasks, projects, and team members you want to work with.
The core idea here is to have a way to communicate with your team quickly and list your tasks inside a clear user interface.
Prepare some specific tasks
This is where you can start creating tasks and setting them in Teambox (or some other tool you’ve chosen).
For instance, here’s an exact task someone could execute: “Research the real estate market and find 5 best places to go for real estate deals. Focus on the Los Angeles area. Then compile them into a blog post, and send it to me. Please complete the task in 3 hours.”
Don’t go overboard with this. Just 5-10 starter tasks are enough. Then once your outsourcer gets done with them you can adjust your approach and create the next batch of tasks.
Also, whenever possible, provide exact scenarios of how to take care of any given task. Step by step advice would be best here. If you do this a couple of times, your outsourcer will master them quicker and won’t require so much attention in the future.
Create filler tasks
The point of finding an outsourcer isn’t to be monitoring them constantly. Sometimes the person you’re working with will be able to handle the tasks you’ve given them faster than estimated. It this case they can use the rest of their workday to do some filler tasks.
The whole idea of a filler task is that it should be something your outsourcer can do at any given time without your supervision.
For a website or blog these can be tasks such as: writing comments on other blogs, link building, or finding new content ideas.
Most importantly, make these filler tasks significant for your business, and not something to fill your outsourcer’s time just for the sake of it.
If you’re hiring your outsourcer full-time, some daily reporting system will come handy. Especially if they’re doing multiple tasks or multitasking.
You naturally want to know how your outsourcer got around the tasks you gave them, but asking about each individual thing directly is not time-efficient. Instead, you can set a daily report template and tell your outsourcer to send you a report at the end of each day.
In the report, you can include points such as:
- All that was accomplished along with the results and the actual time needed to finish the tasks.
- Descriptions of any problems (and their solutions).
- All that was not finished and why.
- Outsourcer’s thoughts and suggestions (a list of things you can do to make their work easier).
Such a report can be invaluable for your future cooperation as business partners.
Keeping the master plan
If you’re aiming to make your outsourcing a long term project then you’ll need a master plan with all the major goals and milestones in it.
Effective outsourcing isn’t really about getting a handful of tasks done, and then switching to your traditional way of working. It’s just not worth the effort that way (remember you have to spend some time training your outsourcer).
Therefore, the only situation where outsourcing makes sense is when you’re willing to do it long term.
Make sure that your master plan includes things like:
- Your main long term goal (e.g.: decreasing your work time by 40% without losing the results).
- Your vision of achieving it (e.g.: hiring one outsourcer full-time).
- Your budget.
- Main milestones.
- Failure indicators (e.g.: too much time spent on managing the outsourcer).
I hope this list will make your outsourcing experience a lot smoother and more effective. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Are you outsourcing some part of your work already?
About the Author
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer. He’s passionate about turning blogging into a business and teaching people how they can make money freelance writing. If you want to get a list of websites that pay to write articles feel free to visit him at YoungPrePro.