Three Top Tips to Successful Outsourcing
Prior to founding The Helpful Academy, I was the Head of Training and Projects at New Zealand’s largest Virtual Assistant Company. It was my job to manage the project clients, find out what they needed, and make sure that happened. I also had my own set of ongoing clients that I looked after.
3.5 years ago I founded The Helpful Academy, where we remotely help business owners achieve their goals.
I’ve experienced successful outsourcing, and unsuccessful outsourcing, from both sides of the coin.
This is what I’ve learned over the last 5 years…
TOP TIP 1: What type of person do you need?
I’ve learned this the hard way, from both sides of the outsourcing experience…
- Do you need someone with high attention to detail?
- Do you need an outgoing people-person who’s great at promoting or networking for you?
- Do you need a creative type of person?
- Do you need someone who’s really nurturing and great with looking after on-going customers?
These four skillsets are very rarely ones that are possessed by the same person.
So, you need to be realistic – do you need ONE person, or do you need TWO people?
A mistake I see a lot of entrepreneurs make when they get ready to outsource for the first time is thinking that they can get one person who’ll be good at everything they need in their business right now.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works!
Think carefully about the type of person who would be most suited to the role you need. Don’t expect a people person to be great at also doing detailed work, and vice versa. Often, you’re better off employing multiple people to do different parts of the business and stay in their genius, than you are to employ one and get them to do everything.
I recommend learning about the 8 different profiles using this test here. Then, consider: “which profile do I need most strongly for this role?”
TOP TIP 2: Be clear and prepare
Once you’re clear on what type of person you need/want, before you even start the outsourcing process, you need to be very clear in your own mind about what you need and want for the role.
It sounds obvious, right?
However, outsourcing can often happen in a hurry, when people are under pressure, and when things need to happen yesterday.
When that time pressure exists, and the person giving the instructions is stressed, it can be a pressure-pot for rushed instructions, leading to disaster.
Often we just want someone to read our minds. (I’ll be honest here and say that I sure do when I’m in that state!)
But, it’s unrealistic to expect anyone new to be a mind reader. And, if you’re not clear, and you haven’t prepared properly, the experience probably won’t be what you expect it to be.
Because if YOU aren’t clear on what you need, the contractor/new team member can’t be either!
Your brief/plan should include:
- The goal
- The required time frame
- Clear instructions of how to do it
- What format you need back
- Any brand style guidelines
- Any access details How you like to be communicated with
But, as well as these project details, you also need to consider how the relationship with the person you want to outsource will work:
- Are you offering a part-time, full-time, project-based position?
- Do you want an employee or a contractor?
(keep in mind there are legal definitions to both, and sometimes you need to go with what your tax department requires you to employ them as not what you necessarily want to employ them as)
- How will you pay them?
E.g. will they invoice you, or will you need to use a payroll system
- What paperwork do you legally need?
- Always, ALWAYS, ALLLLLWAAAAAYS have a contract in place. Even if it’s your friend/family member you’re outsourcing to.
(I would actually say especially if it’s your friend/family member doing the work)
- How will you communicate to each other?
- How many rounds of changes is acceptable?
- What is your budget for this?
TOP TIP 3: Document the tasks
This tip is not relevant for if you’re having a one-off task done by an expert.
It’s more for if you’re hiring someone to do a task in your business that you’ve previously done yourself, or had someone else do.
If you’re hiring someone to take over ongoing tasks in your business, make sure that these are documented so that they have clear steps to follow.
About the author:
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).