Outsourcing

So I’m looking to the year in front of me (with kids in school I tend to think in terms of the school year) and I’m looking to do two simple things (in my business at least): A) spend more time doing the things that make me money and B) spend less time doing the things that don’t make me money.

Seems like an easy enough concept, right?

Some of those things in “B” need to be done regardless if they make money or not.  So, enter the wonderful world of outsourcing …

I’ve got an incredible assistant who I simply don’t give enough work to.  She’s going to be getting more and I’ll be better for it.  I might also take some basic regular repetitive tasks and source them out to an organization that specializes in that kind of thing.

This is a great idea, of course, only if I use the time to create more revenue.

So as I plot all this out, I’ll share with you my final results.  I would, however, love your thoughts on the topic and grab any secrets, ideas, etc. you have on the topic.  Do you outsource anything in your business?  If so, how is it working out for you?  What are the gotchas?  What do I need to do instantly?

I look forward to your comments …

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/allisonr Allison Reynolds

    Well for a start what you are doing Paul is out-tasking, not outsourcing. If you handed over the complete marketing of your business and let them do what they wanted then you would be coming close to outsourcing (and i don't think that's what you are talking about).

    A lot depends on the country of your out-taskers.Some countries have difficulty due to cultural norms, to be self motivated. They will perform what is required, but if they hit a snag they will stop and wait for your word on what to do next. No matter how much you put into training, you will rarely get past what is expected in their country when it comes to management and supervision. In short you will be swapping one set of bothers, for another. there will always be exceptions, but why waste time trying to find that exception.

    Of course this doesn't apply to all countries. My current situation (found via a podcast I listen to funnily enough!) is working out great. So well in fact that i hired someone within 24 hours and started her the next day. To ensure she has aptitude I have tasked her to complete the 30DC in a fortnight, and not to ask me any questions. So far, so awesome. if you want DM me and I'll send you more information.

    If you have out tasked to your kids or your contacts then comes the “mixing business with family” and although I have teenage kids and offered real cash, they just aren't the hard worker I want. They know the shame of being fired won't apply to them, and so have the excuses as to why they haven't started/finished already there.

  • http://StanDubin.com standubin

    Tasks I'm going to arrange for out-tasking or out-sourcing (both concepts come across to me as moving activities that you do to someone else) are the tasks of creating legitimate external links: articles into content hubs, bookmarking, directory submissions, that type of thing.

    Social networking/media “tasks” are not tasks to me, they're the lifeline of what social networking is all about. Those I want to be involved with 100% of the time. I want people to get a real view of who I am, what I'm able to do for them and that I'm interested in their well-being.

    I'm reading Chris Brogan's “Trust Agents” and that's a VERY good read for folks wanting to elicit trust thru the web and be perceptive to when and how to conduct business.

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisLoch Christopher Loch

    I have found that the best tasks to outsource are those that are done often and can be templatized.

    An example is sending out a weekly email newsletter. This is something that I do twice a week and it uses the same format every time. It took a couple hours to train my VA but now I just hand her a few Word Docs on Friday and an email newsletter goes out on Tuesday, gets posted to the blog, and is “ubersyndicated” via HelloTxt.

    Another example of something I outsource is the handling of customer service emails for info products. I did the customer service at first which helped me build a document answering the 20 FAQ that came in. This made it easy to outsource the customer service to a VA. At first she sent a few questions a week my way that were not in the FAQ. We've since documented those and it is rare that a question comes in that she can't answer by herself using the FAQ doc.

    The third thing I've outsourced is all the book keeping and tax prep. I don't create invoices, pay bills, or write any checks anymore. My book keeper does a way better job than I ever did and it frees me up to concentrate on the things that can't be outsourced… online/offline networking and content/product creation.

    Hope this helps, Paul. Best of luck to you!

    -=Chris

  • http://www.screencastsonline.com Don McAllister

    When you find out the secret to effective outsourcing, please do let us know Paul.

    As a sole full time podcaster, I've a ton of stuff I could probably outsource and make myself more efficient. The problems I always come up against, which I'm sure are common, are relinquishing control and the “it's quicker to do it myself syndrome”

    Looking forward to meeting up again at Blogworld.

    Don

  • http://newrules.com John Federico

    VA's ROCK, providing you're using their time (and yours) wisely.

    I've worked with LongerDays.com and what I like about them is that they have a team of VA's. So, if you're VA is sick, someone can pick up right where they left off. (Usually.)

    -jf.

  • http://jenniferlester.ca/ Jennifer Lester

    Great to hear more ideas and tips on “out-tasking” (I'd never heard the term before!!)

    Book/site you would find interesting, which speaks to the concept extensively:
    http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/

  • http://twitter.com/outsourcinguniv Mark Mathis

    As you might tell, I'm a big fan of outsourcing… Its made an enormous change in my life and my businesses.

    Since I have three small kids at home, my time is my most precious commodity, and I'm now able to capitalize on the time differences between my my location, and my providers location to maximize my efficiency and effectiveness 20x.

    Outsourcing can be scary for some small business owners, starting out, however as you do more and more, you soon find a sweet spot where you know these are the types of tasks that you feel comfortable outsourcing….and these others, you don't.

    Personally, I have a close team that handles most of the day to day, business critical operations and then a fairly large outsourced team that handles many other, more time-consuming type tasks for my businesses..

    If anyone has any questions about tips & tricks for outsourcing, just let me know and I'll be glad to help..

    Thanks,

    Mark

  • http://www.facebook.com/trafficmills Jeff Mills

    Paul,

    Out-taking, sourcing is definitely the way to go for busy internet entrepreneurs.

    Right now, I have a team of 9 people who are based in both the USA and also the Philippines.

    Paul, if you don't mind, would it be ok to let your readers have my free working with Virtual Assistants CD?

    I answer the 17 most often asked questions about using VA's and how to outsource to them.

    Like I said, I've got some killer stuff doing done for internet marketing, custom scripts being written, blogs being installs and autopopulated, all through outsourcing.

    I love the fact that I can delegate to the gifts, talents and skills of others, while doing other things, knowing my team is working for me so I can now be ON the business instead of IN it!

    I am here to help anyone who wants to navigate the outsourcing world, this is my baby now…

    Jeff Mils
    http://www.freevirtualassistantcd.com
    Grab a copy of my Free Outsourcing CD before they are gone!

  • davesherwin

    Well, Paul, I agree whole-heartedly, and I'm also a big fan of outsourcing, as a matter of fact so many people ask me how I have such success with VA's I wrote a guide about it…

    http://escapethematrix.net/va

    Don't worry, I'm not spamming your blog, it's a free guide and 3 video series I created as a service to people wanting to get virtual help. But as far as your question goes, the only thing I would recommend is to find yourself a couple of VA's, with different specialties, for example, one may be an expert in publishing content, social marketing, scheduling tweets etc., the other may have more expertise in HTML and graphic design.

    But however you do it, or however many you recruit, I'm a big fan of VA's and enjoy working with people in a different culture, who are highly motivated and very smart, contrary to the popular opinion of most people, who simply “dabble” in VA's but rarely achieve mastery.

  • davesherwin

    Well, Paul, I agree whole-heartedly, and I'm also a big fan of outsourcing, as a matter of fact so many people ask me how I have such success with VA's I wrote a guide about it…

    http://escapethematrix.net/va

    Don't worry, I'm not spamming your blog, it's a free guide and 3 video series I created as a service to people wanting to get virtual help. But as far as your question goes, the only thing I would recommend is to find yourself a couple of VA's, with different specialties, for example, one may be an expert in publishing content, social marketing, scheduling tweets etc., the other may have more expertise in HTML and graphic design.

    But however you do it, or however many you recruit, I'm a big fan of VA's and enjoy working with people in a different culture, who are highly motivated and very smart, contrary to the popular opinion of most people, who simply “dabble” in VA's but rarely achieve mastery.