Outsourcing Archive

Starting an online business is easy. Running an online business successfully is a whole other ballgame. One of the biggest mistakes online business owners make is they try to do everything by themselves.

You believe you know what is needed to make money online, and you start to perform tasks to get there. But then, other things come up that get in the way. Bills arrive in the mail, so you pay them. Perhaps you get a phone call from someone who is interested in what your business has to offer. You spend an hour with this prospect. They decide to hire you. They ask for contracts and other documentation. Before you know it, your day is finished.

The next day, you are excited to get started on work for this new client and decide that you also need more clients. You do some prospecting online and send out some emails. You get a few nibbles from prospects asking for more information. You have to do some research to answer their questions. By the time you are done, your day is half over, and you haven’t done anything for the new client.

As you can see, running an online business often entails much more than you signed up for. You will continually find it difficult to manage actual work with prospecting. Something has to give. Either, you spend the majority of your time with prospecting, or you spend it working for your clients. You need to offload whatever you decide not to do, to someone else.

If you have enough work to justify hiring someone, then by all means, go ahead and do so. Of course, this means you may need to deal with payroll and offering benefits, etc. An alternative would be to outsource, so you don’t need to pay those benefits. Another great benefit to outsourcing is when you find someone that doesn’t work out as intended, you can choose someone else. The break is much cleaner than hiring an actual employee.

Many people are reluctant to hire or outsource due to the costs. However, you can look at these extra resources as helping your business get to where you want it much sooner than doing it all on your own. They offer leverage of doing the tasks that you don’t have the time for, and they can do them at the same time you are doing your tasks. The biggest drawback is now you have to manage other people.

Most of us start out as solo entrepreneurs. We’re building our business from scratch and are learning to do everything that needs to be done. It’s a one man or one woman show. But you’ll reach a point where there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. If you want to continue to grow, you have to consider outsourcing some of the tasks you’ve been doing.

And that process can be a little frustrating at times. Yes, it would be great to find someone that knows exactly what you need done and can just pick up and do it. But that’s not going to happen. People need time to learn and that takes patience on your part.

I often hear business owners complain about how hard it is to find a good writer, virtual assistant, graphic designer etc. When I start to look at what they are doing, the problem is easy to pinpoint. They don’t give the people they outsource to enough time to learn what they are expecting. They don’t give them enough information and feedback to figure out what they want in the end product. And most importantly they don’t give them enough time and aren’t patient enough to build a relationship where it becomes effortless.

How can you avoid making the same mistake? It’s simple. Be prepared to be very patient in the beginning.  In fact, don’t be surprised to spend more time at first training someone than it would to do it yourself.

Document the entire training process. Write it up with screenshots where applicable, or even better, make training videos.  That way you have training in place for your assistant to refer back to. It will also make your life much easier if you need to find another person for the job down the road.

Start with smaller jobs that your new assistant can complete quickly. Don’t expect her to do everything at once. Instead pick smaller projects and train her well on that before moving on to the next part. Give lots of productive feedback along the way.

As the two of you start to work together you’ll notice that things start to move more quickly. It doesn’t take long for your assistant to start to get a feel for how you like things done. Lots of patience and feedback in the beginning may seem like a pain, but it won’t be long for them to pay off.