In this article, I’m going to talk about outsourcing. So basically when you’re hiring an outsourcer, there are certain things that you really want to avoid. A lot of people, including myself in the past, have fallen into the trap of thinking that hiring an outsourcer is being able to do all the different things in your business.
However, that is not the case at all. It’s not their business, and they don’t know the ins and outs.
And in most cases, it’s not really wise to give all of those tasks to an outsourcer. Also, their skill set is usually within a small region. It’s not meant to be all-encompassing. The broadest kind of outsourcing that you can find is usually a virtual assistant. But those tasks that you would give to a virtual assistant are very simple, straightforward, admin, a street of type work.
Here’s a quick and informative video about how outsourcing works:
You don’t want to give them too much work that would require intensive knowledge about marketing, managing a business, or any type of work that requires too much knowledge of English.
I mean, they should be fluent in English in the sense that they could reply to emails, sorts documents, et cetera, and sent emails out for you, but not to the point that you want them to be writing your sales copy on one of the sales pages of your email list or something like that.
So just keep that in mind, do you want to keep the tasks for your outsourcer within the niche of their specialty? Or very simple?
What NOT to Do
I would probably say that the number one biggest mistake when people are outsourcing is that they try and get them to do too much.
You want to make sure that you are fully prepared to handle outsourcer because you were now the leader of a team, and as the leader of a team, you need to be prepared for the responsibility of having workers underneath you, right?
You have to be prepared for the rock responsibility that you have to pay them. You have to be prepared for the responsibility of training them onboard, the task of bringing them up to speed with everything that you are doing, etc.
So this is a pretty big task. This is a leadership task. You are now the leader of your company.
That being said, I would suggest that the first tasks are simple to handle. I mean, I would not just say, for now, you can hire an experienced individual and get them done easily or have an inexperienced one then you’ll be okay to train them.
And what I mean by this is, you want to handle an outsourcer with organized tasks, kind of laying out every single step of what they need to do in some kind of documentary spreadsheet. In that way, you can have a pretty solid way of tracking.
Also, you and your outsourcer should have some kind of system that you can communicate with as they’re completing the tasks. So you want to make sure that all of these are in place,
How Do You Plan Out an Outsourcer’s Tasks?
On a day-to-day basis, what you need to do is have either a spreadsheet or a document in Google. I like using a spreadsheet, or you can use Project management software, like Trello.
Personally, I think a Google Docs or Google Spreadsheet is fine. But if you want to use more advanced software, that’s totally fine as well. I’m sure there is actually some free software that you can use. That might be a little bit easier to kind of interact with them using the software as there are a lot of good features for project management.
But anyway, I’m just going to do this in Google spreadsheets because it’s free and accessible. I don’t want to recommend to you some tools which you have to spend a lot of money on when you can do this efficiently without spending money. Not to mention the learning curve when using the software.
Using Google Sheets for Laying Out the Tasks
In Google sheets, you can lay out a variety of tasks for your outsourcer to do.
You have the tasks from A to B, make it a sort of step-by-step procedure. And basically, you want to layout tasks for your outsourcer that are repetitive in nature. The point here is that, if you don’t want to do the same thing over and over and over again, you can let your outsourcer do it.
Also, it’s very important to make sure that you yourself know how the tasks are done in a thorough enough manner. To do this:
- You need to have actually done this and you need to have done this sufficiently enough. I would not recommend hiring an outsourcer to do a task that you want to do in addition, to but don’t have time for. So if you are running your business and you think, “Oh, that’s a cool marketing idea. Maybe I want to do that, but I don’t have time to do it. So let’s hire an outsourcer to get them to do it.”
I would not recommend that for several reasons. First, you don’t know if that idea is actually going to pan out. You’ll have to explain to an outsourcer how you’d like your business to be operated, what type of outcome you’d like to achieve, not to mention if you’re planning to train them first. There is a pretty big time commitment. And if the idea doesn’t work when you’re stuck with an outsourcer.
It just kind of creates a mess also because the business that you’re building is something you’re trying to optimize at its best quality, and you’re not exactly how to do it properly, to begin with. So trying to teach somebody else had to do something that you’re not even sure how to do is just a recipe for disaster.
Create a Checklist for them
Then you’ve done your tasks a million times and you know that it’s helping your business and you know you’re doing it properly but you just really just don’t want to do it anymore, that’s when you hire the outsourcer that would do those tasks consistently.
Make a checklist of all the tasks an outsourcer can do from A-Z in less than one page of a spreadsheet. And then put another page of a spreadsheet where you put in all the days of the week that they’re working for you. So you can put in like March first, March 2nd, March 3rd, all the way to March, and so on. And then you can decide what’s the next tasks after your outsourcer gets it done
Keep your spreadsheet updated. Basically what you want them to do is you want them to run through the point of the spreadsheet. So maybe a task takes one day, or maybe they can get two tasks done in one day, or maybe one task takes two days, whatever the case may be.
Next, you want to have tasks that can be shared between you and the outsourcer. And you can go check the spreadsheet to see where they are in the checklist for the specific task that they’re supposed to be completed.
Let’s say they’ve gotten halfway through the checklist, each time they go through the checklist, that’s going to take them one day to run the task or whatever. Then you can finish the uncompleted tasks to save time.
You also have to keep in mind being detailed and specific whenever you write down a checklist of tasks. Here’s an example of a blog-related checklist for my outsourcer:
I’m literally putting in step by step by step every single process to get this right. And then that way, you make them go and check all of these boxes. So it’s going to spur them to remember.
And also you’ll have that checklist. So if they miss anything, you can also point out be like, “Okay, will you check this?”
Let’s say, one of the items on the checklist as we talked about in On-Page SEO is to include the keyword in the title. And when they give you the article it says, “Hey, this is the keyword that I chose, and the article is published on your website.”
You can say, “The keywords on in the title, or maybe they forgot to put the keyword in the first paragraph.” Maybe they forgot to put the keyword in all tasks. So what I would suggest is that the first few times they complete a task for you, you go through this checklist and you make sure that everything is done on the checklist.
Observe the Task in the First 2 Weeks
You do not want the start of their tasks to be any more complicated than that. So I would say depending on those things, I would check their work over maybe for the first week.
Every single time they do a task, for example, if it’s article writing and you want them to write one article every weekday and publish it, you can check and look through the list on the checklist and that they’re done properly or if the images used are stock images.
I would say after you’ve done this for like a week, maybe two weeks, I would say you don’t have to keep doing it. You really don’t. The whole point of this is that so that they’ve taken over for you. I mean, initially, you have to check and make sure they’re doing a good job.
But after you’ve done it for a few weeks and they’re doing a good job then leave it, you know. I mean, obviously, if there are problems, address the problems. I like the three strikes and you’re out rule. So tell them once, tell them twice.
If you have to tell him a 3rd time to do something, then I would call it quits and right away, get a new one
You cannot spend a lot of time trying to figure things out because it’s one thing when you’re working in the same office as somebody and you’re trying to fix a problem when they’re not on your payroll. But these are your employees that are on your payroll. You’re paying them.
And if it’s an outsourcer, they probably don’t even live on the same continent as you. So trying to resolve issues over Skype or over the phone, or however, you guys are communicating over. Email is a huge pain in the ass. If they don’t get it after the second time, they’re not going to get it after the 20-second time.
So you just need to let them go ahead. And I know it’s definitely not fun and but unfortunately, that’s just the way things are. Okay. So that’s what you do when you’re working with them.
How to Hire an Outsourcer
Okay. Now let’s go to what you’re going to do when you are hiring them.
When you’re hiring an outsourcer, you can go to several places online. Sometimes you can hire freelancers that you’ve worked with either on:
If you have a freelancer that you’ve worked with a few times and they’re absolutely awesome, like throwing them:
- Details of your offer
- How would you like them to work full-time or part-time
- What would be the monthly salary?
Online Hiring Platforms
An awesome resource to find outsourcers is through an online platform called OnlineJobs.ph. It’s super responsive.
So if you posted a job opportunity, there will be so many people who are applying and you will 100% find somebody who is qualified and show you can interview. Their free version allows you to post a job and see job applications. It gives you a good idea of if you’re going to find someone good. You can’t see applicants’ contact info or communicate/interview with them until you upgrade and that’s when you have to pay a monthly fee.
Here are their pricing:
So I would say just pay the fee once you become a member for a month. And then cancel the subscription right after you find an outsourcer.
I mean of course, if you like the software and you want to keep looking to form new connections with different outsourcers, then just stay a member. That’s fine too. But if you don’t want to pay the monthly fee, then just cancel your subscription anytime. It will not take you a month to find it.
If you’re interested in this platform, you can check out their Employer FAQs.
Get Ready with a Video Interview
It will take you a few days to get a ton of responses to your offer. Once you posted your offer and found a great candidate, then you can meet with them obviously over Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. Something where you can have a chat with them. I like Skype because I can actually see their face and I actually know that there are real people.
You want to make sure that:
- They can speak English regularly
- They fully understand what you’re saying.
- You want to make sure that they can write to you in English over Skype.
- You want to make sure that they’re working for themselves. So sometimes there are some who are currently for other outsourcers. This can get a little bit messy, so I would recommend making sure that that’s not the case, and that they are in fact working for themselves
- Make sure that they have the right equipment needed to do the job.
- Observe if they have a great personality and they seemed eager to work for you, and then they seem respectful.
Usually won’t have a problem with Onlinejobs.ph. I mean, obviously, it’s not the perfect platform, but generally, the people there are super, super, super respectful and are super eager to work and help you out. That’s what I would say about that.
Test their skills
The next thing that you need to do is do a test. A test is a sort of trial task for them to do before hiring them and that trial test is going to be those tasks that they will be doing on a daily basis. Remember that you always have to pay them for the test that they do.
So usually my policy is that if I’m hiring somebody to write articles for me, for example, then my test is going to be like that.
And then once people answered and I interviewed them, I would give them this all look during the interview. I would give them the checklist. And I would say, “This is your task. As long as you complete this sit satisfactorily and within the given time limit, you get the job.”
Be selective with the people that you interview based on how they’ve gone back to you and what they’ve said. So you can also do it. I’ve also done it the other way where I’d give the people (who’ve done well on the interview) the test task in the only interview. However, though, I find that that takes a lot longer.
So I think I found that a better way is just to select a few to interview based on their past reviews, based on their profile based on how they replied to my job application. And once they meet all of that, I’ll schedule an interview with them.
And then during the interview, I only have two or three people that I’m interviewing. And then during the interview, I’ll be like, “This is your task, please complete it. I will pay you for it.” and give them a similar, maybe a little bit more than they would get hourly if they were working for you for full time.
Also side notes, going back to hiring, I would also say a good way to know who to interview or not depends on your offer. Include in the description of your offer that whoever’s interested, niece, an email, so and so address of your business address with certain female subjects. And certain things that you want them to talk about. So what I always do as I say:
“Hey, guys. So I’ve already talked about what scales and requirements are needed. If you’re interested in this offer, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line. I am ready to be your writer. I’m ready to be your superstar writer (Something that stands out a little bit like that).”
You can ask the outsourcers through email these questions:
- I would like you to include the previous experience that you’ve had in this field.
- Do you ever have a job that requires you to do these tasks before?
- What other companies have you worked with?
- What other jobs have you had?
- What other skills other than these do you have, any other skills, and what are they just stuff like that?
Anything that you want to know that you think is important, ask them.
This is actually an effective way of choosing the right person for the role because, you will know who’s really serious, who can follow instructions, who is eager, and all of those things who really want a job.
People who don’t really want to job, who don’t really know how to follow instructions are not going to do all of that stuff. And that’s a really easy way to eliminate half of the candidates based on their answers. That’s a really good way to eliminate down to the people who want to interview.
So once you’ve interviewed them, you’ve given them their trial test, they’ve completed their test task on time, and they’ve sent you back the tests asking you paid them. And then if you have more than one who’s completed the task at that point, you just got to read what they’ve written or go through the test task.
My Final Thoughts
Consider outsourcing where it makes the most sense for your business to promote a healthy workplace and better performance.
But, without clear goals, rushing into an outsourcing decision might lead to misplaced expectations for your business. To avoid risking your business, analyze the elements that affect outsourcing and make the best outsourcing decision possible.