James has built his business on outsourcing. In this episode, he and Phoebe share the 7 mistakes that entrepreneurs commonly make when outsourcing, and what you should do to maximize your results!
Both he and Phoebe considering outsourcing to be “absolutely essential.” They advise other entrepreneurs to stop trying to do everything themselves.
Tip #1: Assume that no one will ever do it as good as you
Ask yourself – is this a thousand dollar an hour activity, or a $10 dollar an hour activity?
Not only do the small tasks time up time, but Phoebe also adds that they take up mental space.
James believes that your energy is even more valuable than your time.
Tip #2: Give up if you’ve had, or know someone that’s had, a bad experience with outsourcing
Any business that is successful doesn’t have just one person doing everything. James gives the example of a restaurant, with its servers, bus boys, kitchen staff and management.
Don’t make the assumption that outsourcing doesn’t work, or that all the “good people” are already taken.
Tip #3: Hire fast!
Hire slow and fire fast is the mantra that you should use.
James and Phoebe recommend OnlineJobs.ph (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”) for virtual assistances in the Philippines (general task management, data entry, etc.)
Recommended Steps When Hiring:
- Improve the screening process. Be clear about what you’re looking for in the job post, and give a “call to action” (a specific instruction) to ensure that the applicants are paying attention to detail and can follow directions.
- Set up a Skype call and ask specific questions.
- Don’t just hire them; use a 7-day probationary period.
- Interview at least three people before selecting.
Tip #4: Get one person to do it all
Find someone that has strength, or a “sweet spot” and put them in that specific area. Have different people do activities such as data entry, editing, content creation, SEO and graphic design). Have each person focus, that way they’ll be really good at something as opposed to average at everything.
Tip #5: Don’t bother training them and don’t use processes
You MUST provide training. Blame the process, not the employee.
James recommends people read “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” by Jeff Sutherland (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”)
You need to create an environment that sets people up for success.
James recommends using SweetProcess (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”)
Phoebe films videos for her virtual assistant, to show her the exact process she uses for specific tasks. Using process maps and screenshots can be helpful.
Tip #6: Don’t trust them
Show the people that you hire that you trust them. Remember, “Innocent until proven guilty.” James advises that employers don’t go into an arrangement with scepticism, as that just doesn’t help.
Tip #7: Don’t pay them
Pay weekly, and have them send you a reminder. Remitly is a great resource for paying assistants in the Philippines. Toggl and Time Doctor will help them measure and keep track of their own time (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”).
For project work, if using Upwork, you can set up a contract with milestones. There is also an option to pay a bonus to the person if the job is completed ahead of schedule.
RECAP (What You Should Actually Do):
Know that other people can do it as well as you can.
Even if you’ve had a bad outsourcing experience, or know someone that has, give it another go.
Take your time when hiring and have a process set up to choose the right person.
Make sure you have a few people that can do a specific task each, as opposed to getting one person to do it all.
Train your people, and provide good processes.
Pay your people!