Remember your first morning as a freelancer? Like a breath of fresh air in the mountain valley singing to you that you’re free, free at last. In a while, though, you realize that you signed up for challenges way bigger than expected. One of them is a need to hire and manage people.
Every entrepreneur outsources sooner or later. So how do you know the time has come?
When should you consider outsourcing?
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There are several common causes when you can’t handle it all by yourself. You will need another human (or a couple of them) at your disposal when:
1.You have a huge proposal that is too good to miss – It can be either a big load of usual tasks or a challenging project beyond your working capabilities. If it aligns well with your vision for personal development, don’t brush it off. What you need is a TEAM. Use your professional knowledge and management skills to take a lead. Make sure that in the end of the day client gets the desired product from your behalf. And don’t get surprised when it upscales your business.
2.You’ve got a steady flow of routine tasks that take too much of your payable time – Then you need an ASSISTANT – either for yourself or for your client’s business. For example, you pick up the SMM contract, but only enjoy content creation. Hire someone skilled in promotion to proceed further with the content you’ve made.
Same works for your own business. If you spend too many efforts on trivia instead of growing your brand, get someone to clean up your plate. Raise your effectiveness and product quality to make more money. Just make sure you have enough work for your new hire.
3.You’re working on something big and don’t want smaller sidekicks to distract you – Anticipating a very important project? Planning a getaway? Foresee delegating tasks to a SUBCONTRACTOR. Find someone reliable to knock-off minor jobs from your list.
What is the microtask? What can you delegate?
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Any kind of project when broken down into bite-sized pieces turns into a linked chains of the microtasks. Part of them is similar for all businesses – like audit or bookkeeping. More specific small-scale jobs will vary depending on your area. To get a better picture, here are few popular outsourcing bundles:
You can also outsource the bookkeeping, e-commerce, sales, and marketing functions, along with the classic jobs-on-demand – photography, videography, copywriting and graphic design.
Where should you look for help?
The fastest way is online resources. Choose the one according to your needs. Also, keep in mind, that including some wiggle time in your deadlines is always a good idea.
Upwork – after merging with Odesk.com became a biggest pool of freelancers
Freelancer – the biggest tasks resource with bids system
Mturk – Amazon’s outlet for microjobs
Freeeup – hire interviewed and tested talents
Fiverr – for the small-scaled projects budgeted from $5 and up
Behance – best designers and illustrators portfolios
Authentic Jobs – for creative and IT pros
Outsource Design Crowd – a heaven for small design projects
Pro Blogger Jobs – hire professional bloggers for businesses
Bid4papers Write My Essay – go-to place for the academic writers
Translation Cloud – an innovative hybrid translation service
Journalism Jobs – look for brand journalists and PR specialists here
Which timeframe works best?
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The answer will depend on your budget, scope of work, and confidence in a particular hire. When hiring help for your routine tasks, short-term contract works best at first. If you’re happy – and if it’s financially reasonable – try a weekly part-time schedule.
For a project-by-project, it’s better to get contractors with an allocated fee for the task. Same for the big teamwork gigs. As a team lead, you would want everyone to have set compensation for the exact scope of work. This will give you a clear picture of your revenue in the budget.
In the perfect world, after few hires, you would end up with several reliable professionals to go to in need. In the real life, you’ll end up with one if you’re lucky. But if you managed to hire a pro who makes you happy, be sure to nurture this relationship as it doesn’t happen very often.
Have realistic expectations
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If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. The next best thing is to get someone to do it exactly like you would do. To ensure an optimal result, invest more time into proper task-setting.
Start with a test-drive for communication skills.
Top-level communication skills often mark the best reliable professionals. Try testing them before engaging your interviewee into the project. Also, a Skype call (or even several) during test period will do no harm while adding a big heap of personal connection.
Document your expectations.
Write down exactly what you need to be done. Make a list of expected deliverables with clear dates. Put down all your requirements.
If you’re giving out a regular task, break it down into steps. Add screenshots with detailed instructions. Make it into a document, print or send out.
Creating a procedure is a long-term investment in your time. If your hire fails, you can send the procedure out to the next one.
Hint: Fail happens. The chances are high you’ll need to try several contractors to find the good fit.
Give out a low-priority task for a trial.
Don’t come up with a fake job just for the sake of it. Give a minor piece of a real project. In the case of success, you get it done and get to know your hire’s skills in your niche.
Keep in touch and track progress. If concerned, speak up at once.
Schedule regular updates with specific checkpoints. If you feel something isn’t right, speak up right away. Do a quick Skype call, if possible.
Hint: an audio message is a great substitute. It’s less formal while delivering your thoughts more clear and showing engagement.
Outsourcing microtasks: Checklist
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- Analyze your workload, highlight what you can delegate.
- Define the SOW, budget, and timeframe.
- Test several candidates.
- Make the procedures.
- Give out the (paid) trial assignment.
- Communicate good and bad right away.
- Establish a long-term relationship.
When done right, outsourcing will increase your capacity, allow to concentrate more on your core goals and save you more money than you spent. By reinvesting them back in your business, you can take your freelance to the next level.
Let’s grow your income today! Name your business in the comments to get a hint on what you can outsource.