Outsourcing In Business

Outsourcing in Business: The Ultimate Guide

So you’ve gotten through the monotonous early stages of building your online business, it’s starting to gain some traction, and now you’re looking to scale.

You might now be realising that you’re not quite out of the woods yet, after all, deciding when outsourcing in business is necessary to scale can be just as daunting!

You might now be asking yourself, am I going to sacrifice the growth of my passive income business in exchange for control? Or am I going to do build this empire?

You’ve gotta admit, though, it’s not a bad problem to have!

If you’re reading this, you already know that it takes a while for websites to pick up traffic from Google and start earning money, which is why you have to build a lot of them.

The scary thought now is, what tasks are you willing to give someone else control over?  Then of course, who are you going to trust to do it?!

While it might seem more hassle than its worth, done right, and you’ll see your business scaling to dizzy heights! Done wrong though, and you’ll find yourself with cut corners, and shabby results.

That’s why I’ve taken the time to put this outsourcing guide together, ensuring you set yourself up for success!

Outsourcing in Business

Outsourcing For Small Businesses Done Right

A lot of entrepreneurs, such as yourself would look at outsourcing is pretty much the same way as babysitting. Maybe you and your partner are going to be visiting your in-laws or you just want to go out on a night out on the town.

So what do you do? You call your friends and ask around for a babysitter referral.

That person comes to your door and you tell her where the TV is and what to do with the kids and also where the snacks are. You make sure to leave your mobile number with her just in case she has a question or something goes wrong.

This is how most people look at outsourcing. They don’t approach it with a plan, they don’t scale up to it and they don’t make changes to their business to accommodate it. It’s an afterthought.

No wonder why most people who try outsourcing end up failing parts or chunks of their business, They quickly discover that they were in over their heads.

At first, this was my experience, I had this idea that outsource specialists would know exactly what I needed so I was very vague with what I wanted.

The results weren’t all that surprising and I was disappointed again and again but it turned out that the problem was not the contractor, it was my expectations.

I’m sharing this with you so you can know how to outsource the right way. I’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to!

If done right, outsourcing in business can help you scale up your operations exponentially. If you think you’re making a decent amount of money now, just wait until you learn how to outsource the right way, it will blow your expectations out of the water!

That’s how awesome outsourcing can be. On the other hand, if done wrong. It can be a money-pit. Profit from my experience, every piece of advice I’m going to share with you in this article comes from my firsthand personal journey into the wonderful yet often scary world of outsourcing.

Step #1 Decide on what part of your business you will outsource

This is where it gets a little tricky, a lot of entrepreneurs and digital nomads often skip this step.

They think they already know what they’re going to farm out but they fail to realise that whatever work the freelancer does has to fit neatly into their operations.

So many entrepreneurs will just outsource only when they feel that they are short-handed in one particular project. For example, they’re building up a blog and they’re too busy handling WordPress installation, graphics, “core” text, as well as pillar articles.

They quickly realise they don’t have the time to fill out the site with blog posts, so they outsource.

At that point, it’s too tempting to just say, “Here’s what the website is all about, come up with something.” I’m telling you, that’s a recipe for disaster but it happens all the time.

The solution?

Be clear on why you’re outsourcing and how it will benefit you. Instead of focusing on the task to outsource, focus first on why you’re outsourcing it.

There is a right answer here, and that is it’s a strategic decision that will enhance the value of what you’re doing.

It is not a stop-gap or an emergency last-minute decision. Unfortunately, a lot of people approach it that way, it’s an afterthought to them and that’s why they get the kind of results that they get.

You have to incorporate outsourcing into your business into your operations program. I don’t want to sound like an NBA consultant here and I don’t want to be overly complicated being a one-person business, but it’s unavoidable.

You’re running a business so you have to analyse it like one. You have to look at your daily operations and make space for outsourcing in the most profitable areas.

When you do that, you can quickly figure out what you’re going to outsource, what your expectations will be, and how the right outcome will contribute to your profitability.

If you don’t think along these lines, you’re not doing outsourcing right and chances are, it’s going to either be a one-time thing or it’s just not going to give you the return on investment that it’s otherwise capable of producing.

I hope you understand where I’m coming from. I found this out the hard way, I’ve overcome this and I use outsourcing to maximise my profitability. But you best believe that there were some hard lessons learned along the way. Learn from my mistake and engineer outsourcing into your daily operations

Focus on what is essential for your business

The secret to successfully outsourcing for small businesses is that it frees you up to devote your time and focus on the things that will make your business more money. I don’t want to sound crass but it is what it is.

It’s all about the bottom line, and guess what? You agonising over a banner you designed yourself or manually entering data into your website database is probably a waste of your time.

I’m not saying they’re not fun but you have to look at the big picture. You’re a business person and your main job should be spotting opportunities, optimising your business so that it can capitalise on those opportunities you’ve selected, and scaling up your business.

None of these have anything to do with writing your blog posts, finding guest posts for SEO purposes, designing banners, or data entry of whatever form.

Sadly, so many one-person operations and small businesses think that they’re being busy and doing real work when they focus on these types of things.

Don’t get me wrong, these are real tasks and if you do them, you are doing work and you’re keeping busy. But here’s the problem, businesses become profitable not because you keep busy but instead, they live up to their fullest commercial potential because you made the right decisions.

Outsourcing

Decide today whether to delegate, outsource, delay, or delete

If you’re like the typical entrepreneur in Middle America, your to-do list is probably very long.

Here’s the good news: that list is simpler and easier to manage than you care to realise.

I want you to go through each item and filter them through these four categories of tasks and ask yourself:

 “Is this something that I can delegate to somebody who directly works for me or who is already a contractor?”

or

“Is this something that I can outsource to a third-party freelancer or agency?” 

“Is this item necessary and urgent enough to be on my to-do list? Or can I delay it?”  Finally, if the to-do list item is not urgent, “Is it something I can safely forget about, or at least file away until I find the time to revisit this item?” 

Go through your day-to-day task list as well as your periodic big goals objectives and apply the filter that I just described.

None of these means rolling up your sleeves and doing the busy work yourself. You can delegate, postpone, or delete those types of tasks.

You have bigger fish to fry so focus on what’s important because this is what separates businesses that become bigger and those that remain mediocre and small. Which one are you?

Step #2 Decide between types of outsourcing

Now that you have sifted through all the tasks that you are willing to delegate or outsource to third parties, the next step is to pick who you’re going to do business with. This is a very important step and it requires a lot of thought.

Sadly, too many solo bloggers, affiliate marketers, and digital entrepreneurs quickly assume that they need a solo freelancer or an agency. They come in with this assumption which is why they either get burned or end up overpaying.

Neither of those situations are good. You have to put in the time to analyse what kind of outsourcing arrangement would fit your business’ needs.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many fellow entrepreneurs I meet automatically assume that they’ll be doing business with an agency or a solo freelancer. But when I asked them to explain why they picked the option they did, they couldn’t fully explain their decision process. 

If you do this, you’re probably going to leave a lot of money on the table. You have to be clear as to the difference between these two and see whether your business can benefit from these differences.

Believe it or not, a one-man band has its share of advantages and disadvantages and the same goes for an agency. The key is to line up with your business needs along with the outsourcing benefits and risks offered by each of these options.

Solo one-man show freelancers

This is a service offered by one person, but sometimes, they put their name out there however, they subcontract to a small number of people they trust. Still, as far as you’re concerned, you’re dealing with only one person.

This is one of the huge benefits of outsourcing to a solo freelancer, there is direct contact. You don’t have to go through an account manager and if there’s a problem, you don’t have to ask for their supervisor or fill out a form.

Another great thing about dealing with one person is that, generally speaking, the quality of the work is consistent – they produce the graphics, shoot the video, edit the audio, write the blog post, build the backlinks, and whatever else.

Since you’re dealing with just one freelancer, 9 times out of 10, the quality is consistent. This brings up another key advantage of dealing with one-man bands, they’re more likely to be passionate.

This is especially true when you need to outsource creative work. You may be thinking to yourself, “Well my blog just needs a logo.”

You can’t treat it that casually. The right candidate must read your blog posts, pay close attention to your “About Us” page, and get a deep understanding of what your blog is about and the value it seeks to offer its readers.

Then, they will come up with a graphical representation of the values that your blog brings to the table. Sounds complicated, right?

Unfortunately, so many entrepreneurs such as yourself, just go on outsourcing websites like Fiverr, poke around and look for the cheapest person to come up with a logo. Then, that person just uses a template based on the name of your business, and after a few days sends you your logo.

No wonder, a lot of entrepreneurs fail to brand their business the right way. You have to take advantage of the fact that one-man operations tend to be run by passion. 

This will show in their work and your brand value goes up. Compare this with hiring somebody who is not passionate and who’s just doing the work because they’re looking for another paycheck.

They may be able to string their words together in the right way and they might be able to pack the right info in an article, but at the end of the day, that output doesn’t have the kind of soul that would make your brand come alive.

How can it? The person is just looking for another meal or another PayPal cashout. You will often get this attitude when you deal with an agency because agency workers typically feel like they work on a 9-to-5 job. 

However, with a solo freelancer, you’re more likely to tap into their artisanal passion and enthusiasm which might provide the spark that would light your brand up.

The disadvantages of outsourcing to a solo freelancer

I wish I could tell you that if you hire somebody passionate and an artisan, they will guarantee to take your business to the next level, but sadly I can’t say that.

Why? 

Even if you find somebody who’s good, at the end of the day there’s only one of him or her. In other words, they have your problem and that is they can’t scale, and neither can you, that’s why you’re outsourcing.

Well, people you outsource to who are solo freelancers can’t scale either. Three things can happen, either to have to raise their prices, slow things down, or decrease their quality because they’re just trying to get stuff out of the door.

None of these situations are good. Another downside to solo freelancing is that they can get very expensive. Some know what they’re worth, others are just entitled and cocky.

Another common problem with one-man operations is that even if they are sticklers for quality work and very protective of their outsourcing brand, their quality might still suffer if they are stretched out among too many projects.

Problem is, most freelancers, even very experienced people, can’t help but find themselves in that tight spot, and how do they get out? Sadly, a lot of the time, work quality suffers. You have to be ready for this.

And what makes it sting is that you’re paying a premium for this artisan. It’s not like you’re paying this person spare change but you’re paying them top-notch rates to get the job done the right way the first time around.

Good luck getting that to happen because they’ve spread themselves too thin. Finally, if you hire a solo freelancer, there is an off-chance that you may hire somebody who’s temperamental.

In other words, this person is good, knows what she’s doing, takes pride in her work, and delivers solid gold quality every time. The problem is when somebody sees that she is capable of doing that work, her ego increases with every compliment.

They may be set in their ways and they may think that they already know what you’re ordering and how to do it right. Also, if you have different ideas, then there’s going to be a problem, but the question is, are you ready for this kind of conflict?

The advantages of agency outsourcing services

Make no mistake, if you hire a solo freelancer from outsourcing sites like Upwork, Fiverr or even freelancer.com, things can get out of hand. You might not see eye to eye when it comes to project specifications.

The person might put up a fight when it comes to you asking for revisions or in the worst scenario, a refund. The good news with agencies is you’re less likely to suffer any of that drama.

Agencies, for the most part, are more objective, calmer, and seemingly more distant than solo freelancers. For instance, if you come to your point of contact at an agency and say that there’s a problem with the delivery, that person is not likely to take that as a personal insult against their skill level or creative side.

To them, it’s just a customer support issue that needs to be resolved in a certain way within a certain period. There’s a lot of value to this because you’re already stressed and you don’t want any personal conflicts.

Instead, you’d rather go through a process where you just fill out forms, say what you need to say, be given a deadline, and you’ll be right to expect a certain outcome. This is the beauty of dealing with an agency.

There’s less of a personal factor and there’s no temperamental issues or personal pride or ego involved. Also, you can get away with more revisions or in the worst-case situation, a refund, but you have to look at the terms of your engagement.

In many cases, the agency will tell you immediately that they don’t offer refunds and that they will only offer so many revisions, but the good news is, they’re more likely to say this upfront.

Each party is more likely to know where they stand. Also, when you’re dealing with an agency, they do the talent search for you.

All the required talent to take care of your project in the right way the first time around is all under one roof which saves a lot of time.

Finally, you’re more likely to have a long-term partner for your business. For instance, I know people who started off hiring an agency because they just needed a website put up.

But as their website gets bigger, or needs more content, they come back to the agency and their business starts to grow. Many of my friends have stayed with the same agency over several years.

Compare this with hiring a solo freelancer when you’re just starting, they have very basic skills and offer cheap services on Fiverr. At that point, that’s all you needed and could afford so they do a good job.

But now that your business is making a decent income, it’s probably a bad idea to go back to that same contractor because they can’t scale up. You might have so many moving parts for your business upgrade or your new subsidiary.

You don’t have this problem with an agency, they have many different levels of customers and they are more readily available to scale with your business.

The disadvantages of hiring an outsourcing agency

Whether you’re outsourcing graphics, writing, SEO Marketing, or data analysis, keep in mind that agencies are not perfect. They have their fair share of downsides.

First of all, quality might not be all that consistent. This should not be a shock because when you’re dealing with an agency, you’re dealing with a company that farms out your work to either their in-house employees or their network of freelancers.

Another downside to outsourcing via agencies is that the average quality of the work that they produce might be mediocre. I know that a lot of agencies talk a good game about quality and how committed they are to it, don’t believe it.

Just like any business that deals with a lot of staffers, things can get bureaucratic quickly. What do bureaucracies, whether in the private sector or the government have in common?

That’s right, they all tend to concentrate on the middle of the curve. I don’t know about you but the middle of the curve is mediocrity, it is not excellence.

That’s gonna be a problem for you because if you truly want your business to succeed and live up to its fullest potential there is no space for mediocrity, which brings up the final drawback to dealing with agencies.

There’s always the danger that they will recycle their work. Some agencies are more blatant than others but there’s always this risk.

What is recycled work?

Well, it’s not like they take one graphic that they did for a client and then give it to you and tell you to use it as a logo. I’m sure that happens, but it’s never that blatant.

Instead, they would use templates, in and of itself, there’s not a problem but if people get lazy or if the agency has a tough deadline to meet, it’s just so easy to just cut corners and just go through the motions.

For example, you need 100 product reviews for a big authority review site that you’re launching, I know for a fact that some agencies would send the same template to all their freelance writers and say stick to the template.

But what they’re doing is they’re recycling their work, there’s no creativity and there’s less incentive for the freelancers to come up with something new.

Sadly, this is exactly what your website doesn’t need because you don’t want to feature content that your readers can easily find everywhere else. Do you see the problem here?

You have to decide based on what your business needs.

Factors When Considering Types of Outsourcing

I understand it’s rough deciding between different types of outsourcing, but you have to consider the following factors so you can make sure that you get the most bang out of your outsourcing buck:

Outsourcing

#1 How far along are you in developing your business?

If you’re just starting, it makes more sense to hire a solo freelancer because they can be faster and they’re usually cheaper.

This way, you can experiment and “throw spaghetti at the wall” until you find something that sticks. Hiring an agency at this point may be too expensive and may take too long.

#2 How much of a budget do you have?

A lot of entrepreneurs just focus on this factor and forget about everything else. I’ve put this in as a secondary factor because your development timeline is more important.

Still, you have to think in terms of dollars, cents, how much cash you can afford right now? Decide between speed and quality.

I hate phrasing things this way but in certain stages of your business’ development, you have to weigh speed to implementation and overall quality. In many cases, it makes more sense to build up the site, warts and all so you can test it.

What’s crucial is that once your customers tell you that there are some issues with the site, you can fix them in pretty much real-time by outsourcing as quickly as you can.

The good news is, the sooner you implement your idea, the faster you can get the kinks out.

This will then position you to improve the quality and value that you deliver to customers. Compare this with insisting that everything should be perfect from day one.

Sometimes you have to focus on speed and then optimise later, but in certain situations, it is much better to launch right because that means fixing problems will be cheaper down the road.

Sadly, the only person who would know the answer to this key question is you.

You know your business like the back of your hand and you are in the best position to pick between whether going with outsourcing websites like Fiverr or Upwork or going the agency route.

Also, keep in mind that Upwork also supports outsourcing services from agencies so you can recruit both types of freelancers on that platform.

#3: Be clear on your deliverables

It’s really important to be as clear as possible about what you want done, what the items are for, how the contractor will produce them, and how you will use the deliverables.

This might seem basic. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs think this is unnecessary. At the back of their mind, they believe they already know what they’re looking for.

Sadly, this is the reason why so many outsourcing attempts fail. You think you know what you’re looking for, but the truth is you have this “I’ll know it when I see it” attitude.

It’s not a surprise to see why there’s usually 3 outcomes to outsourcing.

The first outcome: you’re completely disappointed

You just told the freelancer or agency “I want articles on these.” or “I want this type of graphic.” or “I want more traffic.” The agency or freelancer did their job and you are unhappy.

Here’s the problem. They can’t read your mind. You have to be more specific. This is where your specification sheet comes in. You have to answer all the questions that I have listed above. They have to be there otherwise, you really have no right to be disappointed.

Let’s put it this way. Your contractor can only give you back what you give them. If you give them very vague instructions, it’s anybody’s guess what they could come up with. If they’re true professionals, you know they’ll do their best.

Sadly in this situation, their best is never going to be good enough because you did not give them enough information.

The second outcome is actually more dangerous: the work is “good enough”

You can’t quite put your finger on it, but the output by your freelancer is good enough. Maybe you can tweak it up a little bit or you can just plug it into your operations and call it a day.

This is dangerous.

Why?

First of all, you don’t know what the effect on your bottom line will be. You’re just looking at your operations as needing a quick fix or there is some sort of break or disruption somewhere. You just need an easy solution.

People with this mindset don’t really analyse the work they got back. Instead of using this time to truly understand how the output of the freelancer can help their business or how they can come up with better specifications next time, they just look at the surface.

They ask themselves “Does this look halfway right? Does this fit what I already have going on? If the answer is yes, then it’s good enough.”

You can’t build a solid business on “good enough”. You know what will make your business live up to its fullest potential? Here’s the one word answer: excellence.

This is a very dangerous situation because first of all, you’re filling your website with mediocre stuff or output that on the surface may look legit, but has issues that can bubble up to the surface later on.

You don’t want to find out in the worst way possible what these problems would be.

The other danger here is the fact that you are reinforcing your mental laziness when it comes to outsourcing. If your attitude is “This is good enough” it’s only a matter of time until you apply that same attitude to other parts of your business.

You probably already know that any false move in those areas of your business can spell trouble either immediately or later on.

Either way, you’re going to lose money and you’re going to lose big time. The worst part to all of this is that it will come as a surprise because you just don’t want to be bothered.

The third outcome of freelancing is excellence

Now you may be thinking “This is great! This is awesome! This is the best!” Here’s the problem.

A broken clock can be right twice a day. Even though it’s easy to get excited when the clock gets the time right, you still have the rest of the day to worry about.

Yes, if you are lazy about spelling out your specifications, many contractors and agencies are professional enough to deliver top-notch work. But you can’t rely on this type of good luck to spare you the kind of work that you need to do.

You need to be clear about your specifications. Insist on them. You need to tie them to actual results. This way, you become business partners with whoever you are outsourcing to.

They know more about your requirements and they make the necessary changes. You also understand their limitations and make certain adjustments. This way, you start growing together and it becomes a partnership for success.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen businesses develop unhealthy and unhappy relationships with their production vendors and contractors. It’s like an unhappy marriage.

Either people are walking on eggshells or they just really don’t like each other, but nobody has the guts to step up and say “This is what we want. This is what we’ll insist on.”

By being clear, you do yourself a big favour and set the relationship up in such a way that everybody knows their roles, how far they can go, what is expected of them, and, most importantly, the results that their output is supposed to produce.

This is how you run a successful business. Unfortunately, thinking that just because the results are excellent from time to time and assuming the best is really just postponing the crash that will happen eventually.

At the very least, you have to tell your contractors what they’ve done right so they can repeat it again. Don’t stop there. Work with them so they can keep optimising their results so you get even better outcomes.

At the end of the day, the reason why freelancers are in business and why agencies even exist is your success. Look at this whole situation from that angle and you will succeed. Avoid the 3 outcomes that I discussed above and their matching attitudes.

How to set up outsourcing project specifications correctly

Step #1: Begin with the outcome you want 

Don’t just automatically say “I want SEO.” or “I need an Instagram account set up.” Ask yourself “What is the ultimate outcome of this outsourcing project?”

The good news? It’s always the same answer. You want more profits. Anything else won’t do. Let us be clear on this point.

So many businesses fail because they’re chasing after this elusive goal called “branding”. I’m telling you, even if people talk about you and know your face, if you don’t know how to convert that notoriety or fame into cold hard cash, you’re doing it wrong.

Sooner or later, you’re going to run out of gas. It really is that basic. Focus on your bottom line. Don’t get all caught up in the “intermediate” form that you need to go through to eventually reach greater profits.

Keep it simple.

The problem is a lot of entrepreneurs think that getting more traffic is the end goal itself. I’m sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, but you can’t get all the traffic in the world if you don’t know how to convert all those clicks or if those clicks are coming from the wrong places and the wrong people who couldn’t care less about what you’re offering, nothings going to happen.

Be clear on the outcome. Allow it to motivate you. Allow it to give you the clarity that you need to clearly speak out the rest of your project’s instructions.

Step #2: Identify and choose among the different “intermediate forms”

I used the phrase “intermediate form” because traffic, better graphics, better content, and many other things that go to a website or a marketing campaign are exactly that. “Intermediate forms”

They’re just tools that help you pull traffic from the internet and convert that traffic into cold hard cash in your bank account. Be clear on what your project’s intermediate forms are.

Since your grand objective is to make profit, the next planning stage is to clearly think about what forms that money has to take before it materialises in my bank account. For instance, I run a lot of websites and this is how the temporary transitory forms usually link with each other.

I start out with by visualising myself looking at my online bank account and there are several thousand extra dollars.

I then look at an earlier stage. This is where sales come in. Either I made the sale directly from a dropshipping website I set up, or I sold somebody else’s product and I earned a commission.

These are 2 totally different types of transitory forms of money. So I have to look at my business from this perspective. I start with the outcome I want, which is very stable, and then I look at how I plan to earn that amount.

Finding The Tasks to Outsource

So I look at the model of converting online traffic. This is where I plan out what I will outsource. In the case of my websites, I will need content that appeals to a certain audience. Those audience members use certain search terms and plug these into Google to find content.

What this tells me is that I have to hire a freelancer to find those keywords. Maybe they know how to use SEMrush, Majestic, or Ahrefs or some other high powered SEO online tool.

Now that I’ve squared away the list of search terms or concepts my target audience are interested in, I have to get content built that captures those keywords.

People are not going to be searching on Google because they have nothing better to do. They’re looking for specific types of information. They want to get value from that information.

This is the part where I start outsourcing content to writers.

I have to be clear what those keywords are or what the target audience is so they can come up with content that would appeal to that audience. Once I get the content back, I have to make sure that it’s published right.

I can do this myself or I can write a specification sheet spelling out what I want to see happen.

After my content has been published, I will need backlinks or votes of confidence from other websites or pages that target the same audience I do. Again, I can outsource SEO tasks like this to a freelancer or agency that specialises in search engine optimisation.

Once that’s done, I can then start getting traffic, but I have to turn this traffic into money. I can hire an ads manager to experiment with different affiliate programs or set up a dropshipping business for me so I can convert as much of the traffic that my site is getting into cold hard cash.

I can also hire an email marketing specialist to set up a newsletter for my website to turn as much of my traffic into mailing list members. Every time I send an update, there’s a chance that people will go back to my websites, see an ad, and buy something.

The Bottom Line

When you think of your specifications sheet, focus on the outcome and how it plugs in to the rest of what you’re doing. Don’t look at it in isolation.

For instance, when I described my operations above, look at the interplay between content, presentation, and the newsletter.

They all go hand in hand. I could’ve also added outsourcing social media marketers to promote my blog.

Provide Examples with Outsourcing Specs

As much as possible, break everything down into a step by step process. This way, there is less room for mistakes. When there’s a mistake, you’re going to waste time. That alone makes the whole outsourcing process more expensive.

Time, after all, is money. Spell it out for the freelancer. Assume that they have absolutely no experience and don’t know the first thing about your business.

It also helps if you have specific examples of output that you would like the contractor to be inspired by or flat out copy.

The bottom line?

The less mystery there is in your specifications, the higher the chance you will get what you expected and the deliverable will actually do what you want it to do.

Using Fiverr Outsourcing in Business

What follows is a step by step guide to outsourcing on Fiverr the right way.

Fiverr Outsourcing

Step #1: Make sure your specifications are clear

Double check. There must be no room for confusion. Be sure to include details of your brand, the message you’re trying to convey, the desired outcome. Mould the freelancer into your ideal employee for this task.

Step #2: Establish your budget and minimum quality expectation

When you study your specifications closely, your quality expectations must jump out at you. It should be fairly obvious. This also means that you’re going to have to step up when it comes to your budget.

Don’t fall into the common mental trap that a lot of entrepreneurs looking to outsource work to Fiverr usually fall into: expecting $5 Ferraris. Think about it. They only want to pay $5, but they expect Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci to design their banners or other graphics.

Sorry, not gonna happen. Be clear about your maximum budget and the quality that you’re expecting. Remember, the old rule of “you get what you pay for” will always apply. It doesn’t matter what platform you’re on.

Step #3: Filter based on relevance

Do a category search on Fiverr and drill down on the specific type of work you need done. Look at the portfolio and reviews of the prospective candidates.

Step #4: Contact each prospect before making a decision

Contact them with your full specifications. Make sure it’s complete. This means there are sample links there.

Get their opinion. Ask them “Have you done something like this before? If so, send me samples.”

Step #5: Play the numbers game

It’s important to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. I have to admit, there are some contractors on Fiverr that seem like a natural fit for a lot of the work that I farm out. But I also know they’re very busy.

This means that they might not be able to put in the right amount of time into my project. So I hedge my bets by contacting as many different specialists as I can.

Send out your specs and ask for samples.

Step #6: Don’t be afraid to ask for free custom samples

Some gig sellers on Fiverr are so motivated to find new customers that they would actually give you a full mock up of the kind of work you want done.

Maybe you’re looking for a logo. Don’t be surprised if you ask for a custom logo just to see if they have the skills for your project. Tell them to watermark it or do whatever they can to protect their intellectual property.

The idea is to just give you a dry run as to what they can do. Don’t be surprised if many gig sellers take you up on your offer.

Step #7: Make your selection, but think in terms of alternatives

Once you have picked a contractor, always have a plan B and C. Here’s the rule of thumb on Fiverr. The best are also the busiest. They may have done a great job with their portfolio, but once they get around to doing your stuff, they might come up with disappointing output. It happens.

The good news is you’re prepared for this because you have a plan B. You ask for revisions and if it’s not panning out, you may cut your losses with that contractor and go with your plan B.

Step #8: Immediately use the output

I can’t insist on this enough. A lot of entrepreneurs who try outsourcing really treat the process like it’s magical. They think that as long as they’re going through the motions that somehow, their business would be a success.

Wrong!

You have to build something. If you had graphics done, get it put up on your site. If you had social media accounts done, actually publish social media content. This should be pretty straightforward.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think that as long as they’re going through the checklist and doing the bare minimum by outsourcing that somehow, things will fall into place. That’s not going to automatically happen unless you actually use the output that you got from your freelancers.

Step #9: Optimize your results

Now that you have freelancers working for you, take a look at the results. You had keywords researched. Now, you’re targeting these keywords. Are they panning out? Are you getting more traffic? Is that traffic converting?

If not, then you need to order different keywords and see if the content based on those will perform better.

Similarly, if you have an email system set up, pay close attention to what percentage of your list members open your emails. Maybe you need to invest in better email titles as well as email content.

Use outsourcing to level up your operations. Don’t think that once something looks good to you that it will automatically produce the results that you’re hoping for. It doesn’t work that way.

Sometimes, things that may look ugly, disjointed, or simply don’t make any sense to you somehow work. Be prepared for that possibility.

Step by Step Guide for Using Upwork For Outsourcing In Business

For Upwork, you have to post your specifications on the system first. Registered freelancers on that platform will see your post and bid on a project.

This is the complete opposite of Fiverr. With Fiverr, you look at the ads posted by the contractors and you make a choice as to which gig seller fits your project.

With Upwork, you’re on the receiving end of the offers. Let’s take a look at how to sift through the abundance of offers you’ll end up receiving.

Step #1: Look at past performance

Being a contractor on Upwork is very challenging, to say the least. You suffer from the chicken or egg problem.

How can you get clients when you don’t have a track record on Upwork? How can you build a track record if you don’t have any clients? Do you see the problem?

Fortunately, this is not your problem. You are the person looking to buy services, not sell them. It is really important for you to insist on a track record. Sorry newbie freelancers.

You have to look at the kind of work that person has done in the past and how closely related these are to the types of tasks you need performed.

You also need to look at how much of their total assignments they actually completed. This will save you from a lot of headaches later on.

There are many contractors who will take on a project but fail to complete it for whatever reason or the project is broken down into several milestones and the contractor works up to a certain milestone until the client becomes unresponsive. It happens.

Be aware of this factor because you may be entrusting your project to somebody who may not be able to complete it. They may not have the time or the skill set to go all the way.

This is especially true when it comes to web development, software coding, and app software development.

Step #2: Look at their reviews

Pay close attention to the reviews of the people responding to your project post. Do you see a pattern? Does it look fake?

Pay close attention to the jobs those reviews were for. Maybe they’re very basic and have very little to do with the kind of project you’re thinking of having these contractors work on.

Step #3: Pay attention to how responsive the contractors are

One of the biggest hassles with freelancing is when the client feels left in the dark. This happens quite a bit. You pick a contractor on Upwork and you don’t hear from them. Who knows what they’re doing. It’s anybody’s guess when they will deliver.

Pay close attention to how quickly they respond. They may be dropping clues unconsciously as to how they’ll treat you once you select them for your project.

Step #4: Set up milestones

You don’t want to get burnt when outsourcing on Upwork. Thankfully, this platform allows you to set up milestones for your project. This means you don’t have to pay into the system all upfront. You can pay in installments as the work gets completed.

I suggest that you use this system when getting web development done to protect you against somebody going to a certain point and then ditching the project.

Step #5: Send feedback quickly

If something is off or you’re not entirely sure how the output would produce the outcome you’re looking for, speak up immediately. Let the contractor know.

This way, you’re not dancing around eggshells and just hoping and wishing that they will read your mind. It doesn’t work that way.

Step #6: Be open-minded about outsourcing services from agencies

There are many agencies on Upwork. They bid on projects all the time. Be open minded about hiring them. This is especially true for really large projects or projects that have many different complicated or “moving parts”.

Just make sure you get along with your contact person. This is the person who’s going to act as the project manager for your order.

Step #7: Don’t burn any bridges

Finally, make sure to leave fair feedback when the project is done. This means that you’re going to focus on what the contractor did right and what could use some improvement. This is not the time to rant or “get even” with the contractor.

Instead, please remember that people do talk. If you develop a reputation as a “problem client”, contractors won’t touch you with a barge pole. The bad news? Lousy contractors would be drawn to you.

The ones who will run away from you are exactly the ones you’d want to work on your future projects.

Do you see how this works?

You will lose out ultimately if you burn your bridges. It’s one thing to state objective facts as to what happened, it’s another to insult companies and specific people.

I know, it’s very easy to get heated if you’re disappointed, but a little bit of diplomacy can definitely go a long way.

Outsourcing Best Practices

These best practices apply for all types of outsourcing, regardless of the platform and task that you’re looking to offload.

Get everything down in writing

Make sure that you store your specs in different versions so you’re always aware of any changes over time.

Always ask for referrals from your contractors

If you’re particularly happy with the work done by a freelancer or agency, ask them for referrals for related work. For instance, you got some content done. The next thing you need done is guest post outreach.

You need links to the content that you just received from your freelancer. Oftentimes, these specialists would know other specialists. Tap their network. Don’t waste this opportunity.

Reinvest your profits into automation

As much as possible, set up a semi-automated outsourcing system. This means signing up for a Dropbox business account. This also can mean signing up for long term marketing tools like Ahrefs or Majestic.

This way, your SEO specialist will have the tools that they need. If you’re hiring writers, it’s also a good idea to have Copyscape premium credits as well as opening a premium Grammarly account.

By having these tools ready, you can attract more efficient and more productive freelancers.

Use Google docs to set up an outsourcing project management board

You can use Google sheets as part of Google drive to clearly monitor who you outsourced which project to and when you expect the output to come. You should also list down your quality specifications on that sheet.

This way, you know exactly when things will arrive for your review.

Make sure you review thoroughly

I know you’re busy, but when you outsource work, put in the time to review thoroughly enough so as to know whether you’re getting what you expected. It’s really unfair to contractors for you to just check out one part of the deliverables and draw all sorts of conclusions from it.

Maybe you just looked at a really rough section and the rest is perfect. It’s not fair to them and to you and you end up risking burning bridges with that contractor.

Put in the time to thoroughly look over their work so they can see if they’re on the right track. 

Final Words on Outsourcing in Business

If you’ve read this far, I applaud you, you must be serious about progressing and taking your business to the next level by outsourcing business tasks to increase capacity.

If you follow this guide, you’re sure to set yourself up for a pain-free outsourcing experience, giving you all the tools you need to scale your business while maintaining stringent standards for quality.

Happy outsourcing!

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