First off, why do we outsource work? Elsewhere in this issue you'll find 7 benefits of outsourcing you may not have considered. But there's also one more BIG reason why we outsource: We are, after all, MARKETERS.
We're generally not webmasters, writers, graphic artists, coders, etc. We are Marketers. And so isn't the absolutely highest use of our time to focus on marketing and let others “sweat the small stuff?”
What then, is the best way to ensure a successful outsourcing outcome each and every time? Having a system in place for outsourcing – a set of rules to guide you, to minimize problems and streamline the process:
Be specific. Always tell your worker exactly what you expect. The more exact you are, the happier you and your worker will tend to be. If you are not specific, your worker does not know what you want. This leaves them guessing and wasting time trying to read your mind. The odds of them being successful directly correlate to how specific you are. Give detailed instructions. Make a video if it's something you intend to outsource over and over again. Write down exactly what you expect, etc.
Tell them your exact expectations, including the level of quality you expect and when you want it finished. Make sure they agree to deliver as you specify. And be sure they fully understand by communicating back to you what it is that you want. If they don't seem to be knowledgeable on the topic and familiar with terms appropriate to the job, think twice before hiring them.
Send them a sample. If it's a video you want made, send them a similar video. If it's a website, show them websites similar to what you want.
Stay in touch. Whether it's through email or Skype, let them know when you expect updates and how to contact you if they have any questions. If you don't hear from them, be sure to get in contact with them.
If you're screening new workers, include a secret word inside your instructions. Tell them to reply with that secret word in the subject line. This way you can quickly tell who took the time to read the instructions or watch your instructional video. Eliminate anyone who did not respond with the secret word. Even if they did know the word and simply didn't place it in the subject line, they still didn't follow your instructions.
This reminds me of a job application question and answer I read online.
Question: “In one word, describe your best quality.”
Answer: “I follow instructions really well.”
When screening new workers, reach out to at least 5 people so you can choose the best one. If you're hiring someone to do repetitive work such as making review videos, hire 5 people to each make 1 video. Then choose the best worker to continue making videos for you.
Be a little paranoid. Let's say you've got a brilliant idea for a new product. Rather than outsource the entire project, break it up into pieces and outsource it to several people. Have one person create the graphics, one make the sales page, one write the articles, etc. Otherwise you end up with one person having control of everything, and this can be bad for two reasons.
First, if they don't deliver, then you have wasted all that time and accomplished nothing. If one person doing one piece of the puzzle doesn't deliver, it's easier and faster to get that one thing done by someone else.
Second, if one person has everything, they could totally rip you off. They might still deliver the package to you, but they could also place it on their own website and start selling it themselves. And if they do that first, they will appear to be the true owner, not you.
I hope these cautionary words haven't turned you off from outsourcing. There are literally thousands of marketers who can tell you from experience that their business only really took off once they started outsourcing. It's the magic that will multiply your skills by a hundred fold and make it possible for you to accomplish far, far more than you ever could all by yourself.