Outsourcing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Nicole Dean - HTML preview
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Common Outsourcing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
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Hi, I’m Nicole Dean. Surprise! Jimmy outsourced this ecourse to me, his business partner for OutsourceWeekly.com. How appropriate to outsourcing in an outsourcing course, right? :)Let's start with the question that may be on your mind, if you haven't heard of me before. Who am I and why should you care what I say? Here are a few reasons to consider me as your Outsourcing Guide.
1. I earn a very nice living online. It’s enough that it’s our only form of income for my family of four and it gives me the ability to travel and the freedom to do as I please. (I’ve been around awhile and am doing well – not some fly by night scamster.)
2. I successfully Outsource many tasks in my business. At any given time in my own business, I may have upwards of 15 contractors working for me. The types of jobs they do varies from graphics to customer support and everything in between. I’ve had some of the same helpers working for me since 2006 – so I must be doing something right. (I live this stuff.)
3. I have been an Affiliate Manager for several years, and my biggest client is Jimmy D. Brown (who is also my mentor and friend). He’s counseled some of the biggest gurus online since 1999 and is highly respected and is responsible for the success of many of today's top marketers online. This demonstrates that I know a thing or two about being a freelancer/consultant, too, and it gives me the added benefit of seeing both sides of the “outsourcing coin”. Plus, Jimmy wouldn't have hired me unless he thought I knew a thing or two.
4. I outsource tasks in my personal life that are not business-related. Because I view my time as very valuable, I outsource my lawn care, my pool care, my house cleaning, as well as some of my meals.
I tell you these things, not to brag, but to give you an idea of my qualifications so you can better decide whether or not you’d like to listen to me and trust what I have to say. I think you should know a bit about any teacher before you decide to follow their advice. Don’t you?
The biggest thing I want to say up front is that I'm not the typical outsourcer. I won't teach you how to low-ball or to find crummy workers who you can pay peanuts and will do crummy work. I'll teach you how to do as I've done and build your Dream Team.So let’s get started discussing “5 of the Biggest Mistakes that You can Make When Outsourcing AND How to Avoid Them“.
Outsourcing Mistake #1: Waiting Too Long to Outsource. “I’ll outsource later. I can’t afford it yet. Plus, I wouldn't even know where to start!”
Do you find yourself saying that? I can totally understand. I waited too long to start outsourcing, too, and I didn’t think that I could afford it, either. It's very logical and practical to wait until you can afford to outsource, but that logic can cause two big problems, depending on the success you achieve.Or, you could be like I was, and find yourself managing to be in both predicaments at the same time.
Scenario #1: Waiting too long to Outsource — and Sabotaging your Chances of Success.I find this happening all the time, especially with people new to internet marketing. It's best illustrated with a story of two marketers. We'll call them Mary & Marina.Marketer #1: Mary
Mary knows she need a domain and hosting. She spends two months trying to figure out how and where to get those and how to set them up.
Then, she knows she needs a website of some sort, so she asks around and is told that a Word Press blog is the best options for her, so she spends another few months figuring out DNS, installation, and RSS and plugins and widgets.But then she doesn’t like the header or the font size or style or… or… or…
So, she ends up spending another month messing around in her blog, trying to figure out how to make her blog pretty and continues to get more and more jaded about this whole “making money online” thing.
She realizes that she has spent at least four months working on her “online business” and hasn’t even posted one blog post, let alone figured out how to monetize the darned thing. And, after all those months, she doesn’t even like the look of her blog, plus, there are some weird errors, and the RSS doesn’t work.
She’s ready to throw in the towel and hasn’t even gotten out of the gate. Meanwhile, she’s spent over $150 on eBooks that haven’t helped one bit!Marketer #2: Marina
Marina decides to start an online business. She hires a coach right away to ask questions instead of trying to figure everything out herself.
Her coach sends her to a hosting company that she recommends, and helps her choose a domain name and sign up. Her coach then guides her to an affordable designer who sets up the blog, installs all of the plugins and makes it look just like she’d envisioned.
In the meantime, the coach has guided Marina to start writing and recording a podcast. In under a month, Marina is already starting to build momentum in her online business – and is amazed at how easy and affordable this “making money online” thing is.
Now, in these examples, you can replace Word Press with Amember or an Autoresponder or setting up your shopping cart or whatever. The fact is that you don’t NEED to learn how to set up everything yourself, especially if it’s something that you’ll only ever do once.Don’t believe me?
I have nearly 100 websites, and I’ve never once installed WordPress myself. I know that I could figure it out pretty quickly, but I don’t need the mental clutter, honestly. I just go to ReliableWebs.com and they install one for free.
Then, I go to my designer and she does the rest for under $200. Easy peasy. Why on earth would I give myself a stomach ache over all that work? I’d rather be at the beach.
Scenario #2: Waiting too long to Outsource – and then Finding yourself Too Successful.I can talk about this mistake, too, because I did it, too! After crawling my way up the learning curve with bloody little fingers to earn a full time income, I realized that I was now in a different pickle. I was actually successful! Yay, me! But, uh, oh. I had another problem.
With more websites, more customers, more affiliates, more traffic, more everything… you have more work. More hosting and domains to keep up with, more WordPress blogs and plugins to update, more marketing to do, more customer support, more email lists, more stats to track, more everything.
I had created a full-time job for myself, just maintaining everything that I had built. I had no time for growth and I was stuck trying to keep up with everything that I had created.YUCK. I quickly realized that the more successful I got, the more miserable I would be, unless I made some changes – and quickly. So, if you plan to be successful, P.L.A.N. to be successful.
Prepare yourself by learning more about outsourcing from the start. Don’t wait until you need it. You can study my course at Outsource Weekly, or find another one that resonates more with you.
Look around at sites like Shelancers.com to see what Virtual Assistants have to offer, what prices Ghostwriters charge, and where you can find a Designer for a reasonable fee.
Assess your business tasks. First of all, what tasks make your business special? Compare that list to a list of tasks that you dread doing. Take a good look at that list and you’ll find some pretty glaring areas where you can being to outsource very minor tasks while learning more about how to outsource effectively.
Ask your friends for recommendations. What do they outsource? Who do they use? Are they happy with their work?
In Outsource Weekly, you'll learn a new task to outsource every week for 52 weeks straight. But, there's a glitch. I can't teach you how to outsource a tactic until I can explain what it is, the benefits of the strategy, and how to know how it's done right.
Otherwise, you'd be throwing money into the wind by outsourcing things that you may not need to be doing, or outsourcing them to people who don't know what they're doing!So, each week, you'll learn about a new internet marketing activity, like article marketing, Twitter, and Podcasting, as well as how to outsource it. If that sounds like something that can help your business to grow, I'd love to have you in class. Just go to www.OutsourceWeekly.com to check it out.
Outsourcing Mistake #2: Overcomplicating Things
It actually cracks me up how freaked out and over-analytical people get when they start thinking about outsourcing. You already outsource all the time and don’t even realize it.
Think about it for a moment.
• You probably don’t drive your own garbage to the dump.
• I’m guessing you don’t cut your own hair.
• Most people don’t fix their own brakes in their cars.
See? You already know a bit about outsourcing. The roofers came and put on a new roof in 2 days, including pulling off the FEMA blue tarp, fixing the boards underneath that had water damage, and add all the details like the soffits (who knew?!).
If my husband and I had tried to do it ourselves? It probably would still not be done years later, and it would have cost me a whole bunch in marriage counseling afterwards.So, why do we overcomplicate outsourcing in our busineses? Is it because outsourcing isn’t as obvious in online businses as it is in real life?
When you have your roof missing and water pouring into your bedroom, I guess it’s pretty clear what should be outsourced and it’s kind of timely that you make it happen.
However, in our online businesses, we face overwhelm and get all frazzled trying to figure out what to do and who to trust and how to hire them and … and… and… So, we put it off.Let me break it down for you. If you have a roadblock that is standing between you and money –> Outsource whatever it is that’s currently standing in your way.
• Installing software.
• Transcribing Audio.
• Creating Videos.
• Recruiting Affiliates.
If you’ve got a stream of income and you love making money –> Hire support staff to take some pressure off yourself so you can make more.
If you’re a creative type but hate that yucky “marketing” -> CREATE. Hire an affiliate manager or marketing assistant to help you to make more sales.
Guys, it’s common sense stuff here. Stop making it harder than it has to be. Do what you love. Outsource the rest.
Otherwise, you’ll continue to either struggle with or put off the other stuff. Have you ever heard the expression “You’re only as good as your weakest link?” It’s a saying regarding a chain. Think about it. You can have a huge chain like the type that holds an anchor off the side of a ship, or you can have a thin chain like would be in your toilet tank.If even ONE link on either chain is broken, it’s not going to hold on very long, is it? So, take a minute to look at what’s “broken” in your business. Start your outsourcing journey right there.
Of course, if you like what I have to say here about Outsourcing, I invite you to check out Outsource Weekly as I have a whole lot more where this came from. You can get info about everything from “Getting Traffic from Social Media — or Outsourcing It” to “Getting FREE Help from JV Partners, Affiliates, Interns, and Your Kids”.
Outsourcing Mistakes #3: Outsourcing vs. Automating
Let’s say you need to pay your cable or phone bill every month (who doesn’t) and it’s an annoying task that you oftentimes forget and then end up with late fees.
Would you outsource that task by hiring someone to drive to your house, open your cable bill, write a check, lick a stamp, and drop it in the mail every month?Of course not. You’d sign up for online bill pay or find out if they have an auto-pay service at the company. That way it’s handed. Free. Why pay someone for something that can be done automatically by a computer?
Yet, I see people making this outsourcing mistake all the time. Paying someone to approve their Twitter followers.
Paying someone to sort through spam comments on their blog.
The main area that I see this mistake happening is in blogging. There are now WordPress plugins that can pretty much do anything for you. All it requires is a one-time nominal payment to have the plugin installed if you don’t want to do it yourself. Otherwise, it’s totally free.
So, which sounds better to you? Paying a helper every month to weed through your blog comments or automatically having most of the spam completely disappear?Me? If the results are nearly the same, I’ll usually choose free outsourcing every time over paid outsourcing. Wouldn’t you?
Disclaimer: Of course, I’m not talking about using automation software that would take a step towards the dark or scummy side. I hope that’s obvious, but just in case, I’ve said it.
The other option, of course, is combining outsourcing with automation. Make sure your helpers are on top of all of the best tools for the job so they’re as efficient as possible.
For instance, when submitting articles, you can set up an account at an article submission service like Isnare.com and train your Virtual Assistant to submit your articles there.
When submitting videos, you can find a Virtual Assistant who uses a video submission service like Traffic Geyser so that her job is more efficient and effective.
Use the right tool when you’re working in your online business, too. It’ll keep your workload manageable – and decrease your outsourcing bill at the same time!
Outsourcing Mistake #4: Outsourcing the Wrong Things
I’m going to throw a curve ball at you today.
Not everyone needs to write articles, post to a blog, or write an ebook. Now, I love to write, so I do those things. But, that’s because I enjoy it.
Here’s where I see a common mistake. An online marketer hears that she should write and submit articles. She also is told that she should outsource the article-writing if she’s a poor writer or doesn’t enjoy writing.So, she invests her money into a ghostwriter to write articles and a Virtual Assistant to submit them.
She receives the articles – but the content doesn’t reflect her dynamic personality or her experiences. Yet, this is what she she was told that she “should” do, so she continues to spends her money, all the while feeling odd that words are floating around cyberspace and they aren’t hers. (You see, she’s a bit of a celebrity.)
So, then, she hires the same Ghostwriter to pen an ebook for her so that she has an infoproduct to sell. She gets the ebook back and it’s quite good, but it just doesn’t feel quite right. So, the ebook sits on her hard-drive and she is then soured by outsourcing and figures she’s just stuck doing everything herself.
Now, this is in no way a statement that Ghostwriters aren’t wonderful. I know better than to say that. Heck, I use them myself for my niche sites. Ghostwriters have written some of the best non-fiction books around.
My point instead is that someone like the wonderful woman that I’m talking about (who is a real person, by the way) – is a charismatic speaker and interviewer. So, why on earth would she choose to focus on using the written word to market herself?
The internet is all about content. However, if you’re a rock star when you’ve got a microphone in front of you, then don’t force the writing part. And, certainly, unless you need to, don’t hire someone to write for you if you’re working hard to establish yourself as an expert.Instead – record your audios and then hire a transcriptionist to transcribe them.
Turn them into professional-looking .pdfs (or have your helper do this, too). Then… have your Virtual Assistant get them into circulation.
• Submit them to free ebook sites. Send them to your lists.•
• Give them to your customers as bonuses.
Outsourcing Mistake #5: Not Understanding Motivation
Now, I certainly don’t want to scare you away from outsourcing by discussing these common mistakes, but I also don’t want you to think that there are only 5 mistakes that are commonly made. There are many, many more.That’s why continually learning how to be an effective manager/CEO is essential.
It’s important to learn the ins and outs of the technical and marketing aspects of your business, but the #1 skill that you can learn is that of a people manager. You can always find highly-skilled workers who you can leverage to grow your business – if you are a motivating and inspiring manager. In fact, I try to hire helpers who are my peers — or are hopefully smarter than I am. (And, why wouldn’t I? I prefer to be surrounded by my own mastermind group, not a reenactment of Dumb and Dumber.)
On that note, let’s look at our final lesson in this series…
Mistake #5: Not Understanding Motivation
Find out what motivates your helpers and give it to them.
• If your VA loves working on projects, assign projects to her.
• If your helper prefers the solace of working alone, give them peace.
• The option of a flexible schedule? Make it happen.
• Mentoring to grow their own business? Sure. Why not.
• If it’s praise — praise them, every time they deserve it.
Of course, there’s still the money aspect, but you can sure get a lot better work from people by keeping them happy than you can by throwing cash at them while making them miserable.
For instance, now when I bring a new person on board, I pick up the phone and hold a serious interview. It’s not an interview to see if I want to hire the person. I’ve already determined at that point that I do. The goal of the discussion is to help me properly place the person on my team. And, I try to re-evaluate on a yearly basis.
I ask several questions, including “What is at the bottom of your own to-do list?” That immediately tells me where I should NOT place that person on my team.
By asking other questions, I can easily determine if that person thrives with challenging projects, or by knowing exactly what to expect on a daily basis. It also helps me to see if the helper enjoys interacting with others or just wants to be left alone. Does she like to creative or is she more analytical? After chatting with my new helper, I can structure her tasks accordingly to ensure that she gets up in the morning and runs to her computer, looking forward to doing her work with me.Would you want anything else? I wouldn’t.
These discussions have also benefited me in another way. Oftentimes, I’ve discovered hidden talents that I did not realize my new team member possessed. She may have marketed herself as a “customer support” person, but, after chatting with her a bit, I might find out that she’s also incredibly talented at SEO.
So, in order to avoid this mistake, be sure to keep the lines of communication open, and understand exactly the assets that you have available. This will ensure that you can keep your helpers motivated — and that you appreciate their skills.On that note, I will wrap up. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it. I surely have.
You can find me anytime by following my Blog at the link below. Otherwise, check out Outsource Weekly for more tips from me about hiring helpers who will work for you gladly, become your biggest cheerleaders, and help you to make more money!Warmly, Nicole Deanwww.NicoleontheNet.com