The reality is that many projects are not a good fit for outsourcing.
Others can be outsourced, but only after you have a good relationship with someone who knows your business well.
Of course, some are great candidates and can be outsourced easily.
The trick is knowing which is which.
When you know which projects and what types of work fall into each category, you will find that outsourcing works a whole lot better for you. And you won’t waste your time and your money trying to outsource work that you are not going to be able to outsource successfully.
Ask yourself these 3 questions…
To hand off a task successfully, you are going to need to do three things. Can you do all three easily?
1. Can you provide a way for your freelancer to learn enough about your business to do the work right?
There might be knowledge about your industry or your clients or your services that they need to acquire.
Think about how much they need to understand; how much of a learning curve is there?
The easiest things to outsource are those that require a minimal amount of information about your business to do effectively.
Now, it might be worthwhile to you to have someone go up even a very steep learning curve if it will let you hand off something that is time-consuming for you on an ongoing basis. But keep in mind that you are paying by the hour, most likely, and so if you can start by outsourcing projects that don’t require much of a learning curve, they will learn about your business while they are doing productive work, which helps keep your costs down.
2. Can you teach them how you want the work done?
What steps do you want them to go through?
If the work is search engine optimization, for example, you may not need to define all the steps – they may know them better than you do.
But if the work is something specific to your business or if you want it done in a particular way, you will need to think through the steps you go through and explain how you want the work done.
Even the most complex tasks can be broken down into steps and taught, but if there are a lot of little decisions that need to be made during the work, and if those require in-depth knowledge of your customers or your market or your products/services, that is going to be hard to hand off to someone else.
At least, it will be hard to hand off until you have been working with someone long enough that they have acquired that level of knowledge about your business.
3. Can you pull together the information and files they need to do the work, and get that to them in a simple and cost-effective way?
That probably means emailing them.
It might mean putting them in the mail or FedExing them.
If it is going to be hard to do that, this might not be a good candidate for outsourcing.
You also need to consider the risk – if you put something in the mail or even with FedEx, you might not get it back. Is that going to be a problem? If it is, this might not be something you can outsource.