Grow Your Business by Outsourcing: A 5 Step Process to Get More Done
If you’re like me, you start each day with a list of tasks you hope to accomplish. And when each task is completed you get to draw a line through it. Doesn’t that feel amazing? (Is it just me?)
When I relaunched my business, I set it up so I could work as a solo-preneur. I knew I’d need help, but I wasn’t sure what kind of help yet. Then my to-do list kept getting longer and longer. The days when every task had a strike through it became fewer and fewer.
That, my friends, is demoralizing. I was moving tasks from one day to the next… even into the next week. It didn’t feel good and I knew the time had come to delegate. I needed time to focus on tasks that actually moved the needle for my business instead of day-to-day tasks that can be handled competently by someone else.
Delegating has never been easy for me. I’ll admit it’s a control thing. But having been through this process a few times now, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ve still got a lot to learn and perfect, but here’s what I wish I knew when I first started outsourcing.
Track your tasks and your time.
The only way to determine where you need help is to figure out how you’re spending your time. Make a commitment (this is not easy – but I promise it’s worth it) to write down everything you do in a day. Stop every 30 minutes to an hour and write down what you’re doing and how long the task is taking you. No one needs to see this (my list showed an inordinate amount of time on social media I’m embarrassed to say).
Now take a look at all those tasks and assign them a value. There are going to be tasks on this list that can only be handled by you. Mark those HIGH value. Look at your other tasks. Which ones could someone else handle, even if they require a little bit of training? Assign those a LOW value (not because they’re not valuable to your clients or your business but because your time could be better spent elsewhere).
Write a description of your dream candidate.
Once you have your list of LOW-value tasks, you can start to determine what kind of help you need. When I did this, it was simple to create an ideal candidate document.
I started with the tasks I needed help with. Based on those tasks, I crafted a list of the skills needed to complete them. Then I finished with a list of my ideal assistant’s experience. If you’ve got the list of tasks, skills and experience naturally follow, and you’ve got a great starting point to find the right fit for your business.
Decide where you’re going to find help.
There are so many options for help nowadays. The virtual assistant market is exploding. And in many cases, these candidates are highly skilled. If you don’t have time to source a candidate yourself, I’d recommend working with an agency. Most agencies work hard to match you with your ideal candidate. And if you’ve already got a list of requirements, you’re way ahead of the game.
Of course, there’s always the overseas option which is much cheaper. In his book, Virtual Freedom, Chris Ducker gives you a step-by-step plan for outsourcing overseas, including understanding the cultural differences and making the most of your virtual relationship. He’s even got an agency that matches you with overseas help.
I have not experimented with outsourcing overseas. I’m most comfortable with stateside help. But I haven’t gotten the right match every time. It took me several tries before I came up with this process of determining my needs and describing my ideal candidate.
Not to go all woo-woo on you (but I’m gonna), there’s something about writing up that description that tells the universe to bring the right person to you. So don’t skip that step… it significantly shortens your process for finding the right fit.
Use video training and project management tools.
Once you’ve found some help, it’s time to make sure your new contractor is set up for success. The problem is, most of us have been working too hard to write down our processes or systems. Our tasks and how we go about them are all over our heads. This makes it challenging to get your new help started.
I listened to a podcast in which the guest described the best way to onboard new virtual help. Use a Chrome plug-in like Loom to record a video of your process. Send it to your new assistant and have them write up that process step by step. Review it with them to double check for any missed steps, and you’re on your way to a systemized task list. Then if a new assistant has to step in, you’ve already got a training manual to make onboarding a snap.
Managing an outsourced team is not easy. But if everyone is clear on their tasks and the deadlines for those tasks, things run more smoothly. Your best option is a project management tool – we like Teamwork. Teamwork has too many great features to mention, but the top of my list is the ability to create templates and recurring tasks.
When a new marketing client signs on, I’ve already got a list of tasks associated with their campaign, and the project is set up to remind us monthly of what those tasks are and when they’re due. Frankly, this helps me sleep at night as I know nothing is falling through the cracks.
Go bigger by identifying strategic partners.
There comes a time in business when scaling with assistants just isn’t enough. Sometimes you need a larger team to be able to take on big projects. This is where strategic partners are key.
As Duct Tape Marketing Consultants, we’ve all built our business on the same foundation, but while many of us have chosen the solo-preneur route, others are scaling with large internal teams. If you’re a solo-preneur, try to identify the teams that would be willing to support you as you grow. There’s something to be said about having another high-level strategic mind to help on a project as opposed to relying on your creativity alone.
Dip a toe in with strategic partners by doing some smaller projects with them. This gives you a true picture of how well you work together. If all goes well, consider formalizing a partnership agreement that allows you to manage the client, while the strategic partner manages the back-end work.
The brilliance of our digital age is that outsourcing is so much more accessible than it used to be. With all the tools available to us, you can easily manage a remote team that can help you grow your business. After all, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
About the Author
Nina Radetich is an Emmy-winning former news anchor who made the transition to digital marketing in 2012.
In 2016, Nina became a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, and through her business, Radetich Marketing + Media, has helped countless businesses grow, all while raising an energetic first grader. Her clients include wellness experts, lawyers, wealth advisors, and community leaders.
Nina focuses on building digital marketing strategies that get results. You can find her at https://ninaradetich.com/