As a entrepreneur we have the tendency to be a control freak, believing that no one else can do a job as well as we can. Realistically, if we want to build our business and be successful outsourcing is not only important area of business, but an essential one. You might feel very nervous about handing over work you normally complete yourself, or you might feel that by the time you explain yourself it is a waste of your time, I can tell you from experience it is not.
I have used two sites now for over a year and they are Upwork and Fiverr.com, they both have been around for quite some time, are growing in popularity and have processes in place to protect your money. You do need to be very careful about who performs your work. That leads me to my very first point of how do you post your work on either site?
1.Know what you want accomplished and have your criteria clearly written or recorded before you post
This means that you should have already either written down, recorded or filmed what work you want accomplished. If it is a task that you do all the time, provide a step by step explanation of the process you want them to follow. If it is a website, ensure that you have all the written material, images, theme, layout organised before you post the job.
Preparation, along with clear outlines and explanations are essential for the end result you expect. If a eight year old child can understand what you have written, then you are on the right track.
Freelancers are not physic, nor can they read your mind.
This information can be written, recorded via audio or you can even video step by step instructions. That way, you can always give this information to the next VA or freelancer.
2.Do you want to deal with local freelancers or outsource overseas?
Dealing with english countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia all have english as their first language and cost a little extra, than a Virtual Assistant from India. I will admit I love the value I get from using freelancers from India, Philippians and Jamaica as I love their work ethic and can communicate my job requirements well. However, since english is a second language, many of them prefer to use written communication over a video or phone conversation that you would normally use locally.
You also need to articulate more clearly your requirements and take a more detailed approach to ensure the finished work meets your expectations.
3.Check their qualifications and experience.
The profiles in Upwork or Fiverr.com will both show you if they are new contractors or if they have a good rating. When first using either service, ensure you use a freelancer that has excellent references, can show you examples of similar work and have a long history of happy customers. Ask them for their LinkedIn profile and their company website as well. Then connect and talk or communicate with them to see if they are a good fit for you and your business.
4.When it comes to payment
Never pay any freelancer upfront. You can deposit or contribute to the funds, but never release any money without setting clearly dated milestones in upwork and place part-payments as they complete your work. With fiverr.com it is prudent to cancel any job that is not completed on time, if a freelancer needs more time, you can then re-employ them with a new completion date.
5.How do you share your instructions with a freelancer?
I tend to use a dropbox or evernote file for each project and then share these files with the freelancer. This means the information is owned by me, the project is always there to be unshared if a VA leaves working for me or does not work out. I can then share the same process or files with the next contractor.
You can use skype and upload files, or the upwork / fiverr.com sites. But uploads are limited and the information could be lost.
6.Decide on how often and where you are going to communicate.
Ensure that you decide on one location to communicate with your freelancer. Will if be on skype? Over evernote chat or via the contractor site?
Discuss with your freelancer how often they should touch base with you. Do you want a daily report or only after they complete a milestone? Make sure your requirements are clearly stated in the initial work documentation.
I hope that these points will help you take that leap into outsourcing. In the end, as a entrepreneur you need to find life / work balance. Outsourcing menial tasks or your social media scheduling is one area of many where it can help you have a successful and productive 2016!
If you have any questions or some other issue you would like to have answered, please share your thoughts below in comments.
Good night and have a wonderful week!