There’s a reason why everyone from Dell to teenage bloggers outsource – it works!
Finding affordable and specialized virtual team members can reduce labor costs by as much as 80%. Particularly for startups and solopreneurs who can’t afford an in-house team, outsourcing any task offers an opportunity to scale when it otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
However, outsourcing done wrong can be a costly mistake. If you don’t understand how to effectively delegate a project, you’ll end up with a lackluster final deliverable.
The following five steps will help you outsource your first task, and any ongoing tasks, effectively.
1. Confirm that it’s a task and not a project
There’s a time to hire a virtual assistant, and I time to seek out a consultant. Make sure you know the difference. A successful outsourcing strategy begins with you making sure that the item being delegated is a task and not a project.
What’s the difference? A task is an activity with a clearly defined process. For example, creating images for your blog posts or responding to customer service calls using pre-developed processes.
A project, on the other hand, is something that requires serious thought and development. This would be things like creating your customer service protocols, or developing a comprehensive marketing strategy.
When it’s a task, outsourcing to a virtual assistant team is the perfect solution. When it’s a project, consider hiring a consultant.
2. Develop a clear process
Once you know that you have a task that could easily be outsourced, it’s time to develop a and perfect a clear process yourself.
Is there an optimal time to post on your social media profiles? Is there a specific style that you use for your Pinterest images? Do you track leads using a specific software?
Whatever the task is, make sure that you clearly understand the process before trying to outsource it.
3. Create training material documenting the process
After developing the process in step two, step three should be easy. Clearly document the process into a step-by-step guide that can be handed off to your virtual assistant.
Include screenshots, videos, and written content that explains and illustrates the process.
By completing this training package, you will save yourself substantial time in educating a VA on how to handle the process.
4. Find a virtual assistant (or team) that is qualified to manage the process
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, you may need a single virtual assistant, or an entire virtual team. Either way, your next step is to find someone within your price-range that is qualified to accomplish what you need.
Finding a qualified individual is important – as it will save you an additional step in the training process. After all, if someone already understands how to manage social media accounts, while they will need to know the intricacies of yours, they already understand the basics.
To find qualified VAs you can either use a service like Support Ninja, that already has an vetted team of high-quality specialists, or you can reach out to individual freelancers directly using a freelance platform. Either way, ensure that they are qualified to accomplish the tasks at hand.
5. Provide frequent feedback for the first few weeks
Once you have a virtual assistant or virtual team in action, it’s not quite time to go 100% hands off. Instead, for the first couple of weeks, and especially the first few days, check back frequently. Ensure that your instructions made sense and the assistant understands how to follow through based on your needs.
It’s very likely that there may be a few hiccups at the beginning, but that’s okay. The long term benefits will certainly outweigh this initial investment.
Once the first few weeks are completed, the assistant should have a solid grasp on how to manage the task – allowing you to focus elsewhere.
Choose the next task to outsource
Congratulations! After following the process above, you will have completely outsourced your task effectively.
Now what do you do with all of that extra time? Well, we recommend two things. First, spend more of your time on projects that require your involvement and are clear value-add to your business. Second, invest a few more hours into determining the next task you can outsource. Before long, you’ll be running a very effective and efficient business.