3 steps to outsourcing mastery (discuss)

bernard

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1. Do it yourself first

You need to be able to do what you want outsourced or at least have some idea what the task is about. Otherwise, you'll overpay, you'll end up with stuff that isn't good enough and it'll be a hassle all around.

2. Outsource to an agency

You're ready to outsource, but you feel intimidated about the process. That's where an agency comes into play. With an agency, you will be talking to a project manager, who is your single contact point. You tell them what you want and they make sure it gets done. Outsourcing to an agency will also teach you how to communicate your requirements in a concise manner and it will teach you how to measure profitability of outsourcing.

3. Hire a freelancer directly

Last step is hiring a freelancer to work for you directly or maybe even in-house. When you've achieved enough experience in how to work with outsourcing through an agency, you should be ready to hire a freelancer directly. Now you know what to order from 1. and you know how to order it from 2. and you know how much it should cost you and how you get your money back.
 
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I disagree.

It depends on the task. Do you have the common sense or skill or knowledge to do it? If so, do it yourself, time yourself, and write down an SOP. Then, make a job ad, which looks for someone with the knowledge and skills needed to do the job. Then interview them to see if they're a fit with you, train them in the SOP, and then have them report to you. This assumes that they do not need to be supervised to do the job (ie reliable). If you're hiring many people for this one role, make the most responsible one the manager.

If you do not know how to do the task, you'll need to hire the human capital to do so. Therefore, you post an ad up, seeking the profession you're looking for. During the interview, you have a dialogue with the candidate. Can he or she understand the problem you have? Does he or she have experience in a similar role where he or she had the experience that'll solve the problem? Is he or she able to explain, in detail, his or her approach on how to solve the problem? Here, you're checking if the person has the knowledge required to solve the problem and the knowledge is something you yourself do not know, hence why you're hiring someone who has it. If they do, you just have to talk to them about it and comprehend their world view.

For example, our company has a 4.5 star out of 5 star rating on TrustPilot. We did this by hiring a guy from Amazon. He took Amazon's customer service policies and applied it to our company. I never valued customer service before but, likely for the company, the other two guys seen the importance of it and hired him. This makes our product better, as we're in the service industry. Customers have their inquiries replied within minutes, while the call centers are staff at the right amount to handle their inquiries. The agents are also trained on the etiquettes of dealing with customers so that, for both them and the customer, everyone leaves the interaction happy.

It's pretty good, actually. We might hire a data scientist too. We'll see.
 

Ryuzaki

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if you don't mind me adding to the list...

4. Your satisfaction depends on your willingness to be specific

Don't be lazy. If you just need filler content, for instance, then you can be vague. If you have a specific result in mind, you have to communicate those specifics. You can't expect people to be psychic and know what you're envisioning.

This means creating training documents and videos, standard operating procedures, templates, outlines, do's and don'ts. Eventually you'll save time and increase the quality of your results by refining these documents until they fit all of your needs, and then you can quickly add on the specifics for the unique case you're ordering for.
 
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if you don't mind me adding to the list...

4. Your satisfaction depends on your willingness to be specific

Don't be lazy. If you just need filler content, for instance, then you can be vague. If you have a specific result in mind, you have to communicate those specifics. You can't expect people to be psychic and know what you're envisioning.

This means creating training documents and videos, standard operating procedures, templates, outlines, do's and don'ts. Eventually you'll save time and increase the quality of your results by refining these documents until they fit all of your needs, and then you can quickly add on the specifics for the unique case you're ordering for.
If you never wrote an SOP before, go read a play. In a play, it gives you the background, the characters, what they do, what they say, and even gives you some information about the characters, such as their age, disposition, etc. Writing an SOP is very similar to writing a plan in that, instead of having characters, you have roles. You define what the role's purpose is, what the role does, and you might even define how the role might greet a customer, as an example. Unlike a plan, where the ending is the resolution of the conflict that occurred during the plan, the ending of the SOP is whatever business objective that is, whether it be a satisfied customer, a resolved customer problem, more backlinks, or whatever.

Then, once you've written your SOP, you need to train your employees on the SOP. It's basically a dress rehearsal so that everyone knows their roles. The SOP might be for 1 person or a team of many different people and roles.

Once everyone's trained, you need to measure your KPIs and monitor the performance of the team. At this stage, evaluate the SOP and make adjustments to it in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the SOP. Take input from your team as they do the SOP daily but don't rely on solely them for input, since they don't have the same scope as you, the one overseeing the operation. (This point also highlights how important it is to train employees to the SOP since, once the SOP changes, they need to change their actions in accordance to the SOP).

Once you have a good SOP, you can promote a skilled, knowledgable, smart employee into a manager role and have him run that operation. Then you're off to create a new team for your company :smile:

How do I know this? I have a team of 18 employees and up to 60 contractors. This is actually a task of a manager, which I think a lot of people here do not know, since people here are mostly freelancers or solo-entrepreneurs. It's a really good skill to have and I highly recommend you practice it!