What follows is a rough guide to outsourcing work and why it is a smart idea to outsource your work in relevant areas.
Whether you have a small project, small business or a large commercial business, the decision to outsource work may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
First of all, let me tell you of my experience in outsourcing work. I run a website, produce apps and I’m currently producing an indie movie. I only started outsourcing work about a year ago and in that year I have gained experience on the mostly ups, and sometimes downs of outsourcing. This article is subjective and is written off of the back of the experiences I’ve had personally in outsourcing work.
I won’t beat around the bush here. I was once like many other people producing projects and was thinking: ‘I’ll never find anyone who would be willing to put the work in and enthusiasm that I do on specific tasks within a project.’ Well, I was wrong, because that all changed Â when I started to give outsourcing a tentative try, to the present day where I am now outsourcing a lot of tasks. I’ve outsourced graphics, research, articles, videos and a whole host of other project components.
Here is a list of the positive aspects of outsourcing . . .
A Win/Win Situation
In response to my old way of thinking that no-one would be as energetic and enthusiastic in completing a task within a given project as I was, working on my personal project. Well, the business or self employed service provider is working on a project him or herself too . . . I’ll repeat that key phrase here. . .they are usually building a project themselves. They are trying to build the best service possible and want you to be happy, just as you probably are. You can outsource work to speed up your project and they in turn add you as a happy client if they do a great job. They then build up their business and cultivate word of mouth contacts, gain experience, build a portfolio and become trusted specialists to boot.
For example, let’s say you hire an up and coming web designer. He does a great job and you are happy with his work. In turn he gains profit and reinvests it into his business project. You also recommend this business or person to friends or contacts. Your website is also featured in a portfolio in that web designer’s array of completed works. Whose project benefits the most? The answer is that both of your projects are mutually benefited. It’s a win/win situation!
Let’s look at the outsourcing to a talented web designer scenario. Well, it’s real for me right now because I have teamed up with a good web designer Â – Octavian Ristea at Laeta Designs to redesign an app promotion and landing page. Could I design this website on my own? Yes, with a considerable amount of time spent going around a time-consuming learning curve that would seriously eat up my time. Plus, an experienced web designer has had more experience than me and will come up with ideas that would take me ages to think up.
A specialist will be faster too. In fact, an experienced web designer will be up to 5 times faster than I would be with my limited experience in constructing websites regularly.
You Can Choose Your Team
How often have you been asked at an interview this hackneyed corporate question: “Are you a team player. Can you work as a team?” How many people answer “No, I prefer working on my own without interference.” The answer is that no-one, unless they have poor social skills would answer in this way. Instead, we give the hackneyed reply . . . “Yes, I work well as a team and on my own too.” Yawn. It is one of the dumbest questions I’ve ever been asked and it is so automated and impractical. Of course we can work well in a team if the team is a great team. If it’s a dysfunctional team it can be a nightmare!
Here’s the beauty of outsourcing . . . you can build a Â really cracking team right from the start. You can look for like-minded people and really create that corporate hackneyed phrase ‘synergy’ fly in the real world, with real results.
As well as your team being built, the person doing business with you, however large or small has added you to their team too! That’s real teamwork, not a corporate mismatch through automated-like interview selection, eventually patching a team together who are stabbing each other in the back to race up the corporate ladder, due to deliberate attempts by corporations to get ‘team members’ in competition with each other – disguised with such hackneyed titles such as ‘Employee of the month” or “Tops seller” with even a grade added such as “Level 1 achiever” etc, etc.
When you’ve found specialists and built a solid, real relationship with your partners you can really enjoy talking to like-minded people who have enthusiasm and their interests are following a close line parallel to your interests. You are helping each other in various ways and you make real friends. This is in stark contrast to the 1000 Facebook friends who would not even attend your own funeral, let alone notice that you’ve even kicked the bucket.
When you make a connection with someone like-minded and are working on a project together, which is mutually beneficial, it can be really fun. In fact, you can learn a lot from each other in the process.
Make Real Connections
That’s right, you can make real connections. Have you ever watched one of those sales guys or girls handing out business cards whilst drinking free coffee and cookies at a trade show or business convention. Revisit the convention next year and the chances are you will see the same sales reps doing the same exact thing. Yes, they drum up some business and link their employers with services. But you have an advantage, you are not linking up with people via some 3rd party employer. You are linking up 1 to 1. In fact, a smarter approach, instead of handing business cards out at events would be to ask yourself “How can I help this person? And how can we help each other?” If a workable answer comes forth, approach them personally, as this is better than handing out 100 business cards, with %99 percent of the business cards being thrown in the bin.
I have never printed out business cards and never intend to either. In my view it is better to buy a beer for someone you can actually help and write down your email address or Facebook URL on a napkin whilst having a laugh and give it to them personally. First of all, if they feel the same way they will contact you for sure. If they have any doubts they will not. You will also have a genuine personal relationship with them and they know you as a person, which is a lot stronger than being just a ‘contact’.
You may raise the question . . . yes, but they are not real friends as you both mutually need something. Well, this concept falls short in a number of areas. If you give your phone number to a hot girl/guy, is it because you don’t want anything? No. Your are interested in a relationship with them if you find them attractive. Would you hand your phone number over to a girl/guy who doesn’t keep up their personal hygiene? No. You are both looking for someone to share experiences with, to swap ideas, get a feel good factor going.
In any scenario you have to bring something to the table. Be it mutual friendship, a relationship or even an interest in mutually swapping points of view. That’s real life. Outside of your 9 to 5 job, that’s reality, you don’t waste time unless you can both grow from a friendship or relationship or even a business relationship. In fact, even if relationships start out to be a business project, if you make a connection and become a friend, well . . . that’s a win/win/win situation because you can help each other on projects, plus both enjoy a friendship and productive working relationship at the same time.
You Are Already Outsourcing (whether you are aware of it or not)
You may think . . . I’m new to this outsourcing thing, but are you? When you take your car in for a service, could you do it yourself? Of course you could change the oil, check the fluid levels and maybe even change the break pads and steam clean your engine if you put your mind to it. All you have to do is research how to do this, buy a steam cleaning machine, some brake pads, fluids and oil and off you go. But, what do you do – you outsource the work as you don’t have time.
When you go to a local cafe and order a coffee and a sandwich. Part of the treat here is that you are paying for the privilege of relaxing. You don’t have to make the coffee or butter the sandwich, someone is doing it for you and their business is benefiting as a result. What about when you are on holiday and use the laundry service. Same thing again.
Disadvantages of outsourcing . . .
You’ll get the odd disappointing result of a service or a task. That’s life. Cross them off of your list and move on to finding the right team members.
People/services change. Sometimes, someone who you have been working with for a while may change, or take a different route in life. Never mind, remain friends and enjoy the ride while it lasts. You may even hook up again in an area where you are both working on in the future. People move on and you are not tied to each other, so give your team space and they will in turn give you space to take different tangents in life.
Delivery times: Sometimes there will be a late delivery as you are not in control of the process. I would outsource only work where there is not a stressful delivery date looming. If you want more control on delivery dates for a task within a project, either specify a delivery date way before you actually need it, or employ staff where you can control the process.
So, in a nutshell, it may be worth looking at other areas of your work/business that could benefit from outsourcing. It is a circle that is ongoing . . . some people outsource to you, as in when I do app reviews on this site, and sometimes you will outsource to others.
Above all, it’s fun! Enjoy the ride.
Article by Kevin Baker