Your first experience with outsourcing some of your workload and it didn’t go the way you’d hoped. It didn’t free up your time in the ways you’d dreamed about and the thought of hiring someone sends the wrong kind of shiver down your spine.
The key to outsourcing success might elude you and hold back your business.
I understand. The first time you hire a VA, it seems like the VA spends more time training you on how to be a good client than actually getting any work done! Or maybe you’ve heard horror stories from other business owners and you are hesitant to try outsourcing.
Many problems with hiring freelancers can be traced back to the beginning of the project. There are four key areas you need to be clear about if you want to get the most value for your time and money from your outsourced team.
First, you must define the scope.
You might hire a freelancer and say, “I want a simple website.” The problem is your request isn’t specific enough. Your freelance web designer could do the site and think it’s finished, but you don’t think it is. Where are the opt-in forms? Where’s the video intro? Where’s the nice branding? You can’t expect your freelance web designer to read your mind, it’s not realistic, but you did.
The secret to avoiding this situation is to think long and hard about what you want from this project. You could say, “I want a website designed using WordPress that has five pages including one with a contact form.” This makes it easy for your web designer to complete the project to your specification.
The second area you need to define is the project deadline.
If you need a website ready to go live in 8 weeks, then ask your web designer to have it ready for you in six weeks. Without a deadline, your project won’t be prioritised and your designer will get around to it…eventually. Life gets in the way, and your website will be delayed if you don’t define your deadlines.
Ask about revisions or changes to your project.
You could hire a cheap web designer. He does the work and you like the site. There’s just one problem, you want the fonts changed or the colours tweaked. So you ask your website designer to do this and they quote you a huge amount of money.
You’re left wondering what the hell just happened. The web designer thought the job was finished, handed it over, and you want something changing and you’re wondering why you’re getting a bill!
Always ask about the cost of revisions when you’re thinking of outsourcing a project. Most freelancers include 1 or 2 rounds of edits for free. Then after that they’ll charge you an hourly rate. Make sure to get that rate in writing so you can refer back to it later if needed.
Be sure to create or have your freelancer submit an estimated timeline.
This can be especially helpful when projects are long-term. For example, you want your website store containing 200+ products switched to a new images. These will take time to create and you’ll need to agree the designs and get them over to your freelancer.
When creating the timeline, be sure to cover what’s needed by both parties. This means you might have a note that in week two, you need to submit the updated product pictures to your designer. This ensures your freelancer doesn’t fall behind schedule because he was waiting on material from you.
Don’t go quiet on your freelancer. You’re not the only client your freelancer has and they can’t allocate their time properly if you don’t communicate with them. If you get overwhelmed with aspects of the project, tell them! If something has happened in your life, let them know you’re not available. When you communicate fluidly with your freelancer, you’ll find that you’ll have fewer problems outsourcing and growing your business.
And if you’re sharing any kind of personal data with your team, don’t forget to contract them properly. Check out our Team Hiring options here;