If you’re a solopreneur that has more work on your plate than you can handle, you have two options.
The first is to let that work fall by the wayside to the disappointment of your otherwise satisfied clients.
And the second is to outsource that work in order to boost your earning potential and keep those aforementioned clients happy.
Sounds like a pretty easy choice, doesn’t it?
That said, successfully outsourcing work to contractors and freelancers isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. From finding the right fit for your business to understanding the fine details that make or break freelance relationships, keep the following six tips in the back of your mind.
Don’t Discount Work Beyond Your Backyard
There’s no denying the stigma associated with outsourcing to foreign freelancers. That said, just because someone works remotely but isn’t from your home country does not mean they’re unreliable.
With many expat workers relying on services like Remitly to send money back to their home countries, such workers are often highly motivated and have every reason to be committed to your cause rather than flake out. Rather than go off of names alone, make sure to look into reputations and track records of your potential hires first and foremost.
Try to Hire Within Your Own Network
There are freelance networks out there such as Upwork or Fiverr to find talent to outsource to; however, such platforms are undoubtedly hit or miss. Ideally, you should be able to ask fellow business owners in your network for referrals and recommendations to help save you time versus vetting an endless list of unqualified candidates.
When in Doubt, Take a Test Drive
The beauty of outsourcing to freelancers is that you ultimately call the shots: you don’t have to commit to anyone until you feel totally comfortable. As such, test pieces and asking for paid sample work allow you to get a feel for your hire so that you know they’re on the up-and-up. Oh, and these test drives are expectations of business owners and freelancers alike.
Expectations and Instructions are Everything
From accountability to avoiding endless back and forth, it’s up to you to highlight what you expect in terms of quality of work and what you want outsourced. Your hires can’t read your minds, so don’t be afraid to get explicit in terms of creating “how-to” docs your workers can regularly reference.
Make Security a Priority
One of the most overlooked aspects of outsourcing is security. For example, consider the need to protect passwords and logins that your workers might need access to. In addition to protecting intellectual property, drafting a freelancer contract is a smart move to sort out your legalese and ensure that you don’t open yourself up to any potential legal snafus.
Find a Balance in Terms of Control
Perhaps the most difficult part of outsourcing for first-timers is avoiding the trap of micromanaging your workers.
Remember: sometimes growing means giving up control in the world of business. Rather than constantly look over the shoulders of your workers, consider relying on shared documents and open Slack channels to keep communication open minus making them feel claustrophobic.
Whether your business is booming or you’re starting to see some upward trajectory, outsourcing is most definitely a matter of “when” not “if.” As such, having a plan in place for handling such relationships will keep you ahead of the loop and help you avoid some major headaches as your business grows.