Don’t outsource the jobs you hate!

What to outsource? Not the things you hate!The common answer to the question ‘what should I outsource?’ is ‘something you dislike doing’. But if you’re not used to having someone helping in your business, that can be a poor place to start.

That might fly in the face of everything you’ve been told. Here’s why it’s a bad idea.

With a task you dislike, the chances are that you put it off, and don’t enjoy thinking about it. You may well be lacking a good system around it, and you’re quite possibly not clear about the best way for it to be done. That means that when you hand it over to someone else, you may find it hard to create a clear brief of what needs to be done and how.

And that gets in the way of the most important rule of getting help: you need to be clear about what you want.

So where should I start outsourcing?

Begin with something low risk and simple. That usually means a small task, with a small amount of money changing hands. There are two good ways to look at it: something you can’t do yourself, or something you can, but you could be doing something much more worthwhile.

A task you don’t have the skills or the tools for

Is there an image you want to use for your website that needs a bit of touching up? What about getting someone to come and hang the pictures in your client treatment room? How about getting someone to transcribe an interview you’ve done for your book?

The benefit here is that you can be clear about the outcome. You may not know how to do it yourself, but you know what you want. Know that, and you’re half way there.

Something that you don’t mind doing, but you could be doing something much more valuable

If you do a task regularly, you’ve probably got a good idea of how it works, or of what result you want. Maybe that’s uploading videos, sorting receipts into piles, or doing some basic keyword research. It’s anything that doesn’t need your own expertise beyond understanding the system.

With these tasks, bear in mind that you’ll need to spend time explaining it, and that someone else won’t do it as fast as you do the first time. Don’t let that put you off. Keep it small and realistic. Your goal is to take the first steps of learning how to manage someone else, not immediately win time back.

There’s just one other thing to bear in mind. Make sure that if it goes wrong, it won’t damage your business (such as deleting your website by mistake), and won’t take more than a similar amount of money or a bit of time to put right.

Find someone and go for it

If you’re not sure where to find someone, good places to start for remote tasks might be freelance sites Peopleperhour or Elance. If it’s an in-person job, ask around for recommendations locally. If you’re stuck, try here for lots more suggestions. Remember that you’re making it low-risk, so if it doesn’t work out, it’s not a disaster.

Once you’ve found someone, tell them as clearly as you can what you’d like doing, and what you’d like the end result to be. Agree a deadline, and how much you’re going to pay. Make sure they’ve had a chance to ask questions, and can reach you if they’ve got questions once they start.

Learn from your experience

Once you’ve got the work done, look at how it all went. How do you feel about it? Did you get what you wanted? Hopefully, you’ll be pleased with the result, and it may even have saved you some time already. If so, consider what you did right, and how you could take it a step further.

If not, what went wrong? Could you have done anything differently, such as giving a clearer brief, or being more specific about the skills you needed?

The idea here isn’t to make a step-change in your business, but to start learning how to use someone else to help you. Think of it as low-cost learning for yourself.

Now can I outsource what I hate?

The good news is that outsourcing what you hate is a great idea, once you’re really good at getting the results you want from other people. So once you’ve mastered this first easy step, keep going, and before long you’ll find yourself confident and comfortable to start delegating much trickier things.

7 Steps to Brilliant Outsourcing, my new ebook, gives you lots more tips and techniques for finding the right people, creating a great brief and making sure you get the results you need. Download it here by providing your email address. Don’t worry – I hate spam as much as you do, and I promise I’ll never pass it on or bombard you (and you can unsubscribe at any time). 

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