*Approaches the podium*
Hi, my name is Melyssa and I’m a recovering perfectionist. (This is the part where you say, in unison, “Hi Melyssa”).
Back when I was still doing everything myself for my blog and business, the thought of outsourcing work to other people made me cringe in fear.
It would probably take so long to properly train them that it would just be more work for me, right?
What if their work wasn’t very good?
Can I actually afford this?
For months, these types of questions plagued me, until eventually I took the leap and began to outsource some of my work. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself and for my business. Now, I work with five blog contributors on The Nectar Collective, a virtual assistant on occasion, and a developer who codes most of the designs I create for my clients. It wasn’t easy to let go of some of the reigns, but I can’t tell you how incredible it is to have more help. I have more time to work on other projects and they’ve grown my business in ways I didn’t know how. Are you a perfectionist? Here is how to outsource work even when you’re a control freak.
1. Ease into it.
You’re not hiring an employee with full benefits, you’re just outsourcing a part of the work you do. It makes sense to start small. Not only will this help you test the waters of outsourcing, but it will also help you get to know different workers to find people who are the best fit. Begin with one month of work or a couple small projects. If they’re a good fit, slowly ease yourself into more work with them until it’s consistent.
2. Find people with similar values and work ethic.
Business relationships are similar to any other relationship — if your values are too different, eventually you will clash. This is also important because you want your workers to be passionate about the work they’re doing for you. If they’re not, then they may be unwilling to put in the time it takes to create things at the same level you would. In addition to similar values, I highly recommend finding people with a similar work ethic. It’s much easier to manage new hires when you’re all on the same page.
3. Create very clear guidelines and a process.
This.is.huge! Imagine working for a new business — without proper guidelines, you’d have no idea what your new boss wants. Before officially beginning work with anyone, put together a document with guidelines (I use Google Docs!) about the work you’ll be doing together.
I recommend including things like:
- Background information about your business, so they know more about who your business is from your perspective.
- Goals you have for your business. How are they helping you work toward those goals? It’s easier to do great work when you know that it’s contributing to something even larger.
- Guidelines for the work they’ll be doing. Before hiring blog contributors, I shared a document with them that included everything from the size of photos they should use to what kind of tone we write in on the blog. The more details you provide, the more you’ll receive work that mirrors the vision you have.
- Create a process and deadlines. It’s much easier to manage other people when there’s a clear process in place. This helps you both to stay on the same page. Deadlines or schedules also help, so that you both know when you’ll be receiving new work.
4. Exchange expectations.
Not only does this help you both get to know each other better, it also helps you understand each other’s versions of “excellence” and “success.” In outsourcing work, it’s always better to understand each other first so that you don’t run into complications down the line, simply because things weren’t communicated properly up front.
5. Loosen up.
With all that said, let go a bit. You’re outsourcing work to help you and your business, not to add more stress to your day. As long as you have selected people who mirror your values and have provided them with clear guidelines, it’s likely that they’ll produce excellent work. They may need a little time to get used to things and fully understand what you want, so be patient, too. While striving for excellence can be a great thing, don’t let your perfectionism hold you back, either.
How do you feel about outsourcing work?
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