This is part 3 of a 3-part series.
Ok, so we’ve covered a lot of ground in Part 1 and 2. Here’s where we take it all to the next level.
If you haven’t read those, now would be a good time to do so, otherwise you won’t get the full value out of this article that you might.
Then let’s go!
Where we left off at the end of Part 2 was that you’ve got some projects to move forward, they’re all planned out and now you need to start entrusting parts of your business to outsiders.
And that’s sort of like trusting your kids to a new babysitter. Sure the idea is awesome, getting that freedom and such, but are they REALLY going to do a good job? Will the kids be intact when you get back? No house fires, police calls or other general panic inducing chaos?
I get it, I really do. So here are three rules to live by when working with new people:
#1 Start Small
Have you ever heard horror stories from people who spent a boatload of money upfront on getting other people to handle a project for them to then find out those outsourcers took the money and delivered crap results? Or no results?
And if that was YOUR horror story, I apologize for bringing those memories back up. It can definitely be a pretty scarring experience. Enough to turn some people away from outsourcing forever which is the real crime because, well, go back to what we covered in Part 1 – about people not getting more than 24 hours a day.
So here’s how we make sure this never happens to you (again):
You can commit to the whole project, but start with a first step. And only pay for that first step.
So those people who spend $5k or $10k on a website only to get ripped off? What if they said – design the home page for me. Or design and build it. JUST the home page. Once we reach that milestone we’ll see how things go and I’ll pay you for the next step.
After all, if that outsourcer or company can’t get the home page right, what are the odds they’ll get the WHOLE site right?
Now obviously some companies don’t do any kind of “pay as you go” model. Which means either they are very, very good and they have enough business where they don’t need yours OR if they did that model, they wouldn’t make any money. I’ll leave it to you to do the research to figure out which one it is for the company you’re looking at.
If in doubt at all, find a way to start small.
Another example. Let’s say you’re a speaker and you need that new 100 slide presentation done.
Do NOT commit to all 100 slides. Get the first 5, or maybe 10 done. If those come out great, then fantastic, have them do the rest.
And one final example – research.
Many entrepreneurs need research done. Maybe for articles, maybe on competitors, whatever your reason, research tasks are the largest black hole of time known to man.
Hey if you or I can get lost for hours at a time in research, what’s it going to be like for someone who’s being directly paid for the time they spend?
So what do you do? Start Small.
Tell them to go research X (with as MUCH detail as you can give them) for ONE hour. Or TWO hours. That’s it. Have them send you what they find. If their results are on track with what you want, then authorize more time.
If they aren’t on track, are they close enough to clarify what you want and then commit more time?
If they are WAY off track, you’ve only lost what it costs to have an hour or two spent, and you’ve avoided what could have happened if the researcher got lost in the time sucking black hole of the internet.
#2 Pay Attention To the HOW, Not Just the What
For MOST projects you need done, the odds are good that this is not the ONLY time you’ll ever need something like this done.
As an example, you need a website now, but maybe you need ongoing maintenance. Or just as likely with the speed of things, you’ll need / want a new website a year or two from now.
So ideally what you want is a team of people you can trust long term, not just for this one little task. After all, do you REALLY want to start all over next time in finding someone who can do that work?
If that kind of time saving leverage doesn’t excite you – move along. There’s nothing to see here. Oh, and see if you can fog up a mirror – you may already be dead.
But here’s the trap we action oriented entrepreneurs can fall into: we want RESULTS.
I pay you money, you give me exactly what I want. Period. End of story.
Except, if we step back a bit and look at a brand new relationship with some objectiveness, ask yourself this:
If this is the first time you’re working with them, that means they’ve never worked with you.
Let’s furthermore assume they and you do not have some sort of telepathic link where they can read your mind.
What exactly are the odds that the first time you ask them to do something they deliver exactly “WHAT” you intended them to deliver?
As you can imagine, it’s lower than your action oriented self would prefer.
So that’s why you need to pay attention to the more intangible things. The “HOW” not just the “WHAT”.
How was their attitude?
How was their communication?
How was their timeliness on your deadline?
You see, if someone is hungry to work with you. If they really want your work, and they have a great attitude and professionalism, you can train them quickly to get the results – the “WHAT” – that you want.
But if they blow deadlines, if they leave you in the dark, if they don’t really want your work – you will NOT have a good long term experience, even if somehow on the very first little trial piece of work they manage to make it happen.
Ever had an experience where you thought it was going to go great because they did that first little thing for you perfectly and then later on things fell apart? Yeah, it was probably because in hindsight you were ignoring some of those “HOWS” because you got the “WHAT” that you wanted.
#3 Spread The Risk Around
Ok, I get it.
It would be incredibly awesome if that one person could do all those gazillion of little things that need to be done in your business. If they were a web developer, customer service whiz, email broadcaster, and shopping cart expert all in one.
And there are only two possible scenarios that you will experience.
One, it works. You find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, lightning struck you and you won the lottery all on the same day.
And now, your entire business is in the hands of one single person.
You have in effect, just started a ticking time bomb.
At some point that person is going to get a better job. Or have a health issue. Or a family issue, or who knows what else life will throw at them.
And the second they are gone- your business comes to a halt. Not a hiccup – an income crushing, heart attack inducing implosion that your business may never come back from.
Secondly and far more common, it flat out doesn’t work to begin with. No one realistically can do all that. You can’t, they can’t, no one can. Not in today’s world.
That’s why I recommend strongly to start with a TEAM based approach from the beginning.
Don’t get me wrong – I love how everyone is talking about Virtual Assistants nowadays (VAs). However, they are NOT silver bullets. They don’t make all your problems magically disappear like some sort of wish fulfilling business genie. They are a good START.
But you’ll quickly find that like any other mortal human, they know only certain things, they only have certain skills and can ultimately only handle parts of your business.
So, the team approach works.
One because it’s actually realistic and two, if something happens to one member of your team – and it will – your entire business doesn’t grind to a halt. It hits the speed bump, goes over and continues on it’s merry way.
Alright, we’ve covered a ton of ground in these 3 articles and you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, so here’s one last exercise for you to cut through all the overwhelm and put you on the path to the next actions you should take for your business.
Ask yourself this ONE single question:
If you had to decide, right now, what to have more of in your life, what would you choose?
Time or Money.
This is a hypothetical question so just play along. Pick one. Don’t argue.
Real world, yes you can have both. But for right now pick one.
If you picked Time:
Take a good look at where your time goes now.
What are you doing that YOU as the president / CEO of your company should NOT be doing.
What are you doing over and over again that someone else could be trained to do?
When you have some answers, pick the one that is impacting your time the MOST and start with that task and get rid of it! Have it become a “To Have Done” item not a “To Do” item. (see Part 2)
If you picked Money:
List out all the projects that if they were done would make you more money.
Getting that new product up online? That shiny new client attracting website? A newsletter to get in front of your clients more?
Then ask yourself, what is the ONE project, that if done, has the highest odds of producing income the quickest?
You want speed because then you can roll that new revenue into getting other longer projects done. So for now, what’s going to boost that bottom line the fastest?
That’s the one project you start on.
Ok, now that you’ve got that one project, go back to Part 2, go through the Cycle of Concept to Creation to get it going!
Thanks for sticking with me through these 3 articles and I wish you the best of luck as you move faster and faster towards higher levels of success, wealth and enjoyment!
Ric Thompson is a parallel entrepreneur, speaker and author who has started, bought and sold multiple businesses both online and off. One of his books, Outsource This Now: How to Triple Your Profits Through Smart Outsourcing was a #1 Bestseller on Amazon in Technology Outsourcing. His current focus is on his company Done For You Solutions where he provides entrepreneurs and small business owners access to a full virtual team to get a lot more done in their business.