When a company experiences growth at a stage where it can no longer manage its internal processes, to keep up the pace, it can choose to hire another workforce to deploy its operations without interrupting the business flow. Outsourcing can free up personnel, facilities and time resources and allow companies to devote their resources to what they do well to improve their efficiency and competitiveness. While outsourcing has several advantages, it also presents other disadvantages. Outsourcing is mostly virtually that includes negotiating and signing contracts that require the involvement of legal counsel as well as daily communication with the outsourced work. To know more about this, we have Zsofia from My Processes to introduce us to the world of business outsourcing.
How To Start Outsourcing Your Team?
Who out there runs off their feet and doesn’t have enough time to scratch themself? We’ve all been there and know the feeling. If you want to learn how to outsource and automate your business, I’ve got Zsofia here from My Processes, and she’s going to talk about how you can start outsourcing and build your team. To start it off Zsofia, what are some of the interview questions before you even get onto platforms that you can use to see if it’s the right candidate or not?
Zsofia: Thank you for having me, Joshua. You must get your list ready if you will be in a situation where you will ask someone if they are the right fit for the task or if they have understood the task you will assign to them. You need to be clear about what you expect from them and make sure that communication between you two can work well.
If you will ask someone “What’s the colour blue?”, you want them to answer back to you, “I know what the colour blue is.” There are certain countries that I have had people to work for who would always say “Yes”, but you’d end up finding out that they didn’t understand a word you’re saying. So, you need to have two-way communication to make sure that they completely and wholly understand the project.
Zsofia: Cultural differences are an actual reality when you outsource. We have to work with people from different areas, but you just have to concentrate on the person you are working with, the data they are working on, how they work, how they think about the task and how they think about the duties they have to perform.
Let’s say you are ready to start getting these roles put into place, and you need to start outsourcing, but you are running off your feet. Where are some of the locations that you would go to to find someone online to be able to outsource, whether it be to the Philippines, Africa, India or somewhere else?
Zsofia: Yes, you said it right. Philippines, Africa, India, too. I would mention Vietnam, which is a good time zone. They can work with Europe, Australia, and maybe even with the US, there is some overlap. So Vietnam is a very beneficial timezone.
What are the sites you can go to?
To find the different candidates, what websites would you say people should check out?
Zsofia: So it’s low hanging fruit to mention Upwork and Fiverr, but they do serve their own specific purposes. UpWork is more for ongoing projects, while Fiverr is used more for projects which have a set timeframe. If you need a task to be done like graphic design, logo design, or creating a few social media posts, Fiverr is where to go.
But if you want to leverage the possibilities behind outsourcing, then I would consider having a second office. I have a lot of contacts with different second offices in the world because it’s good to have this kind of growth connection that gives you the possibility to play with the time zones, hourly rates, and the experience level of the outsourcers. There are a lot of possibilities outside of Upwork.
The second office you are referring to, it’s that where you’d outsource your entire team, or you’ve got someone who will be managing a business abroad?
Zsofia: Yes, a second office can be a back office or a business extension. They allocate their people to different projects which they are lined up for longer-term engagements.
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What would be the advantages to second offices?
These different companies give people opportunities who are working from home to be a freelancer compared to a controlled office environment where they’re still getting up, going to work and maybe have a manager. Is that correct?
Zsofia: Yes, you are correct. The second office is more of a formal set up, but I give options to the people I work with. They can choose between a great freelancer who is doing a great job and a freelancer who does the same but also creates freedom for themselves. I like the idea to work with other entrepreneurial people who have this entrepreneurial mindset. I think that’s very important, but that’s not always the right fit. Try to find a balance between the two.
A second office could be a great option if you need to make sure that there’s a certain firewall or security policy in place. It could be easier to do that in an office where they’ve got a certain speed level of Internet connection. In this case, coming together into an office could be an advantage.
What are the price differences?
What is the price difference between outsourcing to a second office versus freelance, or are they about the same?
Zsofia: It’s about the same, but you can’t really outsource random tasks to a second office. A second office is better if you have consistent workloads to be outsourced.
How much guidance do you need to give an outsourced team?
If people are just starting off, how much guidance do you need to give an outsourced team some guidance implementation?
Zsofia: Constant guidance is key. Whether you are ready to outsource or not, you must document your process. You can record what you are doing on the screen and save it into Google Drive. You can update the process and redo it whenever it’s necessary. You can provide the training documentation you recorded to the person you have assigned to the task. Providing one-on-one coaching is also relevant. You can schedule a call for 20 minutes, and that is a way of communication that enables them to ask questions to guide them throughout the process.
How long should you take to train your outsourced team?
What I did before I started outsourcing is that I wrote down categories of what often needs to be done and who can do these tasks. I had a roadmap on exactly what I needed to document and also how important it was to me. How long do you normally put in place to be able to get to that spot?
Zsofia: It depends on the task, but in a month, if there was good training provided, they should be able to get up to speed. If the information given was less general knowledge, like something specific and had a particular type of spot, then I would be more patient and give it like two months.
What shouldn’t you outsource?
Are there any tasks that you shouldn’t outsource that you think should stay close to the business owner’s heart?
Zsofia: Yes. You can visit my website for a free outsourcing guide. I would recommend not outsourcing any accounting or bookkeeping services or anything that is not financially worth it. Another example is to not outsource work that has a unique selling point. For example, if you are a coach, anything related to coaching can’t be outsourced, but the rest that is related to administrative work can be outsourced.
I started my businesses 13 years ago doing IT automation and IT support in Brisbane. I realised that I don’t have enough time to do everything, so I started outsourcing the marketing part, which was the social media management, newsletter creation and lead generation. But the majority of the business is a lot of back of house operations that are not customer-facing.
What are your thoughts on having people that are being outsourced for your business in customer-facing roles? This could be a support person or a receptionist or someone that’s on the phone replying to customers via chats or emails. Are there any dos and don’ts?
Zsofia: For me personally, I haven’t had that issue before, but it’s an interesting mindset. You have to know your clients, and you should educate them very well about what outsourcing is all about because some clients might not agree with risking their business.
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Why should I outsource?
One of the advantages of outsourcing your team is they will be available 24 hours a day around the globe without having to have people working the night shift. What are some of the other reasons why you should consider outsourcing?
Zsofia: I recommend outsourcing tasks that you absolutely hate doing. If you feel you really hate doing something, find someone else to do it. Someone out there might enjoy doing your tasks so you can pass it on and in that way, your entire team will be more productive and effective.
How can Zsofia help you?
When I started the business in 2007, I was doing very little with my bookkeeping. I worked on an application that would streamline and automate my bookkeeping. This application doesn’t exist anymore. I was more comfortable the moment I outsourced that task. Outsourcing gives you that ability to do your task efficiently. I understand you’ve got another course to promote?
Zsofia: Yes. I have an online course about the benefits of outsourcing to your business and also the risks involved and how you can manage it. This course will help you to pick up the right tasks that you can outsource.
The short training will help you to see the whole picture. I can map out the processes and look at the whole picture to identify what is beneficial to your company. This consultation package is usually $150, but it is included for free with the extra training.
The course is very cost-effective. You can’t go wrong with having a bit more knowledge, so I definitely recommend jumping across and completely the affordable course that Zsofia has created.
Zsofia: You shouldn’t be the employee of your company. You should stop fire fighting and be the creator. Get help! I think that’s the best you can do for your staff, for your family, for your company, for everything.
Is there a favourite book that you suggest maybe for people to read if they are looking to learn more about outsourcing or anything like that?
Zsofia: You mentioned Tim Ferriss. The 4 Hour Workweek is definitely the book that can really, really change your mind if you haven’t read it yet.
A fantastic book. The 4 Hour Workweek and 4 Hour Body actually changed my life. We’re coming close to being here. Is there anything else you’d like to cover off on that you’d really love to leave our listeners with to think about?
Zsofia: Set your processes properly in case something happens. A week ago, I had eye surgery, and I had to completely step out and be off-screen. My assistants have been taking care of my clients. Thankfully, the business went very well and had no issues. That’s one of the biggest things I love about outsourcing, that you can have the peace of mind to unplug a little bit for any reason. But there are also risks involved, so you need to know what you are doing. I think it’s really good to have someone who is knowledgeable about outsourcing and can really help you to set up the processes.
I couldn’t agree more. You covered a couple of things that are really important. You really change your business from being a job into an asset that you can sell by outsourcing because it becomes an investment. Instead of doing everything, someone can just love doing that one task, and everyone in the business can be happy. I really enjoyed this chat and as always, stay good and stay healthy.