5 key steps to easy outsourcing
So, you're ready to start outsourcing tasks in your business.
Figuring out what exactly you should outsource, how you do it, and where you find the right person to outsource to can be so overwhelming.
Where should you start? Check out the video below!
Listen to the audio:
Let’s dive into my five-step process to make outsourcing better, easier, and more efficient. Here we go.
Step One: Track your time
The first step is to track your time. I recommend using a time tracker like Toggl or Clockify. If you don't want to use a timer program, you could also use your phone timer and a spreadsheet, or you could even write it down in a notebook if you are an analog person. Whatever works for you.
When you start a specific task, start the timer. Stop it when you're done that task and label it. This can be general labels like "emails" or "client meeting" – something that lets you know in general what you were doing during that time.
I recommend tracking all of your work tasks for at least a week so you can see where your time goes over a decent period. Two weeks is even better. You want to know where all of your time is going during a normal work day or work week.
What are the things I’m spending the most time on?
What are the things I’m spending time on that I don't need to be spending time on?
Time tracking will allow you to look at your business tasks in an organized way.
Step Two: Do a brain dump
While you're doing your time tracking period (or at any point), the next step is to do a brain dump.
Everything that you don't like doing
Everything that you feel you're not particularly good at
Everything that doesn’t have to be done by you personally
Things you want to do but never seem to get to
Upcoming projects that you need or want to start
Things that are coming up that you don’t have the skills or time to do
A note about things you’re think you’re not good at: By this I mean things that you're not really interested in becoming good at. As business owners, there's lots of things that we're not good at immediately. But some of them we're willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to do. I specifically mean the things that you're not interested in learning to get better at. No judgement here - just be honest with yourself.
Brain dump whatever you can think of - you'll be organizing it later, so it doesn't have to be pretty or even make sense at this point.
Step Three: Compare and Analyze
When you're done your brain dump and you're done your time tracking, I want you to compare both of those lists and see what's popping out at you as the common items. Those are things where you may want to start outsourcing.
Go through this list systematically. If you see in your time tracking that you’re spending a lot of time on something that you listed in your brain dump as something you don’t enjoy doing, that’s an easy yes.
Circle, highlight, star these items – whatever works for you. You might even want to create a separate list for these common items.
When you're done all of this analysis and comparing, you should have a nice list of things that you could potentially outsource.
Step Four: Narrow down the list
Now you're not going to outsource this entire list all at once! The next stage of the process is to narrow it down.
I want you to prioritize this list and be honest with yourself. What is actually a priority? What is actually worth your time and attention? What is actually urgent? Feel free to get a bit ruthless at this point.
Go through the list and assign things a number or a letter or a color - whatever organization method makes sense to you. Highlight the things that are really urgent, high priority items. This might be red or number one or A tasks. Then go back through the list and look for the next level of priority items – the number two or B or maybe yellow tasks. These might still be a high priority, but less urgent.
Keep going from there until you get to the low urgency, low priority items. The goal is to be able to look at your list at a glance and see what is the most urgent and most important right now.
Those things that are less urgent and important right now probably don't need to be outsourced right away. Or maybe those are things that you can add later once you're already working with someone.
Step Five: Pick a priority
Rather than throwing everything and the kitchen sink at this new person, please start with a few things at a time!
Once you've prioritized your list, pick one to three things maximum that are the most important things for you to outsource right now. That's what you're going to start with.
You can also go with your gut here. If there is something that is creating a big mental or emotional load for you, even if it's not your biggest time suck, that could still be the task worth outsourcing right now. There is no right or wrong answer.
Now you can look for someone who specializes in that task.
For example, if you've decided that your most important priority right now is email and you want someone to take that over for you, look for someone who specializes in that. If it's social media, look for someone who specializes in that.
They may offer other things, but look for someone who definitely has experience doing the thing that you're looking for, rather than just looking for general help. This is going to make things so much easier later.
How to find someone to outsource to
If you're not sure where to look, there's lots of Facebook groups where you can find freelancers and virtual assistants. There are also all sorts of virtual assistant training programs out there, and many of them will let business owners post jobs for their members.
You can also try searching with specific hashtags or keywords on Instagram, Google - wherever you would like to look. Make sure you are searching for specific things. It may not be enough to just search for a "virtual assistant". Try searching for "email management", or "social media management", or whatever it is that you're looking for.
I would also highly recommend asking for referrals. If you already have a social media manager or a bookkeeper or a web developer, they may not offer the thing that you're looking for, but chances are very good that they know somebody who does. Start by talking to the people in your network and seeing if they know somebody good that they can recommend.
If you know another business owner who has had the same service done that you're looking for, ask them how they felt about the person who did it for them. Rather than just jumping straight to Google, getting that personal referral is generally a great place to start, because you know that you've already got a recommendation from somebody that you know and trust.
Do you have any questions about how to make the outsourcing process easier and more painless? Let me know down in the comments or feel free to reach out.