I know people who aren’t at all keen on outsourcing any aspect of their business – even when they’re short on time and struggling to fit everything in. So when and how should you outsource tasks in your online business?

When you’re building your own business it can be difficult to consider letting someone else in. When you’re getting started it’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford to pay anyone to help you  (unless you’ve got money to invest, or maybe you’ve just sold a business to start this one). The likelihood is that you’ll be doing everything in your business yourself. But if you’re an online coach or business owner and you’re becoming successful, it’s likely that you’ll get to a point where there aren’t enough hours in a day to both serve your existing clients and build the next stage of your business.

So the time to take the plunge and give outsourcing a try is that point where you’re getting the income, but you’re finding that you are spending all of your time in the business, rather than working on the business. That is the tipping point where you should think about reinvesting some of that income you’re making into growing your business further.

So what are the top five reasons I see why people aren’t keen to outsource?

1. You don’t want to give up control over any aspect of your business

Your business is unique to you, and you’ve built it by yourself. It’s an extension of your personal brand. You think that you’re the only one that can do things the way they should be done – and that the only way to guarantee things are done well, done your way and done on time is to do them yourself.

Why it doesn’t have to feel like you’re losing control

There are things that really only you can do, because they require your thoughts and your direct involvement.  But that doesn’t mean that you need to be doing the back end stuff, too. There are so many better ways for you to spend your valuable time, like creating your unique content –  recording video, recording audio, taking pictures, writing – whatever it is that you are putting out there.

The outsourced part would be taking those recordings and turning them into blog posts; or taking that video and actually putting it onto YouTube (or Vimeo, or wherever) and sharing it. It’s things like keeping your social media scheduler updated. If you’re running webinars, then use your time for actually turning up and presenting the webinar, gathering your thoughts and ideas for the slide deck, and making audios of the emails you’ll send out before and after.

But then you get somebody else to create that presentation. Someone that’s good with design. And you get somebody to hook up all the behind-the-scenes techie bits: all the pre-emails and post-emails, the replay and all of that automated back end stuff. You get someone to link your webinar to your CRM or email marketing platform, so the people that take part get tagged and enter the right sequences.

And the best bit is, you are still in control – because the important bit, the ‘you’ bit, the part that needs your ideas and your voice, that’s all still there. You’re just paying somebody to do the techie and ‘admin-y’, behind-the-scenes stuff.

2. You don’t want to spend the money

Yes, it costs money to hire people to do all that work behind the scenes. And if you want good people you’re going to have to pay a reasonable rate, because good people aren’t going to want to work for peanuts.

Why you should look at it as an investment, rather than a cost.

One of my clients had a six figure launch last year (that’s over the course of a week). If you look at it one way, making that much revenue, that client can clearly afford to pay people to take care of things behind the scenes. But on the other hand, if that client wasn’t outsourcing, she wouldn’t be making that money – because she wouldn’t have enough hours in a week to do all of the stuff that needs to be done in order to generate that income.

So it’s just about doing your sums, really. Once you get to a certain point, it makes sense to start outsourcing at least some tasks, because otherwise you’ll find it a lot harder to continue to build your business and create the income that you want.

Remember, you get to set your budget

You don’t have to make a huge investment. I have retainer contracts with certain clients for 40 hours a month; others for just 4 or 5 hours a month. Some online business owners work with small virtual teams, whereas others will have one person to take care of everything. Work out what you can afford, and find out what that will buy you in terms of decent, reliable support. You can always add more hours later – or grow your virtual team.

3. You don’t know how to find someone you can trust

When you’re hiring online, how do you find the right people and know you can trust them? When you work virtually you are entrusting your business to someone you probably won’t have met (and may never meet in person – I have clients I’ve only met on Zoom calls on spoken to on the phone!). Especially if you’re used to working in a more traditional way, it can be a daunting prospect.

You will potentially be sharing things like your passwords, access into the back end of your Facebook account, the back end of your website, your PayPal account. To some extent you have to start from a position of trust. You have to assume trust, because trust goes both ways.   

How to find someone you can trust to keep your information safe, be discreet and do a good job

I’ve had clients that have found me just from doing a search online and finding me. We’ve had an initial phone conversation, or video chat over Zoom and got a sense of whether the vibe was right. I’ve also been recommended to people, or I’ve found clients through my local or online networks.

So, ask around. Find out who people are working with. Get in touch with people who might be able to help, such as those who train virtual assistants. Then set up a virtual meeting so you can chat and get a sense of whether you might be a good fit to work together.

The once you’ve found someone, make sure there is a contract in place, and always do a trial. Every single client that I have, I’ve started with a trial for a set period (anything from 2 hours to 40, though the longer the better). A trial works both ways – it’s a great way to see how well you work together. Usually I have found that most trial periods do lead on to working together, but occasionally, it doesn’t feel right. And that’s okay.

So just give yourself that bit of leeway. And remember that even if you do start to work with somebody,  you don’t have to continue to work with them. Most virtual workers will have a monthly rolling contract, so you both have an easy get out if needed. That’s one of the great things about working virtually: unlike employing somebody, you don’t have that tie in. So if someone really isn’t working for you, there is a way of getting out of it.

4. You’re afraid it’ll take more time to explain than it does to do

I’ve heard people say, “If I have to explain it to somebody else, I may as well just do it myself, for the time that will take”. I can kind of understand that concern – and I have to say that at the very beginning of a relationship with a client, sometimes things will take a little bit longer, as we get used to working together and I learn any new systems or apps, and get used to their style and their way of presenting themselves to their audience. But once I get used to the client and they get used to me (which doesn’t take long) I pick up how to speak in their voice if necessary.

Why you should see them as a collaborator rather than an employee

My clients trust me to do things on their behalf and that’s the point. They trust me to edit their blog posts and videos, create new systems, add new pages to their websites, make suggestions and take decisions when necessary. Because I become part of their business. It’s not the same as being an employee; it’s more of a collaboration, with both of us in tune and working towards the client’s goals.

A good virtual assistant or team won’t need a lot of guidance, once you’ve established your requirements. So there’s no need to be afraid that you’re going to spend all of your time explaining stuff.  

Of course, as with everything you get what you pay for. If you are going for cheap, as opposed to good, then yes, you probably will end up having to spend a lot of your time explaining things, sorting out mistakes, or putting up with having things done that are not quite the way you would have done it yourself. But if you are paying somebody a decent amount of money, and paying someone who is good at what they are doing, somebody intelligent and who has a bit of ownership and a bit of trust, then you won’t find that, you will find that things will be done in the way that you want, with minimal intervention from you.

So yes, you have to relinquish a little bit of control, but the pay off for that is that you get things done pretty much the way you would have done them. And you won’t have to waste any time giving very detailed instructions, because it’s not necessary when you work with somebody good.

5. You’re concerned about what happens when someone you’ve come to trust leaves

Once you begin to outsource, you may become concerned that someone will become so integral to your business that everything will collapse if that person decides to leave. It’s a genuine concern, because when you’ve invested a lot of time and money, getting someone to know your business inside out, and they know exactly how you operate, what systems you use, how you present yourself, your writing style, how you communicate with your clients, and then (because their life circumstances or whatever), they leave. And you might find yourself in a position where you know less than they do about how your business is run!

How to prepare for losing a member of your virtual team

Know your own systems. Make sure you know how things are done in your own business!

Have your virtual team record SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) videos for all key tasks. So whether it’s ‘this is how we post a blog post on the website’, or ‘this is how I edit this bit of video’, or ‘this is how your CRM works’, anything that gets done that is unique to your business, get them to use Loom or similar to record a little screen share video and talk through the process. Save all the videos together in your online storage.Then, if someone leaves for any reason, you’ve got a bank of instructions for the next person who takes over (and something you can use yourself in the interim, should there be a gap).

Have a handover week – get the existing person to jump on a Zoom call with the new person and go through everything.

Are you planning to launch a membership site in 2019/2020?

I support my clients with building, marketing and managing their memberships and online courses, helping them to:

  • Create and upload course content
  • Join the dots behind the scenes to automate processes and make things run smoothly
  • Find the right apps and tools
  • Integrate their CRM, course delivery and marketing

If you'd like to have a chat about your membership, you can get in touch to arrange a free 30 minute chat here.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about you, your business, and your goals for the coming year.

I know people who aren’t at all keen on outsourcing any aspect of their business – even when they’re short on time and struggling to fit everything in. So when and how should you outsource tasks in your online business?

When you’re building your own business it can be difficult to consider letting someone else in. When you’re getting started it’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford to pay anyone to help you  (unless you’ve got money to invest, or maybe you’ve just sold a business to start this one). The likelihood is that you’ll be doing everything in your business yourself. But if you’re an online coach or business owner and you’re becoming successful, it’s likely that you’ll get to a point where there aren’t enough hours in a day to both serve your existing clients and build the next stage of your business.

So the time to take the plunge and give outsourcing a try is that point where you’re getting the income, but you’re finding that you are spending all of your time in the business, rather than working on the business. That is the tipping point where you should think about reinvesting some of that income you’re making into growing your business further.

So what are the top five reasons I see why people aren’t keen to outsource?

1. You don’t want to give up control over any aspect of your business

Your business is unique to you, and you’ve built it by yourself. It’s an extension of your personal brand. You think that you’re the only one that can do things the way they should be done – and that the only way to guarantee things are done well, done your way and done on time is to do them yourself.

Why it doesn’t have to feel like you’re losing control

There are things that really only you can do, because they require your thoughts and your direct involvement.  But that doesn’t mean that you need to be doing the back end stuff, too. There are so many better ways for you to spend your valuable time, like creating your unique content –  recording video, recording audio, taking pictures, writing – whatever it is that you are putting out there.

The outsourced part would be taking those recordings and turning them into blog posts; or taking that video and actually putting it onto YouTube (or Vimeo, or wherever) and sharing it. It’s things like keeping your social media scheduler updated. If you’re running webinars, then use your time for actually turning up and presenting the webinar, gathering your thoughts and ideas for the slide deck, and making audios of the emails you’ll send out before and after.

But then you get somebody else to create that presentation. Someone that’s good with design. And you get somebody to hook up all the behind-the-scenes techie bits: all the pre-emails and post-emails, the replay and all of that automated back end stuff. You get someone to link your webinar to your CRM or email marketing platform, so the people that take part get tagged and enter the right sequences.

And the best bit is, you are still in control – because the important bit, the ‘you’ bit, the part that needs your ideas and your voice, that’s all still there. You’re just paying somebody to do the techie and ‘admin-y’, behind-the-scenes stuff.

2. You don’t want to spend the money

Yes, it costs money to hire people to do all that work behind the scenes. And if you want good people you’re going to have to pay a reasonable rate, because good people aren’t going to want to work for peanuts.

Why you should look at it as an investment, rather than a cost.

One of my clients had a six figure launch last year (that’s over the course of a week). If you look at it one way, making that much revenue, that client can clearly afford to pay people to take care of things behind the scenes. But on the other hand, if that client wasn’t outsourcing, she wouldn’t be making that money – because she wouldn’t have enough hours in a week to do all of the stuff that needs to be done in order to generate that income.

So it’s just about doing your sums, really. Once you get to a certain point, it makes sense to start outsourcing at least some tasks, because otherwise you’ll find it a lot harder to continue to build your business and create the income that you want.

Remember, you get to set your budget

You don’t have to make a huge investment. I have retainer contracts with certain clients for 40 hours a month; others for just 4 or 5 hours a month. Some online business owners work with small virtual teams, whereas others will have one person to take care of everything. Work out what you can afford, and find out what that will buy you in terms of decent, reliable support. You can always add more hours later – or grow your virtual team.

3. You don’t know how to find someone you can trust

When you’re hiring online, how do you find the right people and know you can trust them? When you work virtually you are entrusting your business to someone you probably won’t have met (and may never meet in person – I have clients I’ve only met on Zoom calls on spoken to on the phone!). Especially if you’re used to working in a more traditional way, it can be a daunting prospect.

You will potentially be sharing things like your passwords, access into the back end of your Facebook account, the back end of your website, your PayPal account. To some extent you have to start from a position of trust. You have to assume trust, because trust goes both ways.   

How to find someone you can trust to keep your information safe, be discreet and do a good job

I’ve had clients that have found me just from doing a search online and finding me. We’ve had an initial phone conversation, or video chat over Zoom and got a sense of whether the vibe was right. I’ve also been recommended to people, or I’ve found clients through my local or online networks.

So, ask around. Find out who people are working with. Get in touch with people who might be able to help, such as those who train virtual assistants. Then set up a virtual meeting so you can chat and get a sense of whether you might be a good fit to work together.

The once you’ve found someone, make sure there is a contract in place, and always do a trial. Every single client that I have, I’ve started with a trial for a set period (anything from 2 hours to 40, though the longer the better). A trial works both ways – it’s a great way to see how well you work together. Usually I have found that most trial periods do lead on to working together, but occasionally, it doesn’t feel right. And that’s okay.

So just give yourself that bit of leeway. And remember that even if you do start to work with somebody,  you don’t have to continue to work with them. Most virtual workers will have a monthly rolling contract, so you both have an easy get out if needed. That’s one of the great things about working virtually: unlike employing somebody, you don’t have that tie in. So if someone really isn’t working for you, there is a way of getting out of it.

4. You’re afraid it’ll take more time to explain than it does to do

I’ve heard people say, “If I have to explain it to somebody else, I may as well just do it myself, for the time that will take”. I can kind of understand that concern – and I have to say that at the very beginning of a relationship with a client, sometimes things will take a little bit longer, as we get used to working together and I learn any new systems or apps, and get used to their style and their way of presenting themselves to their audience. But once I get used to the client and they get used to me (which doesn’t take long) I pick up how to speak in their voice if necessary.

Why you should see them as a collaborator rather than an employee

My clients trust me to do things on their behalf and that’s the point. They trust me to edit their blog posts and videos, create new systems, add new pages to their websites, make suggestions and take decisions when necessary. Because I become part of their business. It’s not the same as being an employee; it’s more of a collaboration, with both of us in tune and working towards the client’s goals.

A good virtual assistant or team won’t need a lot of guidance, once you’ve established your requirements. So there’s no need to be afraid that you’re going to spend all of your time explaining stuff.  

Of course, as with everything you get what you pay for. If you are going for cheap, as opposed to good, then yes, you probably will end up having to spend a lot of your time explaining things, sorting out mistakes, or putting up with having things done that are not quite the way you would have done it yourself. But if you are paying somebody a decent amount of money, and paying someone who is good at what they are doing, somebody intelligent and who has a bit of ownership and a bit of trust, then you won’t find that, you will find that things will be done in the way that you want, with minimal intervention from you.

So yes, you have to relinquish a little bit of control, but the pay off for that is that you get things done pretty much the way you would have done them. And you won’t have to waste any time giving very detailed instructions, because it’s not necessary when you work with somebody good.

5. You’re concerned about what happens when someone you’ve come to trust leaves

Once you begin to outsource, you may become concerned that someone will become so integral to your business that everything will collapse if that person decides to leave. It’s a genuine concern, because when you’ve invested a lot of time and money, getting someone to know your business inside out, and they know exactly how you operate, what systems you use, how you present yourself, your writing style, how you communicate with your clients, and then (because their life circumstances or whatever), they leave. And you might find yourself in a position where you know less than they do about how your business is run!

 

How to prepare for losing a member of your virtual team

Know your own systems. Make sure you know how things are done in your own business!

Have your virtual team record SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) videos for all key tasks. So whether it’s ‘this is how we post a blog post on the website’, or ‘this is how I edit this bit of video’, or ‘this is how your CRM works’, anything that gets done that is unique to your business, get them to use Loom or similar to record a little screen share video and talk through the process. Save all the videos together in your online storage.Then, if someone leaves for any reason, you’ve got a bank of instructions for the next person who takes over (and something you can use yourself in the interim, should there be a gap).

Have a handover week – get the existing person to jump on a Zoom call with the new person and go through everything.

Are you planning to launch a membership site in 2019/2020?

 I support my clients with building, marketing and managing their memberships and online courses, helping them to:

  • Create and upload course content
  • Join the dots behind the scenes to automate processes and make things run smoothly
  • Find the right apps and tools
  • Integrate their CRM, course delivery and marketing

If you'd like to have a chat about your membership, you can get in touch to arrange a free 30 minute chat here.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about you, your business, and your goals for the coming year.