Although I live in New Zealand, nearly all of my work comes from the United States and Canada. Technology is at a point where I can work from home here and get things done for people on the other side of the planet. It’s great because as a freelancer, I can find more work than I otherwise would in my small town.
The real winners though are small business owners. By outsourcing their work online, they can find just the right person for the job they need, no matter where they are. They also save on the costs of having long-term employees in a physical office. But besides these obvious bonuses to outsourcing, there’s even more important aspects of outsourcing that you as a small business owner should consider.
Understanding Your Work
If you’ve hired a new virtual assistant or writer to help you with your content, you need to tell them how to do their job, right? That might sound easier than it is. You have to make sure that you cover all the details in the Standard Operating Procedure outlines you give them. No detail is too small to cover – you don’t want to run into misinterpretations or misunderstandings when it comes to your business.
This may sound like a negative thing – but it is actually better for you! By writing out the details of your work process for someone else, you’ll gain a better understanding of your own work. It’s often said that the best way to fully understand something is to teach it to others. With a deeper understanding of your work process it will be easier for you to analyze your workflow and improve on how you do business. If you need help getting started on how to explain your work to your new virtual employees, check out Chris’s post on the Process Handbook.
As a small business owner you’re probably stretching yourself thin trying to work on multiple aspects of your business at any given time. You might see it as a necessary part of being a small business, but there really is no need to waste your energy where you don’t need to. That’s where outsourcing comes in.
If you hire outsourced workers, you can assign them specific projects you need extra help with even if they aren’t long-term projects. You can even hire a virtual assistant to help you spend your time more efficiently across the board if that is where your needs are. This Huffington Post article outlines some of the best tasks to outsource such as social media marketing and administrative support.
The key is realizing that you can’t be doing everything at once and outsourcing to help get other things done. Business owner Laura Lee Sparks said to Entrepreneur.com, “Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all. That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”
Possibly the best part of outsourcing some of your work is the possibilities of expansion. Not only can you start more projects, you can get ideas from new people to help you grow and improve your business. Outsourcing is an easy way to find people with many different areas of expertise and knowledge. This makes it easier to try new ventures and projects that you and your core team alone may not have the skill set or time to tackle on your own.
Additionally through outsourcing you can find some amazing talent scattered all over the world that can give new insight to your business. New perspectives from outside your business can be invaluable. Freelancers can help you identify problem areas in your procedures that you may be overlooking. They can also suggest ways for you to change or add to your business that can really help you grow.