Top 4 Mistakes Affiliates Make With Outsourcing

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Brett Burky is an internet marketer with over 6 years of in the trenches experience.  Currently ranked in the top 5 in the world for SEO consulting, which he still does from time to time.  Mostly he spends his time building affiliate based websites with his team at Cognitiv.com .

Find him at http://brettburky.com/ to connect with him through the social networks

Outsourcing a great way to get things done, but also a great way to get a headache and lose a lot of money if done improperly. Having been using outsourcing for our business for a number of years we have done all the mistakes that most will make and now have got a pretty well greased machine. I want to highlight some of the main mistakes we have made to save you the time and trouble before you get into it.

Mistake 1: Not coming prepared for outsourcing

This may sound strange but not having enough work for your outsourcing team is a huge mistake that can be avoided. In the past, I had gotten my head wrapped around outsourcing and that I needed to get it going and get it going now. Well we got a team going and then I was scrambling to organize everything on my side, although I have already hired the team. I was still figuring out what needed to be outsourced, what platform I was going to be using, how I was going to process the workload and manage the team and then find time to do what I normally do.

Before you get started outsourcing plan 3 months worth of work for your team, have a platform in place – either basecamp or my favorite activecollab (its a one time payment), know the roles that you are hiring for and how each employee will work on the team and then last know how this is going to affect your business.

Mistake 2: Not creating a relationship with your team.

This happens, you get in oDesk and you start hiring and you just start sending them work. Never really getting to know the person for who they are and then a month later they leave and give you no notice. The problem was they probably didn’t have any loyalty to you or your business.

Create a team environment, know their birthdays, holidays, how many kids they have, if they are married – really just who they are as a person. They have lives and their lives don’t revolve around your articles about colon cleansing.

I always send two emails every week to build morale. One on Monday morning and then one on Friday afternoon. These are overall emails I send to the whole team, but here is the secret – send it on their time NOT YOURS. You don’t want your email about what we need to do this week showing up in their inbox at your 9am. You want to show up at their 9am. You also want the Friday email to show up at their 4:30. You can do this if you have gmail by using a plugin called boomerang. It lets you send emails at times in the future and it is super simple to use.

The goal is to build the team up and get them pumped for the week, hoping that they had an excellent weekend and that you are excited about the projects that you have coming this week. Make sure too that they know exactly what is needed from them that week. Then on Friday you want to thank them in an email and then if there is anything that needs to be improved then drop it in the middle of the email.

So it would look like – Praise, Construct, Praise, Close. This way they are leaving the week with a smile and a good feeling about being on your team.

Mistake 3: Letting your chat just stay open to distractions

I still fall victim to this one. I leave my Gtalk open and Skype and then the next thing I know I am getting hit up by people calling me Sir. This is SO distracting, your phone buzzes, the email notification comes in, then chat is making pinging noises as well. Drives me nuts and I get nothing done. So I make a strict rule to contact me through chat on Gtalk only and from the hours of 9-11am my time. Then if you need something after that make it a discussion in the project center.

You inform them about this when you hire them. It is in the first email they get from you or in the first welcome screen they see when they get in your project center.

For the first couple times, people forget. Just kindly remind them of your hours and they will learn to respect that. Otherwise you will get nothing done.

Last Mistake – Getting lazy

This one is vitally important, you have to learn to trust your team. But you also have to learn to make them earn that trust. In the past I had an excellent team member that was an excellent writer, then all of the sudden articles were getting rejected from directories, so I decided to see what the problem was – she suddenly lost all her writing skills or she outsourced the outsourcing, talk about the redundant department of redundancy.

Every week check their work, just an article here and there but if they are a new hire check it every couple days and if their quality of work changes, ask them why and if they can’t give you a straight answer – fire them. There is no room for dishonesty, you have a business to run.

There are many other outsourcing mistakes that we have learned in our time doing it. But I think if you get these couple here that I mentioned correct, then you are on the right road and should have good success with your efforts.


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  • Always great to hear first hand accounts of what mistakes others have made. I’m sure this information will save a lot of people the headaches you experienced.

  • It’s not in the context of affiliate work, but team members will not show loyalty and will drop out if you don’t build relationships, as I’ve seen. Starting now, but better late than never!

  • You have gone into great detail, I also fall victim to leaving my skype and chat on and get distracted a lot!

  • Your advice came at the right time before I go into outsourcing.
    Thanx!

  • I’ve fallen into that trap before with item #1. Getting all geared up to get a team going, and then not having things fully ready to go for smooth and consistant work.

    Do you use BaseCamp or what do you recommend for keeping track of tasks?

  • @Brandon. We used base camp for about two years and it is a great system, but if I don’t have to pay monthly for stuff I would rather take the big payment once and then be done with it.

    That is what we did with active collab. It is base camp that you can install on your own server. It really has as much capabilities as base camp.

  • this is a great post I think you hit right into de spot

  • Great tips here. I’ve never really outsourced that much and have always done things myself, but as I start to get more involved with a few projects that I have planned, I can definitely see the benefits of outsourcing. Only problem is trying to find someone who can meet deadlines, isn’t too expensive (or too cheap, which is equally as bad) and experienced in what I need done. Any suggestions on the best places to find workers besides freelance sites?

  • this is a great check list of the mistakes to not to make

  • @Bryan – It is true that when you first get going in Outsourcing you are going to have people that suck, it happens. The issues really come down to what you are willing to pay. Honestly the jump from a $3 person to a $6 is like night and day sometimes. Just use oDesk and look at the portfolios to see what they have done.

    If you want any further info, hit me up through the link and I can answer any questions you may have.

  • Good point about getting lazy. I have dealt with freelancers who do try to outsource the work after a few days. So if you’re not checking their work regularly, you could be getting very poor quality work. To me the most important step is proper background checks when hiring. Most outsourcing network sites have rating systems to see how well freelancers have done on previous projects. So take the time to hire someone who has already proven their skills and work habits.

  • Thank you for these useful tips. And I think budgeting wisely is another important fact as well. Meaning that if we want outsourcing to work properly, weâ??ll need to keep a good eye on what we are spending for the work being done. While some projects will require single payments, others may involve recurring or retainer payments and we will more than likely have some type of contract or agreement. So we have to take the time to figure out how much money we can afford to spend on certain tasks and budget appropriately.

  • I can relate to almost all those cases you have listed, Ian. Especially the part about getting distracted by internet messengers. It’s also a very good idea to develop a good relationship with your co-workers in any line of work like you have said. It makes the whole experience feel a bit more nicer if everyone cared about the goings-on in each others lives and families. But I must say this is the first time I have heard of outsourced outsourcing!

  • Some great points here Ian. I agree that it is very important to have a strong relationship with your team. I agree how important that is to have loyalty among them.

    – Robert

  • I have never outsourced anything. The reason:
    I’m scared of spending money (since I virtually don’t have any) and not making any back.

  • Yes I agree with you. All this points are very true said. I like the most is No.2 -Not creating relationships with team. This is the most important factors which is needed because mostly work depende on them if they better then outcome is also best and vice versa. So if we bind personal realtions with them it will gives unexpectable outcomes coz they works as thiers own business and put maximum efforts in it.