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 .
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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.