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Beginning the Outsourcing journey

Category : outsourcing

My first New Year’s Resolution was to outsource some of the tasks that were making my current business consume 60+ hours of my time per week.

Now, for me, outsourcing is really hard to do. For one, I believe that I’m the only one that can do some task well, so I tend not to delegate to others. Second, it takes time and effort to find and manage the outsourced contractor. Finally, I’ve had mediocre luck in finding good resources, so I tend to say to myself “well, it’s just better if I do it myself”. WRONG. The only way to get to the 4HWW goal is to buckle up and learn how to outsource well.

In addition to the book, I read a great post at 43 Folders called Enlightened Outsourcing that really helped pull things together. In particular, the lesson learned is: find out which tasks are readily outsourcable and easily defined, define the task WELL, and set the constraints in a narrow fashion so you know for sure whether it’s working or not. I know, obvious advice, but hard to execute well without experience.

The outsource-able task the promotion and marketing of events to get attendees to our events. I decided to focus the first outsourcing task on just the first of these events.

As a first step, I defined my task. I managed to get some feedback from other FHWW bloggers (Thanks a ton, M @ The Four Hour Trial!). I then simultaneously posted this task on eLance, GetaFreelancer.com, and Guru.com. Total cost:$20. It would have cost even less, but I chose to post on eLance as a “Featured” project to increase the odds of getting a good response.

I haven’t yet gotten any responses or feedback as the job has just been posted, but I would like your feedback. Do you have any good examples of well-crafted outsourcing posts that got good results? Any experiences with this sort of outsourcing?

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Comments (4)

Hey Rex,

Congrats! It may take a few hours to start getting responses. Also, keep in mind that much of your help may be coming from places in the world where they are still catching their z’s.

I don’t know how important it is to do the “Featured” posting on eLance. I posted 4 projects within the last couple of days, none featured, and all already have selected vendors to do the work for me! I did cancel one of the projects because I posted it two different ways and got better response to one of my posts than the other (by better, I mean cheaper).

Thanks for mentioning my blog on one of your earlier posts. Feel free to ask for advice at any point, but it may well be me asking you for advice as your journey continues. BTW, with respect to the phone stuff, I updated some comments to your question with more accurate data yesterday. I don’t know if you get emailed when comments are made so thought I would let you know.

Best of luck finding your promoter!


Thanks for the comment –

Quick question: if I could improve the wording of this outsourcing post, how would I do it? The more I read it, the less I like it. Do you think there are places I could have been more specific, etc?

Looking for another pair of eyes on this one ;)

Congratulations as well, I think it is great that you just tried posting the task on Elance et al.! My understanding from both the FHWW and more detailed books like The Black Book of Outsourcing: How to Manage the Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities is that making the decision to outsource and defining the scope of the work well are the crucial first steps – which you have already done. As far as finding the supplier (e.g. your query on “well crafted outsourcing posts”), negotiating and managing the outsourcer, at some point you just have to try it out I suppose. That’s why I am glad we seem to be building this FHWW community, so we can learn from each other on these rather tactical/practical items. Both you and M are ahead of me on this one, so I am definitely the student here! I am eager to read on your progress. Good luck with this first attempt!

BTW, the link to Enlightened Outsourcing on 43 Folders should be required reading for all FHWW initiates.

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