Regardless of size or type, every company needs to hire a workforce on a continual basis in order to continue growing and driving greater success. An issue with internal employee hiring for different departments is that it often leads to higher expenses for companies, in terms of investing in workers’ salaries, insurance, more office space, furniture, utilities, and so on.
The good news is that there is an alternative to internal hiring of employees, which can help you achieve optimal results. This alternative is called outsourcing, which provides the perfect solution for companies looking to grow while keeping their expenses to a minimum.
Just imagine getting on-demand talent to work for your company at a fraction of the cost. Learning how to build up an army of trusted freelancers is a vital skill, which can help you create almost anything and when you need it. Above everything, you get to become the owner of a business in and of itself – not the workhorse behind it.
Even though an outsourced workforce is an asset, building a team of outsourced employees is not the easiest task in the world. You need to learn how to both hire and manage your workforce in order to be successful.
In this ultimate guide to outsourcing, we will cover everything, from the basics to making sure you know how to build and work with a powerful team of freelancing individuals.
But before we cover all the details, you need to understand the significance of outsourcing your business processes
Understanding Why You Need to Outsource
In the simplest of words, the only reason to outsource your business processes is that you can make more money.
Remember that outsourcing is not a way for you to delegate all the essential tasks to others while expecting everything to fall into place. Any outsourcing you do should help you reach any or all of these three goals:
- Increase business profit
- Expand revenue
- Increase cash flow
That being said, do not confuse outsourcing with off-shoring. Outsourcing allows you to get the work off of your desk or to acquire specialist skills that you and your company’s internal team do not have. Off-shoring is purely transferring work to businesses in developing countries to increase corporate profitability of your company.
While you might not have considered outsourcing, you will find that your company’s growth can outpace the growth of your team. It is a problem which can lead to a long to-do list as well as a lot of expenses. You will definitely feel tempted to try and take on everything, but this can likely stunt the pace with which your company grows.
Instead of reaching that point where you overwork yourself so much that you become counterproductive, you need to figure out your essential skill sets and the tasks you can take on yourself. Select anything that needs additional help so that you can be more productive with what you are already good at.
A lot of entrepreneurs also want to focus on specialist skill sets and they want to learn everything. You need to accept that there are just some things you will not be able to do as well as you want to and for those skills, outsourcing presents the perfect alternative to hiring someone internally for the task.
Outsourcing – A Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you understand the importance of outsourcing, let’s take a look at outsourcing in a simple step-by-step manner.
1. Recognize the best approach to outsourcing by understanding your motivation behind it
Before you start your search for freelancers to work with, it is vital to understand your own approach first. Why are you outsourcing? Are you trying to get some of the simpler work off your hands so you can take on larger tasks, save costs, hire a specialist to sort out a specific area or the combination of all three?
Searching for talent right away may not be a problem, but if you know what your approach is and how much you are willing to invest, you will get a clearer picture of who you want to hire and for what. You will not end up wasting any money.
After identifying that major area, you need to move to another one: deciding the hourly rates or project rates. Do thorough research on it and set a fixed rate or adequate hourly rates for the work. That will keep you from going over your budget, based on the number of hours or the fixed project cost (whichever option makes more sense to you).
2. Clearly define the work for what it is and your expectation
Once you know exactly why you are outsourcing and how you will approach it, you need to take things a step further and define your project specifications and expectations.
The first step will provide you an idea of the length of the project. For instance, if you have a one-time project like web design, it is ideal to set a deadline. Be sure to clarify the deadline to the freelancers you consider.
It is a good idea to set deadlines yourself even if you are not under the pressure of time. This keeps the project from dragging along for longer than necessary. Once you have the deadlines set, clearly convey your expectations to the freelancer you are working with.
Be very clear about what you expect
Make sure you are very clear about the expectations you have from the freelancer working with you. For instance, if you are working with a bookkeeper, it will be a long-term contract. Let them know if you will have anything to do with the process at all or if they should handle it in its entirety.
Be as specific as you can be about your requirements and if you would need revisions of the work. Expect back and forth communication to occur between the two of you. A lot of freelancers include a limited number of revisions in the estimate that they provide for their services, so make sure you are aware of them.
Last but not least, specify the exact deliverables. This will particularly be helpful in fixed-cost projects. Tell them what you are paying the contractor for and what they will have to provide in order to bring the project to a conclusion.
3. Finding outsourced freelancers
Once you are completely prepared with what you need, why you need it and you have all the necessary details to provide to your possible contractors, you can start looking for professionals to work with.
There is absolutely no shortage of resources when it comes to finding competent freelancers. The thing is, you cannot resort to trusting the word of just any freelancer out there. You need people who are actually qualified and will be able to pull through for you when you need their services.
Several platforms bring together freelancers and clients to make the process of finding projects and contractors a lot easier. That is the beauty of the gig economy. That being said, you need to be absolutely sure about the quality of service you can expect and you can get that through one of the most effective platforms to date: Riser Digital.
Riser Digital: connecting you with freelance professionals
Riser Digital is a platform that prides itself on its ability to find the right solution for businesses looking for expert help to outsource their work. With dedicated virtual assistants, digital marketers, developers and more of the highest industry standards working with Riser Digital, if there is one thing you will not need to worry about, it is finding the best people to work with.
With the ability to reduce costs by up to 70%, save time and increase productivity, Riser Digital was formed in 2016 to successfully deliver remote outsourcing solutions to clients all over the world. They make it possible for you to get your outsourcing needs scaled, as well as provide cost-effective solutions. Most importantly, they are very flexible. No stress and no complex retainers, you will get all the support you need and when you need it.
4. Create an impactful job description
Next up is the job description. This is not just an opportunity for you to describe the details of the job and set your expectations from the professionals you will be working with; it is also the chance for you to filter out any and all candidates that are not qualified for the job.
It allows you to show the expectations you have from the professionals you will be working with right from the start. Just imagine that you need someone to write articles for your company and you decide to post the job description so that the right professionals will reach out to you. How you define your expectations will determine the qualifications of the people that will approach you.
Here is an example of an ineffective job description:
“I’m looking for a blogger to write content for my website twice a week. It is a fitness blog and the writer needs to have good English. It should also be informative.”
Here is an example of what can be seen as an effective job description:
“I am looking for a professional content writer who can write at least two articles on a weekly basis for my fitness company. I will only accept the work if you are a native English speaker. You need to have a strong portfolio through which I can check out the previous work you have done.
You need to have an inherent knowledge about the industry and since this is a long-term job, you will be tested for your competence. Discipline, organization and courtesy are key factors to be able to secure the contract. If you are not sure you can fulfill all of these standards, please do not apply. Thanks.”
Care to guess which one will attract qualified writers to approach you? The ineffective job description will attract way too many low skilled contractors who will go for just any kind of “gig” that they can get their hands on. The effective job description will weed out the unqualified candidates.
This will help reduce the number of people applying, but it will save you a lot of time shortlisting the most promising applicants.
5. Interview and test potential candidates
Now you come to the point where you will closely examine the more promising candidates that have applied. This is a vital stage where you need to check their portfolios, their references, giving them a test and then interviewing them. You cannot skip out on any of these steps.
You do not need to make it a fully formal interview like something you would expect for a formal job interview – the main goal is to address any concerns or questions you might have regarding outsourcing to the person.
This provides them with a chance to ask questions about the project and get more clarification on the expectations you have from them. Any professional in the field would have questions.
Find out which of these candidates will be a good fit, but instead of interviewing all of them, there is a way to save a lot of time and effort. Testing the potential candidates before you hire them for the project can help you to narrow down the applicants you would have to interview.
Of course, one thing you should remember is that if you offer low rates, you will not get excellent quality work. Similarly, you should never go for a freelancer just because they are offering you the most affordable rates for their services. The test and interview will help you understand whether or not they are cut out for the task.
6. Manage, operate and expand your outsourced team members
One of the greatest things about outsourcing work is that you do not need to bear the extra expenses that come with internally hiring employees. This does not mean you will be working with the outsourced team on an informal level. The project expectations or job description must clearly define the work ethics you expect from them. They are outsourced employees, but they are employees you have hired on a contract basis.
Once you find your outsourced employee (or employees), make sure you set up all the channels of communication to actively be in contact with them. It could be through weekly check-ins via email or Skype calls. This is just to make sure that everything happens according to plan.
If you do not feel that you will have the time to manage the outsourced team members, this is something you have to clearly define for yourself and the employee in the second step. To go down this path, you need to be sure that the freelancer you work with is reliable and your interview can help you make a better decision regarding their reliability.
A reliable outsourced employee will provide you with regular updates and contact you regarding the progress of the work. Even if you do not have the time to manage the project, the
freelancer will keep you in the loop. Just remember that you cannot expect this from someone whom you have hired at a very affordable rate.
Bear in mind that the first time you outsource work, it might not work out well. You will face setbacks, but that is how you will learn how to improve your selection process. Once you start streamlining the outsourcing process, you can expand the outsourced workforce and create something much bigger than what you already have.
We have written this ultimate guide to outsourcing to help you avoid mistakes so that you have a greater chance of success with outsourcing tasks. Once you establish a strong start, you can build things up from there and create a larger workforce that will help you take your business to the next level.