I was planning on writing this guide for some time. Today I just got to finish it and now I want to share with you my guide on outsourcing containing my thoughts, experience and things I think are important to keep in mind when it comes to outsourcing.
Well, first off, Happy Holidays to all of you, and do not be tempted to think I'm such a workaholic I even work during Christmas - I don't, I only added a few last lines to the guide today and the only work I'm doing is uploading in onto the forum. All right, enough beating around the bush, let's get to the nitty gritty!
So What Is Outsourcing?
This is probably clear to most of you, but just in case you don't know what outsourcing is, let me clarify. It's having work done by someone else and paying them for the work, either up front or upon completion.
The fact is, most of the tasks in internet marketing can be outsourced (I believe up to 95% of all).
Why Would We Want To Outsource?
This is obvious, we are internet marketers. Not writers, not webmasters, not coders, not graphic designers, we are, over and above all, marketers. Our work is to market, not to write our butts off trying to come up with valuable content or what not.
That's why it's great to have your work done by someone else, while you can focus on other more important things, while other people do the work you tell them to do. The fact is, you don't have to be very good at any technical stuff to be a very successful internet marketer. I myself only know a bunch of html tags and cannot do any programming at all.
General Rules Of Outsourcing
This is the core of my outsourcing guide. Be sure to go through the below rules one by one, I hope you will get something out of it.
Rule #1 - Always Tell Your Workers Exactly What You Want
Many people don't realize that they should be more exact, while telling their workers what to do. For example, if you are paying someone to create banners or e-book covers for you, always tell them your exact idea of how it should look like, what should be included in the picture, how the pic should be structured, what text should appear within it, etc. The more detailed instructions you give to your workers the better.
Rule #2 - Stay In Contact With Your Workers On Skype
Being in touch with your workers on Skype is much better than simple email communication. Skype is faster and you can reach out them at any time and the response is usually much more prompt than communication via email. In fact, my first contact with any of my workers is via email, but I tell them right away that they have to be able to be online on Skype while they work, or else I won't hire them. Which leads us to the third rule, which is
Rule #3 - Fully Speak Your Mind Before You Hire Them
This is in correlation with the first rule. You have to give detailed instructions, but you also have to give them anything and everything that comes to your mind about the work you need them to do for you. You should also express your expectations (time, quality...), and ask them in your first email you send out whether or not they are willing to live up to your expectations. If not, don't hire them, there are tens of other people out there, who will be more than glad to work for you.
Rule #4 - Be Sure Your Workers Understand You
It is sometimes difficult to be sure your workers understand you well. It's not enough to just ask them "Do you understand this?", you should be a little more creative and tell them to answer some questions, so you can be sure you don't hire anybody, who doesn't know what he/she is going to do. In the questions you can include some jargon words or specialized terms only experts can understand to make sure your workers are real experts and knowledgeable in their department.
Rule #5 - Send Them A Sample
This has proven to be really helpful, not only in the process of selecting and weeding out the workers, who are not that great, but also for your workers to give you exactly what you demand. If you send them a work sample, they can be more targeted and the outcomes are usually better.
Rule #6 - Give Them Instructional Video(s) Or PDF(s)
This is optional, but has also worked really well for me. If you give them a video or two describing your demands, the outcomes tend to be better, as well. You can also send them a simple PDF with instructions, which also works great. See the following step to see how I always make sure they read the PDF(s) to the end.
Rule #7 - Include A Secret Word Within The PDF(s) Or Video
I actually learned this from another Warrior and it's a really clever thing to do while you are in the "hiring" process. If you send them an instructional video or PDF, you can include within it a secret word, a "password", which you tell them in the PDF or video to mention in the response email. This way you can see exactly which people actually read your PDF or watched your video and which ones did not. Therefore you can rule out the ones, who apparently don't care to read your instructions and the ones, who are really eager to work with you and read the instructions you send them.
Rule #8 - Test Out At Least 5 People Before Hiring Anybody
If I want a certain type of work done, I always reach out to at least 5 people and send the same message and give them the exact same resources. I pick only the best one (best in terms of how fast they reply, what they have to say/offer, how knowledgeable they seem to be, how well they understand what I want and how correctly they answer my questions, etc.)
Rule #9 - Keep Them Separate
If I'm starting a website, I hire one person to do the graphics stuff, another one to write content for me, another one to build backlinks, etc. There have been cases of marketers being ripped off by their workers. Although this didn't happen to me, if you asked just one person to do everything, you would also have to give him all the resources and ideas and it could happen he would steal your own ideas. So be on a watch-out and keep everything separate.
What Can Be Outsourced
As I said above, I believe that 95% of internet marketing work can be outsourced. Below you can see some great places to hire your workers and what kind of work I usually do outsource and do not outsource. However, this is just my personal approach and yours can be different, of course.
Writing - There are many places to hire quality writers. You can hire people from the Philippines at, for example, onlinejobs.ph. They are usually hard workers, who do what they are told to. Other places to hire quality writers: Warriors "For Hire" section, fweez.com, iwriter.com.
Linkbuilding - Although I also build links myself, a big part of my backlinking campaigns is outsourced. There are guys, who work in conjunction with certain blog networks. I've heard Vin does a great job, as he writes short articles and submits it to Build My Rank himself. All you need to do is give him your URLs and keywords. Linkbuilding can also be outsourced in other places like Fiverr. There are some really great Fiverr gigs that offer links from BMR, LinkVana, Article Ranks, Free Traffic System or Article Marketing Robot and Unique Article Wizard submissions. To find the best ones, do your search using the names of those blog networks and submitters and order the results by rating.
Graphics/E-design - I suck at graphics! I'm really horrible at any kind of graphic art and I hate doing this stuff myself. You can hire really great and talented graphic designers at Odesk, eLance, vWorker or Guru.
Forum Posting - You can outsource forum posting for backlinking purposes, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the only purpose of having somebody create forum posts for you. Have you ever thought of starting your own forum? It's a great way to get content for free, yet many people are afraid of starting their own forums, because they think the start is too hard. Well, it is, but it's not that hard. You can hire quality "posters", as I call them, at paidforumposting.com. They are really cheap and you can even hire somebody to moderate your forum! Think about this, you can simply start a forum in your niche, buy thousands of posts at the mentioned site (and these are not spam posts, the guys at paidforumposting.com make sure the posts are relevant, on-topic and provide value) and even have somebody moderate the forum for you. Auto-pilot is the right word here!
Copywriting - You can hire quality copywriters in the Warriors For Hire section of this forum.
The above are the tasks I outsource and now let me mention the ones I don't outsource and rather do myself.
Keyword Research - After many attempts of finding a reliable person to work with, I decided to rely on myself only. Maybe I was just unlucky, but I didn't really find anybody who would live up to all my expectations and do keyword research for me with all the aspects I demanded.
Setting The Sales Funnel - I like to do this myself, as well.
Writing Email Newsletter Series - I would not hire anybody to write the follow-up messages for my lists, I actually do care a lot about my subscribers and everything I send out is written by myself. I always strive to provide value in my emails, even when I'm promoting something, I wouldn't send my list anything I don't believe is a great product.
Recap & Conclusion
A few things I haven't mentioned yet: Be prepared that people tend to exaggerate about their skills and often lie in their claims and descriptions of themselves. You have to be really careful and picky, and as I said above, always try and test out more people before hiring anybody!
Last but not least, I didn't intend to promote anything with this guide, none of the links included are affiliate links and I have no affiliation with any of the sites I link to.
Ok, I hope this rather long post will be of some use to at least some of you. If this helps at least one person avoid the costly mistakes I made, then my work will have been worth the time!
If you have any questions at all, you can ask below and I will try my best to answer them. And if you want to thank me, don't leave a spammy-looking reply to do so, simply clicking the "Thanks" button will carry out the job!
Allright, that's it guys. Take care and enjoy the rest of the holidays!