Eight Common Outsourcing Mistakes for 2016


“Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail”

-Ivan Hall

Retired Baby Boomers often anguish over whether to hire extra employees for their home-based business. They have to consider payroll costs, FICA taxes, IRS reports, and a whole host of employment laws to obey and implement. The solution is to contract the labor out to someone who will work on “contract,” doing specific tasks to help you run your business.


Outsourcing is a great way to get expert help that you don’t need full time, without paying full-time rates. It’s also a great way to make it easy for your business to expand and contract as needed during busy or lean times.


Outsourcing work is not as simple as you might think. There are pitfalls in finding and using contract labor that we must avoid to save time and money.


Here are eight common outsourcing mistakes to avoid:


  1. Focusing on Cost:

While cost is an important factor in hiring anyone to help you, it should not be the only consideration. If you want expert help, you need to pay the price. You want the skill set, but limit the hours or the scope of the job to make the contract labor affordable. It’s important to realize that when you hire a contractor, you’re not hiring full-time help. So the initial hourly cost might seem high, but it will still be less than hiring that same expert full time.


Expecting a “One-Stop-Shop:”

No contractor is going to be able to do everything for you expertly. Most contractors focus on one niche; therefore you should hire more than one person to handle most projects. The truth is, you’ll end up with better results if more than one person is working on any one project.


woman working from home


  1. Not Defining the Work:

Before you turn over work to anyone, you need developed procedures, examples of deliverables, and t Getting Prepared First: know how you’ll communicate with your contractor in a fast and easy manner.


  1. Not Knowing What You Want:

If you have no idea what you want a contractor to do, then you won’t be able to write a request for proposal that will get a good answer. Know exactly what you need before you even start advertising for anyone to help. Don’t become trapped in a Dilbert comic strip where Dilbert is trying to guess what his boss wants and never achieve success due to poor instructions.


  1. Outsourcing the Wrong Things:

When you start outsourcing, don’t have the contractor do the service, you are considered the “expert.” Nor should you, except in the case of customer service and lead generation, have anyone but you dealing directly with your clients.




  1. Not Communicating Clearly:

A key to successful outsourcing is communication. Set up a project management system like Basecamp.com and/or Dropbox.com to communicate with your contractor. In my own outsourcing business for web content, I always send out a questionnaire to find out exactly what my client wants me to do for them. You may have to use a similar method to ensure your contractor understands your instructions.


  1. Not Evaluating Outsourcers Well Enough:

When you start working with anyone new, start with a small project with a beginning and an end. That way you can determine how well you work with the contractor and work out any kinks before signing a long-term contract.


  1. Not Focusing On Deliverables:

When you hire a contractor to do something for you, the focus should be on what they deliver to you, not how they do it or even when they do it as long as they meet the deadlines that you set. Contractors focus on results, not your process. This is an important point. Outsourcers tell horror stories how clients consume so much time micro managing; the delivered results are never satisfactory. Let go and see what they can do for you, not what you can do for them.


Outsourcing can be a great boost for your business, but not if you don’t make a plan, know what you want first, and communicate clearly with anyone to whom you outsource. If you really want outsourcing to work, don’t skip any of these points.

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