The top 4 tips when outsourcing a project

In today’s video I’m going to give you my top four tips when outsourcing your projects. I’ve never really talked about this topic because there’s a bit of skepticism in the world in terms of outsourcing. So many clients who have come to me in the past have complained about the outsourced project they just had. Then it was my team and I who had to fix everything that the outsourced contractors did incorrectly. So this episode is meant to help you be a better project manager when it comes to outsourcing things.

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Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

The first tip, this is like the most to me the most common sense tip as to how to even start outsourcing and this is probably why a lot of people make mistakes is to choose the right project or the right task to outsource in the first place. So if you’re outsourcing something like a really large project, I mean, that is going to be the beginning to the end of the mistakes, right? Once you outsource a really large project, I mean, it can fall apart. There’s too many moving pieces. So I always tell people for tip number one is to choose the right task, make it something small, just to start to kind of get used to working with this independent contractor who you might have found on Fiverr or Upwork, or guru or freelancer or any other of the websites out there that are available for freelancers for you to hire. So choosing the right task, what do I mean by that? For example, I’m working on an NFT project right now where I need artists so I’m looking for an artist to help me with some artwork. Well, I’m not asking for 200 pieces of art. I’m asking them to draw one piece of art. And by asking them to just do one simple, small little thing or one web page, not an entire website, just a page or one blog post, not 20 blog posts or a chapter in a book, not an entire book. I can go on and on. You get the idea though, right? Give them a small task, pay a certain amount for that task, to be able to see what kind of work they’re giving you. Right so that’s the first tip.

The second tip comes down to price. I mean, this is a pretty standard situation. I mean, people can charge you whatever they want for the tasks you’re gonna need help with. And you probably don’t really know what it’s worth to pay somebody because you’re not sure right? You’re new at outsourcing. So you’re going to find a variety of prices. Let’s say you need a YouTube video. edited or you need a webpage, and you’re seeing prices from $20 to $500 and everything in between, and you just don’t know what it’s worth paying someone. Well, the first thing you can do, which I always do is I open up a variety of tabs on my browser with each of the sellers or the people that are offering gigs or whatnot, showing their profiles and showing their reviews from other people who purchase their, their offerings, their services, and I read through each one I mean it takes time. I’m not gonna lie, it takes time but you have to perform your due diligence to make sure you’re choosing the right contractor. So check the reviews and then in terms of prices, I usually try to avoid the lower end of the price range. So let’s say the range is like $5 and the upside is $100. Stay away from the fibers. No pun intended because is great and you can actually find a lot of good stuff for $5 but if you’re finding stuff for like 100, and I would kind of veer towards maybe the 20 3040 $50 range, right? Don’t skimp because when you skimp what happens you’re going to get a lot less quality work, right? Maybe that works for what you need. Maybe the task is something very simple like a blog. Post, you can easily pay $5 for that. But keep in mind they’re going to be giving you something low quality again. So again, go into price with the mindset of you’re getting what you pay for.

The third tip is kind of a two parter because I think that collaboration, and multiple submissions are important, but it’s all kind of together because what I mean is this, let’s say you need a logo for your business. Okay, you just started a new company. You need a logo for your business card, your website, maybe a t- shirt. You need to be able to collaborate with someone on these sites that you’re choosing. And this means not only do they need to be willing to take feedback and suggestions from you, but you need to be able to talk to them, communicate with them what your idea is, and give them examples of what your logo needs and be able to not only when they give you a logo, be able to once again collaborate with them to fix tweak, change the logo to fit your needs, they might have not given you what you wanted, and you need to change it. You need to find someone who’s willing to do that. How you do that is the submission multiple submissions is by asking multiple people to design your logo, right? So you don’t have to just hire one person. Matter of fact, I rarely do that when I’m working on a project and I need to outsource something. I generally hire 2345 even 10 people like I just did recently. I hired 10 people to design something for me. And then guess what? Out of those submissions, and sure you might pay 510 20 bucks apiece, right? It might cost you some money, but it’s going to be the same as hiring one really good graphic designer to give you whatever you need. In this case you have 10. You don’t know the skill level of graphic designers. They have samples on their pages where you can see the samples. We have 10 submissions to choose from. You might get really good ideas from the submissions you might find a gem you know a diamond in the rough. So I always say get a couple of submissions as many as you can collaborate with these people and then choose the best one out of the submissions you get. And then you might have found a new artist you can work with from now on. That’s the best way to do it is to try a variety of people.

I saved the best for last tip number four. To me this is the best because it’s the most important tip. Details, requirements, writing everything out, especially when you’re working on a website project or some sort of gadget like a prototype on something. Something technical book, anything you need details it has to be spelled out completely outlines, technical documents, wireframes flowcharts, everything every single kind of Document Description, screenshots, mock ups, examples, other websites that you like that you want to copy whatever it is, you need to give these contractors, every single detail you could possibly imagine. Because what’s going to happen is if you don’t do that, they’re going to give you the end result and you’re not going to be happy with it. It’s going to be missing all sorts of things. And you’re going to realize all those things. That it’s missing are all the wrong things they did because you didn’t give them those details. So what I always like to do is, when I’m working on a project, I write out a list of all the things I need in an outline Google Doc and in bullet points with sub bullet points explaining each detail one by one. So whatever it is, say if it’s the logo, give the contractor 20 logo ideas of logos that you like, if it’s a website, show them 20 links to websites that you like it doesn’t have to be that but it could be five or 10 but anything that you want to work on with someone, give them examples and then a detailed document that explains everything. Basically every question they would possibly ask you, you want answered in this document before they start working. Because look, the thing is, outsourcing can be tough. It can be frustrating, stressful. It can be disappointing. But if you prepare for the project or the task ahead of time and give the contractor everything they need to give you a quality result, you’ll do much better. And I’ve heard so many stories, horror stories from people who outsource and waste lots of time, lots of money. And I feel bad for those people because it is tough and you are usually working with people in other countries like India, Africa, Indonesia, South America, and so on. And the English barrier, the barrier to communication might not be, you know, high quality, it might be okay. So your job as let’s face it, you’re the project manager is to communicate clearly to these contractors, the best you can and make sure that everything all the requirements are very clear so that they don’t have any issues.

Outsourcing doesn’t have to be bad. It could be good. I’ve been doing it for 20 years on, you know, large tasks, small tasks, medium tasks, I use it. I use contractors every day and it’s very helpful to allow you and the whole point of outsourcing is to allow you to do the more important things in your day and not worry about the small things or the detailed things or the technical things that are the things you’re just not good at. So take outsourcing for what it is. It’s alleviating the pressure of tasks from your shoulders and allowing you to focus on more creative things are more important things or more administrative things were things that you need to tackle, while contractors are taking care of things that are less important. still important but less important. And you have to give up control. You’re gonna have to let go of some of the control and be okay with what you’re getting. And in the end, it’ll boost your performance, your productivity because you’re getting more stuff done. And yeah, you’re spending a little bit of money and a little bit of time, but you’re also saving time and saving money. By letting that be done by someone else while you’re focusing on more. So think about it like having employees but not having employees, no health benefits. No, you know, full time pay. You’re just paying for the work you need. And you’re able to focus on more productive things. So if there’s any other tips that you can think of that would be helpful to people who are outsourcing. I would love to hear them in the comments as usual. And as you always know, I answer everyone’s comments. And as always, we will have another episode next week. Hope you tune in.



Jason Sherman