If you have read the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, you’re probably interested in trying this outsourcing thing out for yourself. If you haven’t read the book, you should do yourself a favor and pick it up here. Trust me, it’s the best $15 you have ever spent. I listened to the audiobook twice, and still found the hard copy worth buying!
I too caught the passive income bug after reading this book and wanted to try it out for myself. Here are some tips and tricks for successfully pulling off your outsourcing experience.
Upwork.com (Previously ELance)
Tim Ferriss really put these guys on the map! They have a lot of useful features and seem to live up to their reputation. I have had a good experience with them so far after a few job postings but there are a few things you need to take into account before hiring a virtual assistant to take some of the work off of your hands.
The first is to make sure they speak English well enough to complete the task, especially if it is writing based like blogging. Many of the best VA’s are in countries like India and the Philippines so English might not be the first language there, but don’t let this scare you away! Pat Flynn from the SPI podcast even talks about his success with outsourcing to the Philippines, due to their countries proven ability and work ethic.
Upwork also allows you to be very specific with other qualifications, and require a cover letter when freelancers go to apply. If you choose to pay by the hour instead of by project, make sure you set a cap for each task! Also, choosing someone who is a part of a team will allow for redundancy if something comes up, ensuring that your work gets done on time.
I have had outstanding success with Fiverr. For project based tasks, you just can’t beat them! I have used Fiverr for generating business ideas and names, as well as graphic design and other online business related projects. Most projects start at $5, which is obviously where the name comes from, but more custom projects are available at a higher price range as well. You can check freelancer’s reviews and even post a project for others to bid on!
I recently needed some formatting done for an e-book and posted the job on Fiverr. In less than a day, I had multiple people bidding against each other to complete my project for me! You can even message them directly before you buy in to ensure that they are the right candidate for the job. Check them out at Fiverr.com!
Words of Wisdom
You are going to want to set guidelines for your assistants, and shop around until you find someone you can trust. I’ll leave you with these three suggestions:
- Make sure that the task you are outsourcing is actually worth it. I have read many bad reviews from others who have given this a shot and were outraged after their VA spent days working on a task they could have completed in under an hour. If you spend longer trying to explain the task to your VA then it would take you to complete the task yourself, then just do it!
- Your success with this really comes down to your ability to manage and delegate. Can you successfully describe a task to someone who might not be as well versed in a subject as you are, in a way that conveys your needs effectively.
- Give your VA the power to make decisions! This step is often overlooked by managers in every job, but giving your employees the freedom to make quick decisions without your approval will free you from needing to constantly hand-hold. Tim Ferriss demonstrates this when he asks his outsourced staff of Brainquicken, LLC not to bother him with any task that can be solved for under $100. This one, simple step solved most of his headaches and freed up time for him to pursue other projects!