10 Common Outsourcing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

outsourcing mistakes

Managing outsourcers can seem very easy from the outside. How many times have you heard someone say, “just outsource it?” Yet in real life, it’s almost never as easy as “just” outsourcing it. There’s a lot of room for mistakes.

Here are the 10 most common outsourcing mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Outsourcing What Your Company Depends Upon

2-core-activityYou should never outsource the core of your business. If it’s something that will make or break your company, it should stay in house.
For example, in the early days of Zappos, they outsourced their product fulfillment. They quickly realized that because their differentiating factor was customer service and the life of their company depended on speedy delivery, they had made a fatal mistake. They eventually had to move back to their own warehouse at great expense.



2. Giving Too Much Work to an Untested Person

When you first work with a contractor, avoid giving them huge projects. Start small and test their responsiveness and the quality of their work. Then and only then should you get them more to work on.

3. Underestimating Costs on an Unknown Project


If you’ve never done this type of project before, it’s very hard to predict how much it’ll cost or how long it’ll take.

For example, let’s say you’ve never done a stop motion video. You want to have an animated stop motion video for your front page. How much will it cost? How long will it take? It’s hard to tell and easy to underestimate. Talk to people who’ve done it before to get a realistic sense of what your timeline should look like.

4. Choosing Someone Who Won’t Grow

Try to hire contractors who can grow with your company. For example, let’s say you’re hiring a copywriter. You plan on moving into sales videos in the near future. Is your copywriter only capable of writing text sales letters? Or can they write video sales letters as well? Can they learn the technique and grow with your company?

Or are they a person who won’t adapt to the specific needs of your company? Some contractors prefer to work in only the way they are accustomed to, but you may need someone who can adapt to your current and changing needs.

5. Not Knowing Enough to Determine Quality

It’s okay to hire outsourcers for skills you don’t possess. But you should at least know enough to know what quality looks like.
For instance, if you’re hiring an outsourcer to code part of your website for you, do you know what good code looks like? If you’re hiring a direct response copywriter, do you know enough about copy to know what good copy looks like?

If you don’t know enough to spot good quality work, chances are you’re going to hire the wrong person or get ripped off.

6. Being Afraid to Give Feedback

If you don’t give feedback to your outsourcers, and things aren’t being done right, you’re going to feel resentful. That will erode your relationship with your outsourcers.
Give corrective feedback, even if you feel uncomfortable and even if they’re small things. Not speaking up on the small things makes it harder to speak up on the bigger things. A lot of small things can be wrong, without you saying anything, and the end product can end up sub-par.

7. Outsourcing Offline Tasks Online

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany online entrepreneurs can get so caught up in the habit of hiring online that they try to hire online for things that should really be done offline. For instance, bookkeeping. If you’re have a lot of receipts, it really doesn’t make sense to try and scan everything or transfer all your bookkeeping online. Instead, just have a bookkeeper come over in person and get it all done for you.



8. Hiring Low Quality Workers

One very common mistake people make is hiring the cheapest worker they can find. Yet the work they get back is often time’s so shoddy that it can’t be used at all.
Remember that quality work usually pays for itself. Remember that if your customers see low quality work, they probably won’t buy. Sometimes hiring the lowest price is the right choice; but often it’s not.

9. Overestimating Time Savings

People often overestimate how much time they’ll save by outsourcing. They don’t take into account the time they need to spend writing classified ads, reviewing proposals, writing job descriptions, communicating with workers, reviewing work and paying invoices.

Does that mean you shouldn’t outsource? Of course not. Just don’t think you can put a whole task on autopilot just yet, as outsourcers need to be managed too.

10. Managing Too Many Contractors

If you’re managing too many outsourcers, managing all of them can turn into a full time job. Instead of making this mistake, you have a few options.
You can bring on a project manager. If working with many contractors is truly the only way, you can hire someone who understands the whole picture to manage all those contractors for you.
Alternatively, you can consolidate. Instead of working with a bunch of different outsourcers for different tasks, try to hire one outsourcer who can handle multiple tasks. For example:

  • Instead of hiring a blogger, a copywriter and a video script writer, try to hire one great writer who can handle off of those tasks.
  • Instead of hiring a WordPress setup expert, a server tech and a virtual sys admin, see if you can hire one person who can do all three.
  • Instead of hiring someone to manage your AdWords, another to manage Facebook and a third to manage affiliate relationships, see if you can just hire one marketing person who can do all of it.

By keeping these common mistakes in mind as you hire, you can avoid yourself some costly blunders. Whether it’s a loss of time or money, it’s easy to avoid it when you’ve got the right plan.


Plan your outsourcing

Are you looking for a virtual assistant? Looking for someone to do updates on your website? Send out your weekly or monthly newsletters? Or just have questions?

Feel free to contact Rebbekah White, owner of Advantage Marketing for You today!

Click here to contact Rebbekah.

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