The Art of Outsourcing

The Art of Outsourcing – 4 Essential Steps You Must Know

One of the reasons people give up their online business is because they are overwhelmed by the nitty gritty of running their online business. These people tend to do every single thing such as market research, content creation, graphic design, web design, backlinking strategies, on page SEO, driving traffic, testing, tracking, administration, etc… all by themselves without outsourcing. Is this scenario familiar? Does it sound like you? In fact, I must confess, that was me when I first starting up my online business 2 year ago.

Be A Strategic Entrepreneur

Many people have the misconception that online business is a “get rich quick” scheme. That’s why they overlook the fundamental principle to build a successful online business, which is to possess the mindset of a strategic entrepreneur instead of an employee.

strategic entrepreneur

When you become a business owner, whether in a brick and mortal business or the online business, you need to act and think like an entrepreneur. Essentially, an entrepreneur sets the vision and direction of his business while an employee follows the instructions from the boss to carry out the jobs. The fact is when you are dealing with all the ground work of your business, you won’t have enough time to do the strategic thinking and planning, which is critical to your business. That’s why outsourcing is a must if you truly want to grow your business.

Essential Steps Of Outsourcing

So, do you start by outsourcing every single task? Not yet. There are 4 essential steps you must go through before you start to delegate the tasks to others. I will use traffic generation as an example of how outsourcing tasks is best done below.

1. Simplify & Optimize Your Proven Methods

Firstly, you need to identify your proven traffic generation method by doing it yourself. When you see the results, you know that the techniques are working and you can start to scale it up by outsourcing to your workers. Before you can move on to work on the next method, you should simplify and optimize the process until a lay man can easily follow the instructions to carry out the task. The idea is to find a way to complete the task in a simple and systematic way so that your worker can do it for you without confusion.

2. Know Your Matrix

Obviously, you need to know your matrix before you start to scale it up. You need to realize the value of your visitors. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many visitors turn into prospects?
  • How many visitors become customers?

In other words, you need to know how well your squeeze page and sales page are converting. Once you know the numbers, you will know the value for each of your visitor. Then you should calculate the money you spent to attract the visitors to your site. Eventually, you will know your profit margin for that specific site. This is crucial information before you start outsourcing the traffic generation task. You need this information to gauge the maximum amount you can afford to spend on outsourcing yet still earn a chunk of profit you desired for that site.

3. Project Management

Every time you outsource the tasks, you should have a contract to protect yourself and avoid being ripped off by inferior quality works or any possible misunderstanding between both parties. Write the task/instruction you expect your worker to follow in simple English. Ask your worker to provide you a summary of his work progress every day to make sure he/she is on the right track. Make sure both you and your worker are happy about the payment terms. If you are concerned about the payment issue, you can always put it through Escrow service (an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties) to be fair for both parties. You will also have a chance to monitor the task daily to make sure their work meets your satisfaction.

Your role as a project manager is to ensure that your worker can deliver the work on time with satisfaction. So, do whatever you can to help your worker to perform such as providing guidance, learning materials and communicate to sort out any issues.

Once your worker is familiar with your working style and the nature of the work, you can reduce the monitoring time to once per week instead of daily.

4. Review, Feedback and Reward

When your worker completes the tasks given, do a thorough review on top of the daily/weekly monitoring. Give him constructive feedback, praise him and reward him once in a while (such as cash reward at Christmas). The key point here is to maintain a great relationship between your worker and yourself and help your worker to handle the tasks competently. Remember, even though you might not even meet up with your worker face by face, be nice to him and you will be rewarded by his quality work too.

Now you should understand the 4 essential steps before you start outsourcing. As a successful strategic entrepreneur, you can take your business to the next level by outsourcing with these 4 essential steps. I hope you can put these 4 steps into use and create passive income without going through the pain and suffering I had during outsourcing.

Do you have any other outsourcing tips or experience? I’d love to hear your stories or advice in relation to outsourcing.

Ming Jong Tey is an online entrepreneur specializing in traffic and conversion to generate more leads and sales. Download your free copy of BKH Blueprint to get more buyers to your site.


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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Ming October 4, 2012, 9:50 pm

    Hi Felicia,I view outsourcing as the key to grow our business. We will need people to get stuff done efficiently so that we can move on to other tasks. Always start small and slowly scale it up 🙂

  • Jun Mallorca October 4, 2012, 10:18 am

    Outsourcing is a good option for small to medium businesses provided you choose the right people. Don’t just look for the cheapest service provider but look at their profile, samples of completed works, and reputation.

    • Ming Jong Tey October 5, 2012, 2:06 am

      Absolutely. Always check the rating, feedback and previous work done before using the candidates. Start small and build up the team from there.

  • Felicia Gopaul August 28, 2012, 11:32 pm

    As we grow our online business, it’s helpful, and even practical, to outsource some tasks. The important thing is they are getting the instructions clearly. Communication is key. And Nikki is right when you outsource, you need to trust your people.

  • Wasim Ismail July 10, 2011, 5:25 pm

    Outsourcing is great, if you can find someone that you can work with, as there will come a point in your business, where you just can’t do everything, and if you really want to be successful, you will have to learn how to leverage of others, and others may not be as good as you, but if you have 5 people that are half as good as you, you will defiantly get more than, and your business will be more productive.

    • Ming Jong Tey July 10, 2011, 9:10 pm

      Hey Wasim,

      Totally agree! We need to leverage the strength of others. When we outsource, communication is the key to succeed. Different people have different expectation and that’s why we need to simplify the instruction as clear as possible so that your worker can follow as closely as possible.

      Sometimes, we do need to train them so that they can perform to the level that you wish. All you need is to hand them a few videos (recorded with Jing) and ask them to follow the instruction. If any problem, you can chat online with Skype to sort that out.

  • Alex July 10, 2011, 7:29 am

    Hey Ming, Mate I have been reading a lot on outsourcing of late, as I look to grow my business to the next level and outsource what and where I can.
    Now can I just say this ( and Hesham I apologise for the vulgarity) but

    SHIT this was a good post. Refreshing, inspirin – straight to the heart of the matter.

    Brilliant mate – thanks.

    • Ming Jong Tey July 10, 2011, 9:03 pm

      Hey Alex,

      Thanks for your kind words. That means so much to me. I am glad you enjoy the post 🙂 Just like running any offline business, if we want to take the business to the next level, we just can’t avoid outsourcing.

  • Nikki July 8, 2011, 8:24 pm

    Thanks Ming for sharing this. Outsourcing is the next step to go if you want your business to grow to the next level.

    I recall reading from the book, the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. He emphasized on the three characters in small business owners, namely the technician, entrepreneur and manager. It is crucial to have balance of these 3 characteristics to ensure continuous growth of the business. One cannot overshadow the other. Hence, I believe there will be times when outsourcing will help in reducing technical work and free you up to do entrepreneur thinking or managerial duties.

    However, I do share the concerns pointed out by others when outsourcing, particularly on technical aspects that we’re not too familiar with. Guess at the end of the day, trust is the human nature to fall back on in business.

    • Ming Jong Tey July 9, 2011, 9:24 pm

      I love E-myth by Michael Gerber. It is a must read for people involve in the business world,no matter you are online or offline.

      The crucial thing is that we need to differentiate the role very clearly so that we wont indulge in the wrong role. A business need all 3 roles – Entrepreneur, manager and technician, and that’s why we need to think of a way to fulfill these roles. Understand your own strength and others’ strength so that you can gain a competitive edge and leverage the of different people in your business.

  • Neeraj July 8, 2011, 12:54 pm

    online business is a “get rich quick” scheme.
    Yes it is, because online business has a more opportunities than offline business.

    • Ming Jong Tey July 9, 2011, 9:17 pm

      Haha, just need to treat it as a business instead of scam 🙂 Online business definitely has a lot more leverage than offline business, in terms of scalability and speed of implementation.

  • Andreas July 8, 2011, 11:31 am

    You have to be very careful when outsourcing programming projects if you do not have a knowledge of the programming language. What may initially look like a steal can pull all the money out of your pocket if you can not provide very detailed tech specs and if you do not know how long each routine needs to be coded and tested.

    • Ming Jong Tey July 9, 2011, 9:14 pm

      Spot on! You need to understand the tech spec and some detail for the Programming / coding projects to avoid being ripped off. There are several things to watch out such as to choose the programmer with good review, to sign a NDA so that your project is kept as confidential, to check out others freelancing sites and programmers to get a feel of the market rate, work to be done, etc…

  • Beverley Watts July 8, 2011, 2:29 am

    Great post MingJong. I think reasons that many people are reluctant to outsource maybe as follows:

    Fear of losing control of your project – no one can do it the way you do it!
    Not knowing where to go to outsource the work
    Not wanting to take the time to find someone to outsource the work to
    The cost of outsourcing
    Lack of confidence in yourself and/or your business

    I think the key – at least initially – is to start small – for example you could get your outsourcer to:

    Submit a few of your articles to the article directories
    Find blogs to guest post on and look for contact details of the owners
    Answer some emails dealing with customer issues
    Create some graphics to promote and market your products.

    It really isn’t important where you start. The important thing is to actually outsource something so that you can take that first step to enjoying the freedom that (should) come with the IM lifestyle.

    Beverley Watts

    • Ming Jong Tey July 8, 2011, 3:44 am

      Hi Bev,

      Great to see you here. People have the tendency to do everything by themselves because they have the control over it, which is great but if they can’t let go any single little task, they will eventually become a burden.

      As a successful entrepreneur, the focus should be setting the direction and growth for your business, rather than doing everything by yourself. As you point out, the important thing is to get started. Once you understand your own business model and matrix, you will be able to delegate the tasks to others and free up your time so that you can work on other things.

      Do not be afraid of losing control of your project, understand your business, start small and correct along the way.

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