Archive for the ‘Freelance Work’ Category

Do you remember the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker? The Shoemaker and his wife were very poor, until a pair of elves began making beautiful shoes for them overnight. The Shoemaker was able to sell the shoes for a lot of money, and became rich and famous.

I sometimes feel like I'm in a similar situation to the Shoemaker.

I first experienced the power of this a couple of years ago when I sent an email that was copied to two people, one in India and one in Australia. In this email I gave instructions for a specific project, the first part of which had to be completed by one person before being handed over to the second person for completion.

And from that single email, while I was sleeping, the project that needed to be completed and the webpage that needed to be uploaded just happened. So when I woke up the following morning, it was really like the elves had been working overnight and doing the work for me.

And it's so easy for you to invite the same kind magic into your business. All you need to do is start outsourcing routine tasks.

So where should you start with outsourcing? First of all, ask yourself where you have profitability blocks in your business. To work this out, answer the following question:

"My business would make more money if I could do more of _______."

You already know what the answer is. You can spend more time marketing. You can spend more time developing products and programs. You can spend more time writing your web copy. You can spend more time developing a newsletter.

Then ask yourself this question:

"I currently spend most of my time on ________."

The answer to this will help show where you are putting your time that you don't need to. This will likely be one of the first areas where you'll going to get a quick return on outsourcing.

For example, when I first started out, I found that I was spending more time updating my webpage than I wanted to. It wasn't part of my vision for my business, and I wanted to use my time in a way that would generate more income. So I found people who do that for me for less than £10 an hour. It was a no-brainer to pay someone else to do that and win back that time which was put towards growing my business. Now, I'm in the position of knowing that while I'm asleep my website is being updated for me.

And today I have seven people around the world working on different parts of my business, which is something I would never have anticipated when I started outsourcing.

One unexpected benefit of outsourcing for me was that I hired someone who was also working for another person whose business was at a more developed stage than mine. This person was a tremendous resource because she had insight into a business that was 18 months further down the road from mine. That's just one area where a virtual assistant can really start to add value, because they're bringing in outside knowledge and they're exposing you to ideas or suggestions that you wouldn't have got on your own.

You need to think about what you're ready to turn over right now. You need to be both physically ready and emotionally ready to outsource. If you're someone who in the past has tried to outsource and has experienced a big disappointment or has been let down, then understandably you're going to be cautious about outsourcing again. You're going to want to ease back into it gently, to build your confidence back up.

What you need to do is write out an initial job description or scope for the work you want done. Be specific about what results you want. You want this to be outcome oriented. You want to think about what you want done and in what timeframe. Start to think about the skill sets this person is going to need, and whether it's reasonable to find these skills in just one person or if you're going to need a team.

And while I don't know where you are with your particular business, I still say that it's never too soon to start outsourcing.

And the fact is that you're already outsourcing lots of things. You're outsourcing the legal aspects of your job. You're outsourcing your website hosting. So, to be correct, the question is really about how much more you should be outsourcing.

Don't you want to be able to go to sleep knowing that the magic elves will come in during the night and take care of your work for you?

Many people want to start outsourcing, but don't know how to begin locating the right people for the job.

There are lots of different paths you can take to find the right people to help you. And it's not always the most obvious route. A lot of people think that the best option available to them is advertising in the local classifieds. While this works for some people, it can also create a lot more work for you in the long run if you're inundated with responses and you don't know where to start.

One of the best things you can do is to make your search more targeted. Here are three ways to do that:

Online

You aren't limited to only using assistants who are physically located close to your business. Especially if, like me, you work from home and don't want to have people visiting you in your house, location isn't an important criterion.

The Internet is such a valuable tool for connecting you with the right people, whether it's a team of virtual assistants or expert individuals. The following websites are really useful resources for helping to meet your outsourcing needs:

www.Monster.com
www.Elance.com
www.RentACoder.com
www.WorkaholicsForHire.com
www.Guru.com
www.FreelanceWriting.com
www.SmarterWork.com
www.CareerBuilders.com
www.FreelanceWorkExchange.com
www.AssistU.com

On all of these websites, you can either post a job or you can look at biographies of people bidding for work. You can also post classified ads on many of these sites, saying exactly what you're looking for in an assistant. You can specify how much you want to pay, or you can leave that undisclosed and ask people to make a bid for your work. Then you can sit back and can wait for people to approach you.

Students

Let's say you wanted someone to research suitable websites that could be good linking partners to you or may provide you with opportunities for joint ventures. That's a perfect project for a media or business studies student, who might also really appreciate the idea of working with a small business and getting some practical experience.

Your local university or college might have a careers centre or newspaper where you could advertise your projects. These students don't necessarily have to be working from your office. Instead, you could arrange to meet them locally whenever you need to discuss the project face-to-face. And the great thing about students is that they normally either have their own computers or they've got access to them.

Personal Approach

Approaching people directly is one of the best ways to hire talent for your business. When I was first setting up my website, I had a basic idea of what I wanted, but I didn't know how to make it happen. I knew that I wanted to set up a website where I could sell digital products that customers could download immediately, but I didn't know how to go about doing this. It was one of those examples of trying to hire someone to do something you don't know how to do. I placed a local classified ad, and was inundated with responses. I really did not know where to start deciding who to hire.   In the end I decided to approach the webmaster of a website that I liked. I told him that I needed help with my project and asked if it was something he could help with.

For certain jobs I know what I'm looking for.   I'll approach a company or individual that seems to be a good fit and I'll ask them to bid on the job. This approach has actually worked out very well for me. I've had a surprising success rate with it. And it's more time-efficient than just posting an ad and getting a load of inquiries that you have to sift through.

The key to finding the right people for you is to be clear on what you need done, how you want it to be done, and what you're willing to pay. You'll need to practise finding the right person, and you might use different approaches for different jobs.

Bernadette Doyle is a marketing specialist who helps entrepreneurs become client magnets and attract a steady stream of their ideal clients. She publishes a free, weekly newsletter for trainers, speakers, coaches, consultants, complementary therapists and solo professionals. If you’d like to receive invaluable tips and advice on how to attract clients with ease, register at http://www.clientmagnets.com

I'm a huge fan of outsourcing. I think every business owner should outsource as much as possible.

I've been outsourcing for a number of years. I now have a team of virtual assistants located around the world, and I can't imagine doing business without them. It doesn't matter if you outsource to one person or to one hundred. Making the decision to outsource will have such a profound impact on your business that you won't ever look back.

Today, I'll give you my top five reasons to outsource.

1. It will grow your business.
Outsourcing will help you free up more time, which you can devote to the business. This seems pretty obvious, but sometimes it can happen in surprising ways. I've mentioned before a client of mine who came to me, asking for help in attracting new clients. However, she was so bogged down in administrative work that the last thing she actually wanted was new clients because that meant more paperwork. But as soon as she started to outsource her administrative work, her business started to take off. Wouldn't you like to hand over the mundane parts of your business to someone else to deal with?

2. It helps you decrease costs.
Sometimes you need to play mind games with yourself, and start to quantify every cost that's going on in your business all the time. You are the greatest asset that your business has. You are the hardest worker, and you come up with new ideas and new products and new plans. Your time is worth so much to your business. But if you find yourself doing routine tasks instead of earning money for your business, you are costing yourself money. You're completing the accounts or updating the website when you could be meeting with a client. These tasks could be carried out by someone external to your company, and would cost a fraction of the amount that you could otherwise be earning. Outsourcing should not be an expense, but rather a cost saving exercise.

3. It increases your productivity.
By outsourcing routine tasks that aren't part of your unique ability, it will free up your time and allow you to focus more on what you do best. The whole purpose of your business is to build a business around your unique strengths and your unique talents. You don't want to be stuck doing jobs that you dislike and which could be done by someone else. Whenever I let go of a part of my business that's been draining my time and energy, I get an instant boost in productivity.

4. It will help you move faster.
This will have a huge impact on your business. It's quite interesting the number of people who have told me that it can sometimes be frustrating to attend a seminar or buy a new product to do with building the business. This is because it gives you more ideas, but if you've already got a backlog of ideas that haven't yet been actioned, the last thing you want is more ideas. You need help getting things done, and outsourcing your work can give this to you. When you get someone else to do your routine tasks, you will free up time and energy to move on ideas that you haven't had the capacity to action. You'll be able to respond more quickly to clients, both new and old.

5. It builds scalability.
If your business is built purely around one person doing all the work, sooner or later you're going to run out of time. And normally that's sooner rather than later. But when you start to outsource, you will start to build scalability because it makes it easier for you to multiply and duplicate your business. You can put systems in place that make it easy for tasks to be duplicated, which make it easier for your business to grow. Building an online business is about helping you reach more people. You'll be able to deliver more value to more people more often, so you make more money. You're in a position to do more because you have more time and energy.

Many people think that they can't afford to outsource. But I guarantee that you'll be amazed at how much of an impact outsourcing just one task will have on your business. It will free up so much time and mental energy that you can devote to core aspects of your business.

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