10 Common Outsourcing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Outsourcing Mistakes
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.

outsourcing mistakes

Outsourcing What Your Company Depends Upon

You 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.

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.

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.

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 pages? Or can they write video sales pages 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.

Not Knowing Enough to Determine Quality

It’s okay to outsource to someone 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 a virtual assistant to code part of your website for you, do you know what good code looks like? If you’re hiring a copywriter, do you know enough about 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.

outsourcing mistakes

Being Afraid to Give Feedback

If you don’t give feedback to your assistants, and things aren’t being done right, you’re going to feel resentful. That will erode your relationship with the person you hired.

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. If a lot of small things are wrong, the end product can end up being less than ideal.

Outsourcing Offline Tasks Online

Many 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 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.

Hiring Low Quality Workers

One very common outsourcing mistake people make is hiring the cheapest worker they can find. Yet the work they get back is often times so shoddy that it can’t be used at all.

Sometimes hiring an assistant at the lowest price is the right choice; but often it’s not. Click To Tweet

Remember that quality work usually pays for itself. If your customers see low quality work, they probably won’t buy. Sometimes hiring an assistant at the lowest price is the right choice; but often it’s not.

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. Don’t think you can put a whole task on autopilot just yet, as your assistants need to be managed too.

Managing Too Many Contractors

If you’re managing too many people, it 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 of those contractors for you.

Alternatively, you can consolidate. Instead of working with a bunch of different people for different tasks, try to hire one assistant 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 all of those tasks.
  • Instead of hiring a WordPress setup expert, a server tech and a virtual systems 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 outsourcing mistakes in mind as you hire, you can avoid 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.

Are you guilty of any of these outsourcing mistakes? If so, can you fix them now before they get out of hand? Please drop a comment about any outsourcing mistakes you may have.

outsourcing mistakes

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