Sometimes, it can make you want to give it all up.
I’m talking, of course, about the growing pains of a successful small business.
You try to run lean. Control overhead.
And that means resisting hiring new employees.
But then how do you get all the work done?
As a two-person business, I feel your pain.
That’s why virtual assistants (VA’s) and freelancers have been vital to me.
When I bring up the topic of outsourcing, however, I get mixed responses.
Some folks have a skewed or uninformed view of what virtual assistants and freelancers actually do.
Others have had bad experiences in hiring them.
For example, one colleague says that using VA’s actually makes him less productive because of the time it takes for him to explain tasks and “clean up” the work of his VAs.
So I’ve decided to share here the process that has worked best for me.
It’s a strengths-based approach to hiring freelancers and VAs.
Step 1: Know Your Strengths
The things I like to do at work, sometimes aren’t the things I’m best at doing.
I’ve learned that through trial and error.
But I also know I need to focus on my strengths.
Sometimes its hard to know what those strengths are.
For instance, I’ve tried several times to outsource my writing.
But it’s one of my strengths.
So I don’t outsource it anymore. But I do outsource spreadsheet management.
And design work.
And other tasks I’m simply not good at (even if like doing them).
If your company is succeeding because of your strengths, do not outsource them.
To get started on your journey to discovering your strengths, click here.
Step 2: Outsource Your Weaknesses
We often spend far too much time focused on trying to “fix” our weaknesses.
We should instead focus on amplifying our strengths.
And managing our weaknesses.
So it goes with outsourcing to VA’s and freelancers.
Do what your strong at. Outsource your weaknesses.
It’s that simple.
If you’re a really strong writer, you’re never going to be happy with the product you get back from a freelancer.
You’ll feel like you could’ve saved time had you written it yourself.
But the stuff you’re weak at?
Trust me — you’ll love the work product you get back because it’s work you didn’t have to do.
Further, it’s probably work that takes you too long to accomplish.
Step 3: Find the Right Freelancers
I’ve used several freelance companies over the years.
The one I’ve used for the longest time is Upwork (formerly Odesk).
I’ve had good experiences with Upwork.
And I’ve had bad experiences.
It’s been a process of trial and error to find people I can trust.
Now that I’ve identified them, it’s great.
But a recently-launched company with which I’ve had awesome success right off the bat is called Speedlancer.
It was founded by Medium mega-blogger Jon Westenberg.
It uses only US-based freelancers and VAs.
It offers a concierge service for those who pay $500 per month (trust me, it’s worth it).
It also has pre-existing tasks and bundles, with clear guidelines and expectations.
And, it offers the opportunity to create your own custom task or bundle and seek bids.
I’ve loved working with Speedlancer, and I think you will, too.
If you’re considering hiring a freelancer or VA, or if you’ve had bad experiences in the past, I hope you find this post helpful.
VA’s and freelancers have been vital to my company’s growth.
With a strengths-based strategy, they can be vital to yours, too.