Outsourcing: Your First Step

Are you struggling to find enough time in your day or being able to get out from underneath the day-to-day running of your business?

Have you worked out what you can delegate and discovered that there’s no way you can outsource it until you’ve got a description or process written down for that other person?

Then here’s a quick way to get you started on getting the processes in writing so you can outsource or delegate some of what you’re doing.

When you're building your Online Business on your own it can be easy to 'just do it myself' all the time. You're already overloaded with things to do each day, so spending time getting prepared to delegate or outsource can feel impossible, and that crazy idea that keeps popping into your head 'I just need another me' is really a fantasy and you know it.

This leaves just one option, making time to get what you do & know down on paper so you can give it to someone else to do. Whether you've got the funds to outsource now or not, sorting through the huge number of things you're doing right now will help you to recognise just how much you're doing and give you the chance to assess whether you really need to do it all.

The thing to keep in mind here, is that because you’re so overworked it’s likely that this will take a bit longer than setting aside a day or two and really focusing on it.

The Method

Start by getting your post-it-notes handy - over the next few days or week, which ever you can manage, you’re going to scribble a short description of the things that you’re doing as you do them on a post-it-note. Write as much or little as you have time for.

You can either grab a manila folder or a blank bit of wall where you’re just going to collect all your filled-in post-it-notes in one place to start with.

At the end of each day you’re going to group your post-it-notes into something that makes sense to you on a bit of wall or window where you’ll eventually have all your grouped post-it-notes from the week or the few days over which you do this exercise.

The way you group the post-it-notes is entirely up to you, you may have already decided what work you want to outsource or delegate and even have someone in mind for this, in this case you could group all the post-it-notes that are associated with that into one group or a cluster of groups based on tasks or projects for this other person.

You may not have gotten to the stage of working out what to outsource yet, so your groupings might be more to do with things that you’re doing that use the same resources. For example, you might collect together all the things you do that require using Microsoft Excel or all the writing tasks. You may even want to think of it in terms of jobs or roles within your business, such as sales, accounts or dispatch.

However you want to think about it is going to be the perfect way of grouping for you and your business.

It is important to do the grouping as quickly as possible, so give yourself a time limit of between 5 and 10mins, this will prevent you from over thinking and turning this into a drawn out chore.

I recommend doing the grouping at the end of each day as your eagerness to begin your personal evening time will help you to get it done quickly.

If you’re a morning person or this just doesn’t suit your way of working, pick another time when you can spend between 5 and 10 minutes uninterrupted each day going through and grouping your post-it-notes.

Once you’ve done this over the number of days you allocated, you’ll have a whole bunch of groups to consider. Scan through the groups and pick just one that you consider will give you the best bang for your buck if you where to outsource or delegate it.

Grab all the post-it-notes for this group and now put them into an order that makes sense for you. The order you choose might be based on how much time it takes to do, it may be in the order in which things need to get done or anything else that makes sense to you.

When putting the post-it-notes in order, position them one below the next so you end up with a long column of post-it-notes.

Now as you look down this column, you may begin to think of things that have to be added. Grab your post-it-notes and write these ideas and thoughts on to post-it-notes and add them into your column.

Stuck for things to add? Consider these questions –

  • What else do I use to get this done?
  • Who do I talk to get more information?
  • Where do I look for that?
  • How do I know if this is the right result?
  • What should it look like?
  • Why do I do it this way?
  • What happens next?

When you think you’re done, leave it overnight or for a few hours and then come back and look at it again. Add any more that come to mind and once you’re finished; when nothing more comes to mind convert this into a document (using Microsoft Word or whatever you find easiest and most useful).

Put whatever is written on the post-it-note onto one line in your document, so that they’re in the same order as you had for your column. Name and save your document.

Depending on how detailed your thinking got with your post-it-notes, you’ll either have a pretty detailed step-by-step description of how to do something or the framework for a process description. Either way, you now have something that with a few minutes here and there you can turn into a process description that when given to another person will explain how to do what you’ve been doing and get it done right.

Consider adding pictures to show what things look like or inserting other files that get used straight into your document for a really complete process description.

When the person you’ve outsourced or delegated to gets to use the document, ask them to add any notes they make for their own assistance into the document and give you a copy each time they update it. That way your process description becomes more comprehensive and if this person leaves or you change to a new outsourced resource you have the additional knowledge in your business rather than their head.

Go through the same process with your other groups until you’ve done them all, or put them away and tackle them after you’ve successfully outsourced the first one.

You’ve now got a method for getting yourself out from under some of your day-to-day jobs, so make the most of it and off load more with the extra time you’ve just gained.

The reward of sticking with it is that you and your business have more time for growth, so all the good ideas you currently can’t implement because you've got no time can now be turned into money making reality.

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