I first became in tune with the idea to outsource around the same time 4-Hour-Workweek became a hit. I assumed that if people could outsource their entire lives, then I could outsource most of our business systems and save millions, if not billions, at the same time. Although that reality didn’t come to perfect fruition, I have learned a lot, which I’d like to share.
Every YPNer knows what I’m talking about, but a quick definition just in case: By “outsourcing,” I mean using the Internet to post jobs on websites like elance.com, odesk.com, and others to get the global workforce to bid on your projects. Projects can consist of virtually anything — from mundane data entry tasks, to designing beautiful and unique brochures, or providing full time administrative assistance. Aside from cost savings and quick turn around times (compared to using a local firm), it’s also a great way to delegate work.
Here are some personal examples:
We just revamped our listing presentation and used a graphic designer in Peru to create powerful graphics that dramatically enhance our presentation. She turned my words into brilliant graphics, which enhance our presentation and message by roughly 1000 percent.
Through outsourcing, we’ve updated all of our print marketing to have consistent branding across everything we publish: postcards, property fliers, business cards, note cards, and personal brochures. All are printed through online printing services.
An important point is that you must find the outsourcing person or team that best fits your needs. Work with a few different providers at first and determine which aspects of the relationship are most important to you, then focus on finding a provider with those attributes and don’t settle until you’re 100 percent satisfied. Finding the right person will produce better and quicker results over time.
A few lessons learned:
You will only save money if you find the right person for the job. At first, I was too interested in how much money I could save. Now, I’m most interested in finding the best person for the job and making sure that we can both feel good about the price. I quickly learned you can pay more to have it done right the first time or pay more again to have it done correctly the second time. 🙂
Make sure your requirements are detailed and clearly written. This will lead to more proposals AND more accurate estimates.
Outsourcing is not ideal for big or long-term projects (like our main website). The main line of communication with your provider is typically e-mail, which can be frustrating if a lot of communication is needed. Also, I don’t like having a long-term dependency on a company I only know digitally.
The process takes a while to find the right match, but this should be everybody’s goal. The fun is not in posting jobs and sifting through proposals. The fun is in having a great relationship with a person/company who knows your taste and preferences (from successful past projects) and can work with minimal communication and a quick turn around time. That relationship is worth gold. You may even build a team of people for different types of work.
Outsourcing does not replace your local workforce. Sometimes you need hand holding and service and then more service. That is valuable and worth a premium in my opinion.
Marketing idea to outsource:
One of the best marketing concepts we’ve implemented is a monthly e-newsletter with CUSTOM content. If you’re looking for a project idea, you could post a job for an HTML e-mail template to be built then use a Web service (like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor) to send the e-mail out to your sphere on a monthly basis.
TG Gallaudetis a REALTOR® in La Quinta, Calif., and co-chair of the Desert YPN. Visit his Web site: www.gallaudet.com.