Here’s my short list of outsourcing hiring advice:

  • Stay away from the young ones...hire 26 and above. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem fair…but, you must treat this hiring process as a business and not a personal endeavor. Remember what you were like at 20?
    Don’t expect anymore from a young outsourced worker.
    And besides…they are still restless at that age…just not as settled into home life yet…the kind that gives stability and security.
  • Test everyone. I don’t care if it’s your outsourced workers mother….they must be tested to see if they fit your needs.
    Don’t take anyone’s previous work for granted.
    The only way to tell if they are a good fit for your business NOW is for you to give them a task related to your business…one that they will be hired for…and test their ability to see if they are a fit for your business needs.
    It’s all well and good to check someone’s past work…and that can clue you in a bit to their skill levels…but it really does not prove anything in regards to the tasks you are hiring them for.
  • Never give advances in pay. At least not the first year you’ve worked with someone. We’re all human…and there is a tendency to want to treat your outsourcer like a distant relative.
    Remember this is a business and must be treated like a business and handing out money before it is due…is simply not smart business.  After you have been with your outsourced/freelancer for a year or more you could make a judgment call of your own on these issues.
  • Don’t ignore the alarms. Should there be something…anything at all that “bothers” you or sets off an alarm in your head about your outsourced worker,  don’t ignore it.
    You must pay attention to these “signs” they could possibly save you from a terrible error in the future.
    Take my own example where I lost over $100 by not paying attention to “signs.” Being the good guy doesn’t count here. Rather, be a smart business person instead 😉
  • First month must be a trial. It would not be smart to agree to a long term contract with an outsourcer or freelancer if this is the first time you have worked with them. By giving them a “trial” month you can observe their work, attitude and other indicators of whether they are a good fit for you.
    Most likely their weaknesses…if there are any…will show up in this timeframe and you can decide whether you feel you can train them out of their weaknesses or you need to move on to a better fit for your business.
  • Be patient! Rarely will you find the perfect person the first time around…or even the second time.
    You must be patient and clear off the dross before the sparkle appears 😉
    Outsourcing is a skill…and, one you will get better and better at with time.
    My impatience cost me $100…a hard learned lesson…one you don’t want to copy 😉
  • Hire slow…fire fast. Don’t lolly dot around if you are aware that your freelancer is not working out.
    This will only cost you money and precious time.
    The minute you have figured out that your outsourcer is no longer a good fit…it’s time to cut the cord and let them go. I believe I garnered that advice from Jeff Mills of outsourcing fame. 😉
    It’s good advice.

Obviously there are other things that will require your attention in the hiring process as each situation is slightly different.

But, by abiding by the “short list” above you can make your outsourcing a more pleasant experience…and most of all…successful 😉

If you have anything to add to this short list…I’d love for you to put it in the comments so that everyone can benefit from your knowledge and experience 😉

Remember this quote:

“Treat your business like a business and it will produce like a business…treat it like a hobby and it will produce like a hobby”

Outsourcing Lessons Learned

It’s almost the New Year and a great time to share a few of my own experiences as I’ve come through a year of first hand study in the outsourcing world….a world I completely engulfed myself in.

It’s all well and good to learn about outsourcing from others (I did take Tyrone Shum’s Outsource Mastermind)…and the info they can provide surely gives you a road map to follow, but as with all things that involve other humans, you must take the plunge and try it out for yourself because no two situations will ever be alike.

There were three places I started my search for Filipino outsourcers:   (John Jonas’ site)

EasyOutsource:  (I love this site…and, the best part about it is it’s free!)

Best (this site is no longer available to anyone outside of the Philippines)

Wasn’t long before I found what I thought to be the perfect writer/SEO person…which was my first objective (hey this wasn’t going to be so hard after all) Tyrone, John Jonas and Jeff Mills all say the most important element to look for in an outsourced worker is their command of the English language.

Was I just lucky? Here she was…26…the perfect age, she had her own blog (personal)…in fact, she had two! I spent lots of time reading on her blogs and my business partner and I interviewed her on Skype.

She seemed perfect. She could write as good as any English person I knew and spoke well too, and she knew all about blogging!

She seemed to have a great command of SEO and what needs to be done so we started her on backlinking. She also had some strong techie skills and we were going to use her to set up our outsourcing blog, but eventually we were really after her writing skills.

We hired her. That’s right…we hired her…part time. That was her availability and was perfect for our needs at the time.

Notice I didn’t mention anything about testing her writing first. With everything we had read on her blog, we didn’t feel the need to test her writing skills.

First mistake

It wasn’t long before we asked her to write an article for Ezine articles on an IM topic and submit it to Ezine articles. Although she did send me the article first…I was very busy and did not take the time to properly review it…feeling so certain about her writing skills.

The article was not approved by Ezine.  I was both shocked and surprised.  

When I read it I could not believe this was written by the same person that was writing on these blogs. Although there was a command of the language, there was no structure to the article.

It was a complete mess and the title did not match the content of the article.

It seemed she could handle writing about family, friends and local activities, but when it came to writing and constructing an article in the IM world she simply did not have a clue.

The problem resolved itself as she had to take on more work outside of home…so we let her go. Lucky for us.  We were going to try and use her SEO skills…but her writing skills were obviously not what we thought.

How she seemed to know structure on her blog but could not apply this skill to articles still has me baffled.

Lesson here is this:

You must test every worker you are thinking of hiring. There can be no exceptions to this rule. No matter how advanced they are, you must test them for your business to see if they are the fit you are looking for.

The first thing we tell any writer we are considering is that they will have to write a test article on a subject of our choice.

You will be amazed at what you will find out through this exercise.

I actually use the same article title for all of them as I like to compare what they write and the amount of time it takes for them to submit it.

Ok…so, we were on the search for another techie person who could set up the blog (and auto blogs) and had SEO skills. This time it was a guy. Wow, he had a blog too…and a very nice one. All about the Philippines. He even had a classified ad site similar to Craigslist.

We were impressed!

Ok…we liked his skills…and his supposed know how…sure he was a bit younger than what we had hoped for (20 years old), but with those skills we thought we had run into a bit of a genius.

We did not test his writing skills as that is not what we were looking for from him.

After our interview on Skype we hired him for a one month trial so that we could test his abilities. His test was going to be to set up our blog.

But suddenly after reviewing many blog themes etc. he was no where to be found…for a week. Just disappeared. Strange I thought. So, I checked him out at Odesk where he had revealed that he worked sometimes.

Sure enough…although he did have some good reviews, someone stated that “he simply disappeared.” You  would have thought that would have been enough to scare us off but he showed up the next day…with the excuse that they had power outages (you will run into this on occasion)

Since it was our first situation with him we gave him the benefit of the doubt….even after reading what I did on Odesk.

Second mistake

Although you can’t judge someone totally by what you read, you must also pay attention to anything that sets off an alarm. But that mistake seems mild compared to the next one we made with him.

He approached us one day and told us that he was desperate for money and could we please give him a pay advance for a week?

By that time we had worked with him for a few weeks…liked what he was doing for us…so, we bent our own rules and paid him an advance…thinking that a happy, fed outsourced worker is a better producer.

We even explained to him that this was highly unusual and not something we would do again. But we were anxious to get moving forward and the thought of losing him and starting over after working with him for a few weeks was simply not appealing.

Third mistake

Never….and I mean never pay an advance to an outsourced worker. As soon as he received the money, he disappeared again…only this time he never came back.  We were out over $100.00.

Lesson learned…the hard way.

There have been many other “lesser” experiences this year as my knowledge of outsourcing has grown from first hand experience. We had a wonderful lady we interviewed on Skype who we thought was going to be perfect.

We gave her the writing assignment…and, never heard from her again.

If you want to be a master in your niche…you must pay the price 😉

All in all, my year of outsourcing has been an over whelming success. We now have a Project Manager that is over the top special and such an integral part of everything we accomplish.

Sure, we had to muddle through a few loses before we found the gem…but it was worth it.

We have a lovely lady that creates awesome videos…you’ll see one at our outsourcing/entrepreneurship blog (no, not officially open)…and, we’ve used a lovely lady for SEO purposes…although we are thinking of automating a good deal of these tasks.

Outsourcing is the way to go if you want leverage your time and expand your business quickly and efficiently,  but you must be smart. You must treat your outsourcing as a business…not a personal hobby.

I’ll leave you with a favorite quote:

“Treat your business like a business and it will produce like a business. Treat your business like a hobby and it will produce like a hobby.”

Very wise words indeed 😉

Next post I’ll give you my own short list of advice when hiring your freelancer/outsourced worker 😉

“Happy New Year” to everyone. May 2011 be your most prosperous year ever! Thank you for sharing this year with me.

Wishing you health, wealth…and excitement in 2011!

Outsourcing and the New Global Economy

Has anyone else felt how “fast” things are moving these days? Truthfully, it’s almost hard to keep up with technology the advances are so quick and impactful.

This wave of technology is affecting everything in our lives…particularly the way we do business. The movement towards a global economy has not only begun, it is moving forward with lightning speed and will continue to evolve and expand.

No matter where you are located in the US or any another country, the days of localized economies are a thing of the past. We must stop thinking of our localized communities and countries as being independent and dominant and standing alone.

We have moved into a global economy for many reasons, one being the fact that we can reach anyone in the world in less than a few seconds…and everything in our lives is being affected by it.

This leaves us with two choices:

Ignore this fact…hoping it will go away or flop somehow and everyone will revert back to how it was before the Internet arrived on the scene. (ever hear of evolution reversing itself?…NOT)

Or…. Read the rest of this entry

Are You an Entrepreneur?

Wow, I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post. You know I read somewhere that time really is going by faster…and I believe it. Has something to do with the Schumann resonance and the spin of the earth.

Although it seems I haven’t been around much…I actually have been. I have been working diligently with my new business partner Suzen (new business partner…old friend) and we’re very close to opening the doors to our new outsourcing blog.

Actually, we are not only going to cover outsourcing…but it will be a site dedicated to the new entrepreneur that seems to be emerging along with our new global economy.

That coupled with the fact that my 86 year old mom has been in and out of the hospital the past month (more in than out)…not only do I have responsibility to her…but to my 88 year old dad who just has terrible depth perception and requires attention to leave the house anymore.

As much as I love my marketing and my readership…family must always come first…and I hope they do with you also.

Because of many factors….the world economy included…. people are turning to the net in droves to try to carve out a living for themselves and their families.  It is now possible for anyone…with determination, perseverance, tenacity and firm faith in themselves…to become the entrepreneur they have dreamed about and possibly for the first time in their lives…be their own boss.

All because the Internet reaches people equally…without prejudice…even the small guy….who now has more opportunity than he has ever had before. Read the rest of this entry

“Tim is Indiana Jones for the digital age. I’ve already used his advice to go spearfishing on remote islands and ski the best hidden slopes of Argentina. Simply put, do what he says and you can live like a millionaire.”

-Albert Pope, Derivatives Trading, UBS World Headquarters

Anyone who has read “4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss will appreciate why I’ve included a link to a chapter in his book with this post. If you have not already read this mind-expanding eye opener then an introduction by way of this chapter will be enough to have you hankering for more…I am sure of it.

For those not in the know, “4 Hour Work Week”  the first book written by Timothy Ferriss, was released in 2007 and is now sold into 35 languages after reaching number one on both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller list.

But, that’s not what this post is about…you can read all you want about Tim Ferriss and his accomplishments (and, there are many) on his own site…which I am going to link to in a moment ;)….

Point I want to make here is that there is a movement that  possibly originated or at least gained tremendous ground as it exploded out to the consciousness of the masses with the release of Tim’s book…a whole new paradigm of thought about “lifestyle design.”

In the book Tim Ferriss uses the acronym DEAL for the four main chapters. It stands for: Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation. Read the rest of this entry

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