Cool Yer Jets: The Cons of Outsourcing (and How to Manage Them)
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Like many good things, outsourcing also has cons. Not many and not much to discourage you from hiring freelancers, but enough for you to need inner and outer zen to make you battle-ready while still in the planning stages.
All projects need outlines and layouts. Imagine your blank doc or spreadsheet. Add a sub-heading or column for outsourcing, and below that header, add the pros we’ve already outlined in previous posts. On another column, add the following conditions and your strategy on how to manage them.
1. You have to trust your freelancers.
Outsourcing tasks and projects comes with a risk on your security and privacy. A very low risk–and nothing untoward happens 99% of the time–but it’s there. Almost all freelancers understand your proprietary rights. Insider secrets and information are kept. It’s part and parcel of professionalism. All the same, consider:
- Would you require an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)?
- What parts of the projects/processes would you need to keep to yourself/your core team?
- Are you willing to mentor someone with your methods even if the freelancer won’t be with you long-term?
2. The project/s might run away from you or veer off somewhere you didn’t plan.
Because they are remote minions and not under your nose, there are cases where your freelancer/s do tasks vastly differently, or complete an altogether different task–not how and what you wanted.
Yes, the best freelancers need very little supervision, but keep communication open. Both parties should be responsive. Regularly check in so that your freelancer/s continue to produce desired results. Either you or someone in your core team does this: keep things on point and in the right direction.
3. You need to be sure as shooting that you’re ready to outsource.
Hey, I get it. I was excited, too. But hold up. You need to plan and strategize. That just about kills the excitement, yes, but it removes the risk of premature engagement, where you hire freelancers in a misguided urgency and, instead of making a sound investment as outsourcing usually is, you might only lose money and time–you don’t get results and real returns because you haven’t mapped out what results you wanted.
On the other hand, if you have a vision and an outline to achieve that vision, hiring out and working for you is a two-way smooth street. You’re good, and your freelancer/s also feel and do good.
4. You can’t supervise.
Oh, if you truly want to, you can. There are ways. But remember, freelancers are freelancers for the very reason that they’re good at what they do with minimal interference–and they prefer it that way. They would consult you and then proceed. If you or your superiors/under managers are inclined toward micromanaging, outsourcing is NOT for you.
How to keep a close eye? Milestone progresses as needed for the tasks. Say, 25% of the work submitted within a week, another 25% next week, and so on. Or daily reports. Schedule that with your freelancer/s.
If it’s not important to the outcome, care for the WHAT and WHEN, the results and the deadlines, not the minutiae of the HOW.
Outsourcing is an incredible and steady bridge toward your goals. If you have a plan, just enough room for spontaneity, and an openness to ideas and possibilities, building and speedily crossing the bridge is easy.