The Most Effortless and Effective Outsourcing System I’ve Used

by Scott - 11 Comments

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Two years ago I started my outsourcing journey.

Since then I’ve tried a ton of different companies and works to offload as many tasks that I shouldn’t be doing as possible.

Today I want to share the most effective business outsourcing setup I’ve come across. It’s what I use today and has massively increased my output….

outsourcing system

Here’s the deal.

If you’ve heard of outsourcing, you know there is probably specialists who could be executing tasks you’re currently doing. Odds are they can probably do a better job for less than your hourly rate as well.

So why the heck doesn’t everyone outsource everything other people could do to affordable specialists?

The main reason is that there is a ton of friction in the hiring process.

Where do I find talent that’s affordable?

How do I know that these people will produce work that meets my standards?

Oh and that whole thing where you spend hours reviewing samples and vetting candidates…who really wants to do that? Especially when half the time the final product turns out to be meh after you hire them.

My current set up side steps this friction. This encourages me to outsource all the things I should be…instead of opting for doing it myself because I want to avoid all the annoying stuff I mentioned above.

My Outsourcing System Setup

Again, the reason most people don’t outsource is because finding and hiring quality talent is a pain in the ace.

The best way to avoid this bottleneck is to outsource it!

I work with a virtual team architect named Amberly. Her job is to craft an a-team of “on call” affordable virtual talent across a variety of disciplines.

So far I’ve used her to help me hire specialists for:

1. SEO
2. Image creation
3. Ebook Design
4. Youtube Video Optimization
5. Sales Page Design
6. Video Cut-Ups

If she doesn’t have a specialist for a task within her on call group, she goes and finds one who subsequently gets added to her on call group that I can leverage for future use.

Each specialist is curated for both quality of work and speed. She understands exactly how long things take and the level of quality I need for each task which direct which specialist she calls upon.

She’s built the incredibly valuable skill of understanding how to navigate the panacea of outsourcing sites to find the diamonds in the rough. This is someone you want on your team.

Amberly also found me another awesome dedicated personal assistant who helps me with everything from email marketing to analyzing my google analytics.

*I still work with Josiah from Zirtual for different types of tasks.

 The Process

When I want something outsourced I just send Amberly an email indicating what I need.

Here’s a recent example to show you how simple it is. The task was to take a word document I wrote called “The Udemy Passive Profits Launch Formula” and turn it into a Ebook.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 11.31.15 PM

*Jenni is the name of a designer that I know she works with

From here Amberly is the intermediary for all communication between myself and the contracted talent. All questions, revisions, and payment go through her so I only have to deal with one person. This simplifies the process as well as helps her understand my preferences for future jobs..

All billing is done once a month which includes Amberly’s time as well as any payouts she has performed on my behalf for the contractors.

My Personal, Virtual GTD Man

I’ve already written about how my first virtual assistant Josiah helps me.

The virtual assistant Amberly found me is named is Lazar. He’s a bit different because he can perform tasks outside the scope of what is allowed on Zirtual like video editing and web site fixes. This is why I call him my “get things done” man!

Lazar helps me with reoccurring processes, special projects, and small things I need done for my business that don’t require deep domain knowledge to do an excellent job (WordPress Development, Design, etc).

Once I’ve identified a reoccurring task that can be offloaded, I execute the process while recording my screen and explaining it. I then send it to Lazar and he completes it with ninja like efficiency.

I keep all these videos in a Wistia folder that he has access to through Lastpass. This way I’m slowly building a library of videos of how my business operates.  This can be used to ramp up new employees in the future or even potentially create a future “behind the scenes” product of how I run my business.

An example reoccurring task that Lazar performs for me is my “weekly report.”

Between all my products, websites, and email lists, I have analytics coming out the ying yang. I used to have to go to 10 different places to compile all of this before even doing any analysis.

This friction usually resulted in me rarely looking at my analytics…(shh bloggers aren’t supposed to tell you this!).

Now Lazar sends me an email every Monday that contains the following:

• Excel sheets containing requested analytics for my email list, website, and courses
• A short written analysis of each component that highlight key performance indicators, any anomalies, and a performance comparisons vs. weeks prior

The simplicity of this system results in me actually paying attention to my analytics and subsequently taking action on them.

As mentioned earlier, Lazar also helps me with quick one-off tasks.

An recent example of this was transcribing the introductions of 4 popular podcasts I like so I’d have some templates to work from for creating mine…

Shh again…I’m launching an awesome podcast. Let me know if you want me to shoot you a personal email when it launches here.

How You Can Emulate This System

I got extremely lucky and was introduced to Amberly by a friend.

If I were to try and emulate this system here’s the steps I’d take…

1. Hire or designate someone to be your Virtual Team Architect

There are some companies and people out there who already manage the hiring process like Amberly (connect with her here). But according friends,they’re very expensive relative to the ROI they drive for an entrepreneur.

But if you can’t find one, I’d just find someone whose internet saavy like a college student and invest some time in them. Have them go through video tutorials online for popular sites like Elance and Odesk. Clearly outline for them how you’d go about finding talent by creating a video screenshare of your thought process of an actual hire.

There will be some upfront time costs, but in the long run it will be incredibly worth it.

2. Once you have your Virtual Team architect, have them find you a dedicated VA

Identify the key pieces of software that you use (i.e. google apps, aweber) and have them identify assistants on sites like Elance and Odesk that have experience with this. Also set a price range and the expected number of hours that you anticipate this person working for you per week.

*You could have your virtual team architect and virtual assistant be the same person. But if you do this, you need to make sure this is trustworthy. I’ve heard stories of VA’s hiring their friends instead of the best, most cost efficient talent.

3. Identify tasks that can be outsourced

The best way to identify tasks that can be outsourced is to keep a log of everything you do for a week.

Using this list, ask yourself what doesn’t require your unique set of skills to identify what to outsource.

I keep this diagram in front of my desk to have the “what can be outsourced” mentality top of mind throughout the day.

4. Begin ramping up your Virtual Assistant by building a video library of tasks

I’ve found that creating videos where I explain and demonstrate exactly what I want is the time efficient way to delegate a task. It minimizes the back and forth and makes things crystal clear. This is something that Amberly suggested during our first meeting and she’s right, it works.

To record my screencasts, I use Screenflow for Mac.

Conclusion

I love the system described above because it actually gets me to take advantage of business outsourcing by removing the failure point of dealing with the annoying hiring process.

It allows me to do more of what I like and am good at, and less things that make me want to clean whatever room I’m in instead of work.

This system might seem intimidating if you’ve never outsourced anything or worked with a Virtual Assistant before.

If you’re just looking to get started and want something with a bit more hand holding, I’d check out Zirtual and my Zirtual Review that details my first month using a dedicated virtual assistant.

 

Let’s get some chatter in the comments…the most thoughtful comment will get early access to my Udemy Passive Profits Launch Blueprint Ebook.

What do you want to know about outsourcing or this particular system?

If you’ve outsourced before, what systems have been effective for you and what do you wish was easier about the process?

Get started by receiving a list of all the stuff I outsource here


11 comments, add to the conversation.

  1. Dylan Beynon

    Damn, I’ve had so little success hiring VA’s that if I can’t do a task on Amazon Mechanical Turk, I just do it myself. This is a great idea; I’m definitely going to try it and let you know how it goes.

    Reply

  2. Joel Widmer

    Excellent and timely post, Scott! Was just interviewing VA agencies this morning, then read this and realized thats exactly where my friction was. I couldn’t put it into words but even though I’ve documented and systematized the entire hiring process for each task, I’m the one who has to continually go through the process to find people which drains the life out of me! I just hired Amberly and stoked to work with her!

    Reply

  3. Grant Weherley

    Hola Scott,

    Holy crap I’m glad I stumbled across this too at the most perfect time.

    Was just thinking about testing out some new business ideas, and was going to “outsource” the test, all while internally moaning and groaning about actually procuring the people worth outsourcing the tests to. I had never though of this – outsourcing the outsourcing! One of those things that’s makes you think “doh! I should have thought of this already!”

    And I’m particularly excited about this, because I can test more new business ideas faster and better for like an extra 50 bucks, and literally with these two ideas I’m playing with it will be send the couple emails and sit back to see if it works or not over the course of two days and a couple hundred bucks. Talk about validation first with minimal investment :-)

    Cheers man,
    Grant

    Oh and P.S. send me that ebook for so I can ramp up Udemy sales please :-) Mine are doing pretty well but still like 1/5 of what yours are pulling

    Reply

  4. Roberto J Gonzalez

    Hey Scott!
    Loved this info man. I used virtual assistants years ago as a real estate agent and now I’m coming back to it as an actor. How would you describe the difference between a service like Zirtual (dedicated, I think) and one like Fancy Hands (on demand) – in terms of the value they’ve given you?

    Reply

  5. Post Author Scott

    Value is way higher with a dedicated. They get to know my preferences which make it far more efficient. I also am forced to outsource more stuff because I’m paying for the time!

    Reply

  6. Michael

    Hi Scott, great post! Just wanted to add in a tool we use a lot: Jing by TechSmith (same guys that do Camtasia, http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html). It is a quick screen capture tool for screen capturing image and video. I really love it because it is super simple. Screen capture, pick upload location and you get a paste ready link in your clipboard. Most painless visual communication I have encountered.

    There is other great features like screen grabs allow you to write over the image and add arrows and boxes.
    You can setup your own FTP server (we use our website hosting) and communicate for free.
    The free version has a 5 min video limit, which I personally really like since it forces you to be short and precise.

    Hope this helps :)

    ps: I am not affiliated with Jing in any shape or form, I just love this product.

    Reply

  7. Jennifer Eckhardt

    Great post Scott! Glad I found it! And for those of you who might still be looking for a Virtual Team Architect, you might want to search or ask about Online Business Managers. The OBM role is very similar to what you are describing here!

    Reply

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