When Even Outsourcing Looks Like Work

Enough about you…let’s talk about me!

I’m not a great manager of people, nor do I enjoy that aspect of work. That reality has no doubt cost me millions over time as it makes it hard to scale a business. In fact, I long ago started couching goals in terms of what a “one-person” business can accomplish.

The answer is quite a bit, but like you (even though we’re talking about me!) complexity creeps up and I find myself doing too many menial tasks and incur enormous opportunity costs meaning that there are countless more valuable things I should be doing.

I’ve never had a prohibition against hiring freelancers or VAs or whatever you want to call them, only full-time employees. In fact, I have used Fiverr probably fifty times for small tasks, and Upwork for larger IT-related tasks, and I’ve even hired part-time and full-time virtual assistants from London and Indonesia.

Each time I was determined that I would make the relationship work and, as someone climbed the DPI learning curve, I could give them more and more of the tasks I should not be doing and do not want to do.

What I found in most cases was just the opposite. Perhaps more importantly, what I found was that bringing a VA or freelancer on and up the learning curve is precisely the same process as with a full-time employee. In other words, if I was bad at one I’d be bad at the other.

Something Has to Change

But I’ve reached a point where if I want to achieve my business goals for the next five years, I simply cannot continue to try and do it all. With my new home video studio and list of courses I want to develop this year, well, it would take me forever without help.

And that’s no doubt the scenario you’ve found yourself in—so busy that you look for outside help only to realize that the time it would take to find and train them would only worsen your workload so, well, you vow to just do it yourself. In other words, like me, you avoid the one thing that could solve your problem in the long term because it worsens your problem in the short term.

And if that’s not short-sighted thinking, I don’t know what is.

So, even though I’m writing this on the day before I leave for my annual strategic planning retreat in Cancun, I have already made a commitment and set wheels in motion: I’m going to find top level freelancers to work with and I am going to take 2-3 months to train them, even if means I get nothing new produced during that time, even if it puts me behind for the 1st quarter of 2020 because I know it will find me much further ahead by year end.

You Get What You Pay For

Another thing I have accepted is that I’ll get what I pay for. The original reason Fiverr got its name is that you could get serious work done for only $5. This might include something like eliminating dupes from two or three different databases of thousands of names. There was truly great value.

In many cases today, Fiverr’s prices have little to do with the company’s name, but I find the more you pay the better work you get. And when I want to build a serious relationship in a critical area (like Facebook ads) I go to Upwork instead. There, I’ll pay $40, $75 or $100 an hour for a US based, English-as-a-first language expert, the fee being based on the type of work and their resume.

In other words, I am no longer looking at using a freelance team to save money, but exclusively to save time. (And enhance expertise in key areas.)

It’s early yet, but 2-3 weeks in, I feel good about this major change in my philosophy toward building DPI. Keep your fingers crossed because if I’m right, you’ll be a major beneficiary of new courses and new content in 2020…just not in the 1st quarter of 2020!

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