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Outsourcing Exposed

PERSONAL STORY: My Massive Outsourcing FAIL

frustrated-lady

I want to tell you my personal story and how it can help you. First, as you read this, monitor your emotions. How do you feel? Do you remember that physical chest-squeezing sensation of overwhelm, of “Arghghghg!” hair-pulling frustration, of feeling you have too much to get done?

Like having your own Boss in your head nagging you “Have you done it yet?”

To show you the power of what can be achieved with outsourcing, and how I came into it, I thought I’d tell you my story, of how I went from massive overwhelm, working too many hours every day, checking stats, doing all the tasks and jobs within my business, running it, running it, running it – to really doing very little myself, just overseeing the systems and the team, free to do whatever I want with my day.

RedundantAs you read down the page here, see how much of this you can relate to…

It all started when I was made redundant from my last employed job, about 4 years ago. I was kind of scared at the lack of job, but also invigorated, like standing on a cliff in a cold, bracing wind. Unemployed, I thought “Right! I don’t want to work for someone else – I want to keep the profits of my work. Time to  go it alone.”

I was already experienced in websites and internet marketing from my previous job, so I set up a niche website, offering a certain niche insurance.

And it snowballed from there…

In the UK, to sell insurance, you have to be FSA (Financial Services Authority) registered. There is a lot of paperwork involved in a bureaucratic nightmare (I was once told that if the online FSA Handbook Guide, which you have to read through, was printed out, the stack of paper would reach 11 foot high!).

So that minefield had to be gone through. I did all the paperwork and jumped through all the hoops for that. Not fun at all, but it had to be done.

google-logo1I built the website, got skilled at web design, website building and tweaking. I honed my Search Engine Optimization skills – and back then, it was mostly all about getting as many backlinks as possible.

So I was writing articles myself (good ones) and publishing them, just like so many other internet marketers were doing. And it worked. My website was reliably and continuously ranked #1 in Google for the main keyword search term – a very competitive search term (the market has grown into a much more competitive environment now).

And that #1 Google spot brought in a LOT of business, a lot of sales and good money. So I needed to do a lot of work to maintain that Google position. Plus run all the rest of the business – operating and maintaining the website, plus all the operations of running a company.

chasing-tail1Maybe you can relate to this – I was working too hard, working evenings at home, doing loads of different tasks for my niche website.  Although I was working from home, which is cool and has great advantages, but I was working late into the evenings to get everything done that I needed to.

After about 2 years I had the company working to a point where is was making about $250,000 – and I was working darned hard for that money.

Then through a friend I heard about a certain form of ‘outsourcing’, a way to (so I was told) cheaply get someone to work for you, to get some of the business tasks done, so I didn’t have to do it all.  I was pretty skeptical and figured there would be some kind of catch, some downside to it. Isn’t there always?

But I figured I cannot continue doing it all myself and expect the business to grow, because I am already working at maximum capacity, so I cant do any more.

I tried a few different options.  I hired someone on a monthly retainer in India.  He had his own team of people so I was paying for certain tasks to be done, paying for the completed job, rather than paying monthly for a person’s salary.

It kind of worked, but there was a lot of work involved for me, in maintaining it.  Which slightly defeated the objective of saving my time.

I also hired a few people for some tasks from Elance.  Again, that kind of worked, but it took a lot of work maintaining it.  Now, I still use Elance for *skilled tasks*, like graphic design and programming for large projects, because I don’t need a full time person for this, all the time.  I had a few outsourcing nightmares with people I hired from Elance, where the programming work was terrible and buggy, and did not live up to standard.  Sometimes it worked, and I learnt from all these outsourcing trials.

Then, after a few more outsourcing experiences, I discovered the Philippines.

And that was when it all changed.

question markI was dubious about it at first, questioning whether it was really all that special as it sounded.  It was a time-consuming process of learning how to find people in the Philippines, how to figure out if they had the skills I needed, if they had experience, if they could be trained, how to train them, how to track them and make sure they were doing the right things.

It was exhausting for me to work it all out on the fly, as a ‘newbie’ to it , as an ‘outsourcing virgin’, as I went along.

I tentatively hired my first person… And it failed!

They didn’t work out so well because I had made a few mistakes in the hiring and interview process, where I had not pulled out some key things which they were missing (I outline more about this in the Outsourcing Exposed book, on Amazon).  So that hire failed quickly.

Which was fine with me.  I’d rather fail quickly than slowly.  Anyway, lesson learnt.  I knew what I had to do to improve.  And even though that first hire failed, I could see why it had failed and what I had to do to make it work next time.

This time, I got some mentoring some training, paid to improve my outsourcing education – and learned again what I had done wrong with that first hire.

But now I was feeling more positive, more excited that this was going to work.  I did something close to the process of ‘finding and hiring’ which is laid out in the Outsourcing Exposed book (I honed and perfected the system since then).

And I have to say, I either hit a lucky strike, or got it just right.  Because the very next outsourcing hire I made was to bring a person called Jordan into my business…

Jordan

And Jordan is still with us to this day.  In fact, he co-wrote the Introduction chapter to the Outsourcing Exposed book!

But I didn’t know I had hit a home run when I first hired Jordan.  He was just a new guy I had hired and would need to train up into his role.  He started as an Article Writer.  He started writing great articles for me,at a rate of about one 400 word article per hour.  (When the pay-rate is about $1 per hour, that means I was paying about $1 per article – totally worth it, to get that writing task off my plate).

I then submitted and published these articles into various places, the article directories and the blog networks we used (this was before the days of Google Panda and Penguin).

tickSo article writing was one less task I had to do.

And I could start to see that this guy was good.  Not only could he write good articles, but he ‘got’ the business.  He started to understand what we do as a company, as a whole, and did his own independent research and came back to me with other new ideas for marketing.

So soon enough I gave him the task of doing the article submissions, publications and promotions.  He got good at that soon enough.

tickSo that was one less thing I had to do.

By now I had a growing confidence, that I had done the right thing by outsourcing to the Philippines, and bringing someone on full time in my business.

As we grew, I gave him more tasks. Then as his work day was filled up to capacity, with more and more tasks, I hired someone else (going through the outsourcing hiring process as outlined in the Outsourcing Exposed book again – this time improving the process a little more).

And the handy part was I let Jordan train that new person up, mostly.  I still did plenty of the training, but Jordan did the nuts and bolts of the training.

So then we had our second new team member.  She was fully up to speed in a few months.  She was less of a leader and more of an order-follower.  And that was A-OK with me because at this stage in the business, I needed someone who would simply do the tasks I outlined for them.

It took me some time in the training, along with Jordan, to get her to being fully occupied, full time, and without needing further training.  I created plenty of training videos using Jong and Camtasia and some other techniques outlined in the Outsourcing Exposed book.  We created text documents for her to define the intricacies and details and decision-making that she needed to do.  But we got there.

tickAnd then I had one less task to do each day.

Then we hired another person.  And soon enough my team was running my business for me.  Each one of the team was like a carbon-copy of me, duplicating me – or at least a slice of me.

But that still left me as me!

Free to take on other new tasks, in other areas of the business.

tickOr to not do any work!

And truth be told, if I’m honest, I did my fair share of doing nothing much at all. At least for a while (you get bored of it after a while).

But I did (and still do) get to spend much more time with my kids (4 awesome, growing kids) and my lovely wife.  Time well invested :)

But its a nice luxury option to have – the option of not needing to work

I still kept tabs on my team, giving them everything they needed to do their job, staying in communication with them, allowing them to get on an run my business for me.

Soon enough, I thought “I could teach other entrepreneurs some of the outsourcing success strategies I’ve learned the hard way.  And I could help them hook up with great, skilled people in the Philippines to run their business for them”

And that was the birth of OutsourcingExposed.com here, and of ExpertTeam.tv (where you can find the outsource workers, the people, you need to run your business for you, plus the training materials to give them)

So that’s my story.  What have you taken from it?  What action points in this could you take?

So was this helpful or entertaining?  Hit the Facebook Like button, and let me know in the Review section below.  Thanks in advance ;)

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About the author: Duncan Elliott is a successful entrepreneur, with many years experience working full-time online, running 3 successful companies, all operating smoothly and profitably using the same outsourcing strategies you will discover here.He is a published author and expert on outsourcing to streamline your profits. If you need Duncan to consult for your business, please contact us using the Contact page above.You can learn a lot about outsourcing for higher profits from this website, and also from the “Outsourcing Exposed” book, available on Amazon

3 comments… add one

  • clerorkebra February 4, 2013, 2:19 am

    An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I feel that you simply should write a lot more on this subject, it may well not be a taboo topic but usually many people aren’t sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  • Haidee March 31, 2013, 1:24 am

    Outsourcing is becoming more feasible for the everyday person. This article helps us to be exposed the challenges and rewards.

    • Duncan March 31, 2013, 10:38 am

      Hey Haidee,

      So true. It is more and more accessible. At a certain point, you have to ask yourself “Why aren’t I already outsourcing most of what I am personally doing?”

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