I thought long and hard about if I should post this on our agency blog, or my personal blog.
“Outsourcing” is generally frowned upon in our industry, especially if you’re using low cost labor to deliver client work.
Ultimately, I chose to publish it here because we’re committed to creating an open, honest and transparent agency.
We offshore work – I don’t want to hide it, I want to discuss it.
A few weeks ago, we hosted a Meetup about offshoring – I got some objections that I feel the need to address.
Objection 1: Low cost labor = low quality work.
Yes, if you’re paying someone $3/hour, you’re going to get what you pay for. You’re not paying them to think – you’re paying them to do. Offshoring fails when you give them too much responsibility without enough information.
Objection 2: What you’re doing is Un-American and you should be hiring Americans…
When you’re first getting started, your biggest asset is your time. Your time only goes so far – employees can help to scale your time and maximize outputs.
Americans are expensive – I used offshore labor as an interim solution while we were building revenue. We now employ 8 Americans and are hiring more each quarter.
Our local employees would not be here without our offshore employees.
“Outsourcing” is often misconstrued so I put together a simple chart to break down the pros and cons of different types of labor:
We don’t “outsource”, we “offshore”.
In other words, we don’t push off entire processes. We find, training and manage our own team offshore that supports us full time.
Now, let’s talk about what you can offshore.
A few notes to help you understand what you can offshore:
In the next section, we will cover the items we offshore and exactly how we do it.
I’m not gonna lie to you – offshoring is a lot of work. It’s time consuming, frustrating and a flat out pain in the ass.
However, to save money, you need to spend time.
The following are my best tips on how to offshore.
If you’ve seen any of my content before, you’ve heard me talk about “process”.
The only way you’ll successfully outsource work is through process, communication and organization.
Building a process is [literally] easier than it sounds…ready?
Honestly, that’s it.
The trouble is, you might not know how build a process for things you might want to outsource (SEO, social media, design, etc).
You need to figure it out.
There’s this tool that allows you to look up anything you want. ANYTHING…It’s crazy.
That was me being a sarcastic ass, but still – use the tools that our generation is so blessed to have. If you just Google search for “keyword research” you’ll find dozens of awesome guides that have all the knowledge you need – just steal it and format it into a process.
So let’s start to dig into this process thing a little deeper – let’s say you want to outsource SEO. If you put in the time to do research, you’ll find there’s a lot of moving pieces:
It’s difficult to find someone who can handle all of this, so you have you build micro processes. That means each piece of what you need done should have it’s own process and guidelines to follow.
This also allows you to hire niche talent (i.e. content writers, technical specialists, etc) as opposed to using someone whose skill set doesn’t match.
Everything that we do as an agency has a detailed process, checklist and tracker. Here’s how they break down.
a. A written guide in Google Docs (aka SOP). Complete with screenshots, step by step tutorials and logins (if necessary).
b. Screencast videos explaining the process in detail. We host all videos on a private YouTube Channel.
c. A checklist in Google Sheets, itemized by task so we can track progress and status of the job.
Any of the following will work:
What you’ll find is it’s less about the platform (and even the people) and it’s more about you. If you have a process, you can hire someone off the street, it doesn’t matter.
We even have a process for posting jobs and interviewing talent.
We’re able to find, train and hire new offshore people within a few hours.
People lie online – there’s no way to really tell if someone’s body of work is legit.
That’s why we put each applicant through a demo to make sure they have the knowledge they claimed and are capable of managing the process.
We end up spending quite a bit of money to test multiple people, but this saves a lot of time and headaches to filter out low quality applicants.
Even after they’ve completed what you’ve given them, go through and thoroughly tear it apart. We generally have to review their work monthly to ensure the quality remains as high as possible.
Build a long term schedule – set, forget and move on to the next challenge.