Note from Sean: Hey guys, while I’m gallivanting around Vegas, I enlisted my buddy Maneesh to hold down the fort while I was gone. I’ve known Maneesh for nearly a year now, and I’ve been seeing him everywhere these days, so I’m happy to have him writing here. I may be slow to approve comments, but I’ll do my best.
Also, just for Location 180 Readers, Maneesh has created a special process chart template for hiring your first outsourcer. Get access to it, and to free offices and plane tickets all over the world, at Hack The System]
And now, here’s Maneesh.
“MANEESH. Who the hell was Nirunjan and why did he just call me wishing me ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ on your behalf?”
When I first read the 4 Hour Workweek and began outsourcing, I was a little crazy about it. I hired a team in India to do a bunch of random, crazy tasks—like calling my mother on Mother’s Day, or asking girls out on dates.
That was 5 years ago. Since then, my outsourcing strategy has developed—now I use employees and outsourcers for more effective tasks than wasting my parents’ time. And I’m going to show you how you can do the same.
Delegate the things you don’t want to do, so you can spend your time doing the things that really matter
It was 2008 when it hit me—what if I could create hundreds of different web pages, each about a niche topic, and earn income from advertising revenue? As I worked harder and harder on my advertising business, I started to realize that I was doing the same tasks over and over.
I started tracking the time that I was using, and realized that setup and logistics were taking over 60% of my time. What if I could outsource the repetitive tasks and reduce the amount of hours I was working per week—but still increase my income?
So I headed over to Elance and created a project for my new business. Within 24 hours, I had several offers, and eventually settled on a team of outsourcers in India for $4 / hour.
The act of hiring employees made a big shift in the business—suddenly, I had people who were waiting for a task to complete. I created a process chart to outline the exact steps to follow to complete the task. Eventually, the process was so fluid that I began working exactly 3 hours and 59 minutes per week. The best part? Within just a couple months, my income grew enough to cover all my expenses and the costs of hiring employees.
My story was featured on the 4 Hour Workweek Blog. You can see it below—the part about my outsourced business model starts at 2m49 seconds. You’ll see how I automated my entire business using outsourced employees.
You’ve probably heard a lot about outsourcing, but how do you really get started? I want to outline the types of tasks you can outsource, how to find potential employees, and how to actually start delegating your work.
The Types of Tasks You Can Outsource
Since I’ve begun hiring others, I’ve found that there is a huge variety of tasks that you can outsource, both for business and personal reasons. Here are some of the best tasks you can easily outsource.
Any basic service task (laundry, grocery shopping, etc) – What are your most productive hours? If you are most effective in the afternoon, don’t spend your afternoons grocery shopping! I’m much more productive during the day than at night, but I used to waste a lot of time shopping for groceries or doing my laundry during daytime hours.
Now, I hire an assistant in my local area (New York City) to handle this for me. She comes to my house, deals with shipping any packages I need handled, drops off my dry cleaning, and handles other basic tasks. Cost? $9/hour. For a couple hundred bucks a month, I no longer need to think about my laundry or groceries, and the time I save (and the mental baggage I avoid) is worth much more than the cost.
Repetitive business tasks – At your job, or on your website, do you find yourself doing the same tasks on repeat every day? Repetitive tasks are a great example of something you can outsource and/or automate. The next time that you find yourself doing something for the 3rd, 5th, 10th time, spend the time to create a process chart that details the exact steps you finish your work. I’ll talk more about this in the Tips on Managing Your Freelancers section, but I also created a special template that you can use for your first hire. Get the process chart template at Hack the System.
Calendaring and daily secretarial duties – I’ve found that the most powerful use of freelancers and outsourcers is to have them handle my calendaring and daily tasks. If you find a consistent employee, you can simply forward them emails and text message, telling them to “add it to your calendar.” The power of this comes not just from having the task added to your calendar, but also the consistent reminders that your outsourcer will provide. You’ll be reminded to get your project done, daily, and thus be a lot more likely to actually do your work rather than procrastinating.
Where to Find Freelancers, Employees, and Outsourcers
I use several websites and resources to find people to work with. Here is a list of my favorites.
Elance.com or Odesk.com– Elance is where I found my first team of recurring freelancers. You can easily head to Elance or Odesk and submit a job proposal, and you’ll get several offers within 24 hours. Odesk offers the ability to automatically take screenshots of your employee’s screen during working hours, so you can track them and see if they are actually doing their job.
Online-jobs.ph – Online-Jobs is a resource for connecting employers and Filipino assistants. Filipinos tend to have better English than Indians, and are fairly hard working. You can find a good selection of Filipino assistants through this site, but you do need to pay a subscription fee.
Craigslist – Craigslist will immediately give you access to a ton of potential freelancers. I like Craigslist because it makes it easy to find local employees. I use Craigslist when I need to find someone in the area who will work with me, one on one. I also use it to hire people to slap me every time I go on Facebook.
TaskRabbit.com – Task Rabbit is a great website for getting a quick task done. A few weeks ago, for example, I needed to move a bed from Brooklyn to my new apartment in Manhattan. I called up several friends, but no one had access to a truck. I was about to head to U-Haul and rent one, when I decided to plop the task in Task Rabbit. 3 minutes later, I had a bid for $50 — someone with huge van, scheduled for the day after. He arrived on time and even helped me install my bed!
Note: TaskRabbit is good for one-off tasks, but not great for repetitive tasks. But, if you need something done right away, check out TaskRabbit.
Your friends – Ask your friends for recommendations. I’ve found my best employees through referrals and word of mouth!
Tips on Managing Your Freelancers
The hardest part about hiring is managing. Here are a few tips that I recommend you follow.
When hiring, give your interviewees a basic task – I recommend you ask your interviewees to do something basic, to see how they react. Here is an example: Ask them to research different types of web browsers and their market share. Then, ask them to put the data into a report and send it to you. If they can handle this basic task, then take them to step 2: the interview.
Interview your potential hire via Skype or in-person – Before hiring, make sure to interview via voice. Ask for referrals. Contact the referrals. This takes some time, but it is definitely worth doing.
Create a process chart for your employees to follow – When assigning repetitive business tasks, I highly recommend using a process chart — a set of clear instructions that your outsourcer can follow, step by step, in order to do their task. This can take a bit of time to produce, but it makes the success rate of your employee much higher. Below is a picture of a process chart I use for my employees. And, for Location 180 readers, you can get the template that I use to create Process Charts as well as an example of one of my successful chart. Get the template here.
Have clearly defined goals and outcomes – Your new hire should know exactly what is expected of them. The process chart helps them follow a template. If you don’t give them clear goals, they will underperform, so make sure they know exactly what to do.
Walk them through the task the first time they do it, and give them feedback to help them improve – Your hire won’t do a perfect job the first time. Help them out, tell them what they missed, and help them improve for the next time.
But how exactly can I assign my employees tasks? Let me show you how — A special gift for Location 180 readers.
One of the hardest things about dealing with outsourcers is giving them tasks. I want to share with you my template that I use for creating new tasks. You’ll get a copy of one of the process charts I use that has made my employee success rate 10x.
Head over to Hack The System, drop in your email address, and I’ll send you this special resource kit.
- The Process Chart Example and Template – This is the exact template and chart that I use to give tasks. This will help you considerably in understanding how to hire.
- The Travel Hacking Report – How to get a) an international plane ticket for less than $100 and b) free office space in every country of the world.
- Just for fun, I’ll link you to my Tim Ferriss Party Video (during my 90 days to becoming a famous DJ in Berlin project)
Head to Hack The System to get your process chart and free plane ticket/ free office. Thanks for checking it out.
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