Nathan Sykes

March 14, 2021

Becoming The Outsourcing Hub

When I wrote yesterday's blog post on outsourcing being a hub-and-spoke system, I did not anticipate the number of responses I'd receive, all saying something to the effect of "I don't outsource at all". So for today, I'd like to take the opportunity to walk you through how to outsource some of the day-to-day operations of your company.

I do need to start by clarifying - leveraging systemization and outsourcing is an incredible tool. As I wrote yesterday, it is the solution to some, not all, of your growth and productivity problems. You can't delegate everything, unless you want to trade in on your company's potential growth. Somebody needs to be the hub that's growing the company. It won't work otherwise.

So what can you outsource? Anything that can be done by following something called an SOP, or a standard operating procedure. This can be handling emails according to set guidelines, answering the phones and directing calls, booking appointments, scheduling social media posts, or even sending greeting/thank you/birthday cards. But your virtual team will only accomplish these things when you tell them to do so. That's why you need to be the hub.

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When somebody asks me for advice on successfully outsourcing work, I traditionally take them through an exercise I'd like to walk you through. I ask them to take out a piece of paper (not open a new word document), grab a pen, and spend fifteen minutes brainstorming.

The first five minutes is spent answering the question, "What do I not want to do in the day to day of my business?"

Jot down whatever comes to mind, regardless of scope, price, or feasibility. Most importantly, don't stop until you hear the five minute timer ring - things come up at the very last few seconds.

When you've finished with the first question, the second five minutes is spent answering, "What do I not know how to do in the day to day of my business?"

Again, write down everything that comes to mind, and don't stop until you hear the timer.

Finally, the third five minutes is reserved for the question, "What, in the day to day operation of this company, do I feel is beneath me as a business owner?"

Don't stop until you hear the timer go off.

What you have in front of you is your list of spokes. With you at the hub, steering the ship, outsourcing this set of tasks will relieve a significant productivity and time burden on you and whatever staff you have in place right now. But throwing up a job description for these new tasks and hoping someone hits the ground running isn't the correct way to handle this. It will set you up for the failure that most people experience when hiring a virtual assistant for the first time. There are three key fundamental parts of successfully outsourcing that I'm going to cover over the next three days - the next three blog post.

  1. Writing Standard Operating Procedures With Clarity
  2. Understanding That Businesses Are Made Of Recurring Tasks
  3. Keeping Your Remote Team Happy & Accountable

In my March 12th blog post, I wrote about the importance of clarity in everything you write or communicate. The focus of that post was clarity during funding/due diligence/meetings between founders & investors/buyers, but the same principle holds true towards documenting the spokes that run your business. Creating standard operating procedures that explain how to handle each tiny task that makes up your business is integral towards successful implementation of virtual assistants.

I'll also write about the fundamentals of outsourcing. Even in creative businesses, like design agencies, each part of your company is made up of recurring tasks. The actual creative work is your hub - the recurring tasks are the spokes. Freelancers and creative entrepreneurs use this misconception to incorrectly justify taking on a burdensome workload - it doesn't have to be like that.

Finally, your remote team should be treated just like any other employee you'd ever hire, even if they're paid less and you never meet them in-person. Keeping your team happy, and more importantly, making sure they're held accountable for their deliverables will cut down on the bad experiences you'll have while leveraging outsourcing, systemization, and automation.

To round off today, I'd like to make a book recommendation. If you haven't read it, Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business* is an excellent read by Chris Ducker. It talks all about leveraging virtual assistants to build out those recurring tasks.




*=You guessed it, that's an affiliate link. Now instead of Amazon keeping the entire $16.95 USD it's listed for, I get $0.76 of it! What fun!