Kate's Tech Talks: The Art of the Outsource

Welcome back to another week of tech talks. This week we are talking about my top three strategies for mastering the art of the outsource. Whether you need to outsource design, copywriting, development, administrative tasks or other business functions, this tech talk has three general -- but insanely smart -- strategies that will help you get the most out of your outsource experience.

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The most important thing I want you to take away from this tech talk?

The point of outsourcing is to make your life easier -- not harder.

If you find outsourcing exhausting, disappointing and generally unhelpful I strongly suggest (re)watching this video and making sure that you are following these strategies:

  • Be clear about expectations and goals
  • Test out multiple contractors
  • Keep extra hours available for perfecting work

The #1 way I see people goofing up the outsource process is by accepting unfinished or unpolished work. They think, "Oh I can just finish it myself." Unless you specifically request work delivered in that condition, stop accepting work that doesn't meet your standards. The point of outsourcing is to save you time and streamline your processes -- if you just need to spend more time on the work anyway, there's no point in paying someone else!

And, to keep it real about outsourcing... Anyone that has outsourced regularly in their business can share stories of both amazing successes and total failures. I can name two in the past month: an adorable and just-what-I-asked-for icon of the Duomo for a redesign of my personal blog from a great illustrator on ODesk. A failure? Paying another ODesker to customize some CSS, having them tell me after 3 hours it's "not possible," and then doing it myself in an hour. I tell you these two anecdotes because even after years of outsourcing and following my own strategies to a T, there are still hits and misses. By following the strategy workflow in this week's tech talk, however, I've been able to keep the misses relatively low.

P.S. I hope you'll excuse the "bare bones" look of this and next week's videos. I'm setting up a pretty recording area in my new apartment and need a few weeks of transition time to get things just right.