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CBNikole

When is a subcontractor worth it and when is it just more work?

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So, I recently tested out a subcontractor with some of the more basic work that I do that just takes up time--namely optimization, transcription, and edits to a couple of YouTube videos. I went to the trouble of making video tutorials explaining exactly how I need them done and the subcontractor got them done in 30 min. (which is typically about how long it takes me to do them) and before her deadline.

 

So far so good, right? Well, when I finally went in to publish them to my clients' blogs, I had to redo a bunch of stuff. It was too close to deadline to send them back to her to revisit, plus, maybe I'm just being type A here, but I didn't really trust her to do it the way I wanted it. So, in the end, it saved me literally zero time. Actually, it took way longer, if you consider the amount of time I spent producing the tutorials to send to her.

 

Now here's where I'm struggling: how much of this is me just being a hard-ass Type A person and how much of this is just the learning curve of a new task? Do I give her a second chance with the same kind of work in the near future and see how that goes? Or should I expect a subcontractor to do it right the first time?

 

At this point, I'm feeling like the investment in training and correcting someone else would be better spent on an employee, rather than a subcontractor. If I'm outsourcing, it's because I already have too much on my plate.

 

Can someone level me out here? Thank you!

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I am in the process of launching my website and working for other clients, which I see will be time consuming in the near future to handle. I will hire a VA to assist on tasks that will take me away from my other larger projects. I will show her what I expect her to do and how I do it. A contract will be in place so there are no hiccups, granted she might not get it exactly like me, but I think these things should be in place before I hire. Best wishes.

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Great question! I also am a Type A here and in the beginning it was super hard for me to give up the control.


Once I did however that wasn't the first hard part about outsourcing, the second was finding a right fit that worked at the type of direction and standards I was happy with.


I went through a couple VAs before I found the right one who worked well with me, saying that they made some errors in the beginning too. I would correct them once and the VAs who have stayed with me long term were the ones who took my constructive criticism and learned from it not repeating it over and over again.


It's hard in the beginning for a new VA to know exactly what the client requires and sometimes takes a few goes at it until they get it right. It really depends on how bad they screwed up after all the instruction you gave them first time around. Is it minor stuff or major breakdowns in the work? Also were the areas they failed in actually fully explained in your initial instruction? I know when I put system sheets into place at first I was not giving enough instruction in them for the VA and I really had to be precise on what I wanted done.


Saying that I have hired VAs and just said do this without system sheets in place and they've did very well too. ;) Those seem to be the VAs I love working with but are also rare diamonds too.


I usually don't see my return on my investment of a new VA I hire either until about the 3rd month. It always seems to take that long for us to learn to work and communicate well together and start producing work that I don't need to micromanage.

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This is good feedback, y'all. Thanks. I will likely give her another shot or two, just to see if there's improvement. I think part of it is that I'm unsure of which tasks in particular are worth outsourcing, although I'm beginning to get some clarity on it. I'm also considering getting an intern. Do any of you have experience with interns?

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I've worked with interns before and they can be awesome! They are however a ton of work as you really have to train them from the ground up. Saying that they can in the end become valuable subcontractors for you as you will teach them the way you want things done. ;) Many will work for free or at a low rate just to learn the ropes for awhile and this can help offset the price of outsourcing in the beginning. Saying that the reason you probably need to outsource is because you are really busy which wouldn't be the time you'd want to be training too LOL!

 

My suggestion is if you expect to be busy in a few months then now would be the time to take on an intern (as they take time to train like I already said).

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First of all I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I have to agree with Tawnya it will take a few months before seeing a return on the investment. Also keep in mind, whether you have an employee or subcontractor these same issues will arise. Their more expenses related to the employee side of things.

 

There is a wonderful program Sue Kramer Hardwood has developed to help some of the subcontractors struggling with their skills and ethics. If you want to know more about the program please let me know.

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