Effective outsourcing is part-4 of the second interview from Stefan from Germany, who lives the Four Hour Work Week lifestyle in Thailand.
Click here to read part 3– Virtual assistants’ retention problems
- Outsourcing itself requires a lot of time investment. If you need something to get done by tomorrow, outsourcing might not be a good solution of your problem.
- Communication is the most important factor of efficient outsourcing, not only from your assistants, but from you as well.
- Most of the assistants prefer an hourly rate rather than working on a fixed price job.
Start of the Interview:
I do agree that outsourcing is not the solution of your choice if you have tight time schedule. If you have a work that needs to be done until tomorrow, you shouldn’t outsource it.
It takes longer for someone to hire someone and train him than to do the work yourself if it’s a task which is to do within a few days.
If it’s a long term project which you have a little control over, for example, write an e-product sell it and you have a few months for that.
Then, I think, outsourcing is still a viable solution for as long as you are disciplined and quick with screening for the right assistant.
So you tell me that you need to fire people all the time, I think such an example is an extreme example. It shouldn’t happen more than two or three times.
If it happens very often then we have a problem on a different level. If the communication is clear – the expectations is clear – I mean, there can be a misunderstanding one or two times.
The first assistant is not skilled enough, the second assistant is not motivated enough. And after those two feedback loops, your risk should be very small that an assistant is neither skilled enough nor patient enough to do your job.
If this still happens then you need to work on your communication skills, in my opinion. I propose to you if you have the next job description, whenever this is, you can work together with me and we increase the quality of your job description. And I propose some help with the interview process.
That would be my proposition.
Yes, we can do that.
Okay. I think this whole trust building exercise is a prerequisite before we can continue to work.
So Stefan, let’s assume that we have started out with a good job description and we have found a good quality candidate with a high level of motivation and skill for the right price.
There has been a little bit of trust building in the first week where you work together. He delivers good work results in the first week and is happy with the payment
The payment guarantee comes from oDesk. As long as he works within the guidelines in an hourly contract, he will automatically be paid.
You’re talking about hourly based.
That is correct.
And why not fixed price? You wouldn’t recommend a fixed price at all?
I have had a sub-section in my site where I discussed fixed price versus hourly pay. The bottom-line is fixed price is much more interesting to many assistants. All assistants I’ve asked prefer hourly pay because with fixed price, there is a risk. We tell them, “After you done the job, I pay you $20.” You have the freedom within the oDesk guidelines to not pay them because you say you are not happy.
So if this happens then the virtual assistant has no money. In other words, the risk is with his side. So he will often not be motivated to do the job. With the hourly pay, he will always be paid as long as he, for example, doesn’t surf on Facebook all the time and you end the contract because of that.
Well, what I don’t like about hourly pay that’s why I changed that a little bit in the past from hourly paid to, what I used in the last time, fixed price is that in the end I have absolutely no guarantee that I would have a result at all. I could pay hundreds or thousands of dollars and have nothing in the end. That is totally my risk.
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