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Microsourcing: Here’s How to Get REAL Results with Outsourcing…

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

We’ve all heard about the benefits of outsourcing.

It’s a great dream…

You sit on a sandy beach sipping Daiquiris while an army of workers create passive income.

Unfortunately the reality is much different than the dream.

Done incorrectly, outsourcing can become your personal nightmare.  Often it’s a waste of money, time, and your sanity.

My main problem with outsourcing is the idea that you have to employee a full-time worker to run an aspect of your business.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep a single person occupied for 40 hours a week – Especially when this person is limited in their particular skill set.

Even worse, there’s the risk of a “single point of failure.”  Hiring one person to manage an aspect of your business means you’re relying on one person.  Basically… you’re screwed if things don’t work out.

I tried different types of outsourcing from 2007 to 2010.  Then in 2011, I took back full control of my Internet business.  And by the end of 2011, I was completely stressed out.

Now it’s 2012 – A new year full of dreams and major goals I want to accomplish.  That’s why I’ve decided to get back into outsourcing.  But this time I’m using a technique called micro outsourcing or microsourcing.

So let’s talk about this concept…

Microsourcing Explained

Every person in the world has their own unique set of skills.  The main disadvantage of traditional outsourcing is you’re hiring a single person to do one activity.  What I’ve found is you need different types of skills for different types of activities.

Clarification:  Let’s say you hire a writer for your Internet business.  While she might be great at writing articles, she doesn’t have the experience to do press releases.  Or maybe it’s not cost-effective to have her write content that builds backlinks to your website.  Technically all of these come under the mantle of “writing”  but each requires a different type of writing.

Microsourcing is different from traditional outsourcing.  You don’t hire one or two full-time employees.  Instead you leverage the special skill-set of numerous workers.  Each person has one job to do for your Internet business.

For instance, I use a specialized worker for each one of these tasks:

Example #1: I frequently use one writer who has in-depth knowledge of my affiliate marketing niche.  He creates step-by-step blog posts, writes free reports, and does product reviews of market-related info products.  In the future, I’ll have him craft emails for my autoresponder sequence.

Example #2: There is another writer I use for my Build My Rank (BMR) articles.  This is a great task because I’ve completely outsourced my link building task.  The best part?  She only charges $.60 per BMR article!

Example #3: I recently found a designer who produces quality, low-cost web graphics.  He’s really useful because I can send him an email with a concept and I’ll get back a design within a few hours.  For instance, it took him forty minutes to do the logo for my new Internet Success SeriesTotal cost?  Only $11.

Example #4: I’m in the process of hiring a low-cost ($4 to $5 an hour) virtual assistant to do those mind-numbing manual tasks.  Like running my social media “adders” and submitting the hundreds of articles that I post on BlogBlueprint.com for my niche affiliate websites.

These are just four examples of how I use microsourcing in my Internet business.  In actuality, I employ a dozen different people to do a dozen different things.  That’s the beauty of microsourcing!

How to Get Started with Microsourcing

Want to use microsourcing in your Internet business or blog?  Here is a simple four-step process for getting started:

#1 – Specify your Tasks: Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you do for your Internet business.  Be as specific as possible here.  For instance, don’t say “promote blog posts,” instead list the exact steps that you do.

The idea here is to identify the tasks you need to do yourself and what can be outsourced to a dedicated worker.

#2 – Identify Growth Activities:  In all likelihood, there are a number of additional activities that you don’t have time to do but wish you did.  These are the tasks that can increase your Internet income.

For instance, this post lists 37 ways an outsource worker can grow an Internet businessMy advice? Read this post and write down any idea that will improve the success of your online business.

#3 – Hire Specialized Workers: I don’t have a special system for finding workers.  Really the only thing I do is create a small “trial task” and hire someone from one of these sites:

What I do is see how the person responds to one simple project.  Then I evaluate their work based on three criteria:

  1. Did he (or she) complete the task per the instructions?
  2. Did he (or she) do it in a timely manner?
  3. Did he (or she) communicate and respond to the emails I sent?

If I can honestly answer “yes” to these questions, I’ll ask this person is they’re interested in doing regular work for my website.  And if they’re interested, I’ll put their contact information into the Excel file I maintain for my “outsourcing project.”

#4 – Maintain a Microsourcing Process ChecklistIs it hard to manage dozens of different workers? Actually…no!  All I do is monitor this process with a “microsourcing checklist” that I print out each week.

I assign a task at the beginning of every week and use this sheet to track their progress.

Here’s how this would look:

Also, I leave a number of blanks at the end of this sheet.  That way, I can add more tasks in case I hire someone new or give an additional task to a current worker.

Microsourcing vs. Outsourcing: What Do YOU Think?

There’s a lot to be said about traditional outsourcing.  I’m sure it’s nice to have a single person take care of your Internet business.  My problem is I’ve never had found that one individual who can do as good of a job as a dozen specialized workers.

Microsourcing works for me because I have people who are really good at their one job.  It’s the best way to maximize the amount that you invest into hiring outsource workers.

Now…I know there are some people who use outsourcing.  So I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Do you employee one (or two) full-time workers?  Or do you use microsourcing to hire specialized workers?

Comment below…

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Stan

Read about some guys outsourcing SEO in Taiwan and similar countries. They actually moved there, because there’s no way to check up on a team of over 10 people just through Skype. Obviously, the money made the move worth while and the only thing i saw them complaining were the mosquitoes :)

Reply

Steve Scott

Yeah, I know “of” quite a few people who moved over in that reason and run some outsourcers over there. The cost of living is great and you can live like a king for what you “get by” on here too. Not a bad idea if you do not have other constraints keeping you here. You can make a living on the internet ANYWHERE after all.

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Lowell

I was hired by a company to shoot a bunch of videos at their factory in Taiwan and I assure you, things cost pretty much exactly the same there as they do here. Everyone is super nice though and it’s super safe.

Steve, just found your site, love it. You are excellent at writing web copy. I can’t seem to figure it out myself but I’ll start reading a sentence or two and before I know it I’m into the comments.

Very informative, thanks.

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Rob Beer

Good article. I’ve never outsourced, but I’m beginning to realize that it’s a necessary part of internet marketing.

Microsourcing looks to be a good way to go for me.

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Steve Scott

Rob,

When you are first getting started outsourcing may be a luxury people cannot afford. As more may go out than come in. But in the long term when you get a system going…it is the only way to keep up with the volume of work and concentrate on those things that highlight your “personal genius”

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Sam

Hey Steve,

That was a nice read. I’ve been nervous about outsourcing everything so I’ve done the same thing as you – outsourced bits and pieces to a variety of workers.

However, I’d still like to outsource more but I’m worried about managing everyone. But as you’ve shown, it doesn’t have to be that difficult :)

The plan for 2012 is to increase outsourcing even more and focus on just the things I enjoy!

Reply

Steve Scott

Absolutely Sam!

Good luck increasing your “microsourcing” It is important in the long haul to really concentrate on the things that take your personal skill and knowledge and let go as many of those mundane tasks as possible. Good luck in 2012!

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Eiad Asbahi

Actually I’m a huge fan of micro-sourcing. Have used a number of the services you mention. Haven’t done the task chart yet, which is a great idea, rather than the usual fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach that I usually use. Thx

Reply

Steve Scott

Eiad,

Flying by the seat of your pants can work if you just have a few jobs here and there… but when you get to the point where you have a “ton” of ongoing tasks you will NEED to have a system to really keep track of them. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!!

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Vernette Carbon

I have used a couple of services you mentioned and I had really had fun reading your blog. So much useful and I discovered a lot of things and services that I might as well avail. Thanks!

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Robin

Outsourcing, in its early days, seemed possible only by larger companies which farmed out many low-end business processes. Since then, outsourcing has become more of a norm than an option. Apart from the cost savings, outsourcing is seen as a strategic move that can allow businesses to gain a competitive advantage.

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Amanda

Well, I guess that there is the golden mean in all this things. Probably if we hire people who are experts in one sphere and who do their job in it, then only excellent results will be achieved

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Steve Scott

True!

When someone does a task repeatedly they can get it done quite quickly. They treamline the process and make the small amount of $$ you pay for it worth it.

This way it really benefits both parties.

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UK Web hosting

Outsourcing is a good way to earn benefits but you need to represent your quality against it.

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Barry

Hi Steve.
Great post. It was nice to find out that we are using same methods for microsorcing.
It would be nice if you can mention few of the rates your workers charge you. $0.6 for BMR 150 word post is indeed a fair price. Can you give some more examples for prices?
How much you pay for press release, article submition, spinning, web 2.0 building, etc…
It would help me to know if I’m paying reasonable prices.
Thanks!

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Steve Scott

Barry,

There are alarge variety of costs. I have been experemimenting with getting these done from fiverr, elance and some other sources. In future articles I think I will lay out costs… and where it doesn’t effect my business I will give names and links to people.

Besides the .60 BMR writer I am still trying to find the “best” source for some of these with experimentation.

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Tom

After reading Tim Ferris 4 hour work week I thought much about outsourcing but still find it difficult to give away too much. Microsourcing seems to be the way to go to get accustomed to not doing everything by yourself.
Thanks for this ‘reminder’
Tom

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Steve Scott

When money is an issue limiting outsourcing is understandable. But if the goal is to make a business at some point you need to get rid of the mundane tasks. Glad to see you are starting to take the idea of at least limited “microsourcing” onboard.

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Nate

I completely agree with you Steve about not needing to find a dedicated outsourcer that does everything.

I am pretty jealous that you found a BMR writer for 60 cents a piece- any tips on where you found her?

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Tom Ewer

Read my mind Steve! This is way forward, in my opinion, and I just decided literally last night that I would “microsource” rather than outsource.

Shooting you an email too.

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Brankica

The only thing missing here is the phone number of “your people” so we can use them too :)
I am a bit of micro manager so I find it hard to let someone else doing my stuff, but the more stuff I need to do the more times I have to hire someone.
I just have to find some that I can use “forever” like you found some great people that you stick with. You also gave me a few great ideas and pointers how to go about doing this and hiring the right people. Thanks

Reply

Steve Scott

Brankica,

I can understand the reluctance to either “out” or “micro” source. Some things it is good to be hands on with.

But ultimately if you want your business to grow you HAVE to give up some things -or you get nothing done. Best to start with those mind numbing tasks

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Timo Kiander

Steve,

Great article and congratulations for having Beatles to work for you :)

Micro sourcing makes sense – also from risk management perspective too.

I also work with people who focus on a certain task only. Although I don’t have any regular workers (I hire people on project basis), the only “permanent worker” is my wife who is doing all my proofreading :)

Cheers,
Timo

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Timo,

Must be nice to have the wife be that permanent free labor. :)

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Ming

I do micro sourcing initially and move to the traditional outsourcing last month to get a full time worker. After 1 month of pain and suffering, now I have decided to move back to my old way to outsource task by task using different people.

I was a lot busier when I get a full time VA to do the job because it took me a lot of time and effort to train yet she is just not up to speed. I guess hiring a quality full time staff is critical in the first place.

By using a spreadsheet (or similar) to track various kind of workers is crucial so that we know who to look for in future or turn them into a full time staff if possible.

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Steve Scott

Ming,

You bring up a great point. Finding quality workers can sometimes be a challenge. For some small tasks people can be great but finding a single person with the wide range of tools needed to “do everything” is tough. If they had all of that AND the dedication and skill needed to work regularly they are probably working on their own site(s).

Having gone the VA route and this, I do find having a spreadsheet and specific tasks are better for now. (Although the VA I had DID do a good job, and I still try to use her for some things)

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Geoff

Hey Steve, I never heard the term microsourcing before, but I love it! I guess I’ve been microsourcing for years without knowing it. It’s similar to the “VA Army” concept a guest blogger coined on my site a couple months ago. He actually told me me that he’s hired one VA to manage all the others.

For long term microsourcing, I’ve found the hardest part is finding the person at the beginning of a job, but once you’ve done that, ongoing work is easy. One thing I’ve found useful is that if I don’t have a any big projects for a while, I like to try to come up with tiny projects periodically just to keep a freelancer engaged, so they’re poised and ready to start when that big project comes along…..that way I can avoid the start up search again.

So Steve, I’ve been on your blog for about 20 minutes so far and I already have about 8 windows of posts open I need to go back and digest further when I have more time tonight. Good stuff!

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Steve Scott

Geoff,

You are right, “VA Army” certainly sounds like a martial version of “microsourcing” :)

I also totally get your point about finding the right outsourcers/microsourcers being the hard part. I try to resuse the good ones as much as I can, because even using “Fiverr” the quality is not always the same for the tasks you hire.

I am glad you found my blog and happy that you have found some useful posts. Thanks for the comment and hope to see you here again!

-Steve

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Jens P. Berget

Hey Steve,

I’ve started with this as well, and I’m using Fiverr. But, what you’ve thought me is to use it as part of a strategy and not just doing some tasks once in a while. It’s better to find people who fit your strategy and use the same people over and over again. This way you build a relationship with them and you understand and trust what they can accomplish for you.

Thanks a lot.

Reply

Steve Scott

Jens,

Yes, and if you use someone often enough and develop a rapport you can also sometimes make deals with them outside of the fiverr brokerage. (remember of the 5$ they get 4$, so dealing with them directly you can sometimes make a little bit of a deal that is good for the both of you…if you have enough volume it is worth the effort)

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Adam

Hey man, great article! Microsourcing is the way to go. I go the same route with Fiverr and Elance instead of a full time VA. I think you should be like a contractor on a house when you own an online business. Get the specialized people and have them do what they’re best at, instead of trying to get one person who can do everything okay. I like your blog, I just found it today, you’ve got some really good info here.

Reply

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