Undeniably, outsourcing parts of our business processes (if not all) is becoming more and more common these days. Therefore, in this article, we will look into the know-hows of safely hiring a Virtual Assistant and making sure the work gets done when outsourcing to a freelancer.
On the other hand, if you are a freelancer yourself, this article will help you learn how to manage and meet client expectations from the beginning until the completion of the project.
After reading this article, you will have a broadened perspective of Outsourcing and other relevant topics, so let’s begin!
First of all, if you are hooked by the idea of a 4-hour-work-week, outsourcing or just looking for entrepreneur tips on how to successfully scale up your business then you need to know about the Scope of Work or Statement of Work in effective project management.
SOW is an agreement between the client and a freelancer or assistant on the job to be performed – a very important security feature that both clients and freelancers tend to overlook.
If You are about to or thinking of hiring an assistant or a freelancer to perform some of your business tasks (Social Media management, production and sales monitoring reports, website design and so on), a set of guidelines was prepared for you to better understand how the SOW works.
Also, for freelancers, the above-mentioned document helps ensure client satisfaction and facilitate work structurally.
Here are the things you need to do:
- Clearly set expectations
Start by writing down the tasks, responsibilities and the overall project goal. This will serve as the outline and the backbone. Make it clear to all parties what exactly are the expected deliverables.
It is also helpful to write down the qualifications and skills the freelancer has that are relevant to your project: if he said he has Ecommerce website experience, you should write it down, this will be a reminder for both parties of the expected level of service.
Basic projects usually require no more than one deadline. Otherwise, all agreed upon deadlines must be documented and clearly communicated.
It is very important to determine all of the milestones of the project and when are they expected to be completed. Setting recurring deadlines as well for recurring tasks is an efficient way of project monitoring.
You must be able to determine your tolerable number of times you are willing to accept or make revisions for the project.
One of the dilemmas in Outsourcing some services is dealing with repetitive errors (or bit by bit revision requests in the case of freelancers) and deciding whether it is still reasonable to keep the service despite the number of revisions that had to be made.
An example is when a client of mine received an Ebook and she came back with comments only about the first chapter. The freelancer has accommodated the changes, but I reminded the client that she has 2 free revisions. In the next request she made sure to check all the chapters before asking for revision.
State clearly in the service agreement whether payment will be made based on an hourly rate or a fixed contract price.
If you choose to buy service hours instead of having a fixed price, it is encouraged to set a ceiling number of hours which you can afford to pay and which you see appropriate for the kind of service being availed. This is to avoid being charged more than what the service is actually worth.
For one-off straightforward services or projects, payment will obviously be made upon completion. However, for complex ones, you can opt to make the payment or be paid per completed milestone.
Do not forget other important terms affecting the budget like termination or cancellation.
You might think BUDGET is the most important feature. I rather say it is COMMUNICATION: no project will ever be successful without effective communication.
It must be indicated what communication channels do you prefer to use. Make sure to also give alternatives to your hired assistant in case one channel doesn’t work.
I have 3 email addresses, one is for my work, one is my personal and one is solely for technical purposes. I always want to make sure freelancers message me to my professional email address, so I added it to the SOW.
It might also be inefficient and ineffective when you do not set a schedule of how frequently you prefer to communicate with your hired freelancers.
Know their time of availability. I expect my freelancers to come back to me within one working day and I comply with the same rule as well.
Finally, be sure to update and adjust this document during the life cycle of the project and don’t forget to watch out for potential disputes and misunderstandings. If such ever arises, make sure to be able to resolve the matter immediately.
Sounds a lot? Don’t worry, just visit my website http://myprocess.es/freebies/ and download your free Statement of Work draft that you can adapt to your projects.