Tips to Outsource Outcomes Instead of Tasks

Many people often forget that virtual assistants are professionals just like they are. While some work for agencies, many are actually self-employed, like yourself, and they can bring valuable skills to your project or business. 

Instead of micro-managing them to death, and killing their creativity in the process, a better approach may be to take a step back and allow them to work their magic, which in turn allows you to outsource outcomes rather than nitpicking about tasks.

In this article, we’ll talk about some ways that you can get started with this concept, and how you can form a valuable business relationship with your new virtual assistant at the same time. First though, let’s discuss the difference between outsourcing an outcome rather than a task.

Outsourcing outcomes versus outsourcing tasks

Outsourcing outcomes allows your assistant to use their problem-solving skills to take even more work off of your plate and possibly even produce a better result. 

Rather than sending them micro-managed tasks, outsourcing outcomes requires you to trust your assistant to do the job which you are paying them to do. 

This can be hard for many business owners to come to terms with, but you’re paying your assistant for their professional experience! So, let them use it. Here’s how to let go of the reins and give more control to your remote contractors.

Find where you can remove yourself from the equation

Many entrepreneurs believe that their businesses could never run without them, but this is rarely the case. In fact, you might be surprised at just how many processes can be run without your input at all. 

So, how do you decide what processes to outsource? Your best bet would likely be things that you struggle with and processes which tend to waste a large amount of your time. Try to think about the most repetitive processes which your business requires, and then get rid of them.

If it can’t be eliminated, then it should be delegated. Here are a few big time wasters that might look good on your chopping block.

Common time-wasting activities that can be delegated

  • Market research projects
  • Data entry and database management
  • Transcription projects
  • Presentations, reports, charts, etc.
  • Social media campaign management
  • Vetting, hiring and delegating work to freelancers

Set the right expectations

It’s important to realize that setting expectations does not mean micro-managing. It means giving your assistant the appropriate guidelines, tools, and information that they need to do their job, and then trusting that they are a competent professional that knows what they’re doing.

You can start by telling them what the desired outcome for the project is. For example, you could put your virtual assistant in charge of the social media presence of your company, with a goal to grow that social account and maintain strict brand standards. 

Rather than trying to hold their hand for every update, as you might with task outsourcing, you’d instead allow them more control over the outcome. Your game plan might look something like this. 

  • Establish how often your social channels should be updated
  • Discuss brand standards, tone, or other things important to your company
  • Provide appropriate tools (stock photo sites, photo editing subscriptions, etc.)
  • Talk about where to pull content from (ie. blog posts, news updates, etc.)
  • Implement and manage branded hashtag campaigns
  • Email a weekly report of engagement and account growth

It can feel scary to hand over this much of your brand to an assistant, especially when social media is so vital to a company’s survival. 

However, it’s an important step in outsourcing your business processes, and due to how time-consuming social media is, it’s likely one of the first things that you should take off your plate. 

Let your assistant find their own solutions

Part of what’s so great about working with other people is that you get to collaborate, potentially making your project even better than it was before. Your virtual assistant has a wealth of experience, and they spend their entire day working on tasks for you.

That means that you should give them the power to implement their own solutions. Let’s use the example of our “social media outcome” again to illustrate.

Let’s say that your virtual assistant has been diligently managing your accounts, and they notice something that could be beneficial to the brand’s growth. 

They take the initiative, and they jump onto a trending hashtag which helps one of your posts go viral. Your assistant happily reports that you’ve managed to pick up a not insignificant number of new followers thanks to their efforts.

A micro-managed task rabbit might be too afraid to take an action like this, but if you’re outsourcing outcomes rather than tasks, your assistant is free to make an executive decision that can lead you to an even better outcome if you only put your trust in them. 

What if there’s a problem with the outcome?

Trusting your assistant doesn’t mean that you should never check in on their work, and honestly, part of your outsourced outcome should be that they submit some type of report to you. Such as the weekly social media growth report that was suggested in the example outcome.

There’s always a chance that things can go wrong, but in most cases, it takes just a gentle correction to get things back on track. If there’s something you really don’t like, then you should speak up.

For example, maybe your assistant posted something that you didn’t really like, maybe something that wasn’t really aligned with your brand’s values. If this is the case, then just take a moment to better explain what it is that you’re going for, and they’ll adjust course. 

In closing, virtual assistants are capable of much, much more than most business owners give them credit for, and while many entrepreneurs start out trying to outsource parts of their life, they often fail. 

That’s because most of them are too attached to their business, and instead of giving their remote assistant a little trust, they relentlessly micromanage the outsourced activity, wasting nearly as much time as if they’d have just done it themselves.