If you could travel to the future and talk with your future self, you would say some version of this. “Find the best, and pay them to do your work.” It is not a virtue to wear yourself out with work that you could outsource to others. Rather than spending an inordinate time learning the technical skills for what you want to create, learn how to manage people and projects. I provide a starter list for your People and Project Management as follows:
The beginner entrepreneur often thinks it a virtue to do everything herself. You believe that you are the only one who can complete things to your specifications. Often, this hides the fact that your vision is still a bit cloudy, even to you.
1. Make Clear Task Lists
Not a list of goals or a typical toDo list, review your project list and break out the tasks that need to be done in order to build toward project completion. This will include tasks such as “Get 3 quotes,” or “Design front cover,” or “Write outline.” The point is to be clear about what activity–specific activity–contributes toward your project completion.
2. Determine What Can be Outsourced
Now that you have a task list, you can utilize outside help to complete some of the tasks. You no doubt realize that this results in time savings (time reclamation) for you. The time you spent in planning the task list will pay back five fold in time gained from outsourcing.
Set deadlines for your outsourced pieces in the context of your deadline for the overall project. Resist the inclination to micromanage. Freelancers that require too much attention or who fail to deliver on deadlines should not be used again. Orchestrate how all the pieces fit together. Business runs best on-time and under budget. Take a 17th floor view. Move extra help around, maximize resources and returns, ensure quality control, note the story as it unfolds.
4. Solicit Help through Contracts
The two most common contracts in the use of freelancers are Non-Disclosure Contracts and Non-Compete Contracts. When you pay a freelancer, you are automatically covered by copyright law under the “fee for service” clause. This clause states that you, as the commissioner, own any work that you paid another to produce. Some like to take that a step further to cover derivative works extending from your idea.
The Non-Disclosure is a kind of privacy contact. It binds the freelancer to keep secret all secrets learned during the job. The Non-compete clause is a kind of market share protection contract. It binds the freelancer, knowing that they will gain valuable insight while working for you, to keep that information and know-how out of the hands of your competition. It is typically time-limited or timed-based corresponding to product release dates.
5. Focus on Tasks Only You Can Do
Complete the tasks that require your face, personal touch, or special care as a matter of branding or customer relationship. Anything else can be outsourced. Schedule your time on those OnlyYouDo activities. Systematically contribute to completion. Hold yourself to deadlines as well. Complete tasks knowing that they all integrate to form a complete whole.