If you are a small business owner, an entrepreneur or simply have a busy lifestyle, you are not a stranger to stress. The effects of stress often lead to being and feeling overworked. Stress reduction is very important in keeping a successful business afloat. Outsourcing projects to freelancers, companies, and virtual assistants is crucial in reducing stress at the workplace.

Bookkeeping is one of the most popular tasks that small business owners often outsource to online bookkeeping services and online bookkeepers. However, you can outsource everything from bookkeeping to writing blog posts and articles, if you need it. On the other hand, outsourcing can be a source of added stress for you, if you do not pay attention to several aspects of outsourcing. Below, we have gathered the things you need to watch out for when deciding to outsource your projects.

Decide which tasks to outsource

It is important to analyze all of the tasks you are currently taking care of and decide which of those tasks you can and should outsource. Otherwise, you will suffer additional stress, especially if you realize that there are tasks that take up a lot of your time and add to your stress level, but you have not outsourced them. Once you have a clear view of the tasks that are mechanical, difficult or take up a lot of your time, you can outsource them properly. You will know who you need to hire to take care of those tasks, and how much time you will gain in the process.

Keep the cost in mind

Outsourcing will save you money long term, but at the beginning, it might strain your finances. You need to keep the cost in mind when you decide to outsource projects and tasks, and determine whether outsourcing those projects and tasks is viable to save you money long term. It is one of the reasons why bookkeeping is one of the most popular tasks to outsource – bookkeeping is a tedious task, and most people, even business owners; often find the task tedious and difficult. Moreover, they are prone to do make mistakes and take wrong financial decisions as a result. Outsourcing bookkeeping thus becomes a fail-safe way of preventing future financial mistakes, and saving a lot of money long term.

Choose wisely

It might be tempting to choose to outsource a project or a task to a freelancer, or an outsourcing company that has the cheapest wages. However, when it comes to outsourcing, you must be careful because you get what you pay for. Moreover, you should always look for experience and expertise, because you do not need more stress. Outsourcing is all about saving time while still completing the tasks satisfactorily and on time. If you want to hire a company or a freelancer, look for feedback from the company or freelancer’s previous clients. You will avoid future stress from uncompleted projects or tasks and rest assured that the tasks you have outsourced are in capable, professional hands.

 Seek transparency

Outsourcing a task or a project means that you will only know what the company or freelancer works on from a distance. You will not be able to oversee their work because they are not your long-term employees, and as such, you have very little control over the work. However, you can change this by establishing and keeping communication channels open between yourself and the freelancer or outsourcing company. You can set up weekly or monthly meetings, depending on the nature of the task and the project, and you can ask for daily updates and reports to make sure that the task or project is on track and within your schedule.

Present clear instructions

Keep in mind that when you outsource a task, you need to provide clear instructions, goals, and objectives. Of course, if the company, or freelancer, you are hiring are expert in the field, they will understand the nature of the project perfectly. Nevertheless, they would not be familiar with the details of the project and task. You need to provide and prepare clear instructions, and make sure to include your expectations in terms of time and efficiency to avoid any kind of misunderstanding. The effort you will put in will pay off long term, because you only need to provide these instructions at the point of hiring the outsourcing company.

Have contingency plans

Many times, freelancers land full-time jobs, or find projects that will take up most of their time. Outsourcing companies often take care of multiple projects at a time, which is why you need to be prepared that their collaboration with you would end. Create contingency plans for this situation. Hiring multiple companies or freelancers to take care of similar tasks is not cost effective. During the initial process of hiring a company, make sure to choose substitute companies and freelancers just in case the company you have already hired decides to stop working for you. This way, you will be able to delegate the task to another outsourcing company very quickly afterwards without the project or task getting behind schedule.

NDAs and other contracts

Depending on the nature of the task or project that you will outsource, it is advisable to have the outsourcing company sign an NDA. You should not outsource the crucial tasks of your business to outsourcing companies, but, if you need to provide some details of the inner workings of your business, you need to make sure that the information will remain private. This is especially important if you are outsourcing a sensitive task, like bookkeeping, or if the task involves information that must remain private.

Moreover, always make sure to create contracts where you will detail the task you are outsourcing, the payment, creative and other details. Make sure to include terms and conditions that will allow you to terminate the contract. In the future, if any problems arise, or if the outsourcing company does not complete the task according to the instructions, you can always fall back on the contract for any disputes and conditions of terminating the contract.