This was originally written for AllBusiness.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that more than half of the people reading this article are Type A entrepreneurs. Don’t look behind you. I’m probably talking to you. Do you:
- Think your way of doing things is the best/only way?
- Find it hard to hire people as smart as you?
- Find yourself overwhelmed with work because there’s no one else who can do a good job?
Yeah, I thought so. And yet maybe you’ve reached a point in your career where you see the value of outsourcing certain tasks that you simply don’t have the time or skill set to handle.
Do us both a favor—don’t!
You will never be happy with the work produced by another human, so why pay to learn that lesson? Here are more reasons you Type As should not outsource.
The Product will Never Match Your Vision
Let’s say you want to hire a content marketing firm to handle your blog content and ghostwrite for you as a thought leader. Your vision of the outcome is that you’re now an author on hot sites like Forbes and your inbox is bombarded with meeting requests from people who have read your content.
So when the writer follows your instructions to a T and creates content for the blog that you aren’t promoting and you get two visitors a month (hi, Mom!), you’re pissed. Where’s the fame and glory?
The fact is: Type A entrepreneurs are driven by success, but sometimes when it’s outside of their wheelhouse, their expectations are higher than they should be. Better to not have a content presence than one that isn’t going to get you a call from Oprah, right?
You’ll Have to Micromanage
You want to outsource so you have more time to run your business, but you just know that you’re going to have to hold that service provider’s hand throughout. You don’t have time for that.
Yes, they’ve been doing this for decades, but clearly they’ve never worked with you or your business, so you need to be there for every decision, don’t you? You can’t just tell them what you want and have them deliver excellence, can you? They need you to help them!
You Could Probably Just Do it Yourself
Accounting. Marketing. Design. None of them are your specialty, but you’re smart, dammit. You can do anything you put your mind to. So why pay thousands of dollars for a logo created by some kid who went to design school and studied the psychology of branding when you could throw something perfectly good together in a couple of hours … er, maybe days?
And after all, just because your intern wrinkled her nose at the logo you created doesn’t mean the rest of the world won’t love it, right?
They’ll Try to Nickel and Dime You
So you hired an accountant, and let’s say he quoted you a set rate for X hours of work each month. Of course, you’ve been calling and emailing him several times a week to follow up on his work, and now he’s trying to charge you for that time. That’s not fair. He’s working for you, so why shouldn’t he be at your beck and call at the same rate he initially quoted you?
Or you’re working with a designer, and her quote included two rounds of changes. But after those two rounds, you still weren’t satisfied. Six rounds later, she’s not returning your calls and you get a giant invoice for the other rounds. If she had just done her job right the first time, you wouldn’t have had the back-and-forth, am I right?
It’s Lonely at the Top, Isn’t It?
This article is in jest. I hope you got that. Type A entrepreneurs may certainly find it challenging to work with other people on a project when they have very clear visions of what they want. But that doesn’t mean you should completely give up on having help. Here are some tips to help you learn to rely on and trust others.
1. Be Very Clear About What You Want
You can’t get upset if you don’t get the results you wanted if you didn’t clearly communicate them, so spend time thinking about exactly what you want to achieve with a given project. Set expectations with the service provider. What metrics can you use to measure results? The more specific, the better.
2. Trust Them to Do Their Jobs
This is so challenging for Type A folks, but realize: you hired this person or company because of its reputation for excellence. Let them be excellent. Once you’ve set expectations, walk away. Certainly, get status reports on the project, but resist the urge to get involved beyond your expected role.
3. Give Constructive Feedback
Whomever you outsource to wants you to be happy as the client. It may take a while to get aligned in how you work together, so be patient. Provide useful feedback (“This sucks” does not qualify). Help the service provider understand how he or she could do better and guide them to understanding your point of view.
Outsourcing key tasks, once you master the art of doing so, can work wonders for your company. Once you’re able to trust the people you work with, you can focus your energy on doing what you do best.