Listen to the podcast
Maeva Cifuentes is a content marketing expert, but I wanted to speak with her about the benefits of outsourcing – an entirely different subject to her main expertise.
So why would I ask the head of a B2B agency to talk about hiring external agencies or freelance contractors on People&Digital?
Well, because Maeva – as founder of Flying Cat Marketing – has in-depth experience both in outsourcing and insourcing. Companies turn to her for access to the types of high-value content and marketing strategies that they would struggle to implement alone.
The Barcelona-based businesswoman is also currently building an in-house team at her agency while working with expert contractors to help supercharge her company’s success – a pick-and-mix approach that has so far reaped rewards.
Discover actionable advice from Maeva on the top ways to approach outsourcing in this week’s episode of People&Digital. Or, if you’re short on time, I’ve also condensed all of Maeva’s key tips – FAQ style – in the post below.
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of outsourcing, as well as the best way to go about hiring an agency or individual contractor to help your business bloom.
When and why should I outsource tasks?
The main reason to outsource work, says Maeva, is to gain access to experts who will help you develop your company quicker and more effectively compared with trying to figure everything out alone.
Maeva explains that, even though outsourcing is often more expensive than building an in-house team, in the end it delivers results.
“For example, I started outsourcing to a project management agency because I had no idea how to implement certain systems in my business because I hadn’t done that before,” the content strategist says. “There was no way that I could hire a project manager and give them the tools that they needed to be able to execute the job correctly because I would be expected to tell them what to do and I don’t have the time or the necessary experience to train a project manager.”
Do I have to hire a specialist? Can’t I just find someone who can do it all?
In short, no. “If you want a person to wear a million hats and do a lot of different things, then perhaps you need to hire an employee instead,” Maeva says.
If you do go down the route of hiring an agency or contractor, the content and marketing expert suggests ensuring that you make sure their responsibilities and expectations are clear. “Don’t hire somebody for one thing and then try to get them to do a million other things. Let them focus on what they’re good at,” she says.
What does success look like when outsourcing?
Maeva considers a collaboration with an agency or contractor as a success if they help her to improve her business and achieve her goals without adding another headache to her life.
On the flipside, when working as a contractor Maeva wants her clients to believe that they have gotten their money’s worth.
“It’s a big investment to work with Flying Cat Marketing and I want them to feel like they really got their value from that,” she says.
What’s the most damaging belief when outsourcing?
One of the most damaging beliefs when outsourcing, Maeva explains, is thinking “nobody else can do it like me”.
“That’s a very dangerous way of thinking,” she says, “because it’s going to be very difficult to delegate with that mindset. You’re not really going to get to your goals faster because you’re going to be trying to do everything yourself.”
It all comes down to trust, Maeva stresses. “If you think that you’re the only person who can do something, then that means you’re not ready to give your outsourced person the tools to succeed.
“You’re not ready to document your processes to help them do what you is going to make your company succeed.”
How much money should I be willing to invest in outsourcing?
Not wanting to properly invest in outsourcing to an agency or contractor also sets you up for failure, says Maeva. “If you want to work with an expert, but you want them to work for nothing, it’s harder for them to execute,” she explains. “It’s harder for them to get the job done and things are going to be slower.”
Trying to cut down on costs yet expecting the same results as you would gain for a high-ticket service is not good for the relationship or your business’ success, Maeva explains.
“I know it sounds so obvious, but a lot of companies try to get really, really huge results for no investment,” she laments.
What if I don’t have time to deal with a contractor or agency?
If you’re in a position where you can’t even take a shower because you’re so busy, or you can’t deal with the people in your own team because of lack of time, Maeva recommends appointing an employee to work with the outsourced agency or freelancer.
“I have some clients who just completely disappear,” she laughs. “They say ‘we need to get this done ASAP’ and then you follow up and they’re nowhere to be found because they’re so busy, they can’t respond.”
Even if the company you outsource to is promising a done-for-you service, at the beginning there’s still going to be some kind of interaction.
“You have to be able to either dedicate the time yourself and make that a priority or have somebody on your team to work with the expert,” Maeva says.
What else do I need to know about outsourcing?
Be clear on your goals! If you’re changing your aims halfway through the project you’re executing, Maeva says, the contractor or agency will struggle.
“They’re not magicians,” she explains. “They’re going to work on what you told them was the goal, so if you change your mind halfway through, then your new goal might not be achieved. You have to be very clear on what it is that you’re looking for.”
OK, I’m sold. How do I go about outsourcing?
Once you know what you want an expert for, Maeva suggests:
- Looking on LinkedIn to find a person or company with the skills you need
- Checking out the agency or contractor’s website to assess their results
- Requesting case studies and testimonials from the expert
- Making a list of queries to ask about their expertise
But which questions should I ask when outsourcing?
It’s all about finding ways to make sure that the expert is dedicated to your success, Maeva says. Being able to see the real results and thought processes behind what they’re doing is key.
For example, if you were thinking of hiring a content agency like Red Cat Marketing, Maeva would suggest asking:
- What is your vision behind content?
- What results have you driven before?
- Do you have case studies?
- How are you going to resonate with my readers?
Any other final tips for hiring or outsourcing?
“I just think that what’s really important is sharing values,” Maeva says. “I put my values on my website and trust is a big one, as well as resourcefulness and ownership. I think it’s important that my clients share the same values because the people who work for me share my values.”
As usual, I’d love to hear what you think about any of the advice you get from my podcast. Are you planning to outsource a part of your business soon? Let me know!