By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms

If you're considering outsourcing work, you wouldn't be the first. More and more small businesses are seeing the benefits that outsourcing gives them and are choosing to hand their tasks off to someone else. Statista reports that in 2018, the global outsourcing market amounted to 85.6 billion U.S. dollars.

There are several reasons why people decide to outsource their work. For one, it's usually more cost effective than hiring an in-house team of workers. It also allows you to hand off everyday mundane tasks to someone else so that you can focus on the bigger picture and achieve goals you weren't able to before. With so much technology readily available, it's now easier than ever to outsource work online to support your growth.

If you want to outsource your work without sacrificing quality, here's how you can get started.

Know what you want.

The more refined a picture you have for the ideal person you'd hire and the type of work you need completed, the better the outcome is going to be. Set clear expectations with yourself as well as your contractor or freelancer from the very beginning so there's no room for mistakes or confusion.

Before you begin your search for the person who's going to take over part of your job, set realistic expectations for yourself. Map out what you need outsourced, how often this will be needed and a budget you can afford.

Business owners typically outsource the following:

  • Repetitive tasks: These are recurring tasks that are mundane and monotonous in nature. They don't require a lot of brain power, and they suck up a lot of time you could spend more productively elsewhere. This could be data entry, accounts payable, scheduling, customer service and other administrative tasks.
  • Expert tasks: For areas of business that require a specialist or expert in the field, outsourcing is the safest option. You have to admit when you can't do something yourself and give the reins to someone else. This could be a financial analyst, for example.
  • Specialized tasks: Many businesses find it more cost effective to manage operations by hiring outside freelancers, vendors and contractors rather than someone full time. An example might be IT operations.

Set clear guidelines.

There isn't much room for error when you've laid out clear, concise guidelines for prospects to follow. State your expectations to eliminate confusion and receive the results you need to see. You want to be able to trust who you're working with, and that starts with laying the foundation for a solid relationship.

From the beginning, you should communicate loud and clear what you want and need for the job to be completed to your standards. Don't assume that they'll know what you're thinking or what you want -- you'll only end up disappointed. If you lay out the framework for how they can complete a project successfully, you'll be able to gauge their true potential and assess whether that fits in with your goals.

Perform a test round.

You don't have to wait to hire a prospect to figure out whether or not their work process is up to par with your standards. It's difficult to gauge if someone's the right fit without experiencing what they're like as a partner first, which is why giving potential candidates a practice project puts you at an advantage. It gives you a glimpse into a person's work ethic, communication skills and ability to follow the guidelines you've set in place.

Always offer compensation for any type of work you make potential candidates complete. Set a reasonable deadline for the task you assign and be sure you're available in case they have questions or need guidance.

Take note of how your candidate performs these tasks. Do they communicate with you in a timely manner? Are they a problem solver and critical thinker? Are they a team player who works well with others? These are all important things to know before working with someone.

Making the decision to outsource part of your work day could really benefit you in the long run. It allows you to focus on the bigger picture and put more of your efforts toward your goals. It also leaves more room for growth because you can spend more time doing things that will allow you to achieve success. It's only by setting ground rules and stating your expectations that you're going to find the right match to get the job done, and you can streamline this process by performing a project round. What's the next task you'll outsource?

Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.

Published on: Feb 22, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.