8 Outsourcing Experts Revealed Their Biggest Outsourcing Mistake

Are you outsourcing any tasks?

Do you want to improve the results you’re getting?

Outsourcing is a popular way of working in today’s global world and it can really impact your business, when you do it right.

To help you get better at outsourcing I asked the following question from the experts:

Q: Would you like to share your biggest “outsourcing” mistake?

I’m so thankful for all the experts who took the time to share their biggest outsourcing mistake. I hope this will help many people who are new to outsourcing or want to improve their results.

Enjoy their answers.

#1 Steve Chou

 Steve started an online store that made over 100K in its first year of business which has grown every year since. Now he teaches others how to replicate my success.


My biggest outsourcing mistake was not fully understanding what I was outsourcing. As a result, I had no idea what to expect and of course got subpar results.

#2 Fraser Cain

Fraser is the publisher of Universe Today, the co-host of Astronomy Cast, and the co-founder of Keyword Strategy


My biggest outsourcing mistake was not outsourcing early enough and with enough projects. I didn’t learn to delegate early on, and kept on too many time-wasting projects for myself when I should have been able to get this stuff into the hands of other people. That would have cleared up my time to focus on the direction of the business, and not get bogged down in so many of the details.

#3 Sean Platt

Sean is a publisher and online entrepreneur. Co-author of groundbreaking series Yesterday’s Gone. He helps good writers make a GREAT living


The biggest outsourcing mistake, I think, is assuming you don’t need it, or believing you can do everything yourself. If you’re not focused on your core competency, you are costing yourself money.

#4 Sunil

Sunil is a hard working professional who has established multiple streams of passive income over time on the side mostly leveraging the internet


Three things specifically:

1) Not taking the time to conduct video interviews, emails, resumes and frankly any type of written communication can be fabricated or prepared with a lot of time, effort and numerous iterations. Speaking to someone live (Skype) gives a better idea of one’s true communication skills. Many write better than they speak and I get that, but speaking to someone gives a good idea of their command over English, use of the grammar, etc.

2) Not providing detailed instructions / task list easy enough to follow and execute step by step without needing much hand holding.

3) Not coming up with “plug in” tasks that full time assistants can do once the “main” task on hand is done. Instead of sitting idle during down time, plug in tasks can help maximize productivity. For example, when idle, one of my virtual assistants has been trained to contact vendors and solicit potential direct advertising on my sites.

#5 Dan Andrews

Dan and Ian started the Lifestyle Business Podcast in late 2009 as an outlet to share their experiences with other entrepreneurs. In 2007 they began building a product development and e-commerce business that currently employs 13 people worldwide and does 7-figures in annual sales

By far the biggest outsourcing mistake I see people making is hiring for un-demonstrated cash-flows. In other words, they expect their VAs or outsourced staff to go out and develop a new source of revenue. Good luck with that! That’s the entrepreneur’s job. Once you’ve determined a solid source of cash, the next step is to determine the process by which you manage it, and that’s the ideal time to get outsourced staff involved.

#6 Leslie Samuel
Leslie is the main guy behind Become A Blogger. In his Podcast, “Learning With Leslie“, He teaches solid lessons about how to build a blog that will have an impact, in addition to interviewing other successful bloggers that we can all learn from.


My biggest outsourcing mistake is hiring people without having clear guidelines as to what I wanted them to do. What ended up happening is that I’d get people who would start working on a project for a while and then sending me something that was totally different than I had anticipated. The result is an expensive mistake.

Now, I’ve created details manuals that I provide to my outsourcers so that they know EXACTLY what I want them to do at every step of the way. You can see examples of my manuals here – http://www.becomeablogger.com/manuals. Feel free to adapt them to your needs.

#7 Chris C. Ducker
 Chris Ducker is the founder of the virtual staffing company, Virtual Staff Finder and the creator of the 7-Day ‘New Business’ Bootcamp.


The biggest mistake that most people make when it comes to outsourcing is that they think that one person can do it all. It’s not possible to find someone to handle your calendar, manage your blogging post your videos, build SEO strategies, edit videos and podcasts, promote your social media channels, write all your content and sales pages, build your websites and landing pages, and so on… It doesn’t happen in the ‘real world’, so why should it work in the virtual world?

Hiring the RIGHT person for the right role should be the focus – not hiring one person to handle all the jobs, of an entire team!

#8 James Wedmore

 James is the founder of Video Traffic Academy. James shows others how to use the tools and skills they already possess to harness the power of video to grow their business.

The BIGGEST Outsourcing mistake I see “start up” entrepreneurs make (besides NOT outsourcing at all) is a failure to discern the difference between paying for a “service” and paying for “manpower.”

All too often, business owners will hire their first “virtual assistant,” and send them a short email assignment, like:  “Do my SEO, thanks.”  That doesn’t work.

When you pay a SERVICE-provider-like an SEO company, thousands of dollars, you have the luxury of having the company handle all of your SEO needs for you.  That’s not what you are getting with an overseas employee.  You are simply getting “manpower.”

You have to be able to give specific, “action-oriented” instructions to your new team member.  You must already have a SYSTEM in place (the step-by-step process), and you simply plug your Virtual Assistant into that existing system.  This often means a lot of training, communication and mistakes on the front end…until you get it right.

When Outsourcing, you have to understand that YOU as the business owner are creating an INTERNAL structure of inter-connected systems, and your virtual assistants help to make those systems run.  They don’t create the systems for you.

Your Turn

Did you find the answers helpful?

You can share any of the mistake you did when outsourcing in the comments below to help others.


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  1. my biggest mistake in SEO is targeting the wrong keywords without checking the importance for business & estimated searches for particular keyword. This thing effected me alot.

    As usual Mr rana this post also very useful. keep it up

  2. “My biggest outsourcing mistake was not fully understanding what I was outsourcing. As a result, I had no idea what to expect and of course got subpar results.”

    That’s the main problem in outsourcing: the scope! We need to define the scope very well in order to prevent mistakes from outsourced entity or from the outsourcer.

  3. shan says:

    Thanks admin for most important topic sharing with us.I think Target keyword and unique relevant content is the most powerful tools in SEO.

  4. Joy says:

    My biggest outsourcing mistake was probably not delegating pertinent tasks that had to be accomplished sooner. This has really taken a toll of my own productivity and goals. Thanks for sharing!

  5. My biggest outsourcing mistake involves hiring a company that failed to meet my expectations mainly because I never even bothered to conduct an in-depth interview. Requiring a portfolio would definitely be a good idea for anyone looking into the possibility of outsourcing. Thanks!

  6. These are great words by people. Experience speaks. While outsourcing you really need to find right people to do your work no matter if they cost a bit on the higher side. Quality should never be compromised.

  7. Kelly says:

    These are great points to learn from. We make mistakes and these are the biggest source of learning. Thanks for sharing this, Rana.

  8. My biggest outsourcing mistake is placing too much trust on the wrong person.. because it doesn’t only cost your business time and money, but the experience can have some emotional setback as well.

  9. stephen vardy says:

    small online retailer
    highly customised sales with individualised delivery of big ticket items.
    extremely small niche
    long term low return lifestyle business as opposed to “startup” with scaling growth profits goals.

    The biggest problem for us is developing internal skill sets on a budget then finding the time to systematise so outsourcing is even possible.

    The best starting point for us has been to move”IT” into the cloud – choosing profitable SAAS providers for extremely specific functions identified as being business limiting when done in house. The key for doing this has been to design physical mobility into our overall administration. How to operate a business without a fixed location. This forces systems development across the partnership which then allows the possibility of outsourcing.

    The SAAS systems now allow us to “port” less core functions to others economically month by month without creating long term staff dependancies.

    The danger I see is that the more you out-source the less flexible you may become because of external relationships/systems dictating direction.
    Being small is our core asset as we continually reconfigure into a rapidly evolving small market that is not buffered by any established critical mass.

    Conversely the biggest mistake is being trapped in non core labour intensive activity and losing the subtle changes emerging in the big picture. So the next step for us is to create relationships where others can assume nearly all non-core functions in short term crisis situations due to health or development time management.


  10. My biggest mistake is not briefing the outsource project clearly. It takes time to precisely write down and state exactly what you want. I think outsourcing is brilliant for a small one person business, provided you are busy focusing on your core business. Outsourcing overseas can be quite interesting in terms of language issues, but don’t make the mistake of thinking just because they speak English that they actually understand what you want.

  11. Hi,

    I think my biggest mistake in Outsourcing is hiring a employee that are not suite in their job and no proper in-order when giving a task. How would I improve that and be in good way in Outsourcing? thank you for this blog I really impressed and it is really informative. Keep it up!


  1. […] the original post here: 8 Outsourcing Experts Revealed Their Biggest Outsourcing Mistake ← Ask HN: Tell Us About Your Side Projects. | Hacker News Carnival of Financial Planning […]

  2. […] Eight outsourcing mistakes. When looking to outsource products or services for your business, be careful you make the right choices. In this post, we hear from eight entrepreneurs; Steve Chou, Fraser Cain, Sean Platt, and others, who talk about their outsourcing experiences. Whether successes or failures, these anecdotes could help you improve your business’s effectiveness, increasing productivity while reducing costs. Rana Shahbaz […]

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