Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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Monthly Archives: February 2014

What Stays The Same

English: Skidmore College Artstor

English: Skidmore College Artstor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I was reading the news about a “Gigafactory” that the auto company Tesla will be building by 2020. This is being designed to reduce the costs of the batteries in electric cars. If you’re interested, you can find out more about this in the “Related Articles” section. Earlier this week there was an announcement about the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute in Chicago (on Goose Island).

We see the huge changes happening in technology in our time (I mean seriously, a refrigerator-sized 3D printer – how cool is that?) We’re looking at these changes on spaceship Earth, traveling at 108,000 km/h. It can, at times, make it seem a little hard to keep up.

Today I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about the things that don’t change. (more…)

Outsourcing: Letting Go

Outsource Definition Closeup Showing SubcontractingLETTING IT GO

The other day I was in the waiting area at the tire shop. I was sitting and relaxing with my coffee and reading a book on social media on my Kindle. I was using the time available to work on my business. Another customer was in the waiting area. He was staring through the big picture window into the shop. He was asking the tire shop employee endless questions about the process. Some people have a natural curiosity about things and a desire to learn, but this gentleman was coming across as very concerned with the fact that he had to let go of the control over his vehicle maintenance and let someone else do the work for him. I’m guessing he’s a micro manager in life and in his work.

So how do you avoid being a micro manager? Use referrals, use a vetting process, (which we talked about last week) and be comfortable with the people that you hire. Test people out. Give (more…)

Outsourcing: Finding the right partners

Outsource Definition Closeup Showing SubcontractingFINDING THE RIGHT PARTNERS

Whether you’re working with someone on a temporary basis (such as the graphic artist I hired for my logo design), a seasonal basis (like a tax preparer), or a regular basis (your VA that does your weekly blog post and your monthly newsletter), remember that this person is a partner in your business. The first place to look for service providers is in your own networks.¬†Ask people in your networking groups or ask other business owners if they can recommend someone. If that doesn’t net any results, ask your Facebook friends or ask around at church or other places you frequent. Often someone you know will know a service provider. Having a personal recommendation is your best option. (more…)

Outsourcing: What we can learn from Harry Potter

Outsource Definition Closeup Showing SubcontractingThis week is my week to have car stuff done. I’m getting tires rotated on both vehicles and I’m getting the oil changed on one of the vehicles. (That’s three trips to auto service places in three days).

There are certain jobs that I will never do on my own. Some I won’t do because I don’t have the expertise, some because I don’t have the proper knowledge, and some because I lack the proper tools. Some jobs are easy to give to someone else. Many people take their autos into a shop for an oil change. It’s not necessarily a difficult job to do yourself, however there are specific tools needed to remove the the drain plug and other tools needed to remove and replace the filter. You also need to have jacks or stands, and oil and filters handy (and the knowledge of what kind to use for your car). In some areas there are also laws about the disposal of used motor oil. With all that in mind, I (and most of us) will gladly pay someone else to deal with it for me. (I’ve included a DIY guide on oil changes in the “Related Articles” section – just for grins).

Some jobs are difficult to hand off to another person or company. When you’re a business owner, it can be difficult to determine what jobs to pass along to someone else. Once you do determine which tasks you’ll have someone else do, it can be hard to determine who should be doing the work. In this series, I will touch on those issues and make your decisions a little easier.

WHAT TO OUTSOURCE

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