Rank My leader was my dream startup.
The single platform to allow all political leaders to be evaluated real-time based on news.
The web portal failed because of some blunders I did while outsourcing almost all work of the portal.
There are books written on how to outsource smartly. Benefits of Outsourcing. Tips to outsource, etc, etc but when outsourcing goes bad, the business built with the help of outsourcing is bound to go south.
The pros and cons of IT outsourcing are widely debated.
I outsourced most of my work via upwork.
The cons outnumber pros of Outsourcing.
The startup tanked miserably. It left me with few bruises affecting my confidence, finance, and risk-taking ability.
The lessons learned were many.
The ones which left an impact were “How not to Outsource”
Outsourcing is not simple.
The hype around how outsourcing can save time, money can sometimes blind you .
Outsourcing has its own share of disadvantages.
I run a company which takes outsourced projects from the US and other countries.
I should have known how to Outsource.
Well! I didn’t.
I was too blinded by the trust in my concept. I overestimated benefits of Outsourcing.
Outsourcing work in startups is a different ball game than work outsourced from established business.
Here are 3 biggest outsourcing mistakes Startups should not make:
- Outsource ideas:
Ideas are dangerous. They are not tangible.
Anything which cannot be measured is open-ended.
You can never set up a budget or a timeline to complete the same.
When you hire an outsourcing agency to convert your idea into products you are making a big mistake.
I got the design done for Rank My leader not once not twice but thrice.
The first time, it was an idea which took shape.
The second time, the idea was not as how I envisioned it. I had more ideas to make the design better.
By the third time, I changed the design (more ideas from end users). I had consumed my marketing budget.
The idea’s outsourcing was a cruel, unforgivable mistake.
Every time the idea evolved, I was charged money.
I paid as I wanted the best product as I had envisioned it.
The agency I hired for the job never complained.
In fact, they gave me more advanced ideas to make my idea better.
How stupid was I?
I forgot I was outsourcing idea not a document with proper workflows and mockups.
The day so many ideas were taking shape. I should have known what was coming.
I lost a major chunk of my budget on “ideas” which evolved with time.
Lesson learned was “Never Outsource ideas. Especially, the one line ideas”. The more you rely on your vendor to make something out of your idea, the worse it gets for you in terms of time and money.
The more you rely on your vendor to make something out of your idea, the worse it gets for you in terms of time and money.
- Outsource what you do not Understand:
With a limited budget, I wanted to win the race.
I should have exercised prudence while deciding to take the easy route to fame.
It so happened.
I wanted to be numero uno as soon as possible in my field.
In pursuit of winning it fast, I hired a PR professional on a contract basis.
I outsourced PR work of website.
Frankly speaking, I had no idea on how PR industry works.
I also did not take the pain of studying how to pay them or what should be my expectations from them.
The PR person I outsourced work promised to get me in “major publications”.
She wrote to a few famous website to publish our story.
One of them, a famous website in startup space refused to entertain us.
The PR person put the onus on me and the concept.
I timidly agreed to “the article not getting published” as my mistake.
I thought this was the norm of PR industry.
How wrong was I?
In PR, if someone cannot get you published. The person is not well-connected.
Donkeys get front page coverage if their PR is good.
So my outsourcing of what I did not understand costed me dearly.
I was wasting precious money.
Earlier design. Now PR.
The stage was set for the project to get a burial.
- Outsourcing to a wrong Vendor:
No doubt you save money by Outsourcing. This is why Outsourcing industry is huge.
The problem creeps in when you try to save a fortune by finding cheap freelancers.
Worse, you do not do your homework before hiring vendors or freelancers to outsource the job.
I was on a shoe tight budget. I wanted a cheap yet reliable service provider.
I hired an SMO person to promote the website.
I asked him “What type of contract do you want?”
He said “Hourly”.
I asked, “What is your hourly rate?”
He gave me an unbelievable number. The price was too good to be true.
I never knew you could get vendors at such a low price.
Our company charged way more than the above-quoted.
I was getting a real deal. I hired him immediately.
From day one the work was low quality. English was as horrible as mine.
It looked like the guy was promoting my website in Chinese.
I started teaching him English. He started teaching me “how to promote without knowing English”.
I wasted a lot of time and money in unlearning what I had learned in SMO.
To save “a lot of” money by outsourcing, I ended up spending more money.
I hired another guy, who promised to work closely on the project.
He came through a recommendation.
We agreed on some monthly pay-outs. Again, affordable service provider.
Few days into the job, he said: “I am going to goa with my friends on a vacation”.
By the time he came back from his vacations, I had moved on.
The third contractor was the best of all.
We met in a mall since he was visiting Noida.
I explained him the concept. He liked what he heard and decided to work with me.
Once he was back home, he was unresponsive,
He made campaigns which would put worst of minds to shame.
When one of the prominent leaders in the country died in a car accident. He made a Facebook post with some stupid comment.
I had to pull down the post before I was beaten black and blue from some political goon.
One thing common in all the above contractors was “Cheap OUTSOURCING”.
I was looking for cheap contractors.
Luck or bad outsourcing?
By the time I stopped the SMO and SEO campaigns, I was out of money.
Cheap Vendor. Unreliable Vendor. Dumb Vendor.
I know I planned the finances badly for my startup.
So was it only bad planning or bad outsourcing which led to the closure of my startup?
The outsourcing model does not always succeed.
Startups need to check their outsourcing models. If outsourcing is not done the right way, the cons of outsourcing are bound to outweigh the pros which will sink your boat for sure.
Outsourcing might not be the one making to the list of
Why startups fail in all the articles your read on the Internet.
But that does not make it a reason less dangerous to kill your Startup dream.
What is portrayed as a model to save cost, money, time can actually lead to spending more money, time and energy?
I just learned it the hard way by seeing my dream startup fail.