Outsourcing towards successful podcasting.
Learn all about the industries’ tips and tricks, tools, and strategies in approaching clients through outsourcing (plus the good and the ugly) on OuchSourcing series’ first interview, with Harry Duran from Fullcast.co.
The first challenge of any entrepreneur is to position his/ her offering in the market. So, instead of being amongst the general Podcasting production competition, where the fight is based on lowering the price tag (in his own words – “ … nobody wins because everyone is just trying to get in (…) it's just a race to the bottom…”), Harry decided to focus on potential clients who understand the value of having a full scope service outsourcing even if for a higher price.
Podcasting goes far beyond preparing and recording the interview. It requires quality artwork, accurate show notes, defining what formats for which social media platforms and how to continue engaging with guests, after the interview. And that requires “one-stop shop”, a full scope offering package. Plus, even going a little bit further, for when performing good customer care, sometimes one needs to break one’s portfolio specific boundaries, as long as it helps with the podcasting outsourcing.
Harry is not only an outsourcing provider but also an outsourcing client himself and in his perspective, the decision about whether to outsource some services or not should be a no-brainer. Objectively looking at it, it’s all about the cost of hiring versus the cost of doing it yourself (an expert will take far less time to complete a task, plus you can always use that time to try and get more clients, which adheres to the concept of “leveraging”).
So why do so many people have a hard time deciding to Outsource?
Here Harry is very direct – “… a scarcity mindset …”. You must invest in the growth of your business, to be where you want to be in 12 months. Gather trusted partners with whom you can establish a good working relationship and focus on the essentials.
When asked about the challenges of Podcasting Outsourcing (besides the obvious one of getting clients), Harry’s answer heads towards being methodic. Fulfilling scheduled committed deliverables (some podcasts need to be delivered on a weekly basis), implies having good processes and procedures in place (with some associated degree of automation), which also accounts for smoother and faster onboarding of both collaborators as well as clients.
The advice to potential Outsourcers comprehends three main lines of action; the first one is, instead of becoming a kind of handyman, to focus on a specific offering as well as target client segment (in his case CxO level); in Harry’s words: - “… I help thought leaders amplify their authority and expand their reach through the power of podcasting (…) I produce a service that's for people that have successful businesses and want to use podcasting as an extension of their marketing …”
The second one is, to focus on delighting your clients in a way that referrals become the engine of your endeavor. This adds the huge benefit of minimizing your time questing for new clients.
Last, but not least, you need to define excellent communication and workflow processes, leading to high-quality deliverables (including forecasting; when to hire help in a timely manner, meaning you won’t have to ramp up after the client came on board and having him waiting).
Do this and clients will most likely become your champions, building your reputation as “the one who does that perfectly”.
Focus on the essentials; a specific niche offering and delighting a target client segment.
And what about the challenges of being an outsourcing client?
While an Outsourcing client, Harry’s first quest was to look for and hiring a VA. The challenging bit of the work experience to follow was coming to terms with the need of being crystal clear in conveying his message so that the VA was not misled. From Harry’s perspective, you need to absolutely avoid placing your hire in the position of having to guess.
Additionally, when working with people from other locations (even in the same country), there is always some sort of cultural gap or misalignment which requires awareness enforcement, care, and attention. Harry presents the example of his VA, who being from overseas within a cultural context where it is rude to correct your boss/ employer, demanded of him to enforce such proactiveness, for if not the VA wouldn’t give his opinion on topics he found not being properly dealt with.
So, awareness as well as work effectiveness wise, it is very relevant to make sure people are motivated to speak their minds, after all bringing other people’s experience to the game actually adds value to your business.
To ensure it, you must have a communication plan, with established channels and resort to appropriate tools. In Harry’s case, Slack or simply ViewedIt (which is a Chrome plugin) that enables you to, at a click of a bottom, start recording a message (with video if needed be) plus it creates an URL that you can forward straight away to your team.
When asked about what he still struggles with concerning outsourcing and remote work, Harry points out the need to effectively create “A Team”, which is nevertheless made of remote resources. One of the actions that he promotes in that direction is a weekly getting together meeting over Slack, not necessarily to speak about work, but a team engagement gathering, addressing human aspects and experiences. Plus, the need to continuously motivate and promote a personal growth feeling towards people that end up doing remote (standalone) repetitive tasks.
Team cohesion and motivation are very relevant for business success, also because after a while of having outsourced a given task, the provider gets to become proficient at it while you (having ceased to do it) are no longer in the position of assuring such task.
We are only humans and need human bonding, mainly in the case of a remote outsourcing provider.
It is also relevant to try and meet your team face to face at least once a year. If you want to build a success team you must realize that you are also responsible for their growth and you need to coach and check-in to assess if everything is ok. Even remuneration-wise, the market is very fast changing and challenging and people may be needing a raise or whatever to remain on board, so you need to regularly check-in.
So, what does FullCast specifically outsources right now?
Year to date FullCast outsources a major portion of its offering meaning the team is overall responsible for: audio editing; posting show notes to clients' sites; scheduling all of the social media (including all of the setup processes), and the inherent workflow is almost fully automated. Each team member gets material to be processed from the previous stage and when having finished its task the material moves on to the next stage.
As an example, a client leaving a file in an outbox triggers an alert which leads then the file to be forward to both the “editing” and “show notes” teams with an automatic work assignment message; once that is done it moves to the transcriber. Upon show notes completion, another team is informed automatically that it is time to start building the WordPress post. Then when the transcription arrives it is forward to an editor for fine-tuning.
The transcription is also used as closed caption on YouTube, which increases SEO. Plus, once ready the mp4 file is used Facebook as a native video post as well.
These are the different pieces of FullCast outsourcing puzzle.
In Harry’s own words: -“… the client is happy because they're almost spoon-fed everything they need to maximize the reach of that podcast episode, and when they send that email out to their guest, their guest is like, "Wow, this is amazing," and when the guest sees their picture on a unique artwork every week, and says, "Wow, this host is really doing a great job for me," and we're doing most of the heavy lifting for the host, which is why they're paying for us. They're paying us because they don't have to think about those things. …”
The client is happy because they're almost spoon-fed everything they need and their guest is delighted for seen their picture on a unique artwork every week.
Harry confesses being a follower of the mantra: always to automate, outsource, and then delegate.
In his opinion: - “… Maybe that's the first question you should be asking. "Should I even be doing this?" Then, if you decide that you do, automate would be the first option. If it's too complicated, that's when you start to bring in your VAs, and then you have to document and then you can outsource it. …”
And what is considered to be a core competence and therefore not subject to outsourcing?
The sales process is perceived by Harry as the absolute core, he wants to maintain contact with prospect clients for he believes to be in the best position to convey the added value of working with FullCast.
On top of that, a salesperson (being commission based) is under pressure to close deals, but the attitude should be to establish empathy with your prospect and connect even if you don’t close a deal, which if you are under pressure you tend to move on without giving much of a second thought.
Any particular message that you wish to leave or reinforce?
Having an “abundance mindset” in opposition to a “penny-pinching attitude”, even at the beginning of your business activity, reveals you understand the leverage that synergy implies. Therefore, outsourcing some tasks to someone else, that is better prepared to perform them, may prove to be a win-win situation for both.