Things to consider when you’re outsourcing business tasks

Published: July 9, 2020

Are you outsourcing some of your business tasks to a VA? VAs can provide excellent retained or ad-hoc support to your business, but there are a few things that you might want to consider to ensure that your business is adequately protected, whoever you decide to work with!

Insurance – professional indemnity insurance is a must-have for any professional service-based business, as it helps to ensure that in the unlikely event that something goes wrong for your business as a direct result of the working relationship you have with your VA or Freelancer (and you suffer financial loss as a result of this), you can potentially receive compensation for this issue.  It’s important to ensure that your VA has appropriate insurance in place – we’re not saying something WILL go wrong, but it’s always best to ensure that they, and you, are covered if the unthinkable happens and something does go wrong.

Contracts – Although it’s easy to just want to jump straight into working with each other (saving you valuable working hours ASAP), it’s important to make sure that a contract is drawn up to highlight the expectations you have got for your VA/Freelancer, and what they can expect from you. Hourly/Project Rate, Timescales for Work, intellectual property, etc. – all of these issues (and more) can be covered with a good quality contract that helps to build a solid framework for your working relationship from the outset.

GDPR– if your VA is handling personal data (i.e. customer information) on your behalf, you need to ensure that they are doing it safely and responsibly so that the data is protected and the potential for a ‘leak’ is minimised as much as possible.  If you haven’t already reviewed your business systems and processes for GDPR, now’s the time! Check whether the tools you are using (i.e. Email Marketing Platforms, Online Course Platforms, Virtual Meeting Platforms, etc.) are GDPR compliant, what data you collect and where this data is stored – and who has access to it all! Sharing passwords/logins with only specific team members, encrypting data and ensuring you have an up to date data privacy policy (and are registered with the ICO as a Data Controller) can all help you to work towards greater GDPR compliance. To find out more about GDPR, visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website 

Ownership of platforms/accounts – I’ve unfortunately seen too many instances of Freelancers setting up accounts on various platforms/tools on behalf of the business they are working for, and then leaving (with the login details!). If you want a new tool set up or a new website or domain, make sure these are set up in your business name so that you have access to them.  Setting up a generic website for you VA (i.e. support@ or info@ your business address) can also help to ensure that you are able to deal with any enquiries or issues after your working relationship has ended, and can pass on the email address to new team members if required.

Lastpass – an extension to the point above! Even if the login for a particular piece of software or application is in your name, it’s best not to share the password directly with your team! Last Pass is a great password ‘locker’ tool that allows you to share passwords and access to online tools without team members ever seeing the password! You can also revoke/share access quickly and easily if required, making it a great tool if you only want to share access temporarily.

Outsourcing work can really help you to work more productively and efficiently, particularly if you are working with an experienced and professional VA (or team!).  Don’t feel embarrassed to ask about insurance or contracts – any responsible business owner will be happy to share details of their set-up with you, and answer any questions that you have about working safely and appropriately together.