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In a previous post I talked about how you absolutely had to have procedures in order to use a subcontractor, as well as some simple ways to create your procedures.

So, you’ve got a complete set of procedures, that’s the biggest hurdle of all.  But how do you know that they will make sense to an outsider?  Have you been as detailed as possible?  Is there anything else that can be done in order to make the learning process easier for whomever you end up choosing as your subcontractor?

What I decided to do when I was first getting ready for a sub was to record each of my procedures as well.  In my case I use a Mac and I know that not everyone is familiar with them, so I wanted to come up with an idea of how to help my sub feel comfortable with the look and behaviour of a Mac without having to create a huge document full of screen shots, and recording my screen was the answer.  Once I had done that, I realized that recording my screen would be a useful tool with regards to all of my procedures as well!

Now keep in mind that this is definitely not something that you have to do before you get a subcontractor, it’s simply an extra idea that can be very useful.

The program that I used is called Jing, and it works in conjunction with Screencast (I’ve talked about both Jing and Screencast in previous blog posts as well).

Jing is the program that records your screen for a maximum of 5 minutes (this is for the free version) while you talk over top of the action.  So, you can literally follow your own procedure and say out loud what it is you’re doing at the same time, and in the end you’ll end up with a recording that says “click this submit button and then go over here and click that…” and at the same time shows the viewer exactly what you’re doing.  Cool!  If someone else had to follow what I was doing, it doesn’t get easier than that!

Screencast is the site (also free) where your recordings are stored.  You can organize your recordings into folders (one for each client for example), and you can get a link for both the entire folder and each individual recording.  So, if you want someone to see how to do a specific task, email them the link to that procedure recording and they can watch it online.  Or, if you want someone to see all the tasks for a given client, email them the link to that client’s folder and they can browse and view all of the procedures within it online.  Easy!  No emailing big recordings back and forth or creating special permissions to a server, simply send the appropriate links.

Voila!  Imagine the time you will save in the long run when it comes time to train your subcontractor!  Recording your procedures will make everything easier to follow.

Look for the upcoming Part 4 in the series where I’ll talk about contracts and financial considerations…