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One of the biggest myths I encounter when it comes to outsourcing is that once you’ve outsourced something you don’t have to think about it at all.   If you care about something enough to want to see it done (even if it’s not by you), you’re still going to end up feeling some concern about the outcome. The goal is to no longer feel stressed about it. Trusting someone to meet your standards for success depends on open communication.   Creating a feedback loop is a simple way to maintain regular communication on outsourced projects.   A basic service I like for this is FollowUpThen, which creates basic feedback loops via email. If you’ve used FollowUp.cc, the service is very similar: less sophisticated but much cheaper.   Sign up with your email address at followupthen.com. The site will send you an email to verify and create your account.   To create a feedback loop, compose an email to whomever you’re outsourcing to. Explain what you want them to do (or, if you’re communicating on another platform, let them know you’re setting up a reminder system for them).   Add a FollowUpThen address to the Cc field (if you want the person notified and the BCC field if you want to be the only one reminded). The time you set in the address will set the due date for the task (and the next reminder). If you need something done in three days, you would email 3days-t@followupthen.com. (The –t sets up the email as a task to be completed.)   The recipient gets your original email and an email from FollowUpThen letting them know they’ve been assigned a task and the due date.   At the due date, they receive a follow-up email from FollowUpThen reminding them the task is due (with a button to mark it as complete). If they don’t mark it completed, they’ll receive follow-up emails every 24 hours until they do.   I like to know what’s going on with my projects while they’re in progress, so instead of creating my FollowUpThen emails for the project due date, I create them one day out (1day-t@followupthen.com). That way, my VA or whomever I’m working with gets a daily reminder about the task, which becomes their reminder to send me a daily status update. If they’ve already updated me, they know to ignore the email. And once the project is completed, they can mark it off and the emails stop.   It’s not a perfect system, but the minimal amount of time and mental effort it requires from me easily justifies using it to manage regular status updates.  

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