So I’ve been married for slightly over a week. In that time, I’ve gained several insights about how a marriage works. While my expertise as a married man is limited, the qualities and considerations of a successful marriage are equally important to finding a partner with whom to outsource. As a small agency, we’re in a unique position: we are usually the people who organizations call when they need outsourced talent, but we also seek people to work with when our skills and time are extended to capacity. In other words we see both sides of the equation as outsourcer and outsourcee. When are personal and business relationships successful? When they meet the criteria listed below.
My new wife and I have many things in common: we’re a little nerdy in our own ways (a.k.a. we think we’re cooler than we really are), we like to ride bikes, are concerned with improving the human condition, like good food and live to entertain friends. These are the reasons we get along. Similarly Space2Burn's best outsource relationships are commonly aligned: a shared notion that a good website is an ever-changing extension of the business it represents, that outsourcing is/should be mutually beneficial to all parties involved, and that open-mindedness always leads to the best decisions.
In marriage, “the better” always precedes “the worse.” Two people are different, despite the number of things they have in common. Just because I’m sometimes distracted when my wife would like to discuss our finances, doesn’t mean I’m ready to move out. Or just because she has a hard time finding the dish washer, doesn’t mean she’s unhappy with the concept of “us.” It just means we’re presently on different wavelengths regarding specific subject matter. Because we’re committed to the relationship, we’re able to compromise to find resolutions to our minor issues. Either side of outsource is sometimes challenging too. What one side sees as a clearly defined project scope appears flexible to the other party. What is described as an absolute deadline is sometimes less than absolute. What is a dirty dish always belongs in the dishwasher. You get the picture. Because a business is made up of people and people are always different, there’s bound to be some turbulence. How the turbulence is resolved makes a relationship stronger if both parties are willing to accept responsibility for their differences.
My wife is an extravert, I’m demure. In our six and a half year courtship, somehow we’ve found a way to bridge that gap and can communicate openly about most things. We’ve hung the phone up on one another, text messaged profanities, yelled in each other’s faces and cried … you know, all the stuff that makes a relationship real. Of course these events were never in our finest hour and if we’d made a habit of crappy communication, we would never had made it past year one. Simply put, we get each other. We mostly understand how to approach topics with one another and the aforementioned communication shortcomings are increasingly infrequent. But it took time and patience. Just like outsource relationships. It takes time to really understand a business partner. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional. Our best communication is with the folks who are willing to cultivate a relationship over time and who are willing to adjust for everyone’s benefit.
When two people are committed to one another, when they know how to communicate and when they are moving in the same common direction, spontaneity is infinitely possible. There are no roadblocks to impede the freeplay of thoughtfulness and creativity. That’s when good things go better. With nothing new in our relationship, my wife and I would easily get bored. That fact that our life together is pretty interesting (to us anyway) is testament to our combined ingenuity for keeping things exciting. Continuous and long-term relationships with clients often produce exciting results. We can read about something in our daily perusing of online marketing news and instantly think about who it might benefit, for example. This is when work gets fun.
This one requires little explanation and fits for any type of relationship. The longer we’re together, the more frank we can be with one another, the more comfortable we are in allowing each other to make choices that benefit us both, and the more fulfilled we are in the end.