You’re a budding, strapping young entrepreneur. You’ve finally quit your day job and are ready to take on the wonderful world of business and making money from your creative talents on your own terms.
Now fast forward six months.
You’re beginning to realize this whole entrepreneur thing is a tad more challenging than you originally thought. But that doesn’t discourage you. You just ramp up and double your efforts. You’re going to succeed at this thing if it kills you.
Now fast forward another year or so.
Your hard work is paying off big time. You’ve got all the clients (or are making all the sales) you can handle. Money is flowing. But so is the work. You can’t remember the last time you took an ACTUAL day off. You’re fast approaching burnout and you’re starting to realize that the more you grow your business, the more work you give to yourself. Instead of enjoying your business, you’re starting to resent the hell out of it.
So now let me ask you. Is this why you got into this thing?
You got into business for a number of reasons but I’ll bet that one of them was freedom. You wanted freedom from an oppressive schedule. You wanted freedom from your sucky boss. You wanted freedom from the mundane, daily grind. You wanted freedom from being bogged down with work that doesn’t matter to you at all.
So what’s the point of leaving your job in order to be free only to end up being a slave to your business?
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know. You can’t do everything yourself.
I know, I know. Messes up your whole shit doesn’t it?
But if you want your business to grow, you’re going to eventually have to learn to get out of your own way and out of the way of your business growth.
That means you’re going to have to outsource and hire a team.
What Is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is really just a fancy way of saying hiring. It differs slightly from traditional hiring in that with traditional hiring, there are set hours, usually a minimum, and other legal and tax considerations due to the person becoming an employee of your company. Outsourcing is much more flexible. You can outsource based on a set of tasks or a specific project. You can set the length and the terms. And the person you outsource to is more of a contractor than an employee, which means among other things that they are in charge of handling their own tax compliance etc.
You’re paying someone to do things in your business.
-Those repetitive, tedious, but necessary things. Like bookkeeping.
-Those things you may not be that great at. Like setting up a WordPress blog. (That’s why you’d hire me. Heh.)
-Those thing you just plain don’t like doing. Like tackling that ever-growing email inbox.
Now I know this sounds like scary stuff and you may be thinking some things about all this.
But what if they don’t do it as well as I do?
What if they do it better? Now your customers are even happier. Happy customers are referring customers. More customers equals more money. Besides you will absolutely be taking the time to train your new hires and set clear expectations when it comes tot he work you want done. That’s what good bosses do.
I don’t know if I want to give up control of my business.
Relax. You’re not giving up control. This is not The Matrix where the machines take over and blow everything up (sorry, I was up late watching that movie…one of my faves). This is still your business and you call the shots. Including who to bring on and who to let go. If anything you’re freeing yourself up so you can even more efficiently take the reigns.
What if the person I hire really messes things up?
Start slowly. Obviously you don’t want to hand over control of your business’s most important and most sensitive aspects right away. If the person you’ve hired is good, then you can take your time and work up to that, averting any major disasters. It’s unfortunate but sometimes things don’t work out. And you have to make the sometimes difficult decision not to keep someone. It happens. It sucks. But you don’t need to hurt your business to spare someone’s feelings.
This sounds like it’s gonna cost too much money.
Again, start slowly. Don’t hire a 10 person, full time staff right off the bat. Start with one person a few hours at a time. Scale up when you get busier and feel more comfortable.
But, and this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. You need to be at a point in your business where you’re making some money. If you’re not bringing in much revenue, it’s not time for you to hire just yet.
Am I still needed?
Absolutely! You still need to be at the helm of everything, setting the direction and steering the business on the course you’ve laid out. You need to be the one taking things to the next level. You’ll never be able to be replaced in your business because there are those things that only you can do. Outsourcing the other things frees you up so that you can do more of that.
I’d always wanted to add a publishing branch to my business, being the passionate lover of books that I am. I also knew that pulling it off would take a whole lot of work. As per usual, I was juggling several other projects as well at the time. I knew I was going to need help. I had a friend who was an operations consultant for small businesses so I reached out to her. After one session, we had ironed out a solid plan of what needed to happen over the next three months to get this thing off the ground. Over the next three months, she researched and developed processes and procedures for client intake, evaluation, editing guidelines. She even drew up a contract and wrote a manual for future internal people. The technical stuff, design and layout procedures, were left to me since it’s what I do best.
At the end of the three months, we also had a beta group of four authors to test our process out on.
We decided on a price for the quarter and I broke that down into monthly payments over three months. I gave her a list of clear objectives and an end game.
If it weren’t for her, I’d probably still be brainstorming this; taking a lot of notes but getting a whole lot of nothing done.
So here are five reasons you should outsource
1. Get more done. I really hate to burst your bubble but you simply can’t do everything yourself. There just isn’t enough time. In the beginning, when you’re starting out and things are slow, then yes, it’s easy to maintain the various parts of your business as a one man show. But when they start to ramp up, when things start really going well for you, trying to do it all yourself is the surest way to stunt your growth. Outsourcing will free you up to focus on the most important things.
2. Make more money. By freeing yourself up, you can focus on your core money making tasks. This is huge, especially if you’re in a service based business that primarily works with clients. There are only so many hours in the day, which means that there are a limited amount of hours you can bill. When you bring on help, those hours, and subsequently those dollars now have the potential to magically multiply.
3. Priorities. Everyone likes to see things get done. But just because you know how to do a certain task, doesn’t mean you’re the right person to do it. Your time and energy is often better spent doing more important things. Finding new business, keeping your existing clients happy, or just making sure everything that needs to be done to keep your core business strong, is done.
4. Skills. Given time anyone can learn any skill set, but time is often a luxury we don’t always have. Not only do you need the best talent in the world, but you need lots of it. Outsourcing gives you an option of going outside the resources you have to bring in the skills you need, and often more affordable than someone local.
5. Synergy. Ever been in a room with other people working toward a coming goal and the ideas and everything just flows in a way that is truly magical. Yeah, that. It takes time and energy to achieve that but you can certainly build a team where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Chew on this for now. Next up, we’ll talk about exactly what you can and should outsource.