On the first day of Business School you will have been told to outsource. Outsource as much as you can, as quickly as you can. But how and why? Everyone will tell you how important outsourcing is. After all, it’s a way to earn more while doing less. What’s not to love? So why is it so hard to do?
Time and time again I have seen clients struggle when it comes to the subject of outsourcing. It brings up all kinds of questions. Can I afford to outsource? What stuff could I or should I outsource? How do I find the right person to outsource to?
This blog will tell you everything you need to know about how to make outsourcing one of your favourite things about your business!
Don’t be the person who cleans before the cleaner comes round
The most common thing I hear when it comes to outsourcing? “I need to get stuff sorted then I’ll outsource”. That’s like the person who cleans before the cleaner comes round. People hate the idea of someone seeing their half arsed version of systems and processes, or templates. They want the time to sit and plan what to outsource and who to outsource to. So they end up faffing and not getting around to it at all.
Get someone else to do the stuff you don’t want to!
Many of the struggles my clients experience are things I can relate to. Outsourcing isn’t one of them. There were things I couldn’t wait to get rid of. I was itching to outsource from the day I started my business and to this day I love doing it. Not because I’m bossy or I enjoy the thought of managing someone.
It’s probably more down to the fact that I am driven by laziness and a desire to do as little as possible while still being able to afford holidays as opposed to being a control freak who doesn’t want to let go. I’m not saying you’re a control freak, you might just not know how to outsource, after all it’s not just a case of handing someone a list and saying “Here, get on with this”!
So how do I outsource and make it work for me?
I started early
I didn’t wait for things to get on top of me. When you’re up to your eyeballs in work, overwhelm is just around the corner. That’s not the ideal environment for you to do sound thinking and make good decisions.
Way before I outsourced anything I had a list of all the stuff that doesn’t need to be done by me. I prioritised the stuff I am not good at doing or that I don’t enjoy.. and then there’s the stuff I quite enjoy when I get into it, but I don’t get around to making the time for it.
With my list in mind I could start to look out for people to take on the jobs I wanted to outsource.
I buy good, not cheap
An investment in your support services is an investment in your business. I look for experts who can do stuff better than I can. Life is easier when you have someone who will tell you how things need to be rather than the other way around.
I have a VA who manages my client onboarding process. I didn’t design the process and hand it over, I said ‘I’m sick of all these bitty emails and having to remember what to send when’. Lo and behold it all happens in the background by automated email magic now! (Not actual magic, I know it’s him doing it)
Done is better than perfect
I don’t need things done the way I would do them to feel they have been done well. If I waited until I had time, some things would never get done. I don’t rewrite the blogs my copywriter sends me because it would be a waste of my time and energy to pay a professional then think ‘I’d phrase it this way rather than that way’. Also, she’s pretty damn good, and funnier than me. Bonus points if you can tell me whether it is her or me writing this?
I work with people I click with and trust
I agree with them up front how we are going to work. If you’re going to hand over something that’s a part of your business and brand, having boundaries and expectations in place on both sides is vital. Things like exactly what is being delivered, when it is being delivered, how much it is going to cost, when payment is due, what working hours are and how often and by what means you’ll be in contact with each other. Without that, expectations can differ and come back to bite you later. I try to avoid disappointment in all my meaningful relationships. My husband won’t be reading this so I’ll claim I manage it most of the time.
I try not to be a dick
Good people are hard to find, whether as employees or as professionals to outsource to. Great VAs, copywriters, designers, video editors and the like all get busier as they are out to grow their business too. They have to sack some clients and focus on the ones they want to work with. So when you find a gem, appreciate them and treat them with respect. Don’t assume you are their priority or treat them like an employee.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to be a drama. It can be a lot of fun.
And remember “You might be a Superhero but even Batman had an Alfred”.