How to Outsource on a Budget…Really

Hootsuite Marketing Outsourcing Social media Time management Virtual assistant

outsource redIf there’s been a common theme to my series of making it through the summer, it’s that you need to outsource. Trying to perform each specific task for your business works against your productivity for many reasons. Here are just a few of those reasons:
  • Performing small tasks gives you less time to do more important business building activities like planning and marketing your business. 
  • Doing the job of several people (admin assistant, bookkeeper, accountant, marketing manager and more) means it’s difficult to do any one thing well.
  • You are working harder than you need to and you sacrifice your health and well-being by working so much. 
Many business owners tell me they simply can’t afford to outsource, but in my opinion, you simply can’t afford NOT to.  The interesting thing is that the more you outsource effectively, the more you can leverage your own time to earn more money. So not only is outsourcing a time saver, it’s a money maker too. If you are on a budget, start by outsourcing just a few tasks or hire a virtual assistant (VA) for an hour or two each week. If you aren’t familiar with what a VA is, it’s simply an assistant that can perform a variety of business tasks. They aren’t an employee, so you don’t have to pay salary or benefits. Plus, they work from their own home or office, so they don’t need to come to your place of work. To decide what you should outsource, consider a few things:
  • What necessary tasks drag you away from business building activities? For example, answering emails and performing customer support are usually the first things that I recommend people outsource. They are important tasks, but they can be a distraction from actually growing one’s business. 
  • What tasks do you really not enjoy doing? You will always be more productive in your business if you focus on the things you like to do.  If you don’t like writing articles, hire a writer to write them. If you don’t like crunching numbers or doing taxes, hire an accountant. 
  • What tasks are you unable to do for your business? If you don’t know how to make graphics or do programming for your business, hire the appropriate people. Sometimes the learning curve required just results in frustration and it’s simply easier to have someone else take care of those details. Some of those harder tasks are things you may learn over time, but there is no sense in stressing yourself out and slowing down your progress because you’re trying to do everything yourself. 
  • If you consider your hourly worth, which tasks could you hire someone to do more cheaply? Many of us do work that greatly reduces our hourly worth in our business. If you focused only on high level tasks (like email marketing, planning and other marketing tasks), what would your hourly worth be? Probably a lot higher than it is now. If you put your hourly worth at $25, $50 or $75 per hour and you can hire someone to do tasks at a lower rate than that, you should probably hire them. 
Again, there’s no need to jump in over your head and hire people to do everything you don’t like or can’t do, but you've got to make a small start. Just hiring an assistant to answer emails for 2 hours per week, or schedule some of your social media posts in HootSuite will free you up like you wouldn't imagine. Yes obviously, you’ll get an extra 2 hours per week…but email and posting on social media can be a huge distraction and taking that off your to do list means you can be far more focused on everything else. Once you see the results of your first hire, begin to outsource a bit more at a time. Keep it going and keep growing.

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