Running a business can be stressful, but never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Why make it harder for yourself?!
Simply asking for advice or getting your sister to chip in (that’s what I do!) with the promise of pocket money to buy more makeup can do the job! Or why not outsource work to a contractor or a virtual assistant?
What is business outsourcing?
Business outsourcing is when you work with someone outside of your own business to get things done. You could work with a website designer to build your website for you rather than spending your valuable time trying to create one, or you could hire a virtual assistant to do admin tasks or schedule social media, things that take up time but can easily be passed on to someone else, so you can spend more time doing the things you specialise in.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Admittedly, I used to think I had to do everything on my own and that asking for help was a sign of weakness, but now I see the benefits, not just for yourself, but for your business. If you can get help from someone who can do the job better or faster than you can, while you focus on what you’re great at, then (if anything) it’s a sign that you’re rocking at business!
“But it’s expensiveee!” No, it doesn’t have to be!
Don’t just go for the cheapest option. Research thoroughly and weigh up the costs. It doesn’t have to be expensive but you do get what you pay for.
Think about the time you’d be saving and what you could do in that time. Outsourcing something that’d take you 5 hours a week, may mean that you could work with 5 new customers or finish and invoice a project. Work out the amount of money you could potentially make in the time you have free, and you may be pleasantly surprised!
Stop being a control freak
One of the number one reasons I took so long to hire a VA was because I was scared to let anyone else do the tasks that I was doing. I am a bit of a control freak!
I had one of those “AHH I need help!” moments not too long ago when I was trying to re-launch my blog and I decided to reach out to social media for advice. Jessica Dornieden replied to my post and we set up a call to discuss my needs. She was so helpful and obviously knew what she was doing so it made me feel much more comfortable about passing on work. I was also familiar with her work from seeing her posts on social media and recommendations from a lot of people who have worked with her.
I now work on my blog with Jelena from JessicaDornieden.com and she saves me at least 3 hours a week! She’s fab and I’m hoping that in the new year I can work with JessicaDornieden.com and her team to outsource more work so I can spend time creating more websites and doing what I do best.
Take time to find the right person for your business outsourcing. Connect with them on social media, read their blog, reach out to discuss your needs and work out what they can offer. Try to find someone with a similar work ethic to you, who wants to grow with your business.
Whoever you work with should spend time getting to know your business and your brand so that nothing is out of place. If you need social media updates, they’ll take the time to figure out your brand style so that it sounds like something your business would say. If you need graphics, they will research your brand guidelines and existing graphics so it’s created in line with your brand.
Start small and outsource what you’re comfortable with. It can be hard to let go when your business is your baby, but you’ll find out it gets easier and is much more satisfying than you thought. Hey, what are you going to do with all this spare time on your hands?!
If something isn’t done right, well, it may be your own fault
Make sure you set clear guidelines and spend time explaining your processes. If something is not done right, it’s often down to misinterpretation or not quite understanding what you need. Avoid that by having a lengthy chat to discuss your requirements and if there’s a particular process they need to follow, provide it in writing and / or go through it via Skype. Contractors and VA’s are talented people, but they’re not mind-readers!
Are you actually, honestly, really busy?
Before you think about what you can outsource, analyse whether you do actually need help right now. You may be really ‘busy’, but not ‘productive’.
Make sure you’re doing the tasks that are going to push your business forward and remove anything unnecessary from your to-do list. You can read more about this in my post about how doing less can grow your business.
By really assessing what you should be doing in your business, you can see whether you actually need to outsource right now and what would be best to outsource to get the best outcome for your business.
You don’t have to get help just with your business
Maybe it’s things like housework or cooking or making sure the little ones are occupied that take up the largest chunk of your time. By getting help with things outside of your business, you can free up time to work. Hire a cleaner, prep and freeze all your meals in advance, or ask a friend or relative to look after the kids for an afternoon!
Automate where possible
Outsource to automation! There are probably a lot of things that you could set up a system for that would save you time without having to hire an actual person.
I use 17Hats and Hootsuite to automate parts of my business. I use 17Hats to send quotes for new projects and when a quote is accepted, it automatically directs them to the contract to sign and then the invoice to pay. After the invoice is paid, 17Hats automatically sends a design questionnaire and notifies me when it’s done. All I have to do is read through the questionnaire with the information about the project and get started!
I’ve also got pretty in-depth workflows set up in 17Hats so I can tick off tasks step by step and never forget anything or lose track of a project. When the project is completed, 17Hats automatically sends a feedback questionnaire for me.
I use Hootsuite to batch schedule my social media posts. I don’t like the idea of being a robot so every now and then I’ll post a live update, but any of my blog posts, latest projects or graphics are scheduled in advance.
What do you need help with right now?
I’m always available to help with design, whether you need some new blog graphics or some website updates. Get in touch here.
Other places to find help include JessicaDornieden.com, Upwork and PeoplePerHour.