Do you ever feel like you wear too many hats? That you spread yourself too thin focusing on aspects of your business or your life that you really don’t know much about? If you do, then you know the feeling you get when you are doing something to “save money” or perhaps “keep more” of the money from a project. You go over and over the thing you’re working on (that isn’t your specialty) to make it as good as the rest of your project (which is your specialty) all the while you watch the hours tick away. You stay up late (or get up early) to compensate. In reality, while your intentions are good, you’re wasting time and lowering the quality of the overall project. Don’t believe me? Make a short version of whatever you’re working on (be it a video, a photo, an audio recording, content or pricing or maybe even sales). If it’s a 30 minute video, for example, take the intro or one of the complicated parts, go on Upwork and ask someone to give you a sample of what they can do with it OR give them $50 to get a good quality version to you and compare what you did to what they did. Don’t you think the client would prefer their video over yours?
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.
- Allows you to spend more times on your specialty
- Produces a better product or service (because specialists are performing their specialty)
- Save a LOT of time
- Helps you move forward at a rapid pace
- Greatly increases you chances of overall success
- Helps you learn (you can dissecting the work done by the hired hand)
- You’re going to have to do it sooner or later
- You’re using money you could keep for yourself
- There’s a chance the hired hand won’t do a good job (reduce this risk by reading their reviews and looking at sample works)
- You need to know WHAT to outsource. That takes time to put together/figure out
- It can feel like you’re cheating the client (even though the overall project comes out better)
- Sometimes it takes an upfront investment and you need that money NOW
Back to the practical application
The video example above. Think how long would it take you to make that $50 back doing what you do best (your area of expertise)? Yes, you’ve used money, but you can make more now. Consider your hourly pay. Let’s say you have a project or a service you are providing and you make $100. You can do it on your own and it’ll take you 30 minutes to do the things you know, but it takes you 2 hours and 30 minutes to to do the part you don’t know how to do very well. Congrats, you only made $33.33 an hour. Now let’s say you spend 20 minutes on the part you know and spend $50 + 10 minutes of your time (for easy math) outsourcing. You made $50 an hour and you have 2 hours to spare, which you can now use on other projects.
There are times, especially in the beginning when you have to do things by yourself, just so you can figure out what needs to be done, but once you know what needs to be done, there’s no reason to continue struggling with tasks you aren’t so great at. Let’s face it, you’re also producing a lower quality product. If you don’t realize that, then you’re either working with the wrong people or you likely have an overly high opinion of yourself.
I know you might also enjoy doing things yourself and there’s a satisfaction in doing it yourself as well, but let’s be real. It’s a lower quality product overall because you could be spending MORE time performing your specialty. (don’t worry, you can still be well rounded and a specialist). That alone creates a better product. You’re also wasting time by not working wisely. That’s something you cannot get back and it’s something that is finite. Every day has the same number of hours in it (weeks too) and no mater how hard you work, you can’t change that.
What does outsourcing/partnering look like?
Ok, so now that you know it’s reasonable to outsource or find a partner to work with (whichever you prefer). It may not look like what you think it does. In my case it looks like this. I go to Upwork, I look for a specialist, reviewing their reviews and sampe work, and I say “I am redesigning this site. I need you to transfer all the material from site x to site y. How much will this cost?” Sometimes I create a base design prior to the transfer so that the person doing the transfer can put the content into the new design. That’s normally the case for bigger projects.
To get to that point I needed to know specifically what I needed, what was more or less the best order to do it in and where to look.
What this may look like for you.
In your case, it may be like this “Hey, I need help with my website. It’s not performing well and needs some updates. I’d also like it to perform better. What can be done?” In this case, you don’t even need to know what needs to happen. You just know what you want to happen. Before you know it, and sometimes it’s little by little, you have a specialist working on your website, it’s performing better and it’s reached heights you never new it could. In many cases you can even say “Hey, this is my budget, let’s prioritize.” Believe it or not, that’s outsourcing. That’s partnering.
What can I outsource?
Well, I don’t like billing, book keeping and taxes. I outsource that to a CPA.
I also find that, in all honesty, I’m a better advisor than I am a sales person, so I let other people sell my services in return for a small fee. That can be expensive but in all honesty, I partner with very talented people who share my values and I get tremendous/wonderful clients that I couldn’t imagine not having having.
Editing and proof reading is also a good thing to outsource.
You can also meet with someone and outsource the task of finding what to outsource. You would be outsourcing the process of finding out how to make your business more efficient.
You may want to outsource you strategic planning. I have an advisor that helps me with that (he’s on the home page). THIS however is more difficult for some people because you have to find someone who fits your values and then accept that THEY KNOW BETTER THAN YOU DO! Or at least they do in the strategic planning area. I know, it sounds like I’m saying “give up your values and do things you don’t think are right.” What I’m really saying is “Seriously, you don’t always know what’s best, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for help.” I’m putting it bluntly because if you aren’t where you want to be, you need to be aware that you are responsible for that. NOTE: Don’t pick just anyone or the first person who comes to your door with a cool presentation that appeals to your eyes and tickles your ears.
Chances are you’ve tried listening to people before and you did one of 3 things: 1) You listened and did what they said until you disagreed 2) You followed things according to your own interpretation 3) You did everything 100% and it went wrong. In all 3 of these cases, if you still aren’t where you want to be, the answer is still “find someone who fits your values and then accept that THEY KNOW BETTER THAN YOU DO!” Granted, you really should have an open ended conversation with them so that things can be adjusted as needed. That is part of following through.
Sounds like a cop out, I know, but how many people do you work with who would do better if they listened to you?
Good luck! Get crackin’. Things won’t outsource themselves and unless you are able to clone yourself, I don’t see any other option.