Editor’s note: We’re kicking off outsourcing month here at OWS! This post serves as a primer for deciding what tasks you might want to hire a pro to take on.
For many of us, we start our businesses out in bootstrapping mode.
You Google search. You consume blog post after blog post. You ask for advice in Facebook groups. Basically, you biz hack.
And even though this is more time consuming (and can be more frustrating) than turning to an expert, the DIY method does have some tangible benefits for a new business.
For one, it gives you as the biz owner a clear picture of what it takes to complete a task. (This is helpful intel to have when you do eventually hire support.) DIY-ing can also save you some cash in the short-term, something that is usually crucial for new business owners.
Let’s be honest, though. No matter how much of a well-oiled machine your one woman shop is, you’ll eventually need to call in reinforcements.
As your income streams diversify, you may no longer want to do your own bookkeeping. Maybe you'd like to hire a copywriter to really get that sales page converting. Or you might need a VA to get your newsletter off your plate and on a regular schedule.
Everyone will need support at some point. But how do you know when it’s the right time? How can you tell if your biz has hit that magic tipping point where your energy is better spent on other parts of your business? When I’m trying to make that call, I do a mini biz audit.
Here are the three questions I ask myself that help me know when it’s time to outsource a task:
1. Is it out of my zone of genius?
Does copywriting or web design stump you? Is it stopping you from expanding your biz? Could your time be better spent elsewhere?
No need to fret if you’re not great at a particular task. You’re good at what you do, so don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself about the things that keep getting pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. While yes, there’s a case for learning some skills (read more about how to evaluate where you invest in your education here), unloading the tasks you’re not suited for will free you up to better serve your clients.
2. Is it a have to and not a want to?
Are you capable of completing this task, but you simply don’t want to? Is it simple, but too time consuming? Does it light you up, or inspire an “ugh?”
If you don’t want to do it, then don’t! It’s important to build a business you love. Naturally, there are going to be tasks that you aren’t enamored with as a business owner, and it’s normal not to love every minute, but there’s no sense escaping the 9-5 and bravely launching into self-employment just to feel like every day is still a drag, right? So go ahead -- outsource that stuff, girl.
3. Is it necessary?
In other words, should you even be going after this at all? Or is it a dead end? A shiny object project? Should it be on a stop doing list?
In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that successful businesses should not just have to-do lists but stop doing lists. Some things just distract you from doing what you do best and they need to be cut out for your business to meet its goals and grow. IF it’s a “stop doing,” it might not even be worth outsourcing -- but you won’t know until you evaluate all of your tasks and activities by these parameters.
How did you answer the three questions above?
If you’ve found a task that’s out of your zone of genius, is a “have to” and not a “want to” and is absolutely necessary to your success, don’t be afraid to don the boss lady pants and consider outsourcing.
Get your mini biz audit on, and get outsourcing
It can be a scary thing to bring another person into this business you've built with your own two hands. But taking the time to reflect will really make you more confident that you're making a smart move -- one that could propel your business forward.
One Woman Shops: What have you considered outsourcing -- and what’s holding you back?
PS -- Outsourcing isn’t limited to “business tasks.” Why not outsource some of your personal life, too?
Latest posts by Julienne DesJardins (see all)
- Is It Time to Outsource a Task? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions - March 3, 2016
- Preparing for a Long-Term Hiatus From Your Solopreneur Business - December 3, 2015