How to outsource? Outsourcing is a tricky issue for small businesses and freelancers. You’ve built your business up with a team of one, and now you have to start thinking about bringing other people in to support you. I know this struggle. It is real. You don’t HAVE to outsource. But if you want to grow, you have to start thinking about how to outsource the work that isn’t efficient or income generating in order to make more money out of the things you love.
“Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” Peter Drucker
What is outsourcing? And how do we do it?
Outsourcing basically means getting agencies or freelancers to help you to get your work done. This can range from a PA (personal assistant) or VA (virtual assistant) to video editors, copywriters or social media experts. Outsourcing is different to having staff because they do not go on your payroll. You don’t need to pay their holiday pay or sick pay. You can pay a monthly retainer or fee or by project. This is the ultimate flexibility as a business.
Why should we outsource?
You should outsource because it will save time, allowing you to have more time to focus on the tasks that save money. It can also be great to bring in complementary skills to your business that you don’t have.
Outsourcing can have a bit of stigma attached to it. For example, we are effectively diluting our own power on our business, at least that is how it feels. But try to think of it as just working out what you do best and getting help with everything else. Like if accounting tasks take up hours of time and don’t actually generate money, think about outsourcing that.
Rob Moore says to concentrate on the income generating tasks. What do you get paid to do, make or what knowledge can you share? The goal is to make sure you spend all your time doing things that make the most money. This can include working on the marketing of your business too.
When is the right time to outsource?
As soon as you have that frustrating feeling of spending a crazy amount of time on something that is outside of your comfort zone. Spreadsheet taking hours? Get help. Video editing driving you nuts? Bring in an expert who can do it in half an hour. There is no golden rule but it is honestly never too early to outsource after you’re making a little money.
What tasks do you outsource?
Here’s a list but you can outsource whatever you like:
- Admin to a VA or PA
- Social media drafting, scheduling and management
- Accounting, getting accounts ready and invoicing
- Website development (no more fighting with WordPress)
- Website design (no more Google tutorials)
- Video editing
- Marketing and Public Relations
Remember, I’m not saying you CAN’T do these tasks. Instead, do you CHOOSE to spend your time on these?
How to work with an outsourcer
What happens when it goes right?
Oh wow outsourcing can be SUCH a joy. If you can find people who are on your wavelength. Try where you can to see these people as an extension of your business. So these people will be friends, people you can introduce to clients and work with you in the long term. When working properly it is like having two of you! Getting so much more done and living a happier life.
What happens when it goes wrong?
It CAN go wrong. Make sure you vet the person you are outsourcing to and look at examples of their work.
You will need to brief really really thoroughly. Don’t be tempted to think they are a mind reader. Say exactly what you want and remember it might take a few tries to get it right.
Move to another outsourcer if it does’t work out. This is all trial and error.
How do you brief an outsourcer?
Do a proper written brief with links to all the references, examples and sources.
Make sure you both agree and have a meeting or Zoom call for small questions that may get lost in translation.
Agree deadlines, budget and when it will be supplied.
I do have official contracts with agencies and freelancers and these protect both sides.
How to manage workload with an outsourcer
I use ClickUp to organise tasks and work with third parties but Asana, Slack Trello or Monday will all have similar features.
Dropbox or Google Drive are essential for file sharing so you can organise everything.
You can even get your new PA / VA to organise all of this for you!
Where do you find someone to outsource to?
This is the million dollar question. I started on PeoplePerHour and that is where I found my PA, a designer and developer for WordPress.
As things moved along, I’ve met so many wonderful people like my Divi developer and video editor through Facebook groups – Freelance Heroes and The Freelance Lifestylers are great for this.
Also ask your friends and Instagram community for recommendations. Word of mouth is always the best way to expand your network.
Ultimately make sure you test and trial everything. Don’t be scared to alter and change to another freelancer or agency, you’ll find the right person eventually I promise!
Last week I did a Live with Instagram Expert Helen Perry on Instagram about outsourcing your work which you can watch here.
Check out the freelancers and agencies I recommend in Directory.