Professional services solopreneurs know the term “outsource” intimately. We’re generally the folks who certain projects or responsibilities are outsourced to. But sometimes the tables need to turn and WE need to do some outsourcing of our own.
In our familiarity with performing as our own “one man/woman show,” the thought of handing over business tasks to an outsider can cause some uneasiness (and even queasiness!). Delegating isn’t always one of our strongest skill sets as solopreneurs.
But not letting go of responsibilities when the time is ripe for change can wreak havoc on you and your business in a number of ways. Holding onto tasks that would be better done by someone else will…
- Limit the time you have to grow your business (i.e. networking and business development to generate leads).
- Result in errors if you just don’t have the mindset, skills or time to accurately tend to certain areas of business (e.g. bookkeeping).
- Drain your energy and adversely affect the quality of your billable work.
- Push your stress level through the roof.
How do you know it’s time to start outsourcing?
- If you’re ineffective in a particular area of your operations, it might be a good time to outsource.
- If you genuinely despise tackling a task, it might be a good time to outsource.
- If you need to get out of your office and get your feet on the street to nurture leads and give more sales presentations, it might be a good time to outsource.
- If you have an abundant client base and more billable work than you can shake a stick at, it might be a good time to outsource.
- If you can’t find downtime and carve out adequate time to enjoy family and friends, it might be a good time to outsource.
If you’ve come to the realization that you really should consider outsourcing, now you’re probably wondering, “But what duties should I outsource?” Great question!
Here are some ideas to help you get your solo-brain thinking about where you might gain some efficiency – and time to do what you love to do best – by entrusting work to another professional.
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Competitive research
- Blog writing
- Sending thank you notes or Christmas cards
- Proofreading of important communications and collateral
- House cleaning (not necessarily a business task, but it will buy you back some much needed time)
- Social media assistance
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Logging data into spreadsheets
- Website updates
- Event planning
Really, the options are nearly limitless because you’ll find virtual assistants and other solopreneurs who offer an array of services to accomplish whatever tasks you decide are better left to someone who has the dedicated time and specific talent for doing them.
Of course, the rub is that you will need to relinquish some of your hard-earned dollars in the process. Ouch! Though your situation will be different from another solopreneur’s, the odds are that you’ll find what you pay to outsource the work will be worth it. Until you factor in what your time is worth and that it probably takes you much longer to accomplish the tasks than it will for your contractor to handle it, outsourcing will likely make good financial sense. Be sure, however, to compare rates, expertise, and references of your potential candidates before committing. First and foremost, you want to find someone who is not only capable of handling the tasks given to them with little or no oversight, but who is also committed to your success as a solopreneur.
I’d love to hear from you about your outsourcing successes – and about any advice that you’re willing to give if you’ve had less-than-stellar experiences with contracting work out to others. Please comment and share!
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