Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit

When to Outsource

February 08, 2022 Sasha - Business Strategist Season 1 Episode 18
Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit
When to Outsource
Show Notes Transcript

How do we know when it's time to bring in help in our business? As solopreneurs, a lot of us start off doing everything ourselves. Marketing, email management, website maintenance. You name it and it's us doing it. But more often than not, in order to grow, we have to start adding people to our team that frees up time to work on those CEO activities that actually make businesses grow.

Episode Resources:
 Is It Time to Outsource? When to Hire Help In Your Business  

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Sasha:

Welcome to Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit. Whether you're new in business or find yourself in a season of change, get ready to build a strategy, create an action plan and crush those goals. I'm Sasha, host a strategy for creatives. And I help female led businesses grow their brands in authentic, measurable and meaningful ways, without the stress. There's no sugar coated here, I'm serving up real tips and actionable steps you can take to help get you organized, get off the path to burnout and grow your brand like a boss. So go ahead, pull up a chair, grab a notepad, and let's talk business. Welcome to another episode of Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit. And this week, we are going to be continuing our series about process improvement and how to better structure your business, so that way, it can be more efficient and effective and you can give yourself more time and stop being stressed out. So last week, I talked all about how to figure out what your business systems were, looking at all of your business activities, and trying to come up with processes that work better for your business, whether it's automation, or just simply looking at the processes and figuring out where you can cut actions that no longer needs to be done. Whether you need to duplicate things, or whether or not simple processes are even working for you. And one of the things I talked about in that episode is looking at the people who are doing these processes in your business. And so that's what this episode is going to be about today. The people who are performing tasks for your business and whether or not it actually makes sense to start outsourcing in your business. A question that I get a lot of times for my clients is how do I know when is the right time to outsource? What should I be outsourcing? Can I make sure that whoever I'm outsourcing to is going to perform the way that I need them to? And those are all really, really good questions. And so I wanted to start off with talking about outsourcing in general. So a lot of times, if we're first starting off in our business, we're solopreneuring, aka doing it all ourselves, everything SEO, work marketing, email, keeping track of the books, doing client outsourcing, all of that good stuff, social media, all of that. We're most of the time starting that off in our business and it's just us doing that. And there's nothing wrong with that right. When we are solopreneurs and we're starting out, doing everything ourselves helps keep our costs low, it helps us be flexible with what we're doing, we can kind of figure out what processes are working, what's not working. And we have complete control in our business, we can manage everything. But as we start to grow, and as we start to get more clients, as we start to get bigger in our business, and that's usually for most businesses in year two to three, some of that stuff we simply just don't have time for right. We'll start to realize that there isn't enough hours in the day for us to do all of our social media marketing, and all of the work that's involved in that or all of the email marketing that's involved or keeping up with our bookkeeping, or even just some of the administrative tasks like responding to client emails, or figuring out where we are with our projects. And so that is the first indicator that it may be time to start looking outside of your business to bring in help. And for the purposes of this podcast, I'm going to be talking about freelance contractors. But this could also go if you're looking to hire employees as well. In me and my business, I deal mostly with just contracting out pieces of my business to other entrepreneurs, other business women who helped me do things in my business, but you can certainly of course, hire for your business if you need to actual hire employees, offer benefits, all of that good stuff. But I'm just gonna be generally talking about contract helping. So what does it look like? How can you tell when it's time that you need help in your business? First and foremost, and you all have probably been there, we've all been there points in our business, you start feeling overwhelmed and overworked and you hate coming to work, you hate doing your business, and you're probably on the path to burnout. It's no longer fun, you don't enjoy it. And things are just taking too long. And you are getting tired. When you start reaching that point in your business, and I'm going to say before you start to get to burnout, but when you start feeling that overwhelm that there's just too much to do, that is a key indicator that it's probably time to start outsourcing in your business, you probably need some help, or you will start hating your business and you're probably going to get burnt out and not want to do it anymore. If you feel that you are spending all day doing the admin tasks in your business and you're not actually doing the work of your business, then that's another indicator that it might be time to hire help. And so what that means is if you find yourself constantly, let's say that you're a graphic designer, and you are always replying to client emails, you're always sending out proposals, you're sending out invoices making sure contracts are signed, but you're not actually having time to do the designing, then that might mean it's a key time to hire someone to help with all of that, because you're not able to actually do the work of the business. Now, that's twofold too. Because if you're not able to do the work for the business, you're spending all of your time on admin, on admin tasks, or you know, any other type of tasks, you will start to have what's called tunnel vision, where you're only focused on what's coming in what's coming out current clients, you have current clients coming in getting people essentially through your business process, one in one out, and you'll stop developing new or creative ideas that are going to help lead you and help you grow your business. And this is why I talked about really early on in the podcast about having a CEO day. Because you have to be able to have time to do the work that is going to allow you to grow your business. That means doing things like goal setting, and action planning and strategizing, looking at where you are, what your metrics are looking at those KPIs, those key performance indicators, is your business growing, what needs to be changed, you know, what clients are we reaching, who our ideal clients, is our marketing working for us. If you don't find a time to do those things, and you are so stuck in the path of just doing the work of the business, then or doing all of like the admin work of the business, then it's time to start looking for somebody else to bring you on and help you. Another thing is if your sales are plateauing or you realize that you're starting to turn down opportunities, or turn down clients, because you just don't have the bandwidth to keep producing at the same level, or keep you know, so you don't have enough time in the day to service the same clients. And so if you see that, you know, you have only reached a certain point in your growth, you're only making a certain number of sales, because you can't do more than that, then it's probably time to start thinking about someone coming on board. And then lastly, if you just feel like your business is falling behind, or that you're missing out, for example, if you don't know certain things about your business, like, are you using the best Instagram strategy? Is your website, the best that it can be? Is it you know, grabbing people's attention? Is it SEO optimized? Are you able to pitch to people or do you just not have the time for that? If you feel like your business is failing in those areas, it might be time to start looking at someone else who has expertise in those areas. And that way, they can help push you forward in that. And I do want to remind people that when we have a business, and I've talked about this a lot on the podcast, a lot of times we are good at doing the core aspects of our business, whatever it is in our business that makes us money. But all of those other things, the marketing, the emailing, the financial piece of it, even the administrative tasks, a lot of creatives struggle with that. They struggle with doing all of the back end things that run a business. There is no shame and nothing wrong with having people on your team who can do those things for you, if you don't have the expertise or time to actually do it. Storytime, I'll tell you my things that I all sorts of my business. And my other podcast, Swirl and Sip, I do absolutely zero of the social media marketing. I just don't have the time to do any of my Instagram engagement, posting and coming up with graphics. I don't do any of it. For this podcast, and for my business, I work with a social media manager who helps create graphics for me and then I actually post and engage with all of the people on Strategy by Sasha on Instagram. But I have someone coming up with the graphics and design for me for that as well. And I don't have time to do Pinterest. But I know that Pinterest is a good avenue to bring people to my website. So I outsource my Pinterest marketing. I have a Pinterest manager who does all of my Pinterest, she comes up with a graphics and all I have to do is provide her with the links to new blog posts or whatever new products are in the By Sasha shop. And so I know that I while I can do those things, and I am good at it, I just have the time to do it. It's not something that I particularly enjoy doing. And so I've outsourced that type of thing. You can also bring people in to teach you if you're willing to learn in a certain area of your business. And then if you're able to strategize and create action plans to streamline it, and this goes into what I talked about last week, if you're able to create a process that streamlines something, then that's really good too. You don't necessarily have to outsource if you can come up with a good process. Another example of how I've done that is with my email and my blog posting schedule. I actually worked with a marketing specialist, Sprout Creative, last year sometime we worked together for six months. And she helped give me an organizational system that allowed me to plan out my email and blog content, month to month that let me streamline that process. So now I'm easily able to at the beginning of every month I come up with a monthly topic. I know the blogs that I'm writing, I know the emails that I'm writing, and I can easily schedule out that content so I'm not doing it, you know, day to day, week to week. I have it all done at the beginning of the month. And so that is something I could outsource. But I don't because I have a streamlined process from it, it but I also learned how to do that from an expert. So outsourcing doesn't necessarily have to be someone coming in and doing it for you. It could also be someone giving you that knowledge and a system that can allow you to do that activity yourself in a streamlined and more efficient process. Hiring anybody, of course, is scary, right? It can be hard to figure out what in our business, we want to let go of and trusting other people to do and love our business the same way that we do. But when we outsource, it gives us so much time in our business, it gives us so much brain space in our business to allow us to really think about ways that we can do new things in our business or improve our business, or just run things more efficiently. So when you start hiring help, you're able to maybe ramp up production. I know several product based companies that help outsource or they outsource the packaging of their business. So they are able to really get more orders processed because it's more than just them packaging these orders going out. So when you start realizing that if you're in the product industry, for example, if you have more orders coming in and you can physically get out, maybe you just need to hire someone to come stand in your garage with you and package up orders. Because two people are going to get that faster than one. So it's gonna allow you to ramp up production with that. It'll help you break through if you're plateauing and your sales, because somebody else is coming in and taking time off of you that it's gonna allow you to maybe design new products, or maybe, you know, you can add an extra spot for your client services for a month because somebody else is taking on additional work. It can help you like I just said supercharged marketing strategies. So I wasn't the best at figuring out the best way to organize how I should do email and blog posting and how they should be connected. So by hiring someone to help me with that, I was really able to make cohesive email campaigns and cohesive social media strategies on blog posting that all make sense with each other. The big one that I that I really stand by is that when you outsource too you can get rid of things that you hate doing in your business. Not all outsourcing has to be something that we don't know how to do. If you find yourself writing lists, and your to do list every day, and something on that list is something you are constantly pushing off. But you know, it's important for your business to do but you just don't want to do it, get somebody else to do it. They'll probably do it a lot quicker than you it'll get done. And it's going to push your business forward, right, it's going to help grow your business, beyond what you're thinking because you're not limited in your time, you're not letting something sit that's going to... that could actually help your business. Instead, you're allowing somebody else to come in and do that for your business instead. When you are ready to start thinking about whether or not it's time to hire someone for your business, whether or not it's time to get somebody on your team, there are a couple of things that you should start thinking about. And I actually say this, I have a whole day in my CEO challenge, so if you join the CEO challenge, there's a whole day that you go through that talks about being essentially HR Director for your day coming up with job descriptions... I encourage you to join the challenge, but really think about the type of job that you want somebody to do. And think about some of these things when you're thinking about outsourcing for your business. What are the sticking points in your business? What's holding you up? Where do you need the most help? I knew again, I'm going to keep using my business as an example, I knew that I needed help with marketing and Pinterest. And I knew I wanted to get my email and my blog situated first before I moved on to Pinterest marketing. So I hired someone to help me set up and strategize and create a system for my email and blog marketing. And then because I knew I had zero time to actually do Pinterest marketing, I was able to now because I had a streamlined process of creating blogs and creating new products, I was able to move that work into hiring a Pinterest manager who's going to help my website now get seen by new people. So what do you need the most help with in your business? Where what are the sticking points in your business? Is it with social media? Is it an email marketing? Is it in design? Is it that admin type work? Is it responding to client emails and just managing your clients? Where do you need the most help in your business? Also think about what's going well, and then what's stopping you from doing more of that. For example, if you are really good at creating products and you come up with brand new products all the time, what's stopping you from doing more of that? Is it just that you can't upload new products to your website fast enough? You can't you know, do the mock ups for it to create the images and write descriptions that are needed to put these, you know, new products on your website? Do not have the launch plan ready for it? Or you just can't set up a good launch plan in order to get those products out on the market? What's going well, and what's going to allow you to do more of that, that you're doing well? What can you give to someone else that will let you do more of that task. Think about if you have your daily tasks, streamlined, documented, and that you can hand off something to someone else. A lot of the times when we're first starting on a business, we don't because we're the ones who are doing everything. So we know our process for like getting new products on our website, or we know our process for sending out our emails to our clients. But do we have it written down? And so part of the work that goes into outsourcing, maybe it's actually having someone come on board, who can help you create those documents, so that way you can outsource things more easily to other people. When we're first outsourcing in our business, those first couple of hires could be... they can be a little rough, because we don't have all of our systems and processes in place. But that doesn't, that shouldn't stop us from outsourcing certain things. So think about whether or not you have something documented that can show someone the easy ways that you know, or not the easy, but the ways that you do things in your business, and whether or not you are prepared to handoff something to someone else. And I also want you to think about what is it that you love in your business, right? This goes back to what I was saying about handing off things that you hate doing. What is it that you love in your business and you want to spend more time one? Because those things that you hate in your business, those are the things you can get rid of. Those are the things that you can have somebody else to do for you in order to give you more time to focus on what you love. If you love photography, if you love taking pictures, but you hate editing, maybe that means that you know, in order for you to book more clients and take more photographs, that that means you need to outsource that editing to someone else. Think about what it is that you love in your business. And what it is that you can get rid of that will allow you to do more of that. The good thing about when it comes to outsourcing, especially nowadays, is that you can outsource pretty much anything, right. You can outsource bookkeepers, graphic designers, someone to manage your email, social media managers, if you need SEO help or website maintenance, if you need a photo editor, anybody who can look over your data, somebody who's gonna manage your CRM system. There are literally people out there for all of that. And so it's important to think about what it is that you can outsource and that's really going to help you in your business. And once you looked at those areas, once you figured out where you need the most help, you can also ask yourself, what's going to change your business in the most dramatic way? What's going to have the biggest difference in your business? I knew that by bringing someone on board to manage my Pinterest, that was going to make a big difference in my business because it was going to get more people on my website, more people seeing what I offer, which turns into more leads and more clients. So what change is going to cause the biggest difference in your business, think about that low hanging fruit, maybe it's just that, you know, you can't keep your books in order but you know that if you have a steady you know, person coming on doing bookkeeping, that that gives you peace of mind. And that's a big difference in your business, not being stressed out about what your expenses are and where income is coming in. Maybe it's you know, you don't really like dealing with clients, you know, that you have to as part of your business. But you know, it kind of stresses you out, it gives you anxiety, you're not the most extroverted person. Maybe somebody coming in and just handling that piece of your business will help you and make the biggest difference in your, in your business. Think about what it is it's going to make a big difference in your business, and how you can outsource that to someone else. I wanted to do this episode about outsourcing for a while because I know that a lot of people question when they are ready. So your action item for today is to look at those processes that we talked about last week. Look at those business systems that we talked about last week. And you have these workflows in place. You have these systems in place, you have these tools that you're using. But are the right people doing it. Do you have the right people on your team to do these tasks for you? Are you the only person on your team? And does it make sense in your business right now to think about outsourcing to someone else. I also want to mention too, that what holds a lot of people back from outsourcing is the cost of hiring someone to bring on their team. And I get that. I get that it can be counterintuitive that we need to spend money in order to make more money in our business. But, when we start to outsource in our business, it can be scary. It can be a little bit of a financial burden when we're not sure if that money is going to come back to us. But more times than not when we outsource in our business, when we allow other people to take on the tasks that either they are better at, or that we just don't want to do, it frees up our time to do that CEO work that allows us to think creatively and do more things in our business that are going to help it grow, which then in turn is going to allow us to make more money. And so it's important to keep that in the back of your head, that you will reach a point where you will get stagnant in your business unless you bring on somebody else. We can only do so much in a 24 hour period. And for many people with businesses, it's less time than that, of course, right? We're sleeping, we may have another job, we may be parents, we may have partners, we want a life, you know, maybe we want to do things outside of our business, we want to go out to happy hours and things like that. So we don't have all of the time. So outsourcing things that free up your time are going to allow you to do the things that you love in your business, it's going to allow you to think creatively about your business. It's going to allow you to goal set in your business. And it's really just going to help push your business forward. But first you have to wrap your head around that we all need help and it's okay to outsource tasks in our business. So think about where can you outsource things in your business that are really going to help push your business forward, get things off your plate, and really just help your business grow. Are you ready to uplevel your business? Join the five day be your own CEO challenge. All the details are available on the website at www.by-sasha.com. If you liked what you heard, make sure you rate and review. It really helps other people find the show. And of course, following subscribe on your favorite podcast platforms. Want to follow me on social? I'm on Instagram and Facebook at Strategy By Sasha. Make sure you tune in next Tuesday for more business tips.