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How Do You Know When it’s Time to Outsource? Taking the First Leap in Growing Your Business

by Stacey Trock
craft & maker, featured

Outsourcing. Hiring a freelancer. Getting help. Seems scary, right? And like a really big commitment! How do you know when it’s right for your business? And how do you take that first step?

In my experience, solopreneuring (aka, going at it all on your own) works fantastically for the first phase of your business. You’re able to keep costs low, remain agile, and test what works and what doesn’t for your business and have complete creative control. But usually around the 2-3 year mark, your business grows and you start to see the signs that you aren’t doing all that you can for your business. This is the time when your business needs you to take a leap: to hire help.

You’re able to keep costs low, remain agile and test what works and what doesn’t for your business, and have complete creative control. But usually around the 2-3 year mark, your business grows and you start to see the signs that you aren’t doing all that you can for your business. This is the time when your business needs you to take a leap: to hire help.

What are the signs you need to consider outsourcing?

  • You feel overwhelmed/dread working on your business
  • You spend all day stuck in administrative tasks and not working on what you love
  • You have tunnel-vision and have stopped developing new/creative ideas that lead to your business’s growth
  • Sales are plateauing
  • You have a nagging sense that your business is falling behind or that you’re missing out (like, what IS the best Instagram strategy? Is my website SEO optimized? How do I pitch to a magazine?)
  • You’ve turned down an opportunity/order because you just can’t keep up on production

Whether you’re a digital-based (photography, web design, graphic design, YouTube sensation), a service-based (yoga company, crochet instructor, event planner) or a product-based business (papermaker, sewist, clothing designer), reaching these stumbling blocks is inevitable. It’s a sign that you’ve done an amazing job so far, and that your business is just experiencing some growing pains.

Hiring help seems like a big deal. And it kinda is. But so is starting your business. And you did that already! Think of hiring as an investment in your business’s future.

Outsourcing key tasks can allow you to:

  • Ramp up production
  • Break through sales plateaus
  • Supercharge your marketing strategy
  • Hand off tedious, energy-draining tasks
  • Feel confident your business is fully organized and in compliance with local, federal and tax laws (yes, you can hire a lawyer!)
  • Grow your business beyond what you thought was possible

That sounds amazing, right?

There are a few things I recommend doing for yourself before you look to hire someone. Ask yourself:

  • What are the sticking points in your business? Where do you need help?
  • What’s going well? And what’s stopping you from doing more of it?
  • Do you have your daily tasks streamlined and documented, prepared to hand it off to someone else?
  • What do you love doing in your business?

When you spend some time thinking deeply about the current state of your business,and analyze what’s going well and where you need help, you’ll start to see very clear areas that you could use some help. The great news is that in today’s ‘gig economy’, there are countless freelancers who specialize in exactly where you need help? Just a few examples include:

  • Bookkeepers
  • Graphic designers
  • Email Handlers
  • Social Media Experts
  • Google Adwords Experts
  • Photo Editors
  • Spreadsheet coder

And these specialists are available on an hourly basis, meaning that you can access expertise (and relief!) without a large up-front investment.

Once you’ve identified the areas that you need help in your business, ask yourself: What change would cause the biggest difference in my business? I always encourage you to start by picking the low-hanging fruit. Is email driving you batty? Start with an email handler. Are your finances a mess? Get a bookkeeper. Need help keeping up with orders? Find a production assistant.

Alyce Blyth of Blossom Street Quilts discovered, “my small outsourcing [hire was] small, but it has honestly made a difference and maybe that’s what people need to understand – outsourcing isn’t always about a major manufacturing deal!”

You may be surprised to discover that once you hire out one particularly thorny task, your entire load feels so much lighter, and that you don’t need additional help. Or, you may be encouraged to offload even more tasks to freelancers!

Some of my favorite websites for looking for freelancers are:

Begin by hiring a person for a small, concrete task that has measurable goals to get started. For example, you may hire a web developer to install a theme on your blog that is mobile-friendly. This will allow you to easily judge whether the work was successful and more accurately determine the financial sustainability of hiring out this type of work. Note that you may not see returns immediately, but the better quality product and presentation you’re putting forth, the better it is in the long run for your company!

Are you ready to get started? You can do it!

I am absolutely passionate about helping you build your dream business that fits into your dream life. Come learn all about outsourcing for the growth of your business during my class Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business on Thursday, June 29th!

 

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Stacey Trock