Outsourcing means getting someone else to do a task (or tasks) for you so you can spend time doing other things; as a sole trader it is pretty much mandatory to outsource to succeed.
Sounds like a strong statement?
It is a strong statement but that doesn’t stop it from being true.
There are many tasks that need to be done to keep any business running – accounts, invoicing, customer service, marketing of some sort and general admin are the minimum. Then there’s the specific work of that business plus managing a website and additional marketing.
And the list keeps growing. With the introduction of blogs then social media (and more and more platforms), businesses have more tasks to add to the daily to do list than ever before. Even if you aren’t doing much on social media, you should be aware of it so you are deciding to not use it (rather than just ignoring it) and monitoring it is a good idea, too.
When there’s only you, there is a big pressure to stay on top of everything and be in control. Let’s face it, there is no one else to pick up any slack, is there?
Earlier this year, Jane Shelton blogged ‘You can maintain your sense of control by outsourcing many of the routine elements of your business.’ Outsourcing does not have to mean giving up control of your ‘baby’.
Think of tasks left undone or ideas not followed up on because there is no time.
Think of those tasks done in a rush rather than with care and attention because the to do list is so long.
Think of the last time you planned your week’s activities rather than swayed from one urgent activity to the next and hoped for a moment of breathing space.
Still think outsourcing takes away control?
Outsourcing simply means choosing which things to get someone else to do – either to save you from boredom, save you time or to gain expertise and skills you just don’t have.
For example, I outsource my filing (to my daughter!) which I find boring, my bookkeeping to gain back time and any design work as I don’t have those skills. So I can focus on writing for clients, advising clients and caring for my business.
Choose who you outsource to and you still control the outcomes. If you want, outsource most of a task and finish it off yourself if that feels better – but I bet you’ll soon give the entire task away!
List all the tasks you do for your business. Yes, all of them.
Categorise them (the list Jane gives in the afore-mentioned blog post is a good system).
Now, sit back and imagine your business life if you had an extra two hours a week…
How would you spend another four hours a week in your business? How much would your profits grow by?
Want to keep that dream and feeling alive? Outsource something – just some little task so it doesn’t feel like you’re handing over your baby. Maybe get your account data entry done, ask for a blog post to be written or have your office cleaned by someone else.
Then you just have to keep on taking baby steps until you have outsourced enough to regain control of your business.
So the only question left is what will you outsource first?