When and how to outsource

Most entrepreneurs will talk about “the winning strategy” for growth and claim their formula is the best and only path to take. It can definitely put your head in a tailspin, especially when you’re at breaking point and thinking about how to take your business to the next level.

I’ve listened to a lot of successful business people about this stage and I’ve found they are consistent in two areas: that’s outsourcing and automating processes.

While these are essential, it’s also where business owners easily get stuck. It’s the chicken or egg scenario and the thought of spending money on help can definitely feel like you’re lighting your cash on fire.

But I’ve not come across anyone in business that has taken it to the next level with one set of hands. So how do you recognise when to outsource, what to let go of, how to make it profitable and not send you broke at the same time?

It’s time

Recognising when it’s time to say “I need help” is that point when your business has momentum and you are literally drowning in day by day. So the first step is to identify tasks to outsource. Start small and offset an outsourcing task (which will cost) with a profit earning task you now have time to focus on.

When you do this once, you’ll see how beneficial it is to your productivity and back pocket. Then you can refine the process as you go.

Where to start

The list can be long and messy when you reach this stage, so get your list under control first. Separate tasks that are easy and time-consuming, from tasks which are a little more difficult. Then choose a task, and match it to an outsourcing option. You can source VA’s from overseas or locally. I always find the most valuable hired help recommendations from my business friends, so ask around.

Freelancers and employees

Next level up is when you may need a skill set you don’t have and/or a “mini me”.

Maybe you want to design an eBook, change your website, improve your SEO or consult a business coach. I know it seems like you’re forever putting your hand in your pocket, but you’ll grow your business fast with collective skills.

Selecting the right freelancer is your biggest headache.  Tread carefully, don’t be afraid to end the relationship if it doesn’t work, and start small until you know they are the right fit and match your objectives.

Similar applies to employees. Sometimes employees can add to your to-do list but might be 100% necessary for your growth depending on your business. Consider personality as well as skill set and know in advance how they are going to allow you to focus on the income generating areas of your business.

My journey

I started with PR, which was a costly first move, but I needed exposure and it instantly brought in bigger business.

Next, I outsourced easy time-consuming tasks to a Virtual Assistant. Some tasks I took back because they were still requiring my input. Now I also have two freelancers working closely with me; they’re allowing me to focus on a new income stream that is really going to take my business to the next level.

Without outsourcing, I’d be back at the beginning — all of these helping hands have pretty much made my business.

Rebecca Searles, Founder, Family Garden Life

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