BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS and business owners often try to do as much as we can ourselves to save money. Perhaps we design our own flyers, handle all the social media marketing for the business, or write our own legal agreements (Yikes!). However, D-I-Y may be costing you more than you think.
Certainly, there are times when the Do-It-Yourself model makes sense. If you are a graphic designer by trade, why would you outsource the design of your logo to another person or company? Maybe you are really good at math and enjoy doing your own books, or maybe you just like to have complete control over your finances and don’t trust anyone else to handle it at this stage. It’s worth it to you to stay up late to balance your books yourself. That’s cool.
However, there comes a time in every business when you must make a critical decision: Do you want to grow your business or keep it small so you can control every aspect.
GROWTH REQUIRES RESOURCES
If you want to grow, you are going to need to learn to ask other people to help you because, quite frankly, there are only so many hours in the day and you’ve got to sleep sometime. You’ll also need to be willing to invest some money into acquiring the resources you need.
Are there ways to get people to help you on the cheap? Sure. For example, you can work with a local university or college to get some interns to come in and help you with some of the more routine tasks in your business. The caveat is you must also provide a learning experience for them. You’ll also need to be prepared to train a new batch every semester, which can become a costly drain on your time and your business.
You can offer to barter with other professionals. Do not be surprised if it doesn’t work out the way you expect it to, though, and always get your agreement in writing so everyone is on the same page (at least, theoretically).
It has always been my position, however, if you want to get paid for the value of your work, then you need to be willing to pay others for the value of theirs. If you are always bargain shopping, then expect others to look for bargains from you.
GIVE YOURSELF A RAISE
One of the best pieces of advice I received from one of my mentors when I opened my first law practice was to hire a part-time assistant. My mentor, a very successful attorney, said to me: “How much more money could you earn at (X) dollars an hour if you hired an assistant to handle the routine tasks? Would that more than cover the cost of the assistant at (X) dollars an hour? How many clients would you need to cover the monthly expense?”
The key, of course, is that I would need to fill up those “extra” hours my new assistant earned for me with business development and other income-producing habits, not just take that time off to go shopping or get a mani/pedi.
If you use the time wisely, you’ll be making more money per hour when you are performing at your highest and best purpose instead of spending that time on routine tasks best outsourced. If you are really clever, you also can bill for your assistant’s time. Just ask any good attorney, and they’ll tell you. It’s like giving your business and yourself a raise.
LET THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB DO THE JOB
Also, and I know this might come as a shock to you as it did to me, you might not be the best person for the job. For instance, I’m a good writer, I love doing web design work, and I’m best at helping my clients come up with new marketing ideas to create additional revenue streams. However, I am NOT great with bookkeeping. I find it tedious and boring. Because I find it so taxing, I’m slow at it. I can hire a bookkeeper to update my accounts in half the time. Plus, they actually put everything in the right place, so when it is time for my accountant to take over, I’m not scrambling around to find what he needs.
On top of servicing the needs of my clients, I’m developing my own products. As much as I hate to admit it, I just can’t do it all and do it all as well as I would like. So, I also outsource my housecleaning, my legal work (yes, even though I’m a lawyer as well), and graphic design services. My business partner keeps all my tech functioning properly, so when I need it to perform it does. If it were left up to me and my technical abilities, I’d probably be working with an abacus, a stone tablet and a chisel.
If I had to do it all myself, I could not help nearly the same number of people I help now in my business. By focusing on what I do best, and hiring other people to do what they do best, we all are more efficient and, at the end of the day, produce better results (the ultimate goal). This not only saves me money, but also makes me money.
MAKE OUTSOURCING WORK FOR YOU
Take a look at your own business and think seriously about what you would love to outsource if you could. Then, instead of thinking about the cost of it, think about what it is currently costing you by doing it yourself. What could you be doing instead to bring in more money in the time you save? How much more could you bring in? Would it at least cover the cost of outsourcing? If it did nothing but cover the cost of outsourcing, would you enjoy your life and your business more? If so, then there is your answer.
Not sure what you could outsource? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Legal services
- House cleaning
- Social media marketing
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Content writing
- E-book writing
- Yard work
- Reception and phone answering services
- Calendar management and scheduling
- Event planning
If you do decide to outsource some of the tasks currently on your plate, I’d love to hear what you decided to delegate and what you’ve learned in the process. Please leave a comment below.