If you’ve been my student you’ve heard me say this.
Sometimes I think I was put on this earth to convince women to outsource.
Really, it is one of the things I talk about the most.
So today, I decided to talk about some of the common mistakes I see we all make around this, and how to overcome them quickly!
First of all, let’s define what I mean by Outsourcing.
Simply put, it’s getting some help.
Not necessarily a full-time employee but someone that for an hour or more, helps you regularly in your business (or at home) to get stuff done.
And let me tell you, as women, I see a huge resistance to getting help.
The most common themes are:
- Some sort of shame around not being able to do it all
- Feeling like we need to work hard to get good at the stuff we suck at
- Not being able to justify the financial investment
- Not feeling ready
- Feeling tremendous fear of letting go
And trust me, I get it. I’ve been there.
And now, on the other side, I just can’t get enough.
I started to play with delegating, outsourcing, getting help roughly 12 years ago.
Mostly inspired by the world-famous book, 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. It hasn’t always been pleasant, profitable or efficient, but boy has it paid off!
Staying in your zone of genius and what you are amazing at will give you the greatest rewards.
Doing it all will either get you burnt out or moving too slowly.
So here we go, the 6 top mistakes I see around me all the time:
Not Starting early enough
Learning to delegate is a skill in my mind.
It will take you time to find someone great and develop a way of communicating your tasks. The common one here is students telling me their business isn’t big enough or making enough to justify this, to which I say, you will NEED to learn this skill eventually, so why not start practising now?
With your cousin who needs some extra work, or a freelancer for an hour a week.
A little dip of your toes in the world of giving someone a bit of your load will quickly show you how much further you can get.
I can’t tell you how many times a client has said to me, Cris you were right, after insisting (in some cases for more than 12 months) that they needed to find help.
Expecting someone to read your mind
This by far, is the most common one.
Be extremely clear on what you need, dot by dot, the exact timeframe involved and what your expectations around it are.
Also letting your subcontractor know how it all fits with your big picture and business plans helps too.
Provide examples and leave it all in writing if possible with a system to follow-up. Many of my clients admit this is one of the reasons why they give up. Initially blaming the subcontractor saying they ‘didn’t get it’, or didn’t do what they expected.
So be crystal clear on what you need and want. And thoroughly communicate it.
Going too cheap
I remember an excited client telling me about a VA she had found in Thailand for $5 dollars an hour. She said it was so cheap it didn’t really matter if things weren’t perfect, at least it was a start. And yes I agree that starting is important, but consider the amount of management, repetition, and direction that this new subcontractor will require. If it takes more than it gives, it’s surely not a smart move.
I say, hire the best that you can afford, someone that sits well in the picture of your dream team that you have in mind.
Not knowing where you actually need help
I get it. Running a small business is so intense that sometimes you wish for a fairy godmother to just come and grab it all from your hands.
But successful outsourcing takes planning and direction. Check the top areas of your business. Where are you most stuck? Which one is consistently being set back? Is it marketing that needs the most help, or product development? Or maybe it’s everyday admin.
- Identify the area that needs the most help in your business
- Pick a few tasks to start outsourcing
- Define what a successful outsource would look like
- Test for a few months and re-assess
Lacking systems to collaborate with your subcontractor
Communication and efficiency is the name of the game. Having a system to keep track of revisions, changes, task requests, etc, will get you so much closer to a successful outsourcing experience. You may be high-tech or analogue but I really suggest that you think about this one and establish an agreement from the beginning of what the preferred times, days of the week and mediums of communication will be!
My preferred tools for staying on top of my team’s tasks are Asana, Trello, Dropbox, and Zoom (for follow up calls).
Being unclear of what outsourcing will buy you
Outsourcing something currently on your desk will buy you, hopefully, time.
But for what? What will you actually do with that extra time?
Having clarity around this will be really beneficial in keeping you inspired to make the outsourcing experience work.
Let me give you examples:
- Someone cleaning your house for 2 hours might give you that block of time to start drafting your dream online course
- A virtual assistant taking care of your newsletter mailings can buy you a few hours to spend with your kids
- A bit of tech support will buy you peace of mind, knowing your site won’t crash because it is being built by you.
- A social media support person will help you keep your brand visible while you are at home raising a small child.
Not seeing the Subcontractor as a partner for growth
Outsourcing is a great opportunity to bring someone else’s expertise into your business. Hopefully, one that is not part of your own set of skills.
So think of who you are hiring as a partner, someone hopefully skilled and an expert in their field who complements you, and brings in a set of fresh eyes. Rather than managing, or supervising them, think of collaborating and partnering with them to bring the best of the best to your vision and life.
So there it is, you’ve been warned,
The most common outsourcing mistakes I see!
One thing is absolutely certain.
You won’t get too far on your own.
So look around. What, in your life or business is needing some help?
What happens day after day, when all these things are not getting done.
Now get organised. You don’t have to figure it all out.
Start small and most importantly, give yourself permission to receive help.
Because your idea, your business, your contribution matters
>And it’s worth investing in, supporting and nourishing, just like you.
Now I would love to hear from you,
Have you outsourced anything yet?
Has it worked?
Would love to know.
Lots of love,