It took me, literally, years to decide to hire a cleaning service for my home.
I felt guilty about it for a whole host of reasons. I thought, “I’m home literally all day, every day. Why can’t I get this done?”
But the truth was, I was struggling to run a business, run a household, and raise a child all at once. (IMAGINE THAT!) I didn’t expect my husband to come home from work every day and just do chores, but I was expecting it of myself. (To be clear, he didn’t expect that of me, either; this was all my own issues!)
So I finally ponied up the $150 or so a month to have our house professionally cleaned every other week.
It was like the heavens opened and a chorus of angels sang hallelujah! Suddenly, I could do very minimal upkeep in between cleanings, and I was no longer worried that anything was growing in the shower or having to play “what’s that smell?”
And the most interesting part is, it takes my cleaning service about 2 hours to do our whole house, and they come twice a month; my hourly rate — even back then — was more than $37.50 per hour. Meaning that if I was taking time away from my business to clean the house, I was losing money.
How do you know when to outsource?
I don’t think there’s a hard and fast way to know when you are ready to outsource. There’s not a revenue number or a metric I can say is universal for knowing when to outsource any particular task.
So I asked some of my smart entrepreneur friends, “How do YOU know when to outsource or hire for a task?”
- Rebecca Tracey — When it starts to make me cry trying to figure it out 😥
- Kimra Luna — When it’s boring. When it’s technically too hard. When someone else can do it way better than me.
- Miriam Schulman — When you can pay someone less than what your time is worth or if you can’t do it yourself or if someone can do it better than you and you have the budget.
- Gemma Went — When I find all the reasons not to do [the task].
- Hattie Brazeley — When it feels completely out of flow. I usually have a deep gut feel along with my intuition saying “I told you it was a bad idea to attempt this.”
- Denise DT — At 2am when you’re stressing about it.
- Adrienne Dorison — When it’s not my primary role (aka when it’s not the thing that is the highest value I add to the company) and it’s something that will happen more than once.
Do any of these resonate with you? (Like the 2am thing??) Then it might be time to consider outsourcing.
Where is your business losing money?
Like many of you, I started as a solopreneur in a digital space. I think it’s different for more “traditional” bricks and mortar businesses; no one decides to open a restaurant and thinks they can be the chef, the waiter, the host, the manager, and the bartender all at once. But loads of digital business owners get started as a one-person shop, which may be fine when you’re just starting out…
But as you grow, trying to do everything yourself can actually be losing you money.
As a service-based business, I experienced this pretty early on. I knew I could write so many blog posts in so many hours, but my availability was quickly eclipsed by demand. So it was natural for me to bring on my first writer to take on the overflow — instead of turning down business.
It was a natural evolution for me, but not all tasks evolve that easily — especially if it’s a task you’ve been doing all along and are considering giving it up.
When you’re considering outsourcing your content creation (or, really, any other task on your to-do list), it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions:
- How many hours per week am I spending on this task?
- What could I be doing with those hours if I wasn’t doing that?
- Is this something that only I can do?
The first two are relatively easy. If you’re not sure how long you spend doing different tasks, I recommend using a tool like Toggl or RescueTime to track your time for a week or two; you may be extremely surprised at how much time you are spending on things that don’t directly create revenue in your business!
But when people start taking advantage of your “free 15 minute discovery call” and turning it into an hour, demanding coaching and answers most people pay for…
When you spend a full work day trying to fix a broken widget on your website…
When it takes you four or five hours a week to write and publish a blog post…
…You start to realize that your time is valuable.
Once you know for sure how long things take, think very seriously about what you could do with that time if you were not doing those tasks. Could you add more 1:1 clients to your schedule? Have more sales calls? Do more PR or interviews? Create your next product or course?
For the simplest version of this question, think about your hourly rate: could you hire someone to do this for less than your hourly rate?
The same is true when you start thinking about outsourcing your content marketing (or any other task that doesn’t fall in your zone of genius). I’ll never forget getting on the phone with a potential client, talking all about what we could do for her, etc., and having her say she wanted to take some time to think about it. No problem.
But then she emailed me less than an hour later and said, “I’m currently spending about 4 hours a week writing my blogs. If I can book just one more client in the time I save, it will more than pay for your service. (And in theory, I can book 3 or 4!) Sign me up.”
THAT is what clarity looks like.
Because here’s the thing: No one will respect your time if you don’t.
Some things you can quit cold turkey. Sometimes you need to outsource things to a capable team member.
But when you realize your time has value, you’ll stop wasting so much of it on tasks other people can do.
Can you outsource content creation?
The third question is sometimes the sticky wicket — is this something only I can do?
Many times my clients in particular are skeptical that they can give up something so personal as blogging or creating content.
Yet in reality, I have only come across a very few clients in my years of doing this that really couldn’t give up their blogging — because it was so specialized or personal or whatever.
I had the same reaction when a coach I’d hired told me I needed to give up writing for clients and focus on doing sales, marketing, and strategy in my business. My immediate gut reaction was that I was the only one who could service these clients!
Which, of course, was total bunk.
Now, don’t tell my coach, but I still have a couple of VIP clients that I personally write for; but most of my time is now spent doing sales, marketing, and strategy while my team does the day-to-day and week-to-week writing for clients.
And you know what? I’m having my highest revenue year ever.
Whether you’re ready to outsource your content creation or something else in your business, I encourage you to consider how you can do less to accomplish more in your biz.
It could be a game changer.