If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, you know how important continual educating is to staying on top of your industry. However, as your business grows you can quickly find yourself burning the candle from both ends and find it difficult to both manage your business and complete the day-to-day work. Moreover, you might identify new opportunities but have little time to dedicate to exploring them. As a freelancer or business owner, you’re used to wearing many hats; but as your business grows, should you learn new skills or outsource?

When you’re faced with a decision to learn a new skill or outsource, it’s helpful to revisit your goals. Do you want to be the best logo designer in your field, or do you want to grow into a full-fledged marketing agency? What role do you ultimately want to play in your business? Do you want to work on design every day, or do you want to be the owner of your firm and remove yourself from the day-to-day work?

Either way, you can always make a case for outsourcing. First, you should consider outsourcing non-essential tasks – those that do not make you money, but are necessary for your business. Examples include:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Accounting
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Research

You should also consider what you’re already good at, and what skills can fill in the blanks to help you grow your business. A common example is for a graphic designer to outsource web development. Programming is its own field, and it requires its own continual learning – it’s practically impossible for a single person to be well-versed in both design and development without sacrificing some other aspect of their business.

Outsourcing everything but your day-to-day work – the money-making part of your business – is a great way to free up time to focus on providing a better service and doing what you love. It can also free time to create and execute business growth strategies. However, if you have your mind set on growing into a larger firm in which you do not take part in the day-to-day work, you’ll need to consider outsourcing that as well.

It’s often tough for creatives – and other small business owners – to hand over the reins to others, but it’s also often necessary for business growth. The key is to find providers whose knowledge and quality match or even exceed your own.

Deciding to outsource daily operations can also mean you’ll need to learn new skills after all: hiring and business management, for example. Of course, you can outsource these as well; but you need to maintain a firm grasp on your business and the direction it’s headed.

You should learn a new skill if it will help you grow your business without jeopardizing your long-term goals.

You should outsource if it will help you grow your business without sacrificing the quality of your deliverables.

Don’t invest time in learning skills you ultimately want to outsource; instead, let people who are already experts handle them and invest your time in your work and/or business growth strategies. Focus on the activities that earn money, and delegate tasks accordingly. At all times, make sure your actions are aligned with your goals. This is the best way to keep your business on the path to fulfilling your original vision.