Think of everything you own. Car, clothes, cream cheese — everything. Did you make all of that yourself?
See? You’re already well on your way to outsourcing tasks as an entrepreneur!
We outsource a lot in our lives, but many new entrepreneurs struggle to let anyone help with their businesses. Many of us use lack of profitability as an excuse. But that’s all it is — an excuse. If you don’t have money to outsource, why are you trying to become an entrepreneur? A wise entrepreneur will have enough in savings — or have another job — to keep funds flowing.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
I used to do it all myself. What was scary was that I would get so obsessed with fixing an issue that it became all that mattered. I remember one Saturday a few years ago, I spent the entire day fixing bugs. All Saturday. To compensate the hard work, I grabbed a spoon, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly. It felt weird to eat a pound of peanut butter in one day.
That happened because at the time (when I first decided to start making money online) I had this borderline illness that I call “insourcing-itis.”
Back then, I wanted to do every little thing myself. It resulted in anemic growth and mild loneliness. Today, I outsource everything that isn’t driving my business forward.
I wouldn’t write this blog if I weren't practicing what I preach. I just hired a social media marketer. My next web design will be custom (and yes, I’m okay paying lots for it — designers deserve it). I’ve hired someone to do lead generation for past projects. I insource customer service right now, but that’s because I don’t spend a lot of time in this area yet. I do have a go-to coder, though.
When to Outsource Tasks as an Entrepreneur
So where is a good place to start when it comes to outsourcing jobs? What are the five best tasks to outsource as an entrepreneur? Well…
- Social Media Management
- Web Design
- Lead Generation
- Customer Service
- Cleaning and Code Fixing
1. Social Media Management
Every business — whether physical or online — should have a solid social media presence. But if you’ve ever worked with social media, you’ll quickly realize how much time it takes. Tweeting is serious business.
So hire someone else to promote your business using social media. Find someone who has the right skills, and who preferably knows your industry. Hiring for this position is made fairly easy, since it’s a location-independent position. This means you can expand your search worldwide. This also reduces costs if you’re able to hire someone from a country with a lower average salary than where you live. I have known people to outsource their social media work for as little as $3 per hour through sites like Upwork.
2. Web Design
Web design is another task to outsource. Yes, there are free resources for learning how to build websites. I’ve spent hours learning how to build them, and I can do a fair job at making one. But holy cow, is it something that’s not worth my time. I’m not fast enough at it.
Instead, hire someone who can get your design up and running in a hurry — and do a quality job. Trust me, the time you save by outsourcing will be well worth the money.
3. Lead Generation
Every business needs leads. How are you getting yours? Could someone else be handling this aspect of the business? Perhaps someone who's better at selling than you are. Or perhaps someone who better understands online marketing. Or it could be as simple as hiring someone to scrape the web for email addresses. If you can find someone who’s always bringing you fresh leads, you can then focus your time on serving those customers.
4. Customer Service
This can be anything from handling phone calls to replying to blog comments. As much as you may like to, spending one-on-one time with all of your customers isn’t a realistic goal. Especially when the questions and comments can be easily answered by a staff member. Your concentration should be on leading your team.
5. Cleaning and Code Fixing
If you have a physical business, how about hiring someone to clean? Large businesses hire a cleaning staff. How odd would it be to see the CEO sweeping the floors and shutting off the lights? Pretty weird. That’s because the CEO should focus on driving the business forward.
If you need cleanup for an online business, have a go-to coder to help you out. When something breaks, a design needs to be revamped, or you simply want some CSS code changed, reach out. A coder will do it for you happily and quickly.
When to Not Outsource Tasks
As a word of caution, I have seen a few entrepreneurs try to outsource everything at a very early stage. Early on, you need to be hands on. You need to understand how the business works if you want it to succeed. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance kills businesses.
I read a book called The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss before I started outsourcing jobs. He suggests that we begin outsourcing before there’s even a need. Just to get familiar with the process and to see how doing so will add value to our lives. Start by having a virtual assistant send flowers to your partner. Get used to receiving help.
And remind yourself that you’re already outsourcing much of your life. That is, unless you built your own car, sewed your own clothing, and churned that cheese.