Outsourcing 101: When and how to use outsourcing

As a business owner, you know you ultimately want to scale your business—but how? A big part of scaling is outsourcing some of your work! In this article, we’ll look at how to recognize when to outsource and when to do it yourself, how you can get started, and some of the benefits.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing is when one company hires another company to do work for it. The alternative is that you do this work from home. If you are a new business owner – especially a freelancer/solopreneur – you can outsource some of your work to another freelancer as it is profitable.

For example, I own a blog and SEO agency. A few years ago, my accounting and bookkeeping became so complicated that I could no longer manage it myself and do my job well. So I hired someone to do it for me.

When to outsource: how do you know it’s the right time?

As a business owner, it’s all too easy to fall into the “Well, I can do it myself” mindset, especially since it means you don’t have to spend money to get someone else to do it.

But here they are absolutely times when it is wiser to invest in outsourcing!

Here’s the simplest scenario: if you’ve run out of hours in your day, you have two choices:

  1. Stop growing your business because you don’t have more time or…
  2. Grow by outsourcing and paying for someone else their time.

What if you technically still have time during the day? Should you still outsource? Quite possible. When I consider outsourcing, I ask myself two questions:

  1. Will I save time this way, which means I’ll save – or earn – money because I’ll have more time to focus on development?
  2. Is there anyone who can do this task much better than me?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be a good time to outsource.

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Let’s talk about that first question. Let’s say, as an example, that you have social media management agency. Maybe you spend five hours a week just editing video content on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. That’s a lot of time to edit videos! Imagine you hire a video editor and clean up those five hours. You just saved yourself a decent amount of time. Then you can use those five hours to generate leads and reach potential customers. Now you are at a place where you can to do money, all because you outsourced this time-consuming video editing.

Let’s move on to that second question. Yes, you know your business better than anyone else. But let’s consider our video editing example again. There are professionals who focus completely on this skill. So it’s safe to say that they are probably more proficient than you (and they should be). So in this case you not only save time but the work they will do will be of higher quality meaning your customers will be happier which means you can even charge more for this content.

This is the magic of outsourcing!

When he should not do you outsource?

The simplest way to look at it is this: if outsourcing something doesn’t give you any return, it’s probably not a smart idea.

This turnaround can be time, which is extremely valuable. Or the refund can be money.

So, before you hire someone to help you, ask yourself, “Will outsourcing save me time or money, or will it make me money?” If the answer is no, rethink your strategy.

Benefits of outsourcing

We’ve already mentioned this, but let’s do a quick recap!

  • Outsourcing can save you time, and time is your most valuable resource. Then you can use this free time to develop your business, be with your family or take better care of yourself.
  • Outsourcing can improve the quality of your work. Hire people who are better at the job than you!
  • Outsourcing can to do you money. Use this free time to focus on development and your company will have new opportunities.

I know that outsourcing may seem like a cost. And you might think, “Well, if I just do it myself, I’ll save all that money!” However, it is important to remember that outsourcing investment because it will bring some return.

How to start outsourcing

This could be a whole article in itself, so I’ll stick with a few basic tips to help you get started with outsourcing.

  • If possible, start with low-hanging fruit. I know outsourcing can be scary. Choose something that is easy to maintain and less sensitive. For example, video editing is less sensitive because the video editor will only communicate with you – not with your customers or other online followers.
  • Start small. Nobody says you have to outsource everything at once. Actually, you probably shouldn’t. Concentrate on one or two tasks at a time.
  • Shop. Don’t go for the cheapest option right away, because remember that if that person or company is doing low-quality work, you’ll either have to take the time to fix it or pay them (or someone else) to fix it for you. Compare your options to see who is profitable AND high quality.
  • Consider trying two people/companies. I learned this the hard way. Sometimes you have to try outsourcing several times before you find the right fit. If you can handle it within your budget, consider narrowing down your outsourcing options to the top two picks and see which does better.

Finally, I want to leave you with this as a gentle reminder: even if you’re not doing the job, as a business owner, you’re still responsible for it. So if the client is not satisfied with this work, you must own it. “The person I commissioned it made a mess of” definitely won’t recommend! Yes, talk to this person. But when it comes to our clients and customers, it all comes down to us business owners – whether the end result is good, bad or downright ugly.

When to outsource: It’s intimidating but worth it

If you think there’s a learning curve here, you’re right. Outsourcing means you will have to learn how to interview, hire, make payments, train people and manage them. But once you get over that hump, the benefits of outsourcing make it all pay off.

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