Taking On The World With A Little Help!

Remember when you first thought about starting your business? You envisioned working on the things you loved, spending your days honing your craft. The thought of escaping your soul-crushing cubicle job was thrilling; at last you would be your own boss! You took the leap and started getting your first real clients. Things were looking good…you were finally free to do what you wanted to do. But then something happened. You found yourself overwhelmed with all these other things involved in running a business-like invoicing, website optimization, sales & marketing and so on and not much time left in the day to focus on that thing you set out to do.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Doing It All

You started a business to work to do what you love most and share your gifts with the world.

Along the way, you found yourself doing less of what you love and more of these other things that aren’t necessarily your strengths but what choice do you have?

You have to do the work, keep getting the work and also get paid for it.

And doing it all is something that you’re used to. Juggling many projects and multitasking is the name of your game.

However, there are only so many hours in the day and eventually you feel frustrated because you are doing everything and not making as much progress as you’d like.

Getting Help

What causes frustration and overwhelm?

Suddenly you are faced with not only doing the work, but also doing the work that ensures that you keep getting more work. Whether that it is through blogging, participating in forums, it all takes time and at some point you have to prioritize. Does it make sense to be spending many hours a week on invoicing? Or should you be out there networking and doing business development? Perhaps you can whip up an epic blog post in under 20 minutes but the mere thought of formatting  and SEO makes you cringe.

You have to accept that there are only a certain amount of tasks that you can accomplish in a day. And that there are certain items that are better off being done by someone else so you can focus on the things that are more important.

Freeing Up Your Time To Focus On What You’re Good At

That’s where outsourcing comes in.

Now, you’re probably thinking-

How can I afford it? I’m just starting out!

Or

How can I trust someone else with my business?

Or even

I’ve never outsourced before, where do I start?

Affordable outsourcing options do exist and you can outsource the little things that add up and take a lot of time.

Optimizing your website-not your thing? Outsource!

Editing podcasts always a challenge? Outsource!

Sharing posts on social networking sites? Outsource!

Sites like Elance, Fiverr and Odesk, to name a few, can help.

On these sites you can post your project, budget and select a contractor from the proposal submissions you receive. With these sites you are tapping into a global workforce, and consequently prices can vary from the very cheap to very expensive. Quality of work will vary as well but you can choose from credible contractors who have ratings, references and a portfolio of their past work.

How can you get started?

Break Things Down and Make Lists

Getting started with outsourcing does not have to be complicated. Take a look at some of the things that you do on a regular basis. A key aspect of successful outsourcing is defining clearly what you want to outsource.

For instance, suppose you blog 2-3x a week. Your process could look something like this once you’ve decided on a topic:

  1. Do keyword research
  2. Write blog post
  3. Format blog post and add images
  4. Fill in All-in-One SEO information
  5. Share posts to: StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, Facebook etc.

Looking at the list you may find that the part that is easiest for you and actually requires your expertise is #2 and the rest is time-consuming but not worth your time. If we estimate that tasks 1,3,4,5 all take on average 15 minutes that is a total of 60 minutes per post. Do that three times a week and we’re looking at 3 hours a week or 12 hours a month! What could you do with an extra 12 hours a month? Find new customers? Develop a new product?  A lot, I’m sure!

Start by making lists of the various things you do regularly to figure out what you could potentially outsource. I would also recommend doing a trial project with a contractor before you commit long term just to see how you work together.

By outsourcing small parts of your business, you will free up your time to focus on your area of expertise. Say goodbye to overwhelm and get back on track to taking on the world!

What can you start outsourcing? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear!

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19 thoughts on “Taking On The World With A Little Help!

  1. Sandy, thank you for the reminder to stop trying to do it all and focus instead on what you love. About 50% of the time we deliver our blog via video. Editing is definitely not my passion or my forte! I have often thought about outsourcing this project, but have struggled to find someone who is affordable and also produces quality work. I will check into elance and odesk. Great suggestions!

    1. Thanks Jules! It is a struggle to work on areas of our business that we don’t love but in the beginning we sometimes have to..that being said, the more you do things the more you realize which ones can be outsourced and you can start slowly letting go. I would suggest doing a trial project and seeing if you get quality within your budget.

  2. Great article. I have so much I want to start outsourcing. It scary to trust others with your business but it’s the only way to find peace in your business. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. I am taking a client through a very similar exercise right now, asking them: What tasks are you performing that are ‘below your pay grade’ – i.e. tasks that could be done by someone else while you are adding more value to your business? Investing the time to ask these questions, then making a plan to capture that value by outsourcing that work, is time VERY well spent. Now if only I get around to accomplishing this analysis in my own projects! Great reminder, Sandy! Thanks for yet another insightful and help-filled post. 🙂

    1. Thanks Erica! So true- often it’s easier to give others advice and so easy to spot the areas that they could remove themselves than it is to do on our own business!

  4. I love how you show the reader/ entrepreneur exactly how much they’re foregoing by refusing to delegate the lower value work!

    1. thanks Caroline! It really does put things into perspective and that’s just one area. There are countless others! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Your article is packed with aha moments on working wise….Focusing on the business and delagating working on tasks.

  6. Great blog Sandy. Working full time and building a business I have often been frustrated by many of the small details. There are days when it totally overwhelms my passion for the business. I’ve been thinking about how to afford delegating and now you’ve sealed it for me. I’m now confident that I can not afford NOT to delegate…otherwise my best me won’t show through all the time and that’s just not acceptable. Thanks!

    1. My pleasure, Krystina! As entrepreneurs we tend to try to do it all and then wonder why we get frustrated and overwhelmed and like you said-our best no longer shines through. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Super helpful post Sandy…I love your example of how all those 15 minute tasks can easily add up to 12 hours a month! Hectic!

    I’m still at a point where I’m able and happy to do my own work, but in the near future Sporty and I will be branching out into videos and podcasts, both of which will require editing.

    And I suspect that’s when we’ll need to look at outsourcing, because as much as I love the idea of learning a new skill it’s just not a practical option right now. 😉

    1. Learning new skills is great and part of being an entrepreneur but at some point we also have to realize and accept that we *cannot* do it all and expect the same results 🙂

  8. Hi Sandy,
    Love it – so true and it’s great to be reminded of the
    impact that not outsourcing has on your ability to grow your business.
    We have started outsourcing a little here and there (takes time to be
    able to let go!!!) but the impact and benefits have been immediate and
    it’s a pleasure to pay our lovely VA to take care of those things that
    we don’t love doing and that take up our time… so thanks for the
    reminder as there is a lot more we can do!
    Jo

  9. Excellent post Sandy! There are so many things I’d like to outsource. I keep promising myself I’m going to come up with a plan and do it, but I’m finding out it’s hard to trust others with your business! Your post put it nicely in perspective though and I like how you walked us through the process. Thank you 🙂

    1. That’s why I find doing small projects can be a good way to get to know the other person and the way they work before you commit.
      Glad I could help and thanks for your comment, Debi!

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