Running a small business can be time consuming, hectic and full of unexpected jobs you could never have anticipated. As much as we try and keep a handle on all of the things that need doing, sometimes we just need to hear that it really is okay to welcome the idea of outsourcing.
Outsourcing is the practise of sending some of the aspects of your job to specialist companies, rather than deal with them in-house. When “used effectively, out-sourcing is an effective cost-saving strategy” according to Investopedia.
Female entrepreneurs particularly, in my experience, struggle with the idea of outsourcing and not doing every job themselves. However, no matter how skilled, organised, prepared or capable you are, do you really have time to manage everything? Should you be managing everything? I don’t think you should. Let’s face it, we all got into business because we loved doing something and could provide a solution to our clients, not because we wanted to juggle as many different roles as possible. Plus, as the business owner, you should be getting paid to do the thing you’re good at, not the admin work of running a business. The more time you spend doing what you’re good at, the more money you will have to outsource and hire people to do the business bits.
So, where do you start? There are no limitations on what you can outsource but be wise on what you are willing to give to other people; some things are better kept in-house – like the skilled work or client information/sensitive data handling.
Maybe start with a VA (virtual assistant)? The idea of using virtual personal assistants has really taken off over the last decade. The idea of arranging your own meetings seems so… passé. For example, there’s a brilliant website called x.ai. X.ai acts as a personal assistant who will schedule meetings for you. The really neat part? ‘Amy’ (or ‘Andrew’) the assistant working for you isn’t real; in fact she is artificial intelligence that will organise your meetings for you. All you have to do is CC her into your work emails and she will work out the best times and places to organise your meeting – and the best part is that this X.ai is free. So now all that legwork has been cut out, you’re left with the time to actually get on with the important stuff.
On the topic of organising your business, why not outsource the time-consuming basic admin? More often than not, small businesses are started because of someone’s love for something, not because they love paperwork! If you have someone who is dedicated to your admin, not only is it a weight off of your mind but also it (hopefully) means that everything is organised the most efficient way possible. You might be happy organising yourself but is it the most efficient use of your time? Time is money after all.
And why stop there? Bookkeeping can be such a laborious job if you are not that way inclined. Owning and running your own business should be fun without the ‘Oh I MUST do those dreaded books tonight’ thoughts in the back of your mind. Don’t get me wrong, some people love doing their own books, but for those who don’t try: Peopleperhour.com. People Per Hour is a fantastic website for outsourcing almost anything. Four hours of accounting and bookkeeping services can cost as little as £35 but prices start from £10 upwards. Many of the people offering their services are skilled and qualified but make sure to look at their reviews too; chose quality not price when hiring a bookkeeper/accountant.
Next up, content writing! If you’re not a natural born writer or simply don’t have the spare time to be blogging, writing newsletters, drafting website copy, then outsource that too. You can always tweak, proof read and amend to your tone of voice if it’s not quite right; sometimes it’s just best to have a starting point. Writing jobs are ideal for graduates looking for work experience. Write a one-time brief and send it to your local University for their jobs notice board and watch the writers roll in. You can set your price, the deadline, the topic and word count and send it off to get written; another job quickly ticked off your list.
Finally, budgets are tight but you never want to miss publishing marketing materials because you couldn’t afford a designer! Should you need any branding or design work doing, and it isn’t your forte, don’t struggle along and be left with a half-hearted end product, use Fiverr.com. Fiverr is another handy website to connect you with professionals who have the skills to match your needs. Like Peopleperhour, Fiverr sells itself as the “amazing place where people can find nearly any service at an unbeatable value, while helping talented people thrive,” which really makes it a no-brainer. Fiverr specialises in $5 ‘gigs’ (the jobs that need doing) but many have add-ons that increase their price. Don’t forget to double check on the agreement you’re entering into, look at how many reviews the seller has and send a clear brief. A little research into the portfolios of previous work will go a long way and ultimately could save you time and money – two of our most valuable assets.
Good luck and please let us know how much time and money you save using these tips!