Too busy working to do any thinking? Time to outsource

If you’re always wondering ‘What would it take for this business to be a success?’ or ‘How can I find the time to launch that course/podcast/new service?’ it’s a really good idea to think about outsourcing some of the many tasks that are taking up your precious time.

The tasks you’re not good at
It may seem counter-intuitive to spend money when you’re already not making vast amounts. But whether it’s hiring a bookkeeper to do your accounts, or a VA to do your admin, getting help with the cleaning or booking support for the parts of the business that you’re not good at, freeing up your time and brain to focus on growth is the very best idea.

When you end up doing everything yourself – your accounts, your marketing, your tech and your sales, plus the actual work you’re contracted to do, it can leave little space for creative thought or moments of clarity. This can mean you end up stuck in an endless cycle of hand-to-mouth. So, outsource the parts of your business that could be done better by someone else, saving you precious time to make more money, have the creative ideas and do the work you’re really good at.

A cost you can ill afford
If your first thought is “I can’t afford to outsource, I haven’t got enough money coming in, so I’ll just keep doing it all myself”, stop and think about what you stand to gain. I understand people’s fear of spending money when they don’t have much (and if you’ll struggle to pay your bills, then of course now is not a good time to be shelling out for extra help). But if you can find the funds to outsource those tasks that you struggle to do with ease, be realistic about the precious time you’re wasting on them. In fact, it’s the one mistake self-employed people make over and over – trying to be good at everything.

Instead of investing their time in growing their business, they spend hours trying to solve tech issues on their own website or pondering for too long over what to blog about, whereas if they outsourced it to someone who’s skilled and fast, ultimately this investment would give them a better return. If you want to start thinking like a business owner, let go of the things you can’t do. You really do have to speculate to accumulate.

Endure a drop in order to grow
This investment will mean you have to endure a drop in income in order to grow, but that’s usually where the best growth comes from in the long run. Don’t be afraid of this drop – make the mindset shift that your resources are better spent doing whatever it is you’re really good at, the things that will help to grow your business and get more sales.

As a business coach I’ve seen this ‘DIY mentality’ of self-employment hold people back. Spending too much time on the things you find really hard rather than investing in the skills of others can be a false economy – especially if you end up having to pay over the odds in order to correct the mistakes that often arise from doing your own accounts or trying to solve your own tech issues. Outsourcing it will only ever improve your business.

Growth means spending
And as your business grows, you need to carry on spending money in order to keep growing. All businesses go through an initial upward trajectory but then get to a certain point where it’s sink or swim. And that’s when they need to invest if they’re not going to sink and get eaten by the crocodiles. If you’re at capacity and frightened to spend money to grow, you may stagnate and make bad choices, or have to cut services, or your customer services may suffer, or you hit burnout – and that’s when you want to walk away.

To get over this hump you need to make strategic decisions, and that may mean investing in people or equipment or tech, rather than giving up when you’re just at the cusp of becoming a success. When you start thinking and acting strategically, that’s when you’re truly a business owner, because you’re doing what it takes to keep up momentum. Plan ahead so that when you can see that sink-or-swim moment coming, you’re ready for it and have the budget set aside to recruit someone, or to outsource, or to get a contractor to work with you (for a cut), or to automate your systems – whatever it will take to help move you forwards.

Words: Faye Watts, Audrey business coach

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