Let's dig into outsourcing. 1) Because it is one of the most common questions I get, and 2) I want you to flip the model and mindset around outsourcing.
When I first started this business in 2020, I outsourced it differently. I used my corporate salary as our base income for our family (I was working full-time) and re-invested almost everything I made for the first year and a half to hire or purchase resources to help me. Now hear me out. Some might say to pay yourself first, which I also believe in, but for a very short amount of time, I knew that TIME was what I was fighting against. We were in the middle of a pandemic. My kids were home so we were teaching school AND I had this super huge goal, but very limited time. So I strategically planned to outsource first and build a team that would grow.
Regardless of when you decided to outsource, the first piece of advice I would give is that it is going to feel uncomfortable. And you most likely will have to take the step before you are 100% ready (isn't that true with everything in life?)
So let's break it down.
How do you know if you are ready to outsource something in your business?
You are overwhelmed with all the responsibilities. Now at the beginning of business this happens, BUT you may find yourself overwhelmed in certain categories. As an example, the very first thing I launched in my business was the podcast. I am actually super technical but I hated editing. It was taking me 2-3 hours on the weekend and that was 2-3 hours I did not have. So my #1 goal was how do I make enough money to hire someone to edit the podcast? That immediately freed up my two hours of editing time to actually create content which to me was an income-producing activity that I did enjoy doing.
Outsourcing is not a one size fits all model. In this scenario, the goal was to protect my time at the beginning of the business in order to create more resources to bring in more income.
I will also say I did this because I didn't want to be burnt out in the first three months of a new venture. It is REALLY important to think about how you can open up creative white space. And because many of us are working full-time, with kids and a crazy busy schedule, you have to think about how to achieve that. Which ps. is not just you.
Where are you NOT an Expert?
My second tip for outsourcing is to think of the categories in your business where you are not an expert. As you grow, where can you outsource those things? This part actually was a bit harder as I grew because I kept thinking, well I can just do all this myself. Why would I pay someone? But if you slow down and take a minute to look at the people you admire: the leaders in the industry and the women you look up to, I guarantee you that they all have help. Honestly, I cannot think of ONE person in history that made a huge impact that didn't have a team. And by "the team", it can look different for everyone.
- If you need innovation - hire a strategist or a copywriter
- If you aren't great at finances, look at hiring a bookkeeper
- If you just need someone to keep you organized, hire an operations manager
- If you really are nervous to hire someone, ask for help from your family. My husband answers all of our customer service emails (think password support, refunds, etc.) and also does our finances. I can do this and even have a master's in business but I hate finance. Well, hate is a strong word, but it's not my favorite. I would rather pass off the spreadsheets and create content or connect more with you!
- Simply need more time? Get a sitter. And I say this with love, but two hours of focused work with a sitter watching your kids is going to free up the entire rest of your day to spend with them. It is another win-win for everyone instead of trying to work in pockets of time where they just get frustrated with you being on your computer. (Speaking from experience here).
Outsourcing Does Not Have to be Permanent
If you have a big project coming up, you can outsource for a short amount of time, or just for one specific project. This goes back to my point of flipping your mindset around outsourcing. Instead of thinking oh my goodness, this is going to cost so much (we all go there), think about how amazing is it going to be to actually have time to work on what I need to and in most cases have an expert helping me. See how different that sounds? I am also a huge believer in the transfer of energy around money, so I try really hard to imagine when I am paying someone how that is going to help their family, what it is going to do for their business, and how it is going to help them. Because what goes around comes around, right?
Finally, I want you to not only envision your mentor or someone you look up to (and visualize the team they have behind them because I assure you they do), but picture how it would feel to build your dream team. What if you could build a business where you were supporting other strong women and their businesses?
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After we outsourced podcast editing, I decided that I needed help with content repurposing (which I still recommend as a great first step). I could write the content but I wanted to be in 10 places at once. I hired my amazing now Community Director Kaitlyn, who is a dental hygenist looking to build her VA agency. I hired her because I respected her family values and goals, but I also envisioned her growing with us. We started small with simple content repurposing tasks and eventually grew to now her being responsible for most of the behind-the-scenes in our community. I love helping her support her family's dreams and in return, she helps us.
Your hire might not be the most qualified but I am a big fan of hiring and outsourcing based on my gut. And even in my corporate life, I would so much rather hire someone with heart and dedication and teach them the skills that they need. That is going to take you so much further and save you even more time. You want someone that is as passionate about your business as you are. And they are going to be just that when they know you support them in their dreams, too.
How to Know If it is the Right Time to Outsource
To recap, let's summarize how to know if it is the right time to outsource.
- Where are you overwhelmed?
- What areas of expertise do you need help with?
- Are you looking for long-term or short-term support?
- Get comfortable with knowing that growth means you cannot do everything by yourself.
I hope this inspires you to dream bigger. And to know that outsourcing is a normal step in growth. I can't wait to see what your next step is.
Looking for more on this topic and your High-Level Action items? Check out the Strategy Lab in the Crush the Rush Club!