Have you hit a wall in your business where you’re trying to do everything yourself and you’re becoming an over-worked, frazzled human in the process?
If so, you’re not alone!
You have to wear so many different hats as a business owner. You need to be the saleswoman, the marketer, the manager, the content creator, the service provider or product developer, the operations manager, the networker, the business development manager, and more.
Eventually you get to the point where you realise that you just can’t do it all on your own.
If you’re serious about growing your business, you need to start working ‘on’ your business and not ‘in’ your business. You’ll need to get serious about training other people up to do what you do, or you’ll be forever caught in a cycle of stress and overwhelm.
To grow and scale your business, surround yourself with a team of people who are reliable and competent, and can take the administrative burden off you. Outsourcing is a critical and absolutely essential step that’s required to move from ‘Breakthrough’ to ‘Profit’ in the 6 Stages of Business Growth.
This doesn’t mean you have to start bringing on employees. You can start by hiring a virtual assistant for just a few hours per month to do some simple tasks like social media scheduling and posting or payment tracking and client onboarding, to get started. If you’ve never worked with a VA before, check out my article: What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Do You Need One?
Outsourcing is not something that women seem to find naturally easy to do. Over the years working as a business coach for women, here are the biggest objections I hear when I suggest to a client that it’s time they start outsourcing.
Common Objections to Outsourcing
“I’m not comfortable with letting go of control.”
“I haven’t got the time to get organised enough to train someone else. It’s easier to just keep doing it all myself.”
“No one can do it as good as me.”
“What if they make big mistakes that make me look bad?”
“How do I trust someone else to deliver my high standards?”
Have you been guilty of saying any of these statements or similar?
If so, find a way to work through this resistance.
The good news is, all of these objections be easily overcome with great outsourcing processes in place, which I’m sharing below.
The Benefits of Effective Outsourcing
Here are some of the things that business owners say when they’ve been able to build up a team of reliable, trusted assistants around them:
“Oh my goodness, I wish I’d started outsourcing sooner!”
“Outsourcing has given me my time and freedom back.”
“I can finally focus my time on doing the work I love and growing my business.”
“I can take a holiday and my business keeps running without me!”
“Other people can actually do things better than me!”
What To Outsource?
The general rule for outsourcing is:
Any activity that you can pay someone else to do for a lower hourly rate than your rate, outsource it now.
The easiest things to start outsourcing are shown in the table below. Bookkeeping and accounting are the obvious things to start outsourcing if you haven’t started doing that already. Getting someone else to manage your client onboarding processes (organising payments, organising social media access, setting up email sequences etc) will also free up your time significantly.
If possible, you should continue to create your long-form content yourself. In my article The Art of Content Marketing I explain how you can repurpose and leverage one long-form piece of content into many different social media posts. Your virtual assistant can do all the repurposing and scheduling/posting for you, allowing you to spend your time putting your brainpower into a single, high-quality piece of long-form content.
How to Outsource Effectively
Effective outsourcing is all about effective communication. Outsourcing starts to go wrong when there’s a breakdown in communication.
Here are four steps you absolutely must follow in order to establish a successful outsourcing relationship.
1. Set Clear Expectations
Let your contractor or virtual assistant know exactly what you require of them. They can’t read your mind, so you’ll need to lay out all your expectations and requirements very clearly and succinctly. Don’t leave any room for ambiguity because this is where things can start to go wrong.
2. Provide a Clear Process to Follow
You’ll need to lay out the exact steps you want your assistant to follow. Once again, don’t assume they know anything, because they’re stepping into your business cold and they’ll need to know exactly what to do. It takes time to set up processes and procedures, but they’ll give you so much freedom and flexibility once you’ve established them because then your outsourcing can flow easily, freeing you up to focus on what you do best.
Plan out your content calendar and then get clear on what you want you want to post, and when. How many times per week do you want to post, and to which platforms? If you haven’t worked out your content strategy yet, then you’ll need to read this article: The Art of Content Marketing: How to Build Your Brand Credibility and Easily Win New Clients.
Here’s an example of daily instructions that I give my virtual assistant in Trello, which allows her to tick off the items as she goes.
3. Establish a Clear Review Process
To avoid any reputation risk, be sure to have a clear review process established with your VA so that you can review their work before they put it out into the world. My VA puts all her planned content into Trello before posting and scheduling it so that I can check over it and do my quality control before she sends it out. This way, you won’t be having to pull posts down if they haven’t met your high standards.
4. Establish Clear Communication Channels
Let your VA know how you want them to communicate with you. Do you want to set up a Slack channel for your work together? Or will you communicate via WhatsApp? Or Voxer? Again, be clear on where and how you want them to communicate with you so you can enjoy a fruitful and productive relationship together.
I hope you found this helpful on your journey to outsourcing.
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In service to your success,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D