For the solopreneur looking for growth for his or her business, outsourcing can be a natural first step. You can bring on the help you need, as you need it, without the full commitment of hiring employees.
But I was slow to climb on board the outsourcing train. In fact, I did all I could to NOT hire help.
Oh, I had lots of excuses: I didn’t like the “boss” role. I really didn’t want to grow my business. I liked working by myself.
But the deeper truth was harder to admit: I was being greedy. And, I was afraid. Afraid that, if I shared my income with someone else, I wouldn’t have that income for myself and my family… and then what? What if all my clients suddenly went away? What if all my work — and income — dried up?
Not only did I have a greedy mindset, it was a “scarcity” mindset. I didn’t trust myself, my work, or my faith.
So I avoided everything I said I didn’t want. I didn’t get to be the boss. I always worked by myself. And my business — and my income — didn’t grow.
Many years later, I woke up to the realization that if I had any hope of growing my business and my income, I had to let go of the fears — and my work. I’ve since released a lot of the fear and other limiting beliefs I once had that surrounded outsourcing my work. And as a result, over the last two years, my business is growing and becoming much more of what I always dreamed it could be.
Now, rather than run away from outsourcing, I look for ways to delegate on a daily basis.
When should you outsource?
How do you know when you do need help? Here are five instances when it makes good sense to outsource:
You have too much to do.
Often, I work all hours of the day and night, losing sleep to handle more clients and more work. I thought I was just doing what I had to do to make money. Now, in hindsight, it’s clear that I wasn’t doing my clients or me a favor by destroying my sleep patterns and ultimately, putting my health at risk.It might sound simple and obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I worked through the night to handle more clients and a larger workload. I figured I was putting more money in my own pocket. Looking back, I see what I really was doing was playing havoc with my health.
I thought by handling that work alone I was actually making money. But, the truth was, I was losing money.
If I had outsourced that extra work, that would have had the freedom to search out more work. I would have had more time to serve more clients, and eventually, I would have made even more money.
When, despite your best efforts to be efficient, you have so much work that you are working more than 40 hours a week, it’s time to outsource.
You have no time for your personal life.
When you have your own business, it’s easy to sacrifice your personal life for more work and more money.
But there’s a reason why will all take vacations: Humans need to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. Even if you are extremely passionate about what you do for a living, if you never take a break for the well-being of both your body and your mind, you will probably burn out.
In the book “The Artist’s Way,” author Julia Cameron explains that we all need to “fill the well” of inspiration within our mind. If we don’t, our minds will eventually “run dry” like an empty well. Cameron suggests that, the way to refill this well within our mind with the inspiration we need for new ideas, thoughts, and creativity is via fun, joyful activities. In so many words, if we want to be creative and productive, we need to get a life. As that source gets “empty,” it has to be refilled. Enjoyable activities help us refill the well and continue to have a source of creativity from which to draw upon.
If you find you have no time for your family, your friends, and for yourself, it’s time to outsource.
You need freedom and flexibility.
Outsourcing equals freedom — and that freedom can play out in many ways.
You can be less the “doer” in your business, and more the “innovator.” You can steer the boat more than you row it. You can use your time to concentrate on ideas.
A good example: Walt Disney. If he were busy drawing the cartoons, do you think he would have had the mental space to dream up the direction of the studio — the types of films that would be created, the concept of “Imagineers,” the fantastic advances in animation, and even the theme parks?
You gain the freedom to market your business. You can pursue business development. You can concentrate on doing just the things you do best and enjoy the most.
When you need and crave that freedom, it’s time to outsource.
You want to grow your business.
We all have the same amount of time: 24 measly hours a day. You can only do so much by yourself.
So, if you want your business — and your income — to grow, there are only a few ways that can happen. It might be the 21st century, but you still can’t clone yourself. You could raise your prices, but there’s a limit to what your market will bear.
If you want your business to grow, you’ll have to get help. Outsourcing allows that to happen, without a lot of the baggage and expense of hiring employees. Outsourced individuals also understand and expect the limited nature of their assignments.
Keep in mind, however, that there are laws regarding using freelancers over hiring employees. Certain conditions apply. Be sure to check both state and federal laws when using any freelancers on a regular basis. You also might be responsible for issuing these outsourced individuals 1099s at tax time. Again, check with your tax consultant to know for sure.
When you want your business to grow, it’s time to outsource.
You deserve it.
At some point in your career, you might want to cut-back on your work. Perhaps you won’t be fully retired, but by the same token, you might not want (or be able) to work “full steam ahead” as you did in your 20s and 30s.
By outsourcing, you can still oversee the business without being as extensively involved as you once were. You find yourself working smarter, not harder. And work can continue to be enjoyable.
When you realize you deserve to reap what you have sowed, it’s time to outsource.
Just the first step…
Outsourcing is just the first step. You might find a time when actually hiring employees is the next.
But you have to start somewhere. Outsourcing allows you to test the waters, start growth, and begin reaping the rewards without too many regrets. Recognize when the moment is right.