Outsourcing has changed my life in the last part of 2022, I can’t quite believe the impact it has had and I want to share the concept with you.
As a small business owner, you are expected to know everything, you are expected to juggle all the tasks and you are expected to be an expert (or at least capable) in so many areas. Well, I can tell you, I, and many others, find that I’m not actually superhuman, and as a small business owner, I was drowning, approaching burnout, confused and unable to grow my business. Well in fact businesses, as I am CEO of a consultancy business, as well as having 3 side hustles including handmade Accounts Training. So towards the end of 2022 I made some decisions. I knew that I needed to free up some of my time so that I could push my businesses forward and save both myself and my relationships from burnout and lack of time.
Of course, people go about outsourcing in many different ways, and making the jump can feel daunting, maybe the imposter syndrome kicks in and you don’t see yourself as someone who has ‘staff’, or employees. Maybe you think financially that you can’t afford it (although I’ve been far more productive in my businesses thanks to it!) or maybe you’re just not sure where to start. Well for me, it started with joy – what did I not enjoy? What could I outsource to others who had more expertise, greater skills, found joy in the task and that I would happily (or more than happily!) hand over?
The very first thing I outsourced was my dog walking. I have a truly fantastic dog walker, she and my dog are wonderful friends. She provides a service for me by saving me time out of my day, it allows me quiet time to work and an extra hour or two at the desk. This wonderful service also provides socialisation and extra exercise for my dog. It’s a win-win service and quickly gains you a few extra hours a week.
Following this, I outsourced my cleaning. This had been high on my list for some time, cleaning has never been my favourite task. I would much rather work an extra hour to fund my cleaner than I would clean my home. By outsourcing I have a sparkling home, I don’t have the pressure of cleaning and I have not only gained time, but I’ve removed a negative task from my life.
My Handyman – this story is a mix of positives and negatives. When I was updating my house I had workmen and handymen, somewhere amazing, they came, they did the job, they cleaned up and they left. Having a decorator to complete a task from start to finish was amazing, as we all know even with the best intentions we often leave DIY half done. But on some occasions, they were unreliable, didn’t stick to time or didn’t show up. I guess when you find a good one, it is best to hold on to them because outsourcing this stuff is a real time-saver!
My biggest outsourcing element in terms of my business has been hiring a VA (virtual assistant). This was a huge step for me, I knew I needed to focus on the accounting side of my businesses, I needed to step away from the marketing, logistics, detail and other areas that did not bring me joy and I needed the extra time for my clients, but taking on an employee felt like too big a step. A VA was the perfect solution, as a self-employed freelancer, there are fewer complications, we run on a month-to-month contract and they pick up all the little jobs that I do not love. I now have a constant social media presence, I have someone to keep me on track, I have a wider network and I have accountability. I also have free space in my mind and my day to push my businesses further faster.
A declutterer – another amazing thing to outsource. I had unwanted and unused clothes and items, I wanted to sell them to make back some money. It’s always nice to have a little fund for buying more, right?! But I did not want to take all the photographs, upload them etc. So I found someone who was happy to do this for me. I gave them the items, they upload them, and once they sell they take a small percentage. My house is clearer, the job is done, a fantastic thing to outsource!
Now this is not an exhaustive list, this is just the things I have outsourced so far, and I can honestly say it will not be the end of the list. Having opened myself to outsourcing I certainly won’t be stopping, being able to remove the tasks that don’t bring me joy from my life and the daily list has been so freeing. A massive step forward for my mental health and work-life balance. But it’s also allowed my businesses to grow and flourish in a way they would not have done if I was still juggling all the balls and doing all the things, after all, if our hands are too full, we know some things will get dropped!
I challenge you to choose something to outsource this year, see how it changes you and your business, and choose it from a place of joy – pick the one thing you like least and outsource it. I’d love to know about the impact and what it would be, I’m pretty sure for some people it would be bookkeeping – and I know a pretty good one you can outsource too 😉
Originally posted: 6 JANUARY 2023