Knowing When to Outsource

outsource hire As a solo-preneur or small business owner it’s easy to get into the habit of doing everything yourself. You may believe that you can not afford help or that you are the only one who can do what needs to be done. Wrong on both counts!

The truth is that you can’t afford not to get help, and there are lots of people who can do some things better than you. It can be hard to let go and turn some tasks over to others, but it is necessary for your business to thrive. Here are some signs that there are things you should be outsourcing now.

Your Business is Growing Faster Than You Can Handle on Your Own
As your business expands you will find that you do not have enough time to do everything, even if you want to. You can work 18-hour days, never take a day off and work yourself to the point of exhaustion and it won’t be enough. If you had a store or a restaurant you wouldn’t think twice about hiring staff to help run the business. So why do you think your business can thrive without staff? Hire help to take some of the load off your shoulders before you run the business into the ground—or the business runs you into the ground.

You Want to Make More Money
When your earnings are based on the number of hours you can work and the amount you can produce, your earnings will always be limited. Outsourcing the tasks that can be done by others frees your time to do the work that only you can do.

Stuff Isn’t Getting Done
Are you missing deadlines? Forgetting to honor commitments to clients? Not following through on leads? Failing to invoice and collect for the work you have done? These are things that could kill your business.

There Are Things You Hate to Do
Every minute of every day won’t be spent having fun. But spending more time on tasks you enjoy and less on those you don’t not only makes your business more fun, it will make it more profitable. Have you ever noticed that when you have something to do that you don’t enjoy it takes longer than it should and you waste a lot of time procrastinating? Let go of the boring, tedious stuff and make more time for the productive work you enjoy. And here’s a secret: For every job you find boring and tedious, there is someone who is really good at it and even (gasp!) enjoys it. Really.

You Don’t Have the Skills
I believe that you could learn to do just about anything that needs to be done in your business. I also believe that you shouldn’t learn to do everything. Some things require specialized knowledge that takes a lot of time and effort to master. Not only will a pro usually be able to write press releases, sales letters and other copy faster than you, their work will probably get better results.

So in many cases, you are better off hiring someone who has that knowledge than trying to do it all yourself. If you need a contract written, are you going to hire a lawyer or are you going to go to law school? While not as extreme, the same principle can apply to lots of other tasks. Hire someone who is already good at it instead of learning it yourself.

You Want to Do Other Things
You could do everything yourself, but you may want to devote more time to family, work on a new aspect of your business or do something you have always wanted to do. Hire people to do the day-to-day running of your business so that you can manage your business and spend more time doing the things that are most important to you.

You Need Time Away
It could be that you need to take care of family matters or just take care of yourself. If you have a VA or other support staff, your business can keep going even when you are away.

You Can Make More Money Doing Something Else
Don’t spend time on low-value tasks when you could be using that time for high-value tasks. At one point several years ago I realized that I was spending nearly eight hours a week packing and mailing books. That is eight hours I could have been using to create new products, provide consulting services to clients or other income-producing activities. My priority immediately became finding a fulfillment service so I could delegate shipping books. Paying someone else a few dollars to ship books took me out of the business of printing mailing labels, stuffing envelopes and driving to the post office. It was a huge change for my business.

Outsourcing can be scary, just as anything new can be. However, the only way you can grow your business is to let go of the things that hold you back.


  1. Bill Mullin says

    The owner of a small instrument mfr near Chicago asked me to visit to assess abilities of his key employees. He offered to pay my 1st Cls Exp, but no fee. !st Cls MYR/ORD not cheap nor was Limo from ORD to his facility. Met all key employees. All typical Midwest competent except Mktg Mgr. His ofc walls embellished by diplomas of top Midwest Colleges. Interviews with others confirmed to me they knew what they were doing. Mktg Mgr next. Q#1? What is Goal for next year? A#1. “Double sales!”. Q#2. How many instruments made THIS year? A#2. Do not know exact number. Ask Prod Mgr. Q#3. What is average selling price of best selling product? A#3. Btwn $50 & $100. Ask ‘Bean-Counter’. Q#4. Which Instr is most profitable to company? A#4. Ask Bean Counter. Q#5. What is ROI on BEST Sls Prom Program? A#5. Ask Bean Counter.
    Conclusion…Org needs new Mktg Mgr.
    Time Reqd? 2 days.
    Action taken by Pres?: New Mktg Mgr + expanded mfrg capability + Sale to #1 competitor at $$$$ profit to CEO.
    Bill Mullin 843/399-1835
    Compensation: All expenses + Excellent handheld Marine Radio (still have that one)

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