Are you trying to do it all yourself?
When you’re just getting started or in the early stages of growing your business, you try to keep expenses down by taking a DIY approach.
I’ve been there. Honestly, I was really resistant to hiring a VA, but now I outsource even more—and my business is growing fast. Not only that, while I’m taking a break this summer, things are going to keep flowing because my awesome team is on it.
So if you’re thinking about outsourcing—do it!
I chatted recently with my mentor and one of my all around favorite people, Amber McCue from NiceOps. Amber is committed to getting more of you in the world and her How to Clone Yourself system is designed for exactly that! Based on her system, we put together some key points to get you started.
What to Outsource
The first thing both of us outsourced was posting blogs and social media. Amber said she loved researching and creating, but posting big time sucks because she spent too much on things like getting images just right. Sound familiar?
I wasn’t sure having my VA set up my blogs and newsletters was worth it at first. I felt like I had to spell out every little thing out for her. Now she formats the whole thing better than I would.
Obviously blogs aren’t the only thing you can outsource. Amber’s How To Clone Yourself Guide goes into depth on the first four buckets of tasks that can be outsourced (I added my own notes and the fifth bucket from my own experience!):
- Things you hate or that frustrate you.
I love my business, but there are some things I don’t enjoy- like managing my books. It was such a relief to hand off some of those things so that I could focus on the things I love—helping clients and creating new programs. If you hate doing something and spend lots of time on it, Stop. Doing. It. You’ll not only save time, but you’ll also save mental energy. Coding in WordPress not your thing? Somebody else loves it. Pay them and move it off your plate.
- Love it and spend lots of time on it
A time suck is a time suck. Even if you love doing something, you don’t have time to waste. Start by trying to reduce the time you spend. That may mean a better system or saying “good enough.” If it’s still eating up time, outsource.
- Things that are easy to pass off.
Sometimes there is a learning curve when you hand over a task or project, like when I got my VA started posting my blog. Start by outsourcing something simple. Amber outsourced tweeting to her teen daughter, because her daughter had tweeted a few things that got great traffic.
- Little tasks that eat up time.
How much time do you spend wading through your email every day? Amber has an intern organize her emails, so she can get in, respond to key messages, and get out. Her intern also checks Facebook to make sure people are accepted into groups and that messages don’t go unnoticed. What niggly little tasks could you hand off?
- Things out of your area of expertise.
I outsource my taxes to a CPA. I hired a lawyer to set up legal documents for my business. I pay for amazing design and I recently outsourced the deciphering of my google analytics! Could I do these things myself? Sure, but an expert can do it faster—and better.
Know What You Want
Once you know what you want to outsource, craft a role description. In addition to saying what you want the person to do, Amber suggests including how you will know they are successful.
Also think about what you’re willing to train somebody to do and what you want them to come in knowing.
Find the Right People
Personally, I love referrals. I’m lazy, so my favorite way to find the right person is to let people I know and trust find great people and then hire them too. If that doesn’t work, look for people by:
- Asking family or friends
- Networking in groups
- Posting on Facebook
- Using Upwork (formerly Odesk) or something similar
But finding people and finding the right people isn’t the same thing. Amber is also a pro at hiring, so I turn to her expertise in this area as well. Her methods start with a simple mantra, be honest. Give a realistic job preview to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Then ask the right questions. Amber recommends using behavioral-based interview questions, like ‘Tell me about a time when you . . . (plug in whatever skill or task you need the person to do)’. So instead of ‘Have you coded in WordPress before?,’ say ‘Tell me about a time you had to install a plugin a WordPress and had to do a little code.’
What to Pay
That’s the big question isn’t it? How much is this all going to cost? Amber broke it down like this:
High priority activity + high skill set = higher investment
High priority activity + lower skill set = lower investment
Low priority activity = lower investment
Remember, you aren’t paying people what they are worth, but what the work is worth to your business. You can use bonuses to show appreciation for great work.
Even if you think you’ve found the perfect person it might not be the perfect match. One easy way to do a trial period is to hire somebody for a specific project or set time. For example, hire somebody to create and post your social media for a specific program. If they do a great job, offer them another project. Or get a summer intern. If they work out, ask them to continue in the fall.
Once you start outsourcing, you’re going to want to outsource more. If you haven’t started or you aren’t outsourcing much, here’s your next action item:
Identify one thing you can outsource.
It can be big, like hiring a designer to get your website looking fab, or small, like paying one of your kids to file and shred for you. Just pick something and get started.
Imagine what you can do when you make extra time for the things that only you can do in your business.
Thank you so much to Amber for lending her expertise to this post! If you want to know even more about outsourcing and all the steps needed to make it successful, check out Amber’s definitive guide, How To Clone Yourself, and you’ll have all your answers.