Everything, and Then Some
You went into business for yourself because you have a special set of skills. You are the best at what you do, so why not reap the benefits of being the head honcho—as a solopreneur, you get to call the shots, select the clients, and manage your own time, right?
If only it were that simple!
As your business grows, you will find that in order to keep up, you need to outsource certain tasks…
As a solopreneur, you are in charge of everything. Sure, you get to be the boss, but you also have to be the intern, the accountant, and the salesman. You are busy making calls, writing emails, keeping track of records and receipts—and in between it all, you need to find some time to, you know, work.
You do one or two things very well, but that doesn't mean you'll be a whiz at mailing orders, marketing, or web design. As your business grows, you will find that in order to keep up with your work load you may need to outsource certain tasks—it is nothing to be ashamed of. Outsourcing time-consuming tasks is liberating: not only will you have more time to fulfill orders, but you will also be able to focus on attracting new clients and growing your business.
The trick is knowing which parts of your business to pass on to a professional, and the first step is determining your core skills.
Best, Better, Good Enough
So what should you outsource? It all depends on your abilities and the needs of your business.
Begin by making two lists: tasks you love and tasks you loathe. As a solopreneur, you have to multitask; inevitably, you will have to take charge of some jobs you would rather skip (nobody likes sorting through receipts), but if you absolutely hate to package orders, then why not consider outsourcing the busy work. For about $10 an hour, you can find a temp on TaskRabbit to package and post products. Depending on your business, this could save you dozens of hours every week.
You're probably already outsourcing your accounting tasks, either to a CPA or a financial planner. To make the process more efficient, make sure that you're using QuickBooks or a similar financial management program. QuickBooks won't do your taxes for you, but it will save you time and energy. When tax time rolls around, send your files with a single click to your accountant.
You may have heard of “virtual assistants,” a helper in the “cloud” who manages, well, whatever you want. A virtual assistant can answer emails, transcribe audio memos, research and book travel arrangements, upload photos and video to your website, manage your social media, and more—basically, they can do everything except grab coffee!
Going as You Grow
You can outsource almost anything, but that doesn't mean you should. There is a good reason that you went into business for yourself: you want to be in control. If a task represents a core aspect of your business, then it is best to take care of it yourself. Of course, there are some exceptions. If a job requires special equipment or a set of skills that you can't master in a reasonable amount of time, then you should outsource it.
Make sure to review any work you outsource, at least for the first few months. Once you feel comfortable working with a sub-contractor, you can give them more freedom, but remember that at the end of the day, it's your name and your reputation that is at stake.
1. If you are looking to hire extra help, then there is no better place to go than to our pals at Elance. Check out the ads to the right. Elance can not only help you find more gigs, but can also help you find the right help to handle those gigs.
2. The best book out there on how to outsource your work the smart way is The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.