Are you working yourself ragged with no end in sight? I’m going to tell you about a topic I literally wrote the book on: outsourcing. Too many business owners are working long hours, struggling with tasks they shouldn’t be doing, and limiting their opportunities for growth. I’m going to explain what is meant by outsourcing, how it can help you, and how to tell whether you are ready to do it.
What do I mean by outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the process of hiring another individual, independent contractor or company to handle business activities for you. This might be work you can do but don’t want to do. It could be work you have never done before, where it makes more sense to get someone who knows what they’re doing to do it for you.
Or it can be passing on jobs to free you up to work on more valuable activities, improve your efficiency or give yourself a break. If you are struggling to find the time to do everything or there is a project you dream of but you don’t have the resources to deliver it, then consider outsourcing work. I’m going to tell you how outsourcing changed my life. It can change yours too.
How I fired myself
In late 2009, I found myself burnt out and stressed like never before. We had grown our outsourcing call center Live2Sell, Inc. to 75 full-time employees. I was working up to sixteen hours a day, and we had a new baby, Charlie. Something needed to change. I realized I wasn’t running our business, our business was running me. And so I fired myself.
During 2010 we slowly, but surely removed me from the business. I started by taking myself off email threads I was copied into and then gradually delegated more tasks:
- I outsourced tasks to my virtual assistants to manage day-to-day administrative jobs
- I stopped training new recruits myself and hired a full-time trainer
- I developed an internal management team
- I stopped micromanaging and set benchmarks and clearly defined tasks instead
- I hired experienced online marketers and other virtual staff to help with business development and lead generation
By the end, I had hired eight people to do all the work I had been doing before. Not only did I remove myself from that business day to day but by becoming a virtual CEO, I had the time to develop another business, Virtual Staff Finder, a match-making service for busy entrepreneurs who want to work with virtual assistants. And outsourcing opened up a whole new world of business for me.
I started blogging and podcasting. I’ve written two books, and have had the privilege of building the Youpreneur community. Our Academy has just celebrated its 4th birthday and we’re about to hold our 3rd Youpreneur Summit in London. I learned the importance of true delegation and you can see the difference it has made to my life. Now I’m going to deep dive a little into who virtual assistants are and what you can outsource to give you some ideas for ways to make your business work better for you.
What is a virtual employee?
A virtual employee is someone who works for you without being physically in the same place as you. When people think of a company, they often imagine an office where everyone is working together. When you are building a virtual team, you can be working with people from all over the world. They can be in an office or working from home. Time zones might mean they are working while you are sleeping and you can wake up to find that work you asked for is ready and waiting for you.
Your business can work around the clock but you don’t have to. Working with virtual assistants, freelancers, or outside agencies, helps you get work done, helps you to grow your business, and stops you running around trying to do everything. It opens up many more opportunities for you.
What tasks can you outsource?
People often ask me what they can outsource. Here’s a list of some common tasks VAs can help you with. How many of these would you like to pass on to someone else?
- Email management
- Booking your appointments
- Blog and podcast management
- Researching possible topics for blog posts
- Social media management
- Setting up auto-responders for your website
- Taking the minutes of online meetings
- Transcribing audio recordings
- Booking travel plans
- Data entry
- File and dropbox management
- Calendar management
- Receptionist duties
- Recruiting new freelancers
- Creating basic reports
- Preparing slideshows
- Answering support tickets
- Lead generation
- Generating reports from software or tools
- Managing project progress between team members
- Assisting in event management
- Sending birthday wishes to clients
- Running personal errands online
When is the right time to outsource?
Only hire when you truly need it. Now the big question is, how do you know when you need it? Ultimately, it comes into two different categories. Number one is overwhelm.
Do you feel like you're just overwhelmed right now? Are you working too many hours? Are you struggling to keep up with all the demands your business makes of you and you’re missing out on other aspects of your life? Then you are probably ready to hire a virtual assistant to help you.
You might not feel overwhelmed. You might be happy with your hours. But what if you could grow your business by bringing someone else on board? Could a virtual assistant increase your revenue? Would they enable you to do something you can’t at the moment, such as take on more clients? Perhaps it's worth investigating what outsourcing can do for you and begin putting together your own outsourcing strategy.
Hire when you need it, and not before. If you can’t currently take on someone on a full-time or part-time basis then bringing in people to help with project work will lessen your load and get you used to working with others in your business.Your business can work around the clock but you don’t have to. Working with virtual assistants helps you get work done, grow your business, and opens up many more opportunities for you. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.