This post is brought to you by Paul Ajao a digital marketer who helps businesses get better results online. IT Support company First Line IT kindly helped in the research of this article.
Stop the madness! Too many small business entrepreneurs are hustling to build their business, but failing to achieve the goals they’ve set.
Instead they just end up burnt out and disappointed. And there is a reason for this: trying to do every job in the business with no help.
The fact is you can’t be good at social media, bookkeeping, office cleaning as well as building the long term strategic plan. Even if you think you can do all these tasks, you don’t have the time to do them all effectively.
Credit to The Gazette
Business gurus like Tim Ferris and Michael Gerber have been telling us for years that there’s a better way to run your business…and it doesn’t involve you doing everything.
But how do you get started down this road with outsourcing without spending too much or losing control?
Here are seven ideas to get you started. They will help free up your time from mundane tasks so you can concentrate on higher level executive tasks.
Many business people will be surprised at how little it costs to outsource the headache of dealing with receipts, cashflow, profit and loss etc.
You just need to invest in an online accountancy system such as Xero or Quickbooks and then contact a bookkeeper that is familiar with using them.
One of the benefits of using an online system is the bookkeeper doesn’t need to live near you. You can even photograph receipts with your mobile phone and save them, so you’re not carrying around scraps of paper.
The best bit is you’ll know exactly how your business is doing month to month. No nasty shocks at year end!
2. IT Support
I’m sure you’ve experienced it at some time or other; email is not working, printer suddenly decides to stop talking to your PC or the dreaded ‘blue screen of death’.
It always seems to happen at the worst possible time, just as you want to finish a report or prepare a meeting presentation.
Once you’ve tried the classic ‘turn it off and turn it on again’, what should you do? You’re a business building entrepreneur so spending hours trying to diagnose the problem is not a good use of your time. This is where you need an IT Support team.
Whether you have one computer or dozens, you can find local companies that will provide you with an IT support contract.
Any problems and you just give them a call to fix it. Many of these companies have special software so that they can log in to your computer remotely and diagnose the problem. This is quick, safe and cost effective.
3. Social Media
Do you use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? They can all help in getting the word out about your business. But you’ll also know that they can be an enormous time suck.
This can be an ideal task to outsource because it is clearly defined and there are lots of people with the required skills – people that may be even more talented than you at getting the most from social media.
A great place to start looking to outsource is on one of the freelancer websites such as Upwork.com or PeoplePerHour.com.
The freelancer doesn’t need to live in your country; the main thing is that they have the required skills and experience to work on your project.
It is important that you set out some guidelines for this type of role. You may want to write these down for your new team member.
These can include: how many times to post per day, what tone of voice to use, when to escalate negative comments to you, how to maintain security and avoid potential legal risks.
4. Website Content
I’ve seen many business owners be excited by the prospect of a new website. But their enthusiasm turns to dismay when they realise how much new content needs to be written.
This is another task that is ideal to outsource. If facing a blank piece of paper is your idea of torture, you’ll be glad to know there are people out there that love to write. A good place to start searching for them is at a content writing marketplace like Textbroker.
With this service you can chose the quality of writer that you want and pay a fixed fee for the writing assignment to be completed. It’s a great service for getting blog articles written and can also be used for in-depth professional research reports.
This service works best where you can provide clear instructions on the style of writing that you require. Do you want a casual or authoritative tone of voice? If there are examples of writing that you like, that is an even better way to communicate with your outsourced writer.
5. Graphic Design
Getting your graphics right is much harder than it looks. There is a reason that graphic designers spend 3 years at colleague perfecting their skills.
If you’re still struggling with Photoshop trying to get your branding right, why not outsource to a professional?
There are numerous options depending on your budget. At the top of the market is working one-on-one with a professional designer.
But over the last few years there has been an increase in the popularity of contest driven graphic design. The most popular contest site is 99designs.com but there are also other smaller sites such as DesignContest.com
With these contest designs sites, you detail the work you want completing such as a logo design or website design. Numerous graphic designers then starting working on designs and you get to choose your favourite.
This gives you the advantage of getting creative ideas from a number of different designers and you know that you are working to a fixed price.
6. General Admin
Inbox overflowing, appointments double-booked, projects behind schedule…sound familiar? A little known area that can be outsourced are these general administration tasks.
It’s not just executives at Fortune 500 companies that have Personal Assistants, it's now affordable for everyone.
With the growing popularity of Virtual Assistants, it’s now possible to have somebody manage tasks for you remotely. They may even be on the other side of the world but with digital tasks such as email management, this does not matter.
A popular and well established agency for finding qualified staff based in the Philippines is Virtual Staff Finder. Prices vary, but you could expect to pay $500-800 a month for a full-time VA through this service.
Alternatively you could Google for somebody closer to home. It’s sometimes surprising the number of highly qualified people that now prefer to work from home due to having children or wanting a less stressful life.
7. Online Marketing
If there’s one industry where change is guaranteed, it has to online marketing. What worked last month, is ineffective today.
If you don’t want to waste hours keeping up with the latest developments, you’re best off outsourcing the task to somebody that does this full-time.
Your alternatives include working with a local digital marketing agency or finding a freelancer on UpWork or PeoplePerHour.
Rather than expecting your partner to instantly take over all of your online marketing, a better approach would be to give them a discrete tasks. You can then see how they perform and give them more work if everything is to your satisfaction. Examples of discrete tasks could be:
Having read this article, do you feel that you’re spinning your wheels because you’re trying to do too much? Now maybe the time to seriously consider outsourcing some tasks that will give you the time to make more profits.
Let us know what you think in the comments below? Do you currently outsource? Is there an area you'd consider outsourcing?
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)