A common theme on my blog lately has been outsourcing. The reason I have mentioned outsourcing in many of my blog posts is because of the following
- I recently started outsourcing most of my work
- Writing about outsourcing inspires me to outsource more of my work
- Time is valuable, and we all need more of it
Some entrepreneurs go as far as saying that if you aren’t outsourcing any part of your business, then you are not a real entrepreneur. Ouch!
When I first discovered people said that, I thought to myself, “I’m an entrepreneur if I don’t outsource.”
If you don’t outsource, then you are still an entrepreneur. However, you aren’t as good as you could be. If Tim Cook had to worry about responding to all customer emails and pitching iPhones in the Apple Store every day, he wouldn’t have any time to lead the company to success.
You can’t do it all by yourself. I only discovered this when I decided to outsource some of my workload. Since then, I have outsourced various areas of my business. Here are three notable things I outsourced in August 2015:
- All Pinterest activity (except comments)
- All Twitter activity (except interaction)
- All intro pictures for my blog posts
When you put the three together, it takes an hour of my time every day. Now I’ve got that hour back. I feel like a more productive entrepreneur, as I should. That hour now goes into creating additional videos for my training courses.
I don’t even edit the videos anymore. I hired someone for that too 🙂
Right now, I am saving close to 10 hours of my time every week because of outsourcing. Put those hours together and I save 520 hours every year. Outsourcing those four parts of my business allowed me to get 21 days back.
We feel great when we get an hour back, so getting 21 days back put me on cloud nine. My goal is to get 60 days back by the end of the year.
Once I realized I needed to start outsourcing my work, my first step was figuring out how to actually outsource the work. I tried using Fiverr to get assistants but I didn’t have a good experience.
Some research led me to UpWork (formerly Odesk). I decided to post my job and see what would happen. The first job I posted got seven applicants. The second job I posted got 27 applicants. The great thing about UpWork is that you don’t have to worry about people seeing the job you posted. You’ll get applicants if your job description is good.
After getting the applicants, I narrowed my list down based on price and value. It’s easy to find someone on UpWork who is willing to work for less than $5/hr. It’s a great option for entrepreneurs who feel tied to a shoestring budget.
The First Struggle And Lessons Learned
The first time I experienced difficulty with outsourcing was in the very beginning. There was some miscommunication between me and the virtual assistant I hired. Since this was the first assistant I hired, I thought outsourcing wasn’t worth it.
Luckily I stuck with it.
The key to success on UpWork is to outsource the people with a mix of price and value, and then create detailed videos showing them what you do.
I didn’t take any chances with my Twitter activity. I created a video showing my assistant exactly how to follow and unfollow people so I could continue growing my Twitter audience without putting in any of the work. All I do on Twitter nowadays is interact with my audience.
Still Not Convinced?
I heard about two things for many years before I actually implemented. I wish I started them earlier. The first thing I wish I did earlier was build an email list.
The second one was outsourcing my work. Yes, outsourcing my work is right up there with building an email list late in the game.
For a long time, I shunned outsourcing and thought it was a solution for people who didn’t like to work. Seeing books like The 4-Hour Workweek didn’t please me because I saw it as people trying to escape their work all together. Why not work 40 hours every week if you love what you do?
I wasn’t a workaholic, but I was close.
Then it hit me. People are outsourcing most of their work so they can work on the most important parts of the business. No one can write my blog posts or do my videos. With the proper guidance, anyone can follow and unfollow people on Twitter.
But this was the main reason it took me so long.
Why would I pay someone to do something I already know how to do?
I knew how to unfollow and follow people on Twitter. I knew how to edit my videos. I knew how to do everything that I outsourced. Why hand it to someone else and pay them when I could do it myself?
The answer is outsourcing opens up more time. New time makes it possible to develop new skills and explore new opportunities. On a typical school day, I used to go home and do the following (for the sake of this list, homework isn’t included)
- Grow my Twitter audiences (20-30 minutes)
- Create a picture for one of my blog posts (10 minutes)
- Create videos (30 minutes if I was lucky. This activity was skipped on most days)
Here’s what my after school (and post-practice) schedule looks like now (again, excluding the homework):
- Create videos (30-60 minutes)
- Play the piano (30-60 minutes)
- Explore other opportunities
Fewer tasks stand between me and creating videos. That makes it possible for me to create more training courses, YouTube videos, and Periscope broadcasts. I save 30-40 minutes per day. I could have done those two tasks on my own, but now I have a lot of extra time to play with.
Entrepreneurs love to self-assess themselves. They like to see how they have grown or stayed the same. Most entrepreneurs stay the same and don’t do much growing. This is where the frustration sets in.
Remember that the frustration is part of the journey. However, the frustration and stagnation may be a result of an inefficient amount of time. Outsourcing your time will open up more time which can potentially skyrocket your entrepreneurial success.
Think about the business person you admire. If you’ve been an entrepreneur long enough, you admire some of the top entrepreneurs around. For me, Seth Godin quickly comes to mind.
Here’s the interesting thing. All of these entrepreneurs are outsourcing some of the work. Seth Godin (and most of the top authors) has an editor. When Squidoo was around, he hired people to respond to bug reports and interact with the community.
As productive as people like Seth Godin are, they can’t do it by themselves. Neither can you, and it’s okay to admit that. Outsourcing parts of your business will open the door to hours upon hours of extra time.
Do you outsource parts of your business? If not, are you willing to give it a try? Sound off in the comments section below!