How many hats are you wearing?
Silly question? Not really – in today’s fast-moving and competitive digital market, many entrepreneurs find themselves performing a whole slew of professional tasks. Many of which they might not be qualified to do. Often this can have a detrimental affect on their business.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re reading this article because you’re interested in outsourcing, then it’s highly likely you’re wearing far too many hats already.
Small business owners are especially prone to juggling too many roles and this can be partly due to budget and partly due to control issues. It’s hard to relinquish power to someone who doesn’t know your business as well as you do.
The other issue is that we’re living in a digital age. Most of us can do a little of everything. But does that mean you should do it professionally? Of course not. Just because you know your way around Instagram, does that make you a social media manager? No. That’s a highly specialized role and someone who has studied it will always perform better than a layman.
Why should I think about outsourcing work? I can do it all myself
Even larger business owners are prone to falling into the “I can do it all!” trap. They can also get into the habit of asking their employees to carry out tasks which aren’t in their job description. For work to be done well, it needs to be done by someone who understands what they’re doing.
If you employ one or more people full-time or part-time, it’s a good idea to take a look at their job descriptions. Next, take the following steps.
- Ask your employees to complete a job analysis questionnaire
- Conduct interviews with your employees, ask them questions about their duties and responsibilities
- Use log sheets so you can see what they’re really doing in a day – it might surprise you
If you have more than one person doing the same job, check and compare what each does as part of their role. They may differ.
Once you have an accurate overview of the duties being carried out, you can compare them to the job analysis questionnaires that the staff members filled out. Here are some excellent and free job analysis questionnaires. If you’re a small business and there’s only you working, it is a good idea to fill one of these out yourself.
You might be astounded to see exactly how much you’re taking on alone.
If we were to make a stab in the dark, as a business owner you or your small workforce are probably wearing some or all of the following hats.
- Web Developer
- Sales Executive
- Director of Marketing
- SEO Specialist
- Podcast Producer
- Content Writer
- Graphic Designer
For one single person to attempt all (and more) of the above is ridiculous and plainly bad business sense.
Don’t burn out – outsourcing work could save your mental health
Wearing this many hats – or trying to perform this many roles is never a good idea. Not only for your business but for your mental health.
When you try to carry too many responsibilities, you can easily become burned out and make poor business decisions. Burn-out is common among entrepreneurs and it doesn’t matter how successful your business is, once you start to crumble, it can be extremely tricky to get yourself back into a good position.
People set pretty high standards for themselves. We’re living in an age of achievement, there’s pressure to excel and everyone wants to be the next Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg but in the early days – and sometimes even in the more established days of business, it’s easy to forget that you simply cannot do it all yourself.
Passing on some of the work to others makes complete sense. It might take a while to get used to the changes. Once you see the benefits however, you’ll realize how much time you could have saved.
Having goals and ambitions if a good thing. Nobody is going to argue that point. Just don’t become so focused on doing more that you become unstuck.
Make time for yourself daily or your stress levels could become unmanageable. Outsourcing work is the best way to claw back some hours.
Stress and the entrepreneur
According to the Gallup Well-Being Index, 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed compared to 42% of “other workers.” Entrepreneurs also report being more likely to have “worried a lot” at regular points in their lives.
Those are real figures – but it’s easy to forget that you could be one of those numbers. Entrepreneurs spend so much of their day achieving, that they quite often forget to look after themselves.
Forgetting to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor is a shortcut to stress.
Trying to do more than you’re able or more than you’re actually qualified for simply makes things worse. Quality starts to slide and the issues become worse when in fact, the answer to your problems could be staring you right in the face.
Henry Ford said “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” and it’s true. The energy you could be spending more effectively is often wasted in trying to fix issues which would not even be there if you’d sought help in the first place.
If it all sounds too simple, it’s likely that you’re not looking at the facts properly. Or that you’re completely avoiding the issue. Which is exactly the problem you need to solve! So we’ll say it again – GET HELP.
Outsourcing work – what to hand over
If you’re completely overwhelmed and falling behind, then it’s important you take some time to work out what should be prioritized. This might be easy for you to get a handle on. You may already be aware that your social media isn’t great or your website needs attention. If this is the case, then great! You’re ready to enjoy some of the outsourcing benefits that working with freelancers can bring.
If you’re not sure what to pass on to someone else, you need to look at the structure of your business. How it was set up the first place. If you’ve had some help from freelancers right from the word go, then it might be pretty easy for you to take it to the next level.
Many business employ a bookkeeper or a virtual assistant from the start. Others may have been doing it all alone. Whichever category you fall into, take a good look at how things are working currently. Where there are weak spots. What takes up most of your time? Then what? Make a list of everything you do day-today and consider how you can pass some of it one to a freelancer. There’s no need to think this will have a negative effect on your business.
Shifting tasks to freelancers simply because you don’t enjoy them isn’t a good idea. Ask yourself if you’re the best person for the job or whether a freelancer could do it better.
What’s unique about your business?
Think about what it is that makes your business unique. What is at the core of your business that makes it stand out? This is what you probably can’t outsource. It may be intangible or it may be highly specialized but all businesses have something that they can outsource.
This work generally comes under these areas.
- Highly skilled
What might we mean by “highly skilled”? Usually this would include areas such as web development or even financial auditing. Outsourcing jobs within areas like this is common sense. Not everyone’s a super-skilled web developer or financial whiz so outsourcing accounting work makes complete sense for example. Even the most successful entrepreneurs need help.
What about the repetitive tasks? This includes are areas such as data entry or sales calls. Specialized knowledge includes things like content writing, graphic design and SEO. Of course there are more tasks than this which fall under the ‘ideal for outsourcing’ banner. You know best where your business’s weak spots are.
Your businesses unique selling points are what makes it special. You can remain true to those without doing everything yourself.
What about the cost?
What about it? Ultimately, outsourcing work will save you money – not cost you more. If you’re spending hours doing a bad job of your social media each week, think about the myriad ways in which you could better utilize that time.
Let’s look particularly at small businesses.
According to HubSpot, 43% of small businesses are spending 6 or more hours per week on their social media and 25% are spending 10 or more hours on social media.
That’s a lot of time! You could save yourself an entire day per week if you outsource that work to a freelancer. They might even be more qualified than you to do the job.
What can you achieve in a whole day? A lot is our guess – and especially if that day is a regular one. It’s a day to dedicate to marketing or networking or whatever area you feel might benefit your business. Or, if we’re talking about stress-management, it might be a good idea to actually have a day off. Think about that for a moment!
For many smaller business owners, the idea of managing a team of people that you can’t even see is a daunting task. But it’s important to remember that outsourcing work is no different to managing staff in person. Besides, these days, with Zoom and similar platforms, you can see your remote workers if you want to.
We’re living in amazing times with astonishing technology and that technology has given us freedom. Freedom to choose between more professionals than ever. We have a vast pool of talent to tap into.
Your perfect virtual assistant might live in South America- or Spain. Your ideal content writer could be working from a cottage in England or an apartment in New York. There’s absolutely no reason to stick with talent closer to home when it comes to your business.
Branch out and look at the opportunities out there and you could soon be outsourcing project work on a regular basis and trying to remember how you ever managed without your freelance help.
Likewise, if you’ve been wondering how to outsource work overseas, then you’re probably new to outsourcing. It’s much easier than you think. With the help of next generation agencies like Speedlancer, you can now utilize talent from anywhere across the globe and benefit from a managed team or individual.
The simplest premise
Agencies like Speedlancer work on a simple premise. They find and vet the talent so that when you need help, you’re introduced to the best person for the job. You pay a set fee every month and communicate your needs directly with your freelancer.
The key to getting the most out of outsourcing work is to know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Obviously you want to save time but you’ll also want to improve the quality of whichever aspect of your business you’re outsourcing.
Having vetted freelancers who are tried and tested before they start work on your project means that you never have to worry about the quality of their work.
Working with freelancers has many benefits. Let’s look at a few in detail.
Advantages of outsourcing – why it’s great to work with freelancers
One of the key merits of outsourcing has to be the fact that you can cherry-pick the skills of highly trained professionals. You can do this without the need to expand your workforce.
Taking on employees even part-time costs money and again – time. When you employ someone, you need to onboard them, deal with taxes, cope with their performance reviews and think about employee benefits.
Working with freelancers gives you the benefit of freedom. You’re able to utilize the help on a need-to basis. You need a new logo – you don’t have an in-house graphic designer but you do have access to many, highly skilled freelancers who can do a stellar job for you. And if you like a freelancer, then there’s nothing stopping you from hiring them again and again.
The gig economy is growing too – your choice is only getting bigger and better. The economic benefits of outsourcing are clear.
What Covid-19 has taught us about freelancing
Covid-19 caused a lot of fear and uncertainty. It caused tragic losses across the world and for many, job uncertainty and poverty. But amid all of the panic and fear, people rose to the challenge. They adjusted and altered their routines, they switched from one life to another quite smoothly.
People supported others, helped the vulnerable and tried to think positively.
The working lives of many people are still unrecognizable though. People who commuted, worked with others, lived busy and active lives have needed to stay at home and still undertake their work. And they did it with an ease that was astounding.
If there’s one takeaway from the global pandemic, it’s the fact that remote working is simpler and more beneficial than many people thought possible.
Some business owners have traditionally held a negative impression of remote work. The fear being that people won’t work as hard as they might do within an office environment.
But research has proven that there’s much more of a positive impact on both businesses and workers where remote work is concerned.
According to CoSo Cloud, 77% of remote workers feel they’re more productive when working from their own home office or in a shared remote working facility.
That survey also found that 23% of remote workers actually work longer hours and more than half are less likely to take time off than those working in an office.
The upside of Covid-19’s effect on business
As Covid-19 took it’s swift toll, businesses and employees struggled briefly to adjust but quickly found that there was an upside to working from home. Many people discovered it made their life easier – and that’s not just the employees.
With countless businesses adjusting their day-to-day activities to fit in with isolation and lock-down, what became very clear was that there were many benefits to home-based working.
Just a few of the benefits to home-based working are as follows.
- Less traffic on the road is good for the environment
- Employing freelancers mean fewer overheads for businesses
- Global talent to tap into
What will come of this discovery is that more people than ever will be comfortable outsourcing work to freelancers as platforms like Zoom and Slack are there to support them technically.
The unknown is often what people fear most. Covid-19 has removed a lot of that fear-based reticence. If your business is still struggling to correct itself in the wake of Covid-19, it’s probable that it would benefit from some of the many outsourcing business opportunities available.
Digital collaboration is part of life now
People who previously felt uncomfortable on videoconferencing platforms have quickly adjusted to the new reality. We all know that Covid-19 won’t be here forever. Things will eventually return to normal – but to a new normal.
During the past few months, digital collaboration tools have become part and parcel of life. In fact, innovation is soaring within some industries as work that used to be done in-house, is now done remotely.
Organizations are waking up to the fact that they don’t need to stick to the same routine and the same tired methods of getting things done. Outsourcing work is just as simple, if not simpler than ever before.
What does this mean for business? Will there be less need for companies to take on regular employees? Not immediately but it does mean that many businesses who may not previously have considered outsourcing any of their work will now be more comfortable with the idea.
The process of collaborating remotely has been completely demystified. There is going to be more demand than ever for people who can fulfill the needs of businesses of all kinds.
What can you expect from a freelancer?
Working with freelancers as you outsource work, will quickly become like second-nature. You can form ongoing relationships with those that you really gel with or with those who produce particularly strong work.
When you start a working relationship with a freelancer, even if they’re not in the same country as you are, it’s simple to establish a working routine. Thanks to digital collaboration tools such as Slack, we can talk to anyone, anywhere as needed. If you’re wondering how to get outsourced work from the USA, you will be pleased to know that it’s just as simple as working with someone in the same country. Time-zones are managed and language is easily adjusted.
Work will be delivered as you need it and you can discuss concerns online. With Zoom, Slack, Trello and similar platforms, you can remain in constant touch with your freelancers.
There’s no need to worry about the quality of work either.
The majority of freelancers take pride in their high standards; working for themselves carries a certain responsibility so they tend to be the opposite of lazy – in fact, many are extremely driven.
To take away
What we can all agree on is that the world has changed in recent months. Events which were unprecedented have meant that people across the globe have needed to adjust and reassess everything from their commute to their office space.
Outsourcing work was already on the rise before Covid-19 hit. Now it’s part and parcel of life for more professionals than ever – which of course is a good thing. We can all benefit from one another’s skills and knowledge and we can do it in a cleaner, greener fashion.
From your social media to your web design, there’s not much that you can’t outsource today. There’s no reason to try to do it all – there’s help available in every corner of the globe.
We really are on the way to becoming a global village, collaborating together on a daily basis no matter where in the world we are.