Outsourcing: How to Call in the Experts (Without Breaking the Bank!)
“Do what you do best, and outsource the rest”
This is one of my favourite sayings, and I’m in good company too: it’s a saying that just about every successful entrepreneur lives by (can you see Sir Richard Branson doing his own accounts, or designing his companies’ social media posts?)
You might be surprised that I regularly recommend that micro and side hustle business owners seek external support; outsourcing costs money, after all. And who can spare any of that, when they’re in business all by themselves?
So you struggle on, creating your own social media artwork, doing your own accounts, writing your own blog posts, setting up your own website, and shipping your own products.
(Which is all very well and good, but at what point exactly do you get to spend some precious downtime with your family and friends, – or even get on with your actual work – the reason you set up your business in the first place?)
In previous posts, I’ve covered the importance of undertaking a business skills audit to pinpoint what you’re great at and – importantly – what you’re not so great at. Once you’re aware of what you like doing most, what you’d like to learn, and what tends to get pushed to the bottom of your To-Do list, you’ll know more about what skills are ripe for outsourcing in your business.
But as we all know, outsourcing is not just about skills! There are two more key factors to consider:
- Knowing exactly what you want to achieve
So let’s start with what you want to achieve.
Planning Saves You Time
If you’ve worked with me, or you’re a regular reader of my books and blog posts, you’ll know this already: planning is the best thing you can do for your micro or side hustle business.
Planning informs everything you do, and it also shows you what you’ve achieved – so you’ll know whether or not you’re on the right track (if you’re not, you can make the right changes – contact me to find out how).
In previous posts I have covered the difference between a business plan, a strategic plan, and an action plan, along with some helpful tips to get you started. The great news is, none of these plans have to be long, and they definitely don’t have to be complicated! But they will all save you time in the long-term.
Now, it’s on to that other crucial business factor: MONEY
How Much Does Your Business Cost?
Can you write down on a piece of paper, right now – and without investigation – how much it costs to run your business weekly, monthly and annually?
I can assure you, the answer isn’t £0. If it is you are probably doing something very, very wrong (maybe illegal if you’re not paying for any insurance at the very least!)
If you don’t know those numbers how do you know:
- How much income you need to make?
- How much you can afford to invest in yourself and your business?
I work with so many micro and side hustle business owners who are terrified of spending money. Mainly because they have no idea of how much they’re bringing in, or if they’re making a profit. Because of this, they try to do everything themselves – often (OK, very often) really badly. The result? It’s always a struggle.
The biggest impact? Playing it small.
A fear of goal-setting and outcome analysis means that the business limps along and no account is taken of what is actually happening in the business.
Running a Successful Business Comes with Costs
That’s the truth: whether you like it or not! Once you sit down and work out yours, you’ll have a far better understanding of how much you’re making, and where you could afford to bring in some support.
So set aside some time, grab a sheet of paper and your calculator (or open up an Excel spreadsheet), and devise two budgets
- Your Survival Budget – this is how much money you need to live; this will include things like your mortgage or rent, household bills, food, clothing etc
- Your Business Budget – include everything you pay to keep things running, such as professional memberships, marketing materials, and website hosting, printing business cards, attending networking meetings, business insurance etc. etc.
Once you have both figures, add them together.
This figure will tell you how much your business needs to make (turnover) to pay its way – and to pay you.
Armed with this information you can start to make informed decisions, including whether your pricing structure is right AND… would it be better for the business for you to do more of what you do best and pay someone else to do the things that take you ages or that you don’t do very well at all.
I once had a POWER HOUR with a Virtual Assistant who, very excitedly, told me she had taken on a contract where the client negotiated her down to a fee of £15 per hour. During the session we did a few calculations and it turned out that her business costs meant she had to charge no less than £19 per hour to break even. She was bitterly disappointed as she felt ‘cheated’; she felt she was paying them £4 an hour!
It was a tough lesson (one I learned myself, many years ago) but believe me, she knew her numbers from that day onward and never negotiated a contract below her break even figure again.
Don’t Forget Your “WHY”
Planning, budgeting and objective-setting can be scary processes. Not because they’re difficult, but because they reveal what really needs to be done. This is one of the reasons why many people find running a micro or side hustle business so challenging.
Reminding yourself of why you started your business can be a huge help, as can spending some much-needed time with the people you love.
Don’t forget that you’re the one in charge, too – so put some structures in place that mean you’re not sacrificing all your favourite things as you grow your business!
Start your own planning and budgeting process by downloading my Five Year Timeline, which will help you set some meaningful objectives and achievable goals.
If you get stuck at any point, I’m always on hand to chat things over and provide some support, so please get in touch.
And please don’t hesitate to share any thoughts and questions below. I love talking about planning, and I also love starting new and interesting conversations!