The word ‘business’ literally derives from the state of being busy; ‘busy-ness’. When starting out, entrepreneurs are all things to all people. They can feel like they are wearing many hats, stretching themselves thinly and being pulled in all directions. Sales, delivery, marketing, admin, not to mention finance, HR, legals and recruitment. An entrepreneur must be a jack of all trades, knowing a lot about many areas and spinning many plates. Do too much, however, and the plates might start to fall.
In order to feel less busy and make the most of their true talents, many entrepreneurs look to outsource tasks within their day-to-day operations. I spoke to entrepreneurs in all fields about the outsourcing decision that made the most difference.
All the administration
Admin often isn’t the real work, it’s the foundation that allows the real work to happen. You can’t deliver that presentation if you don’t know where it is. You can’t pay your staff if you haven’t set up your payments. Entrepreneurs wasting time doing their own admin are being held back in other areas; admin is rarely worth their time.
Greg Simpson, founder of Press For Attention knows that his skills “are in creation and copy.” He said he is, “far more productive as a business owner and far more creative as a consultant when I focus on my core skills.” He outsources all admin tasks in his business, and calls it a win-win.
Joanne Streames, founder of Velvet Mortgage and Insure Services said at the start, “outsourcing admin was imperative as I felt like a hamster in the wheel and couldn’t grow my business.” Two years in, her team now has 8 people and but she still outsources “PR, social media, branding and marketing. We also have a professional recruiter who is helping us grow the team.” Streames’ strategy is simple. “I always think; what am I good at? Where does my expertise lie? And who, not how, can get me where we need to be?” She has found that the more “who’s” she has involved, the more successful her company has been.”
Someone’s hell is another’s heaven. The work you most dread will be someone else’s jam. There is rarely a good reason for an entrepreneur to do their own admin; follow the lessons learned by Simpson and Streames and do what only you can do.
Crunching the numbers
You probably wouldn’t fix your own car, plumb your own bathroom or build your own house. You’d find a professional who knew what they were doing. So many business owners think they can do their own accounts and they miss out on the benefits a great accountant can bring. This is common in earlier stage startups and can feel like a way to keep costs down, but actually it’s a false economy.
Digital consultant Marcio Delgado said that, “outsourcing accounts has made a massive difference” to his business. “No matter how much you love what you do, if you get too involved in all bureaucratic sides of work, little time is left to work on the creative side of it.” Not only that, but an accountant should save you more money than they cost, in structuring decisions and tax advice plus the financial aspect of every business decision.
Digital agency founder Binny Shah-Patel “stopped fretting about my tax returns and focused my time and energy on other areas of my business” when outsourcing tax affairs. Logging into Xero and crunching numbers yourself is no way to spend your weeks. Scanning receipts and compiling spreadsheets isn’t either.
For everything related to numbers and money, know what’s going on but let someone else compile the reports. Let someone else declare your earnings to the government and fill in boxes on forms they send. You can find much more productive and effective ways of spending your time.
A solid social media presence
A social media manager used to be one person, now it’s several. There are TikTok specialists, LinkedIn lead-generation experts, Twitter gurus and Facebook ads wizards. Not to mention the content creation itself; videographers, copywriters, bloggers, photographers, animators, Reel creators, producers and schedulers. Finding that in one person is a huge ask. Finding that in yourself is impossible.
Outsourcing social media management made a difference to Kadian Pow, founder of Bourn Beautiful Naturals. “People underestimate the amount of time and expertise it takes to craft strategy, photos, videos, captions, hashtags, and navigate constantly-changing algorithms. It’s a full time job itself.” Pow said it’s, “Very worth it to outsource this early” and wishes they had done it sooner.
Business and marketing specialist Niki Hutchison doesn’t outsource the strategy, but the execution. This is “so that my ideas can escape out of my head and come to life.” Be the visionary entrepreneur and join up with partners focused on execution of your ideas, to ensure they reach as many people as possible. Ravi Davda, CEO of Rockstar Marketing outsources social media admin both “for my business and my mental health.”
Logging on and posting every day shortens your attention span and pulls you away from the deep work that makes the real difference. Find some great freelancers with a track record and send the work their way.
A brilliant brand
In an ideal world, customers find you. They stumble upon your website, are wowed by how well your company seems to know what you need, and then get in touch. Your brand amazes them and they know you are the supplier for them. They glide through your funnels right into your client base.
Whilst this can happen, it rarely does without a second pair of eyes. Outsourcing branding and everything with your brand on it, including website design, development and copywriting, is the difference between a brand that converts and a presence that confuses. Callie Pettigrew, founder of Studio Dine, understands the importance “Investing in really powerful branding and website design has made a huge difference to my business.” Because of this, “we now attract our dream clients and customers and have built so much trust with them too.”
Not just the website, but the words on the page. Michelle Poulson of Print Play Learn said, “Outsourcing copywriting on my website and blogs has given me so much time back to focus on what I am actually good at, the designing. It’s also taken away the stress of feeling about having to write. Best thing I did.”
Get great at doing your work and let others explain what you do. Focus on your craft and outsource your copy and conversion to branding professionals. Find someone who loves geeking out on the data and see what a difference they can make.
Admin, finance, social media and every aspect of your brand. Four things entrepreneurs struggle with themselves, that could be outsourced to huge benefits. Take one at a time and watch your schedule clear and your business take off.