Why You Should Be Outsourcing

Photography Credit: Jacki Bruniquel

I’m going to start off The Green Room with some advice that I’ve only recently allowed myself to take, but something I think we all should be doing more of – giving ourselves a break and outsourcing.

I am a firm believer in the mantra that I’d rather work harder doing something I’m good at (blogging, writing, networking) to hopefully earn more money to pay someone else to do the things I’m not so good at (cooking – hey having a happy work/life balance is as big a deal as streamlining your business – accounting, graphic and web design).

Gareth’s role in the business has also evolved greatly over the past 6 months. Finally earning enough money to suppport us both means that the accounting, website coding and IT support/technical stuff has come on leaps and bounds in the latter part of last year. What would be the benefit of me sweating it out, trying to do all these things myself, when I can simply have Gareth as my full time lackey to do them…and he can do these things a hell of a lot better than I ever could.

Your branding and graphic design is also another big area which I think should be outsourced. As Jasmine Star once wrote, “Just because you can use photo shop to make a logo yourself, doesn’t mean you should.” The first big thing I spent a significant amount of money on for my business was my branding. Best thing I ever did.

Sure, not everyone is going to be in the position to be able to afford to pay someone else to do all the bits you don’t like doing (or can’t do well) right now, but I certainly think it’s a goal worth working towards. Learning to ‘let things go’ and accept help has been a massive challenge for me (control freak much!?) but overall my quality of life is now much better and my business has benefited enormously.

I encourage you to think about areas of your business (or life!) that you either dislike or struggle with, and ponder that if you could redress the balance, which of these areas would you like to outsource.

36 comments

  1. So true – outsourcing my printing is the best thing I ever did. I hated all the printer jams and cutting out, argh! Now they arrive in a box and i get to package and send them, stress free!

  2. Nikki Ward - Knots & Kisses

    Loving the new Green Room section. I really have to start thinking about outsourcing some of my stuff … although I do also have an incredibly handy other half who does all my website stuff for me and is a computer whizz!
    Love your comment Leah! How did you go about finding a printer by the way? I’d really like to explore this option myself as I am also sick of printer jams!

  3. Love the new area of the site Kat… as a florist, I love reading the bridal posts to see what is new and exciting with wedding flowers, but as a blogger and business woman, your advice posts are also super useful.
    I recently outsourced my book-keeping as it was somethjing I HATED doing, but after 6 months, I have realised that I am no longer as in touch with the financial side of things as I used to be, so I am biting the bullet and taking the book keeping back again 🙁
    However, this has kinda worked in my favour as I have just employed a new florist, who is also a graphic designer, and I can now afford to have her in the shop 1 extra day a week designing my leaflets, newsletters and posters, rather than me struggling to work out paintshop!

  4. Outsourcing changed my life in 2011. Honestly by the end of 2010 I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit burned out. At the end of 2011, however, I was able to go off on my trip to SA and really relax and enjoy it. I outsource accounting, bookkeeping (keep an eye on that 12 month rolling turnover and VAT threshold peeps!), cleaning and RAW editing. The last was the hardest to let go of. I tested out five company’s and went with the best for me out of those. I love that I can send the bulk off and that they will process those to my specs. I still do the retouching work on my wedding albums as well as the design as to me that is very personal.

  5. Very true. I’m a big fan of asking other people how they do something too, rather than wasting loads of time trying to work it out myself. Very few people are amazing at everything after all 😉

  6. As another control freak – I haven’t let go of much yet. Still do all pictures but a mate always help with IT stuff as I really have no desire to learn that at all. The accountant is far better with figures than me and in my la-la world someone would do the ironing for me!!! 🙂

  7. Great post Kat and loving the ‘Green Room’ idea.
    I’m completely with you on the branding side of businesses. We are contacted by so many companies in the wedding industry who offer great services to couples getting married, however the branding and websites leave a lot to be desired.
    The first place most people see is a company’s website and branding, and if you like, this is ‘the shop front’ to their business. It is worth spending a little money (it doesn’t have to be a lot to start with) on having a professional design company create your brand, ‘look’. There is no point in having a great business, service and product is your ‘look’ lets you down – it will only put people off contacting you.
    Looking forward to reading more Green Room posts.

  8. I’m lucky that my other half is a web programmer thingy magiggy…He built my site and I was so pleased with it. Was hard to let go of some of the control and accept that actually he had good design ideas too, but I was well chuffed with the end result. Now I just need to make enough money so I can have someone come do my washing and ironing and I’ll be a happy girl.

  9. Love this Green Room concept….and Gareth has done a great job with the technical stuff….love that slide! Great start to 2012 🙂

  10. I’m definitely considering outsourcing photo editing in the future (I already did accounting) but at the moment my workload simply doesn’t justify it yet. I’ve just started my business but I do agree with you that we have to have a plan of attack for when things get caotic and I think I have just that (I’ll be using Fotofafa) 😉

  11. I’ve been following your blog for a while now but this is the first time I’ve commented…….I so love the new Green Room section. I’ve just started my business but pre start up outsourced my printing and artwork. You need to be honest about what you can realistically do yourself…………my accounting will also be going the same way! Keep up the good work.

  12. Oh, found it! It’s like a secret club, can I join? This is ground breaking stuff lady, as ever I am in awe at your pink head and the stuff that comes out of it x

  13. I feel very lucky to have a design background and have worked in marketing and communications, it’s kept saved me a fortune as I’m only at the start with not much money, and – as I’m a little bit of an obsessive about design – given my full control over visual branding and everything that goes out. Saying that, when I have the money to work with a designer who gets me and who I can trust, I’ll definitely be outsourcing the “doing” – though will always be involved in some way.

    Thankfully my other half is all technical (how did we all snare such tech savvy, gorgeous and wonderful men?! We’re very lucky aren’t we!!!) so the website has been cheap – though not always easy to do. He’s so patient when I come up with silly deadlines that mean we’re up all night for the wrong reasons!!! Also he’s will to give it a go when I come up with all sorts of crazy ideas for how the website should function – I’m sure some web designers would have tried to talk me down. Like Kat said though if you have an idea that’s different you should go for it even if you have to iron out issues in the beginning. I’m fairly confident my website doesn’t look like 99.9% of management consultant/coach/facilitator/tea drinkers websites…

    My top priority for outsourcing is accountancy. I’m good at maths and I’m good at organisation, but somehow the two combined just make my head explode! Two of my best friends (future chief bridesmaids) are accountants, and my sister likes bookkeeping so I’m not totally on my own, but it would give me piece of mind to know I have an accountant I can rely on whenever I need it.

    Oh and of course as soon as I can afford it I will get a cleaner – I lack the domestic goddess gene and I’m pretty sure my other half would be quite grateful to have a break from tidying up after me!

  14. Happy new year! I hope you and Gareth had a fab Christmas and at least a little time to relax and enjoy it.

    I know I’m going to find outsourcing tricky. At such an early stage of the business it’s not currently anything to worry about at the moment (my only outsource from the outset being print, for the quality). It’s a difficult one isn’t it, with something as close to our hearts as our own businesses. It’s so easy in needing everything to be perfect to get caught up in thinking that means doing everything ourselves. As often seems to happen, your post has helped me in seeing things a bit differently. If I’m lucky enough to be too busy to do it all, I know my time’s more valuable spent on design, working with clients and developing the business, rather than hanging onto all the little things too. Thanks again Kat, you clever sod.

    I’m a little biast, but I completely agree with getting a designer to work on your branding if you can. It’s so worth looking into, whatever your budget. Some design agencies can be a little snobbish about taking on small elements of branding without going the whole shebang, but there are so many brilliant independent/freelance designers out there who’ll be able to work with you to your budget. It can seem daunting, but it’s so worthwhile finding a designer who’s work you love and who you click with. It will play a huge part in building and developing your brand whatever your starting budget.

    Sorry for babbling, love the Green Room! X x

  15. Samantha

    First comment, long time stalker here!
    I’m a massive fan of outsourcing (thankfully because I’m generally a total control freak!) although at the moment it’s more home life than career where it comes in handy. Lots of my friends like to refer me to the ‘little wifey’ because I do the complicated cooking and the bulk of the cleaning but I LIKE cooking and I’m more efficient and thorough with the cleaning. I DO NOT like fiddling with technology or carrying heavy stuff so I outsource that to him indoors.
    Job swapping is the way forward, why have two struggling people when you can have two happy people? I will definitely be outsourcing when it’s financially viable!

  16. Happy New Year Kat! What a great way to start it off. I’m loving the sliiiide capability. Probably spent a bit too long playing with it tho’ – as you do. I always find your Post Its really helpful and can’t wait to see how The Green Room progresses. It’s great that you enjoy helping to knock us ‘procrastinators’ in to some sort of shape! Thanks for that. Kerry xx

  17. Harrie the Harpist

    Hi Kat, great post and what a wonderful idea for moving your blog along 🙂

    I found your site when I was planning my own wedding, which went down the toilet (!), but I have stuck around as I find all the business posts so useful (plus I love all the images you use – I’m a bit of a photography buff too!). I work full time at the moment but have a wee sideline as well and it’s tough balancing the 2 while staying true to myself and trying not to burn myself out. Reading all the above has made me realise that my full time skills are much in demand in a different way to what I thought, and could be of use to a lot of small niche businesses so this has given me lots of things to think about.

    Thanks so much, keep up the good work and have a stupendous 2012!
    x

  18. Kat you are a wise bird, and make loads of sense, sometimes we all need a top kat to keep us on the right tracks, and now we do have one!
    Delegating my bookkeeping is now a number one priority, can anyone recommend a good bookkeeper/accountant in Birmingham…. and next to sort my website….do you ever lend gareth out 😉

  19. I also want to add for those who can’t afford to work with an agency or small company to create a great brand for their business (those companies have huge overhead and can charge up to $200/hour), ask a local design school professor to recommend a student who needs some portfolio work. Agree on an amount–maybe $8-10/hour for their work–or negotiate a trade for their time and services.

  20. LOVING the Green Room, Kat. I started off 5 years ago doing EVERYTHING myself (including spending hours figuring out how to customise wordpress templates). Now I outsource all my design work (and I have a lot of it, running across 4 websites) to an amazing alternative designer. Recently, I realised I needed to migrate all my sites to a new server. I’ve done this once before and it took me days to do and fix all the bugs, so I’d been putting it off for months, which was costing me money. Finally I realised that maybe my designer could do it – so I asked her and YES – it was all done in 10 hours and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

    I do all my own accounting, because I quite enjoy it, but in the future I may outsource this. And I’m thinking of taking on music reviewers on my blog, but am not sure about that yet, either. It’s hard deciding to let go of something you prided yourself in doing, but sometimes, it’s easier and better for you (and your business) get pay someone else to do it.

  21. I am new to your blog and love what I am seeing. I am a wee fledgling in terms of my photography too as I work full time at a university. One thing that I have been reflecting on over Christmas is the resources, mainly time and money, as both are squeezed but one thing that has paid dividends is trading skills. One of my colleagues is a marketing whizz so she has agreed to lend me a couple of hours of her time in return for a couple of hours of photo-fun shooting her kids….so we all have fun doing what we love and get a reward at the end. A micro-outsource but a big boost to me none the less.

    Plus I have an uber geeky hubby with a maths phd and he has helped with all the tricky sums this year, where would I be without the maths man. He’s also Scottish and tight and is good at saying no when I come up with mad ideas as he takes it back to the numbers 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of the green room xx

  22. Hi Kat – I agree with all of the above!

    The Green Room is great idea, especially as the wedding industry is made up of so many small, independent businesses.

    I’ve been working, essentially on my own, setting up Ruby & Diva since leaving my full-time legal job in the summer. I am great with research and rambling endlessly on social media but hadn’t the first clue about marketing or PR which is essential for a start-up. I was totally panicking so decided to outsource and found an excellent marketing company for start-ups, which offers one-to-one workshops and goes through your whole business from your brand to advising on how to market it in all media.

    I now have my first year’s marketing plan in place which is a HUGE relief. It’s not cheap (about £500 a daily session) but honestly totally worth it as i reckon I will actually save money which I would have otherwise thrown blindly at a PR company.

    So, definitely, realising where your skills lie and getting help where they don’t is the way to go. I need a chef too and housekeeper actually now I come to think of it!

    Well done on your new site additions xxx

  23. Ah I so agree. I came to this realisation a few years ago – that I was good at some things, and other people good at other things, so I should spend my time wisely and outsource those things done better by others. I also like being able to help other small business owners in this way.

    However the one thing I haven’t been happy to outsource is my graphic design and branding – I have tried and was just not happy with the results, mainly cause I’m a complete control freak and have an abstract vision in my head which I can never communicate completely to someone else.

    Still, accounting, marketing, cleaning, and cooking (with ready meals that is) can happily be outsourced!

  24. So many great tips and advice. Can’t wait to be at that stage where I can outsource the technical part. Agree, with you Vicky on outsourcing household duties…I think if that could be done I would not have to outsource anything except household duties:) Call in the Merry Maids:)

  25. Great article on outsourcing! I run an album design/graphic design company that revolves around convincing people every day to outsource to a professional. I really appreciate when others promote outsourcing because I think it’s important for every small business owner to hand over some of the responsibility to a pro. It’s a lot of work to do everything yourself and you do realize that the things your not so great at, take a lot of time or just get put at the very end of your priority list….which for me is accounting. Thanks Kat for promoting us little guys. 🙂

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