Are you at the point in your tiny business, when you’re ready to start outsourcing? Maybe you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with everything on your plate. Maybe you’re just wanting to buy back a little bit of time so that you can have more time to relax? Or maybe you want to put more time into starting a new revenue stream in your business?
Today I’m going to take you through the five ways that you can start outsourcing from the easiest and least expensive all the way up to hiring a full-time employee. But way before we get to that last and biggest stage, I want to talk about the things that you can start to do to buy back time in your life. And to take things not only off of your plate task-wise, mentally as well. Because sometimes thinking about vacuuming takes more time than vacuuming.
ONE: We’re starting off with using technology to outsource. And by using technology, I mean, using the many apps and solutions that are out there to start helping you do the tasks that take a lot of your time. This can be something like a Calendly where you are using a tech solution to schedule your meetings, removing all of that back and forth on doing that. We then can go on to using something like the curbside pickup at your local grocery store. So that even if you are running to the grocery store itself on your way home from an errand or from meeting with somebody, you don’t have to go into the grocery store itself. Somebody is doing that shopping for you, taking 30 minutes off of your schedule, right there once a week, very easily, without having to worry about watching for your delivery of food or it melting on the front step. It can be anything from automating your newsletter collection of emails, all the way up to that outsourcing for your groceries.
TWO: Now we’re going to move on from technology and start to think about what are the things in our personal life that we can start to outsource. Why do I start with your personal life? Because it’s usually easier for those of us who have been running our own show to let somebody take something off of our household plate instead of taking something off of the business plate. It also makes you start to get comfortable with having help so that when you need to have it done with your work, you’re understanding a little bit of what it is like to communicate to somebody what your needs are and that if they’re not working out, you can stop them. And so getting your feet wet in that area will greatly help when you start to do more things in your business with that.
So by personal, what do I mean? Well, I mean, instead of doing curbside, you could move that grocery to a delivery to your house, which is a little bit more expensive. That’s why I waited on that for the second step. You could have somebody come in and clean every other week. You could have somebody providing either childcare or dog care. Taking one of those walks of Fido off of your plate every day could free up 30 minutes a day. You could outsource your laundry with a drop-off service. There are all sorts of things that you can start to think about in personal care that can really help you mentally and physically have fewer tasks for you to do and focus on the other things you want to get done. If the thing that you are looking for is more time to enjoy your life, what does it matter if you’re outsourcing work or personal life? They’re all things that you have to get done. It may be that by outsourcing your personal life, you free up that exact time that allows you to enjoy your weekends.
THREE: The next is the professional surfaces. So this is going to somebody who has a business where they work business to business and they provide services to solve your problems and make your life easier. That could be anything from working with somebody like me, who is a business educator and helps to teach you the things you don’t know how to do in your business and create plans and strategies, to lawyers and bookkeepers and CPAs, to website designers, and graphic designers to book editors. There is a variety of things that you can use for professional services. Usually what you would do in this situation is have these services provided for a certain amount of time or when you need them.
Some people sure, if they’re in a very big business or they have a business that has a lot of legal situations may have a lawyer on retainer, but for most of us, we’re only contacting and making an appointment with a lawyer when we actually have something that we need to do with them. So using professional services is that baby step into starting to outsource work things to people, and may be all you need to do for your business. You may be able to, through outsourcing with these professional services, be great and run a thriving, tiny one-person business with the help of these first three things.
FOUR: But some of us decide that we want a little more consistent help. Maybe we want somebody that is doing piecework for our jewelry business. Maybe we want somebody that does freelance work like writing our blog posts every single week, or we want to start to outsource our social media or things like that. Maybe we want to start to have a virtual assistant to handle a lot of these tasks online of the administrative sort all the way up to doing things like if we ever travel again, booking flights and restaurant reservations, things like that. It could even be that you start to have somebody who is a personal assistant.
I do want to say, however, when we talk about having contract people, working for you, you need to make sure that you are in accordance with your state laws. Make sure that if somebody is working in your house, they can be contracted or if do they actually have to be an employee. You just want to make sure you are dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s when you start to move into this fourth and then the fifth level. With contract employees, you will issue a 1099 form when you prepare your taxes. You are paying them a living wage and you are making sure that you’re communicating your needs to them. And that your relationship is in a six-month or one-year contract with things stated on both sides of what you each expect from the relationship. You also will probably want to have an NDA, which is a non-disclosure agreement, to make sure that you are treating each other respectfully within this relationship.
Now I mentioned VA, virtual assistants. You can find those both in the United States and outside of the United States. When I say living wage, you can find somebody that lives, let’s say in the Philippines, who is incredibly educated, incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about administrative tasks. Their living wage is much different than it would be here in the United States. That is fine, as long as they are receiving the wage they feel is adequate. Know that in all of these situations, of course, you’re going to have to set up some communication to get them going. Even with that technology, it’s going to be a little front-loaded in the work. If you do hire a VA outside of the country, sometimes that language barrier has to be dealt with, as will time zone differences. Keep that in the back of your mind when you think about that as a solution.
FIVE: And the last is, of course, if you’ve gotten to the point where you are ready to hire your first full-time employee, and that’s fantastic. Congratulations. You hopefully are already working with a professional service that is in the bookkeeping or CPA realm to help you bring on these people in, as I said earlier, in the best legal fashion. But also to make sure that you are as covered as are they. You also should also have something in place that such as a trial period so if it does not work out, you can break ties in a non bridge burning way. And of course that you are providing them with that living wage with maybe, paid time off with benefits if possible. You want to be in accordance with all of your state rules and laws about how you are to treat your employees and have all of your insurances in place.
If you are at this step, that’s awesome! I’m a big fan of tiny businesses, which are those with five employees and under. So I love it when tiny businesses start to bring on full-time help. Why? Because you’re also creating a job in the community. And that is fantastic as well.
Now you know the five ways that you can start outsourcing. Starting with that simple one, such as technology. Sure, they all take a little bit of work up front, but in the long run, the payoff to have that time back in your schedule and that peace of mind in your brain can be a huge asset to you and your tiny business. I’m Sierra Bailey with Doers Shakers Makers. If you need help one-on-one doing any of this. Please reach out. I’ll be back next week with another business tip, have a fantastic week. And now…what are you going to outsource this week?