If you are a business owner and have reached some level of success, you probably have ways too many things on the table to deal with.
There is always a never ending pile of work to do and if you are like me, new ideas pop into your head every single day, probably multiple times.
How do you manage all of this while staying sane and prevent important things from slipping through?
During the first six months in my business, I tried handling everything by myself. Luckily, I read the 4-Hour Work Week again from Tim Ferriss and he persuaded me that it’s time to change something.
That change has almost instantly freed up 15 hours per week that I am now able to spend in whatever way I want.
Why Most Small Business Owners Don’t Hire
I believe every single business owner should very quickly hire other people so they can focus on doing what they love and what they’re best at.
The easiest way to start is to hire an assistant to take over part of the work that you do now. That’s what has added 15 hours to my work week to do whatever I want.
What If I Can’t Afford to Hire Somebody?
That’s an objection that I hear a lot when I talk about outsourcing or delegating work. If you have read the 4-Hour Work Week, you know how efficient it can be to outsource part of your work to somebody abroad.
I believe it’s important that you calculate your time right. How much are you worth per hour?
If your calculated hourly rate is, let’s say, CHF 200.- and you spend a lot of time sorting through unimportant emails, doing research or doing repetitive work, you diminish what you are worth.
Why would you do work that somebody can do at CHF 20.- per hour or less if your time is worth 10x more?
Now, you may say that you can’t afford to hire somebody for 40 hours per week for CHF 20.- per hour. However, doing the work that you are obviously overpaid for is not an option either if you truly value yourself.
Why Hiring an Assistant Makes You More Money
What happens if you are able to hire somebody to do all the work that you either hate to do or are simply not best at?
Well, it creates more time for you to work with clients or do marketing which directly generates more revenue that easily pays for your new assistant.
What a great way to increase revenue and have a whole lot more fun at work doing what you love and what you’re best at.
Think about how much bigger your impact is if you can work with more clients and spend more time creating value for them.
Are You a Control Freak?
When I first started outsourcing work, I ran into a problem. I wanted to do everything myself because I feared my assistant would mess things up. I was scared to give up control.
It’s something I gradually solved by stepping out of my comfort zone, outsourcing things I did not feel comfortable with and then realizing, that my business did not burn down.
I learned that people are much more creative than you think and that if you give them the freedom to think by themselves, they will usually come up with great solutions and do great work.
I also learned that mistakes are part of the process and a great learning tool.
My assistant certainly does not everything perfect. Many times, when I give her a new project, it’s not 100% perfect the first time.
However, the second time around, the results are usually better than if I would have done it myself because it’s not something I’m best at.
What to Outsource
There are plenty of things to outsource.
I personally outsource everything I don’t like, everything I’m not great at and everything I don’t absolutely have to do myself.
Let me share some of the things I have outsourced that saved me the most time.
1. Email Management
I am definitely no fan of emails. I believe most emails are a waste of time. So I decided to outsource as much of the email management process as possible.
I receive a lot of notification about comments and updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Meetup, etc. because of my activities on social media.
However, most of these emails, I don’t need to see. So my assistant has been able to cut my time spent on emails by about 50%. That alone is worth having her.
At one point or another, you are probably doing research.
Maybe it’s to get inputs on a program or workshop you are putting together. Maybe it’s to find out more about your clients’ needs & desires. Maybe it’s to find the very best courses to learn something new. Or maybe it’s to find the cheapest flight to the next conference and a hotel close by.
Why on earth would you do this time consuming work yourself?
I outsource pretty much everything I just mentioned above and everything else in terms of research that does not require my personal opinion or insights.
3. Everything You Can Systematize
At some point in my first year in business, I looked at everything I did. Every single thing. It was a whole lot more than I expected it to be.
Then I asked “For which one of these things can I create a process that somebody else can follow?”.
This opened up my mind for so many things that I never thought I could outsource. Things from editing blog posts and scheduling them in WordPress, organizing events, setting up webinars, managing social media, updating my financial data at the end of the month and many more things can all be outsourced.
If you can create a process map for something, you can, and should, outsource it.
What You Can’t Outsource
Depending on how you look at your business, you could say that you can outsource almost nothing or that you could outsource almost everything. It depends on how you build your business.
If you want to be your business, it’s harder to outsource because you are at the center of the business.
If you want to build a self-sustainable business, it’s easier to outsource pretty much everything.
I am building a business that is somewhere in between the two. I want it to be self-sustainable but I also want to keep doing what I’m best at in my business.
What parts of your business are you outsourcing? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
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