Running a business means you’re wearing all the hats.
You’re in charge of business development, marketing, making the product, and managing your finances. Then, when you get home, you become the mom, wife, girlfriend, or cat/dog mom (that counts too!).
After a while, your business starts to grow and you realize it’s time to get some help. But you’re not quite sure where to start or how to hire the right person for the job.
Bringing someone onto your team – whether outsourced or in-house – can be scary. After you’ve gotten used to handling everything yourself, it can be difficult passing duties off to a complete stranger.
That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure you not only find the right person, but do it at the right time for your business. To ease your mind a bit, here are a few things you need to know before you outsource. Knowing these ahead of time will save you time and money by making sure you hire the right people at the right time.
1. Hiring In-House versus Outsourcing
When thinking about growing your team, the first thing you may be asking yourself is whether you should outsource or just hire a full-time in-house employee.
To decide which route is best for you, take a look at your needs, your workflow, and your cashflow, and ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have employees who could perform this task? If you’re hiring for the first time to take things off your plate, the answer is no.
- Is there enough work for someone to do for 40 hours per week? As you work, keep a list of tasks you’d like to hand off someday. Then, estimate approximately how much time it might take to do each (add 30 min to an hour to each for a buffer).
- Do you have enough money to hire a full-time employee + benefits for the foreseeable future? Take a look at Glassdoor or Payscale to find out how much employees in your area may cost (their salary). Then, use this calculator to figure out the full cost of a full-time employee.
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, outsourcing your work through a contractor or agency is probably going to be your best bet – at least for the time being.
When you have a list of people you can turn to whenever you need additional help, it’s almost like having an on-call staff you only pay when you have work for them! There are plenty of other benefits to working with contractors and agencies, which include:
- Many contractors have a specialized set of skills you may not get with a full-time employee who wears many hats
- You don’t pay for the taxes, equipment, professional development, or benefits, which makes them a cheaper option (even if they charge around the same as an employee’s monthly salary)
- A good outsourced partner will recognize your business’ needs and address them with their specialty skills, allowing you to grow sustainably
2. Knowing The Right Time to Outsource For Your Biz
If you’re still reading, that means you’ve decided to outsource. Congratulations! That means your business is on its way to growing.
But what if you’re not sure right now’s the right time to look for someone? It comes down to a couple of simple questions:
- Do you have too much work and not enough hours/energy in the day? If yes, move on to the next question.
- Can you afford to outsource?
In the beginning, it may be tempting to remove things from your plate like bookkeeping and marketing, especially if those are things you don’t enjoy. But when you’re just starting out, oftentimes there’s not enough cashflow to bring someone on.
As soon as you get too many clients or too many product orders to handle things on your own, you know it’s time to bring on some help.
Other indications may be if you’re looking to take your business to the next level through content marketing, a solid brand strategy, an updated website, etc., but you just don’t have the time or expertise to get it done yourself.
But what if you answer “yes” to the first question, but “no” to being able to afford someone? Well, it’s time to save up.
3. Saving Up to Grow Your Business
We’ve found through experience this feels like a “chick or the egg” problem. You need help to scale your business, but you need to scale your business in order to afford help. Agh!
Here are a few tips to make the saving process a little easier:
a) Know how much it costs
Start the shopping process early by browsing through sites and talking to people in your network. One challenge with many creative agencies and freelancers is they don’t put their pricing on their site, making it difficult to know how much they charge.
Note: We always put at least a starting price on our site so you know, up front, how much it costs to work with us.
If you can’t find pricing on their site, it doesn’t hurt to schedule a consultation. If anything, they’ll help you understand what you need and give you a price range. Just be honest that you can’t afford them right now, but you’re hoping to work with them in the near future.
Tip: A good freelancer/agency will keep in touch with tips and pieces of advice while you’re saving up. While it’s partially a marketing & sales strategy, you can take advantage of the free information and use it to grow your biz.
b) Cut down on expenses
While much easier said than done, especially when you’re growing your business and don’t have many extra expenses to spare, it’s always worth looking through what you’re spending and asking yourself if it’s absolutely essential to grow your business.
As you explore your finances, you may find a few things you were sold on at first, but now realize they aren’t actually contributing to your revenue goals.
c) Be intentional about saving
With shiny new tools and fun business things everywhere you look, it’s easy to get distracted. Once you have a clear number in mind and a focus on saving to outsource, remain concentrated on that goal.
If you’re not already doing so, try to put aside 20-30% every month toward your business. This can be used as an emergency fund, as a marketing budget, or as money you can use to outsource.
4. Finding Outsourced Partners You Can Trust
So you’re ready to look for some help…now what?
You may have heard of sites like UpWork or Fiverr which help small businesses gain access to freelancers. This may be a good place to start, but here are a few words of warning:
- You get what you pay for. If someone’s offering to write blog posts for $25 per post, you may or may not get decent writing.
- An environment where freelancers compete for the lowest price is not always the best choice, even for the one doing the hiring. It becomes less of an equal partnership and more of a pandering, which means it’s less likely they’ll go above and beyond to deliver a quality experience.
Ideally, you want to put together a list of a few go-to contractors or an agency who can provide you with any creative work you may need. This includes a graphic designer, web designer/developer, videographer, photographer, copywriter, brand strategist, social media manager, and more.
To find trustworthy partners you can always turn to, it’s better to go outside the UpWork/Fiverr community and go with a number of other options:
- Facebook Groups: There are many Facebook Groups where agencies & contractors are hanging out and providing their insight. A few of them allow for businesses to post opportunities where they can reach out to you directly.
- Your Network: Whether through LinkedIn or a good ole’ fashioned email or text, reach out to your network and let them know you’re looking to outsource some help. The likelihood is someone knows a good CPA, strategist, designer, etc. and is more than happy to hook you up.
- Google Search: Open up a new tab and type in “freelance content marketer near me” or whatever else it is you’re looking for. On the first page or two, you will find a number of qualified contractors or agencies who can help. If they’ve made it on the first page of Google, chances are they know what they’re doing (especially if you’re looking for content/copy/SEO work).
As we mentioned, even if you can’t afford it or don’t need their services right now, it’s always a good idea to get the ball rolling and keep their information stored. This way, when you are in need of some help, it’s just a matter of a quick call or email.
5. Setting Yourself Up For a Positive Experience
In an ideal world, every freelancer or agency would deliver exactly what you’re looking for on time and under budget and every client would pay on time and communicate exactly what they need.
Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist, and there come times when outsourcing can turn into a nightmare for all parties involved.
The best way to avoid this is to set yourself and your partner up for a positive experience. You can do this by:
- Understanding exactly what you need and what your budget looks like and communicating that to your outsourced help.
- Only working with contractors and agencies you get along with. Everyone has their own values and ways of working. Ask a lot of questions to make sure you get along!
- Knowing payment due dates and paying on time/early. Every contractor & agency has the right to stop work if they’re not being paid, so keep things fair and make sure you pay them.
- Establishing exactly what’s included in their set price. Do you have extra revisions or do those cost extra? How many words will you get? How many pages? How many logo iterations? Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for the price your paying (it’s up to your outsourced help to communicate this clearly!).
At the end of the day, outsourcing can be exactly what your business needs to grow to the next level. You can grow your revenue without spending your own time or energy getting things done. Plus, you can get things off your plate you simply can’t do anymore – allowing you to spend time on the things you enjoy doing to grow your biz.
Speaking of outsourcing, we specialize in content + copy and branding for female entrepreneurs. We help powerful, ambitious women invite their customers into a story that gets them to take action and ultimately grow their businesses.
Schedule a free consultation with us today to find out how we can help your business grow to the next level.