Outsourcing Your Way to Doing What You Love, While Raising Your Income

freedom person


Is it truly productive to try and do everything? Dave Crenshaw, bestselling author and industry expert on multitasking says that “multitasking is, in fact, a lie that wastes time and costs money.”

But many of us multitask from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning. You check your email while you walk the dog; dress your toddler while you call your new hire; scarf down an energy bar while you update your business blog. Good morning: It’s just 8am and you’re already in need of another Frappuccino. Sound familiar?

Ask yourself, “How much time am I spending on activities or tasks I really don’t enjoy (or are just not my strengths) during the day and week?”  Is it more than 30 percent of your day?  If your answer is yes, then you could benefit from outsourcing.

We did some brainstorming and came up with a few ideas that will help you become a more efficient entrepreneur, keep your family satisfied and your sanity entirely in-tact.

We’ll cover:

  • Why delegating or outsourcing is a good idea.
  • Where you can find help for your business and home tasks.
  • What tasks you might consider getting help with.
  • As a bonus, we’ll walk you through a simple worksheet that will help you identify the areas of your business and home that present you with the biggest challenges.

Okay; let’s get started! A more balanced life waits.

Why Must You Delegate?

Simply put; delegating makes you a better business woman, and will likely enhance your business. Delegating is a form of outsourcing that leaves you with more time to concentrate on developing your business. You’ll have ten minutes to follow up on a lead, five minutes to write a thank you note to a perspective client, and two minutes to price check a new product. At home, delegating might offer you ten minutes to connect with a good book, or play Wii with your tween.

What is Outsourcing and Why Should You Be Doing It?

Delegating tasks can be difficult- especially if you’re a one woman operation. Thanks to the Web, help is just a few clicks away through outsourcing. Outsourcing is when you hire a person (or company) to complete a business (or home) task or tasks. Usually such tasks are non-essential to the company: making cold calls, answering the phone, data entry, newsletter formatting, travel arrangements, etc. For a fee (often minimal and sometimes free) you’ll find people to help you accomplish nearly any business or home related task.

While you will usually have to pay for outsourcing, outsourcing offers the potential for a solid return on investment. One reason is because outsourcing often increases profit by removing the costs of hiring, training, and supplying employee benefits to an employee in-house. Additionally, your business will likely benefit because you are using your time more wisely and concentrating on critical tasks that help build your business. Another perk of outsourcing? You’ll have access to experts who perform the given task for a living- they know the latest trends, have the latest software, and can often offer innovative suggestions and solutions.

If you’re ready to take advantage of outsourcing, we encourage you to take a few moments to complete our worksheet: Identify Your Outsourcing Needs. Once you have identified the tasks that challenge you most, it’s time to look for help. Here are a few places to start your search:

  • Taskrabbit. Taskrabbit allows you to post a task to get just about anything accomplished you can imagine, both business and personal tasks. Once you post a task, Taskrabbit assigns the lowest bidder to your task. You pay Taskrabbit, and Taskrabbit in turn pays the “rabbit” (if you will.) Need someone to grocery shop? Someone to search the Web for the names, addresses and emails of all the acupuncturists in your state? There’s a taskrabbit waiting to do it. The site is straightforward, and very easy to navigate but isn’t up and running on a national level quite yet. http://www.taskrabbit.com/
  • Zaarly. Found at http://www.zaarly.com/, Zaarly helps connect those with a product, service or experience to sell with those searching. Tutors, mechanics, babysitters? Check! The variety of products, services and experiences you find on Zaarly is impressive.
  • Airrun. Your personal assistant, ready to respond when needed. Airrun is an app that will dispatch a personal assistant to pick up lunch for a hardworking crowd, or deliver important documents ASAP! http://www.airrun.com/ And guess what? The Airrun app is free to download.
  • Fiverr. Fiverr is a website that allows you to “post a gig” for nearly anything imaginable, for which you will pay $5. For $5 you might find someone to create FB page, design a business card, record a video, etc. http://www.fiverr.com/
  • Odesk, Elance. Odesk and Elance are two of the most popular professional freelancing websites. You’ll discover a vast array of professionals at nearly every price point: https://www.odesk.com and https://elance.com
  • Hire My Mom. This site can help you connect to a stay at home mom who has a service to offer. Of course you have to pay for the service the professional provides, but you won’t pay any additional service fee. http://www.hiremymom.com/home
  • Craigs List. You might have used Craigs List to sell your old lawnmower, but have you considered posting a job on Craigs List? Setting up an employment ad is easy and in most cities it’s free too. http://www.craigslist.org

Other sources of help:

  • SCORE. SCORE is a nonprofit association that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. It is entirely free, and very well respected. You can meet one on one with a SCORE volunteer to discuss a particular business challenge, or visit the SCORE website and take advantage of a multitude of worksheets or webinars. http://www.score.org/
  • Intern. Young people have a lot to offer. They are often especially skilled at web development and the like. Consider taking on an intern from a local community college or university.  Html formatting, website updating, and logo creation are just a few ideas.
  • Trade Skills. Trading skills with another mom is a great way to get help with your business tasks.

Looking for Help on the Home Front?

Try one (or more) of these ideas.

  • Hire a neighborhood gal or guy to walk the dog, clean the house, water the plants, etc.
  • Download an App; here are two we like:
    • White Noise. It’s likely that you do most, if not all of your work from your home office. Help quiet household noise, and free your mind to think with this white noise app.
    • Awesome Note was awarded with Apple App Store Hall of Fame 2011. It helps you keep organized and allows you to combine notes with to-dos in one app!  iTunes.com.
  • Take advantage of virtual grocery shopping.  I know my local Whole Foods does this or depending on where you live, there are many places that offer this service at a minimal fee.  Or, download this grocery list and just mark what you need every week. http://www.hbwm.com/pages/grocery
  • Hire a mother’s helper. Older women often have extra time on their hands, and they are usually quite dependable. A mother’s helper can come to your house just a few hours a week to help with household chores: make the beds, wash the laundry, put the dishes away, start dinner, etc.  Take a peek at: http://www.nannies4hire.com/ and http://www.sittercity.com/ Or, put out some feelers at church or your health club.

I hope you’ll consider giving delegation a try. It takes a bit of getting used to, but we’re confident that you’ll develop into an even better business woman and mom by doing so. Download FreelanceMom.com’s Identify Your Outsourcing Needs worksheet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.