Have you ever said to yourself, in some frustration: ‘There’s just too much to do, but I’ve got no-one to pass it to’
‘I wish I could afford some more help. I’ll hire someone when I make a bit more money.’
If so, perhaps there’s a way round your dilemma.
A few years ago I fielded a question from one of my web service providers. He asked: ‘What’s the main thing that prevents you achieving all your internet-related business goals?’ I was about to reply ‘Lack of time’ when I realised that I of all people (being a time management specialist), couldn’t use that excuse. So I dug a bit deeper. My final answer was ‘Lack of resources’.
That answer brought another question: ‘What parts of the work can someone else do, and where can I find such a person?’ I decided it was time to make a list of what I could outsource from my large array of tasks. To my surprise, the list was long!
Have you ever noticed that once you’re clear about what you want, the answer shows up remarkably fast?
The solution to my problem, once I was very clear as to what I needed, only took six weeks and took the form of a brilliant senior uni student. By the time Jason left us, nearly three years later, he’d not only made a very solid contribution to the company but also gained valuable experience. And not only was he far better and faster at his work than me, but his pay scale was a lot lower than what I could bill myself out at.
So, next time you can’t find time to think, or you feel overwhelmed, look for pieces of your work to outsource.
The first step is to write down the specific tasks. Then get creative about who can do it.
To tickle your thinking, here’s a partial list of our suppliers over the years:
- My first assistant was a young lass off a job scheme. A friend and I shared her hours and her wages and the pay was subsidised by the government. Six months later my friend could afford to hire Lillian full-time and I could afford to hire an experienced part-timer of my own.
- School mothers are a brilliant employment pool. Give them the chance to do flexible work hours or even work from home and you’ll have wonderful loyal team members.
- Student Job Search is a brilliant source of short-term contractors.
- Many other tertiary or vocational colleges also have work schemes and/or offer graduate or senior students as interns. For instance, we use Natcoll graduates for some of our graphic design www.natcoll.ac.nz/general/content/creative-bite.html
- Do you have any teenagers in your extended family who’re keen to earn money on casual work? Stuffing envelopes, mowing lawns, cleaning house, driving the kids to practice or helping with homework, doing techie stuff for you …. Get creative and you’ll be surprised at how much you can outsource to others.
- Don’t just think local. We use suppliers all over the country who work so consistently for us that we regard them as an integral part of the team.
- Can you work with a virtual team? Jill, my Office Manager moved from Auckland to Christchurch a few years ago and still continues to run my office. I visit about once or twice a year. In fact, all our team (part-time contractors except me) work in a ‘virtual’ environment from our own homes. It’s infinitely more productive and cost-effective for us all. Who wants to drive through heavy traffic to get to work!
Here’s the thing. While you’re doing work that someone else could do at a far lower pay rate than yourself, effectively you’re paying yourself that low rate.
If you want to move ahead in your business, the need to delegate ALWAYS comes before you can quite afford the extra staff. But, if you don’t let something go you’ll continue to pay yourself that lower rate – and your life will be so full of minutiae that you’ll have no energy left to work on the long-term activities with potentially far higher returns.
Help (and the opportunity to make more money) is everywhere. Just get clear about what you need.