I'm embarrassed to admit it took me almost 2 years of owning my business to realize how much outsourcing could help it grow...if I could change anything, I would have started outsourcing my work from the very beginning!
What is outsourcing? You might be asking yourself. Outsourcing is giving some of your work to someone else so you can, instead, focus on the things you do best to grow your business. Most small business owners struggle with this because we want to have control over every aspect of our business; we fear letting go for the belief that "no one can do it better", we don't admit to what areas we need help in, and we also fear spending the money.
For every business owner, what you outsource will look different. For me, as a wedding photographer, the area outsourcing has helped me best is in editing my images. This may seem strange, but me explain the ways it has helped my business T R E M E N D O U S L Y below...
1. My clients get their images faster, so now, I truly can exceed my client's expectations by under-promising and over-delivering.
My old turn-around time before I was outsourcing my images was 4-6 weeks. Can you imagine being a bride who just had the most exciting day of her life, and now she has to wait FOUR to SIX weeks to get her images back? That's a long wait! Last wedding season I told my brides they would get their images back within 4-6 weeks (under-promising) but guess what? Because I was outsourcing, they would get their images back 2, sometimes even 1 week after their wedding (over-delivering)! My clients were THRILLED!
2. My editor sees things I don't see and *gasp* my images actually come back better than if I edited them myself.
I'm the first to admit that when I'm editing hundreds and sometimes thousands of images, I get so bored looking at the same images and eventually begin to miss things. Passing off my images to someone who specializes in correcting images has, in turn, actually made my images look so much better!
3. This saves me about 30-50 hours of TIME PER WEDDING to focus on growing other aspects of my business, and giving my full, undivided attention to my clients.
Now that I've freed up where most of my time has been spent, I've been able to focus on other things to help grow my business such as social media, blogging (something most business owners struggle with), networking, client experience, and so much more. Let's be honest, sitting behind my desk spending 30+ hours a week editing images is not going to get me far in business...
Let's break this down: in 30 hours I could write 30-40 blog posts and improve SEO.
I could meet 15 new vendors and network with them.
I could spend 30 more hours with my dog and hubby...family...the most important thing on this earth.
In 30 hours I could cook 30 healthy meals thus improving my overall health.
In 30 hours I could meet 15 new brides.
The options are limitless!
4. It has helped me to get rid of the idea that no one can do it better, and trust that sometimes, in fact, other people will do something way better than I can.
One of the best things you can do for your business, is to start trusting other people. As business owners, we have to do EVERYTHING, but we are not experts at everything we do. Passing off website design, or editing, or packaging, etc, to someone who is an expert in that field will actually surprise you.
5. Allowing someone else to edit my images has eliminated so much stress in my life, and I get to do something I love, which is support other small businesses!
When you support a small business, you're supporting someone's dream, which is something that makes me so happy! And eliminating stress in my life has helped me to focus on business with a very clear mind and clean slate which again, also will in turn give my clients a better experience!
For you, outsourcing may look different. Maybe you're a photographer who LOVES editing images, but needs help blogging, or a calligrapher who can't necessarily outsource your handwriting, but needs help packaging orders...a wedding planner who spends too much time emailing and not actually with brides. I invite you to take a step back and analyze what it is you could be passing on to someone else that you don't necessarily love. Maybe it's packaging supplies, or running errands, blogging, or album design. Any time you free up time in your business, you are allowing yourself more time to work on what you're passionate about and anytime you're working on your true passion, you're going to shine, and people WILL notice.
What's an area you think you could outsource?