Small Business

In Charge vs. In Control

I made a big psychological jump for my small business last week.  I finally decided to outsource something!

If you don’t know me personally, then just for the record, I have control issues!  I don’t like to share my work like Joey Tribbiani doesn’t like to share his food.

So now that you’ve definitely got the message about my control issues – let me tell you why outsourcing is so important, and why I, the stubbornest ‘lone wolf’ I know, has finally caved in.  And HOW GOOD that actually feels!

If I’m honest, I’ve known the importance of outsourcing for many years.  I knew that in order to scale up my business, I had to give at least some of my lower-value tasks to somebody else.

It’s true that you cannot do everything yourself AND earn more than the minimum.  In order to really make profit, you have to assign the bulk of your time to the profit-making tasks.

Back in May of this year (2017) I was lucky enough to attend Nick James’ Expert Empires event in London.  He had some amazing guests; Gary Vaynerchuk, Dr. Andrea Pennington, and Ryan Deiss to name a few.

When Nick himself gave his talk, he explained outsourcing and upscaling in a brilliantly simply way.  He said that in any business you have your £10 tasks, your £100 tasks, and your £1000 tasks.  When you start to scale, you need to outsource your £10 tasks to free up your time for the higher revenue-generating work.

And he was spot on.  Time is a truly finite resource.  As a business owner, you need to manage yours carefully.  So anyway, Nick James was up on the stage explaining this.  I was listening, agreeing with him, and taking down notes.  But did I implement any of this?…

Nope!  I went home and had a long conversation with myself about how I could probably just fit those £10 tasks in myself if I squeezed in a few extra hours here and there.  And this worked for a while.

But what I have found every time that my client work hits a busy patch is that those ‘extra few hours’ I promised myself get pushed to the weekend, and then they sometimes even get pushed beyond into the land of make believe.  And before I know it, my £10 tasks aren’t happening anymore, and/or I never take a full day off.  In the long term, this is not sustainable.

But we do need to do those low-value tasks.  If you’re wondering what these are, then think about your social media posts as an ideal example.  Posting on social media rarely has an instant return on investment (ROI) for you.  Maintaining a social presence is more about brand awareness and staying visible to your tribe.

In marketing speak, it’s very much “top of the funnel” stuff.
And in plain English, it’s a pre pre pre sales activity.

But there are a million and one analogies for why we need these low-value tasks to be done:

  • You can’t run before you can walk
  • You don’t get owt for nowt
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day

…and so on.  To summarise, social media presence and other low ROI tasks are the LONG GAME.  They don’t pay off today, or tomorrow.  But if you stopped doing them today, then 2 months down the track you would certainly feel your stream of potential clients trailing off.

So I got over myself…

Last week I finally got over my desire to control every little thing in my business.  And as I started to let go, just a little bit, I realised that it actually felt good to do so!  Sometimes we think we can’t do something, but actually it’s more of a habit that holds us back.

So now I’m over it.  My first outsourcing has saved me around 3 hours of time per week, for a very reasonable price.  Now, it’s all about what I can do with those 3 hours – and it won’t be £10 tasks anymore.  It’s time for me to use that time for more valuable activities.

I guess this is being ‘in charge‘ rather than ‘in control‘.  It wasn’t as big and scary as the little voice in my head used to tell me it might be.  I didn’t need to hire any staff or do anything complicated.  I simply booked a freelancer via – no hassle at all.

Rome wasn’t built in a day… and it wasn’t built by one stubborn person on their own either!  I’ve learnt a big lesson about small business, and I hope this helps you too.

P.S.  If you have ever tried to sell your own services on Fiverr and wondered why there was a big tumbleweed blowing across your profile – then check out this article from Lewis Parrott – there is some great advice here on getting customers.



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