(This is post 6/6 of my Business Blog series. Click here to read the other blog posts!)
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: when you first start your business, you’ll find yourself doing everything.
As a budding business owner, you’ll likely fill every role in your business. From doing your own taxes, to marketing, social media, copywriting, culling and editing, designing and who even knows what else, your hands (and mind) are full!
Like I mentioned in the first blog post of this Business Blog series, forcing yourself to be a Jack or Jill of all trades at the beginning of your journey as a creative business owner will help you learn the different aspects of your business, while you also figure out what it is that you enjoy doing.
You’ll also have the opportunity to figure out what you deem essential and nonessential for you to take care of on your own. Because sooner rather than later, you’ll realize that there are tasks you don’t enjoy doing, and other tasks that you altogether shouldn’t be doing on your own!
As your business grows and changes, you’ll likely find that you literally don’t have time to do all of the things. Outsourcing tasks or projects that you’re either unskilled at or don’t enjoy completing yourself will be a good way to gain some of that lost time back, while still keeping your business afloat.
In today’s blog, I’m sharing 5 outsourcing tips for your creative business. Then, I’m sharing a peek into how I outsource in my own photography business!
And choose wisely! Make sure it’s not something you personally have to do, of course (like video chat with clients, or be the actual voice behind your podcast!). Once you’ve selected the task or item you’d like to outsource, find someone to help you – you’ll immediately feel so much lighter having that burden taken off of your shoulders. And you’ll also have the peace of mind of knowing that everything’s getting completed!
As you bring in more money, keep an eye on the funnel points of your business where you find yourself getting backed up, putting off tasks, or just not having the time to do specific things. The great thing about being a business owner is that you get to call the shots! You can slowly outsource those funnel points until you feel like you’re at a comfortable financial spot.
When you make the decision to outsource, it’s just as important to ensure you aren’t losing money, as it is to prioritize increasing the value you provide to your clients. So, by outsourcing, you’re likely offering a more specialized experience to your clients. Or, you might have taken the time (because you handed off those other tasks) to improve your skills, gain more knowledge, or perfect your client experience. If so, it’s time to increase your prices!
In my business, there are some things that I believe I should do myself: the actual photography (it’s just as much about the experience as it is the actual photo quality!), and client interaction, consultations and onboarding. Almost everything else in my business can be outsourced!
Obviously, you have to build up your business and cash flow a bit before you feel comfortable paying someone else to do the more essential work in your business. As I mentioned previously, you also need to be charging enough for your services or product(s). But I recommend keeping a list of the tasks you have to do yourself, and the tasks someone else could do for you! That way, as your business grows and changes, you can strategically outsource things accordingly.
When you’re a business owner (and especially a solopreneur), EVERYTHING in your life relates to your business. So, a good place to start with outsourcing might be with things outside of your work, like house cleaning, yard work, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. If outsourcing a specific task or chore helps you make the time to get your business off the ground, it’s absolutely related to your business!
First, I started with meal delivery. I found it really overwhelming to think about what to cook prior to getting to the grocery store multiple times per week, so investing in a meal delivery service was a great move for me and my family. We used Sunbasket for a while!
Next, I outsourced accounting. I still do my own bookkeeping, but the actual accounting come tax time is completely in the hands of a professional – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After a while, we hired someone to take care of the yard work at our house, as well as a dog walking company to help us out one day per week! Later in the process, we hired someone to clean our house, because that seemed to cause a lot of stress in our household.
Once I was ready to redesign my site, I tried to outsource my website design; unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Halfway through the process, I realized we just weren’t seeing eye to eye. I learned that I should have chosen someone with a similar aesthetic, not just someone I had a good connection with. Ultimately, it was a good learning experience. I ended up redesigning my own site, and I learned a lot in that regard – I also had a ton of fun with it! My learning lesson: don’t be afraid of the fact that outsourcing might not work out. You’ll learn and keep looking for the right fit!
As a photographer, it’s important to me that my work never suffers the consequences of outsourcing. So, it took me a bit of searching before I found the right photo editor, but now I have settled on a company that I consistently use for editing. Once I’ve wrapped a shoot, I’ll take care of the initial edits. Then, my photo editing company will cull through my photos and edit the rest of them in my style. This is a huge help when you photograph weddings and have thousands of photos of the end of the day!
I also have a retouching company that I work with when photos need more than basic editing. While I do know how to take care of a handful of things in Photoshop and I could learn every single photoshop action if I wanted, I find that my time is better spent in other areas of my business. So, I tend to outsource large retouching projects.
Over the past year, I chose to outsource copywriting for my blogs and emails (yep, this blog post you’re reading was put together by my lovely copywriter, Kirsten!). I give her a basic outline and any key points, and she makes my blog and email copy flow as well as if it were coming directly from my brain.
Most recently, I’ve decided to outsource my Pinterest management. I’ve wanted to connect all my blogs to Pinterest, and because it’s a widely used search engine for photography. However, I just never found the time to get around to “mastering” Pinterest – and between Pinterest and Instagram, I felt like 1 account was all I could handle.
Occasionally, I’ll hire out some pieces of my business like art direction, styling, prop sourcing and other individual tasks for individual photoshoots.
So, what do I spend a majority of my time on? Photography, creative direction, client video calls and emails, Instagram management, bookkeeping, mentoring, website management, networking, and planning the overall direction of my business (you know, CEO stuff?!). Of course, there are plenty of other smaller things I take care of in my day to day, but those are the larger pieces of my business that I enjoy managing the most right now!
The best part about outsourcing? Building relationships with fellow creatives.
Honestly, an unexpected and amazing benefit of outsourcing has been getting to know and supporting other people in their own businesses! Outsourcing has widened my own network and community, and it just so happens to feel great to have some stress taken off my plate.
Because of my decision to outsource, I find that I am more creative and have a better overall vision for my business. I take better photos when I am rested and have some down time, which would literally be impossible without a bit of help through outsourcing!
If you’re looking for recommendations as you begin your outsourcing journey, I’m more than happy to share who I use for all of the tasks that I outsource! Just send me an email 📧
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