How To Grow Your Business With Outsourcing
Jonathan loved his online business. He originally built it so he and his wife could stay home to raise their three boys. This allowed them to homeschool their children, and since they believed that parenting was their personal mission field, they were both happy with this decision.
As time went on, Jonathan’s business grew. He started working longer hours, but it never seemed to make a difference. There was always more than he could do, and Jonathan felt like he was failing everyone.
Unfortunately, Jonathan’s situation isn’t uncommon. Christian entrepreneurs who are used to doing everything in the early stages of their business often don’t realize that a significant growth spurt means finding help.
5 Signs It’s Time to Get Help with Your Business
You’ve been having a great year in business, and God has blessed you with a lot of growth. That’s something that you’re excited to see, but it’s started to cause some problems for you.
You wanted to grow your business, but now you’re carrying a heavy load. You’re busier than you thought you’d be. Feeling that your business has become a burden is a warning sign that it’s time for you to start outsourcing and get some help handling your business. Here are other signs that you’re no longer called to walk solo…
Sign #1: You Don’t Have Time
You’ve taken on projects that you usually could handle on your own. But now, you’re struggling to meet deadlines. You end up having to work later hours, and maybe you’ve even started to put other projects on the back burner and push their launches to later dates. You’re constantly stressed about getting everything done.
It feels like time off is a luxury that you no longer have. Maybe you’ve noticed that the pressure has started to change your attitude. You feel irritated by the overwhelm, and you’ve lost some of the joy you once had toward your business.
Sign #2: You’re Stressed When You’re Away
You’re constantly stressed or anxious when you’re away from your computer. You can’t let go of thinking about what needs to get done. You might be away from the business physically, but mentally, you’re still there.
You worry about what you have to get done, and you stress about what you did finish, wondering if you completed it well enough.
Sign #3: Your Other Commitments Are Slipping
Another common sign is that you’re short-changing your family or other commitments. It’s time to get help with your business when the people you care about are robbed of quality time with you.
You might find that you’re canceling dates with your spouse or can’t make it to the events that your children participate in. Even when you can be there, you’re either on the phone dealing with business issues or have to get online to handle business issues.
Sign #4: You Have More Ideas than You Can Implement
You know the direction you want to go, and you have dozens of ideas on how to get your business there. But the only problem is that while you have plenty of ideas, you simply don’t have the time to implement them.
When you finally have the time, you discover that the market’s interest in that project or idea has waned, so you missed out on your opportunity.
Sign #5: You’re Responsible for Everything
You’re a one-person show. If you go on vacation, the business comes to a halt. If you get sick and need to take a day or so off, everything will fall apart.
It’s not wrong to be important to your business but creating a business that consumes more of your life than you’d planned can lead to physical, emotional, and relationship problems.
It’s time to grow your business and bring someone else on board. Jesus invites us to partner with Him. He sent out the disciples two by two to perform miracles and bring glory to His name. If Jesus didn’t try to do it all by Himself, neither should you!
Here’s How to Bring in Help Building Your Business
You’ve been feeling the pressure for a while, and by now, you’ve realized that you need help with your business. You’ve read the five signs and realized that this is what’s going on in your life. You want to make some changes, and you know now that getting help will be a blessing, but you’re just not sure how to get started.
You like the idea of outsourcing to free up your time, but you don’t know what the first step is when it comes to outsourcing your business needs. You also don’t know anything about the cost and what you might expect to pay for these services. Here are a few ideas on what to do when you want to bring in help…
Embrace an Internship
The advantage of an internship is that you’re not paying for it, or perhaps you’re paying someone a low-cost wage while still getting the help you need. The reason that this works for both parties is that someone with business experience is mentoring an intern.
Many interns seek out this type of opportunity. By learning hands-on from someone who’s been there, they can use that experience in their lives to further their own career. That’s how your intern views the experience.
On the other hand, though, you can spend a lot of time training an intern if they’re brand new and know very little about the industry.
For this reason, you want to be sure that you only pick an intern if you’re willing to invest the time. Also, make sure that the person you choose is committed to being a part of your industry.
Hire a Virtual Assistant
You can hire an online assistant and delegate some tasks to them. This is someone that you’ll usually pay by the hour. The number of hours you would need this person can vary from week to week.
If you have an experienced VA, outsourcing can be as simple as saying, “I need you to handle my social media. Here’s what I want it to look like,” then hand them your login info and rejoice that a task is off your plate.
Partner with Another Entrepreneur
You will be able to grow your business and experience more profits with this step. This can be a wonderful relationship if you have an idea but don’t have the skills to invest in it fully.
You would want to make sure that you choose to partner with someone with a skill set that’s opposite of yours. If you bring two marketers together, promoting your product will be a cinch. But creating that product might be more difficult since neither of you is strong in this area.
Likewise, writing a guide will be easy if you bring two writers together, but building a website with a shopping cart or doing other technical tasks will be difficult.
You want to choose a partner that has strengths to your weaknesses. Do your research before partnering to find someone who is experienced and has a good reputation in the business world.
You might have to experiment with the above options to find what’s right for your business. Your team may even grow where you have several types of people helping you achieve your Kingdom goals!
Where to Find Help to Grow Your Business
Things have been a struggle for a while now. You’re busier than you thought you’d be, and while that’s a good thing, the downside is that you’ve reached a point where you have no choice but to get help. You know you can’t continue shouldering everything alone.
You like the idea of partnering with someone else. You also like the idea of having an intern or hiring a VA. But the problem is that you don’t know who to connect with or even how to find the people you need.
Pray Over It
The first thing you need to do is to pray about the situation. God is interested in your business because He’s interested in you. Pray and ask God to guide you to the best person. Just like He guided Abraham’s servant to the right family for his master’s son, He can do the same for you.
When you pray about this and God brings that person into your life, it’ll be someone that can help you grow your business.
By praying about this, that doesn’t mean that you should then sit back and wait for someone to come knocking on your door. You need to reach out to others who can help you connect with the right person for your business.
Ask Other Entrepreneurs
You can start by asking other entrepreneurs. These will be people in your field that you’re friends with. They’ll usually have some recommendations for you.
Many entrepreneurs will gladly tell you who they outsource to. However, keep in mind that some won’t be willing to share this information. Maybe because they’re afraid their source will become too busy for their own work.
Look on Professional Sites
Besides speaking with your business friends, you can also look on professional sites like LinkedIn. If you know what kind of skills you’d like in your assistant or intern, then LinkedIn can be a treasure trove of potential business matches.
This site also has groups that you can join that can connect you with professionals in the same niche that you’re in. Once you join, you can post asking for recommendations for the type of help you need.
Social media can be an excellent place to look for help to grow your business. One of the best sites for connecting this way is Facebook. By using Facebook groups, you can network with individuals who will be able to give you some referrals.
There are many groups on the platform that are dedicated to virtual assistants. These groups are often just for VA professionals, so you might not be able to join, but you could reach out to the group owner or moderator and ask for recommendations.
After praying over it, begin seeking the match you need to grow your business. God is faithful, and He can send you the perfect person for the job. It will be a blessing to both you and your new contractor!
How to Train People to Assist You
Although you might be excited about bringing someone on board to help you grow your business, you want to be careful that you do it the right way.
You might have the idea that the person you’re planning to hire will know exactly what you want. You can be tempted to believe that your new helper will be a magical mind reader who knows exactly what you want to be done and how you want it.
While that would be a great thing if it were possible, it’s not going to happen. Just because you imagine how it should go doesn’t mean that the person you hire will be on the same page. This is why training your team members is so necessary.
Don’t be fooled. Training others does take time and effort. But it allows them to know what you expect and helps your business run smoother. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can train your team.
Share Your Project Management System
First, you want to make sure your new hire knows exactly what’s going on. Do this by sharing your project management system. Whether you use Trello or Asana, you need your assistant to have access to your workflow. This helps them get an idea of what you’re doing with your business.
Bring Your New Hire Up to Speed
It can be helpful for the person that you bring on board to see what’s been done in the past. Give them access to previous projects. This lets them know the completion steps from beginning to end and the details that it took to make that happen.
You can give this person access to these past projects by sharing folders using a virtual drive like Google Drive, DropBox, or Microsoft One Drive.
Sometimes it’s more helpful to give your team member visuals. Create video tutorials of common tasks you need to be done. This can show the person exactly how you handle it so that they can adapt to your preferred way of doing things.
When you need to get specific about a task, use screen recording software such as Screencast-o-Matic or Snag It. Show yourself doing the task so they have this for future reference and can look back at it as needed.
If there’s a reoccurring task that must be done in a particular order, create a checklist. Then your team member can follow along with what you want step-by-step. For example, let’s say you need products uploaded to your website. Design a checklist within your project management system.
The next time you assign product uploading to your team member, you can simply add the checklist along with it. Having a checklist ensures that nothing gets missed, and you cut down on unnecessary communication as your team member wonders what to do next.
Expect to Adjust
As you start working with a new team member, allow for an adjustment period. When new people start working together, it typically takes 4-8 weeks before you get used to each other’s systems and workflow. Be patient, and remember you’re investing in your future and helping to grow your business.
3 Common Outsourcing Problems (and How to Fix Them)
Outsourcing is a great way to get the help you need to grow your business, but outsourcing problems are common, especially in the beginning. You might find that this is your situation, and maybe it’s made you feel a little frustrated or discouraged.
This is normal but remember that these problems are part of leadership. You’re doing the right thing by outsourcing. It took a lot of time to grow your business, and so will ironing out the bumps that come along with bringing a new person into your workflow.
Many of the problems you encounter with outsourcing are usually pretty common, and most of them have an easy fix. Some of the three most common outsourcing problems are…
Problem #1: Constant Questions
One of the biggest outsourcing problems is when a team member constantly asks you questions. They can’t work on their own without getting you to look over every step they make, and as a result, you’re constantly stopping in the middle of your own tasks.
If your VA or intern is constantly asking questions, this can usually be traced back to a training issue. They lack the training they need, such as with videos or checklists, to be the right kind of help. Once you resolve that issue, the person may work out for you.
Problem #2: Missed Deadlines
You might have a VA or intern who frequently misses the deadlines you’ve set. When this happens, take a hard look at why this is happening.
Most of the time, when someone misses a deadline, there is a valid reason. The most common of these reasons is waiting for feedback. Your team members can’t move forward on projects if they don’t know what to do.
Sometimes a new team member may be nervous, so they spend too much time going over the task. This can happen if that person is a perfectionist and afraid to say their work is done.
It could also be that your new team member is unsuitable for the task. This can sometimes happen, too. They might be a great person and a hard worker. They may even excel in other areas, but what you need to be done for your business is simply beyond their ability to handle.
Always Pause & Analyze
By stopping and analyzing where the problem came from, you create space for change. You can come up with a system or solution that prevents the same problem from happening in the future, allowing your business to run smoothly moving forward.
Tips & Advice for Successful Outsourcing
Outsourcing is like riding a bike. You have to be willing to learn. You will fall and get scrapes sometimes. Maybe you had a virtual assistant that didn’t work out for you. Perhaps you brought an intern on board that didn’t stick around. These can be discouraging situations, but that doesn’t mean that successful outsourcing isn’t going to happen for you.
It only means that you can learn from these experiences and continue to move forward. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey…
Assign Deadlines in Advance
Don’t be the client who expects your VA or intern to drop everything they’re doing to work on your latest project. Rush jobs create pressure on both sides. This can lead to mistakes as well as resentment.
Instead, set your deadlines well in advance. This will give you time to go over the task or project, make corrections, or provide feedback.
Plan for Setbacks
It would be great if there were never any bumps in the road, but there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. You need to make room for this in your planning.
This means planning for margin in your projects. Add additional time to your schedule for getting your projects done. It could be that your virtual assistant needs 2-3 extra days on the project due to a sick child.
You never want to have your schedule packed so tightly that a single setback creates a disaster for your business. Instead, assume things will go wrong, and if they don’t, you can rejoice that you’re ahead of schedule. If things go wrong, you’re not stressed because you’ve planned for this.
Respect Your Team’s Time
When someone else is involved in your business, it can be easy to think that they act and work like you do. You might jump on a task at a time when other people are sleeping, and you forget that not everyone handles stuff the way that you do.
You should also show respect by not calling at odd hours or expecting your team members to drop everything and be available for you. Remember that your outsourcer is a person and treat them the way you want to be treated.
Learn about Your Team Member’s Personality
Some VAs or interns will thrive on feedback. They enjoy knowing your input. They consistently need you to review the work and tell them what they did right and what they did wrong. They like to know they’re on the right track or when they need to pause and make changes.
Other VAs or interns don’t value feedback highly because they can work better on their own. Unless you have a problem with a project, they’ll assume it went well and never bring it up again.
Neither approach is better or worse than the other. But you must understand the personality of your team member. The more you know about them, the smoother your working relationship will be.
Just like you didn’t know how to ride a bike the first time you sat on one, you may not instinctively know how to outsource. There is a learning curve, and that’s completely normal. Commit to doing the best you can and ask God to guide you during this new phase in your business.
Outsourcing Is Beautiful
Outsourcing can be a beautiful thing that’s a big help to your business when it works well for both parties. While there’s a learning curve, it can be a huge blessing in your life once you have established it.
Don’t forget to pray over your new outsourcing adventure. Ask God to help you find the right people to grow your business!
Grace and peace,