Why you’re definitely behind the 8-ball if you aren’t outsourcing

A woman sitting at a desk with a laptop and a cup of coffee.

A few weeks ago I admitted a secret to you.

I’m not very good at proofreading. There. I’ve said it again. I was forced to face this fact after a fellow copywriter, Paul Hassing, very kindly pointed out more than a few typos in my weekly blog posts. I was mortified.

I’m sure you know what it’s like when you have a regular blogging schedule. They sometimes get left until the 11th hour and a rushed job is a rubbish job. Well, Paul saved me from rather a lot of embarrassment and he was very professional and kind about it, too. Thanks, Paul. Seriously.

Now, in addition to sending my clients’ copywriting to a professional proofreader, I now send my blogs and other marketing material. And I’ve not had a typo reported since!

This small change started something a lot bigger for Copywrite Matters.

Your time is a valuable resource

Outsourcing some of your work to someone else is a financial investment but don’t let that blind you to the cost of your time. You are a specialist at what you do and that’s where your time should be spent.

For everything else, you should outsource to someone who is a specialist at what they do. The job will be done faster and better, and that will save you money long term.

Faster and better. 

I recently noticed how much time I spent doing my books each month. I keep on top of my business accounting and I don’t do anything terribly complicated but it’s hours and hours every month. Hours when I could be doing something else. Like relaxing!

So I began the process of hiring a book-keeper. I got a great recommendation, made a call and within 15 minutes I had discovered several new ways to spend less time managing my accounts and support business growth instead.

It confirmed for me that outsourcing parts of your business operation does more than just save time; it also taps you into a specialist’s field of knowledge.

And that’s smart business. 

Trust is everything 

Finding the right suppliers with whom to partner is critical to making the whole system work. I wrote this post about how to find a copywriter and the tips apply for pretty much any business to which you’ll outsource. The hardest part can be learning to let go.

Keep your eye on the ball

When you start outsourcing business operations you take up the mantle of supplier management. While you might suddenly be getting the work done faster and better, leaving you free to do more billable work or even see your family once in a while, you will still have to allocate time to make sure everyone delivers what they promised, when they promised.

If you’re doing it well, it should still be much less time than you spend now, trying to do everything yourself.

There is room for more. Much more.

I track every moment of my working day using a time tracker. As part of my productivity analysis, I realised that, for every billable hour, I am spending two hours on non-billable work. Accounting. Business development. Emails. Networking. Social Media. Producing content marketing. Training. Reading and commenting on other blogs.

Now I can’t outsource all of this but, if I’m smart, I can cut back on how much I do myself without compromising the results I get.

What do you think? Does this scenario sound familiar? I’d love to hear what you outsource and your experience.


9 Responses

  1. I like the idea of outsourcing proof reading. I am a good writer but crummy proof reader. Is there a source of cheap proof readers overseas, I cannot afford to pay Aust. professional rates as I am on a low income

  2. Urrgh… typos! The bane of a copywriter’s existence. Someone once pointed out one on my home page!

    I outsource proofing, transcription and book keeping. I use a VA from Get Friday in India. I’m thinking about getting them to do web research and keyword research as well.

    It does take a bit of time to brief them though. I think they’re very good for recurring tasks e.g. book keeping data entry.

    1. I looked at a few offshore VA companies but I found so many conflicting reviews that I decided to with a local. Kirsty [Interim Business Solutions] costs more but I feel l save on the briefing and revision time as she gets it first time. Having said that I do know a lot of people who have had offshore success. 

      Building up a strong relationship is an important part of making the whole outsourcing system work. I find letting go the hardest part (control freak) so trust is key for me. 

      PS I’m glad I’m not the only copywriter who’s at the mercy of typos 😉

  3. Trust is definitely one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, particularly since you’re often privvy to highly confidential and sensitive information. It’s one reason I’m always very keen to request testimonials from clients and I always provide a link to either the client’s website or their LinkedIn profile. I can’t stand those “She did a fabulous job! Mrs KM, Perth” type testimonials where there is no way to check if Mrs KM even exists.

    1. That’s a great idea Bridie. I like to provide as much information as possible i.e. my client’s full name, role And business but linking to their LinkedIn profile is such a credibility boost.

      Thanks for sharing your tip!

  4. I extol the virtues of outsourcing on my blog and have recently taken on an accountant: in fact I have ended up using their system to enter my bank reconciliation details this year, but it’s got me into a good habit and takes a few minutes a day, and they will do the bit where they add it all up and make it work. They did the whole thing for me for last year’s when I realised I just couldn’t do it as I didn’t have the time (or inclination!).

    I was careful to work out the return on investment, which can be a tricky thing to do when it’s not just financial, and even though my accountant approached me via Twitter, I got references and testimonials for them.

    Liz Broomfield

    1. A great example of successful outsourcing Liz – thanks for sharing!

      I did a similar thing when I hired my bookkeeper. I could do all the activity but giving it to a specialist freed me up to do more productive – and profitable – work. I’m so glad I did!

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