Don’t know about you, but we’re pretty far from having a 4-hour workweek running our small business.
Tim Ferriss promoted this idea in his bestselling book of the same name. His motto: do the few things that will lead to the biggest progress. Just be selective in what you do and delegate or outsource the rest.
We agree 100% with this advice. And as the ones who are often hired as the “outsourcees,” we’ve seen it help small businesses grow. It’s really the only way for business owners to get time to focus on the bigger picture.
So we’re going to give you a list of the top 5 items that you can or should outsource so you can level up.
First, let’s define outsource
Outsourcing is hiring an outside company to provide goods or services that were handled by your business in-house. The practice gained popularity in the 1980s, when large companies used it as a way to cut costs.
Many of those companies outsourced overseas, but we’re talking about outsourcing to local providers who specialize in the areas you need help with. They don’t have to be down the street, but they shouldn’t be several time zones away either.
Reasons to outsource for a small business
Why would it make sense for you? There are quite a few reasons.
By outsourcing, you can:
- Cut and control costs
- Free up your time for top-level strategic work
- Get access to specialists in areas outside of your core competencies
- Use internal resources for other projects
- Be more effective and efficient
More people are comfortable working at a distance or over the internet now. If you’ve never managed others remotely, we can show you how. In our experience, business owners are quick to learn how to do this and reap the benefits once they do.
What to outsource
When it’s time to decide what to outsource, we suggest focusing on:
- Daily or repeatable tasks that take time
- Items or projects outside of your core strengths
If you could take something off your daily list today, what would it be? Remember the goal is to free up your time, so you can focus on other things.
“If you spend your time, worth $20-25 per hour, doing something that someone else will do for $10 per hour, it’s simply a poor use of resources.” – Tim Ferriss
Next, take a look at your weaknesses (we all have them) and see what you can eliminate.
Here are the top items to outsource for small business growth:
1. Money Matters
A tax or accounting mistake can turn into a thousand-dollar problem or even IRS tax court. Hire a pro instead. They may cost you at first, but will save you money in the end.
2. Advertising & Marketing
Sure, Facebook ads work… if you know what you’re doing. We’ve heard many stories of mistakes leading to thousands of dollars or a suspended ad account (or both). Facebook ads might not even be the best option for you. Hire someone who can tell you what’s what in digital marketing and knows how to do it.
3. Writing for Sales & Marketing
When was the last time you wrote a 1,000-word article? If your answer is high school, you should connect with a freelance writer stat. They have the facility with words (and the speed) to help you spread your business message online and make it shine. Save yourself from looking up grammar rules and boost your content marketing.
4. Graphic Design, Website Development and/or Video Production
Anything related to design or digital production should be outsourced to a freelance contractor. Yes, there are now tools to help you DIY in some of these areas, but they take time and results can be underwhelming. A skilled freelancer will know the trends in design, websites and even videos that can really make a difference.
5. Search Engine Optimization or SEO for Google Visibility
As with many things online, SEO can be done yourself, but only after a big investment in time – time we’re pretty sure you don’t have. Hire an SEO professional who will have you ranking sooner, so you can get more customers through Google.
How do you find contractors to outsource? Many marketers and online business managers (OBMs) like us can take on some of these areas or refer you to others who can. Just send us a note if you need help.
The bottom line
Working and managing others remotely is easier now than it was when The 4-Hour Workweek came out 14 years (!) ago. But the idea of easily running a business in only 4 hours a week is still far from the reality we’ve seen.
And while it’s possible, we feel the “passive income” trend the book generated has caused too many people to think it’s easy to succeed with minimal effort.
In our view, you still have to put in time and sweat to reach success, especially when starting out.
What do you think? Let us know below or send an email.