Outsourcing. It is not an unfamiliar word in the entrepreneurial sphere. More and more entrepreneurs are trying to infuse this tactic in their business to be more productive.
With books like "The 4 Hour Work Week," the benefits of outsourcing have been overstated. Many entrepreneurs want to start outsourcing. However, many of them do not know where to start.
First, it is important for the entrepreneur to know and plan which areas of their business are better suited to be outsourced to an agency or group of freelancers.
There is no doubt that there are parts of your business that you would prefer not to do, whether it is due a lack of competency or interest. Why spend days or weeks working on tasks that are simply frustrating for you? Would it not be better to outsource those things to someone who has a track record of delivering superb results?
If you are facing difficulty in choosing what to outsource, consider delegating these three tasks to increase productivity and free up your time for other activities.
To many entrepreneurs, it appears that social media is overrated. It is partially true. However, it would be foolish to run a business without having a social media presence.
Social media can easily become time consuming. Every entrepreneur has their own social media addiction, whether that is Facebook or YouTube. There is no doubt that those social media feeds are distracting, but you do not have to overwhelm yourself with it. It is better to outsource it.
Depending on your preference, you may find one of the following approaches suitable for your business.
1. Hands-off approach -- Assign your assistant to create and schedule your social media posts. They can create a HootSuite account and start syncing your social media accounts. Then, they can start creating and scheduling your social media posts via the dashboard.
With the hands-off approach, your assistant will focus on creating and scheduling lots of content while adjusting posts to match themes and trends, when necessary.
2. Hands-on approach -- Assign your assistant to dedicate a set amount of hours to social media. This approach is similar to the hands-off approach, with the addition of having your assistant to interact with the audience in either real-time or on a frequent basis.
3. Hybrid approach -- Assign your assistant to create and schedule your social media posts as well as infrequently interacting with the commenters. This approach is similar to the hands-on approach with the difference being the interaction is not as frequent. So, for example, your assistant may check social media for comments and questions twice a day rather than every two hours during their work shift.
I have always advised entrepreneurs to stick to the maximum of two social media channels. However, when you have an assistant, you may find it worth adding another social media channel to your marketing arsenal.
Although, please keep in mind that it is better to put out a consistent feed of content on a few social media channels than to put out an inconsistent feed of content on many social media channels. Make sure that you have a clear social media strategy before delegating it to your assistant.
Almost every entrepreneur wants their brand to be on television and in popular publications. It is getting featured that is the difficult part for the entrepreneur. Unless public relations are one of your strengths, it is in your best interest to outsource it to someone who has PR experience (preferably someone who has significantly more experience than you).
There are several free PR services, but the most popular one is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). I would recommend starting there first. I have used HARO to get featured in Fast Company and Inc. Magazine.
As your brand becomes more popular, this area will become more important.
Your website is your home. There is an adage that says, "Your first impression may be your last." Wouldn't you want to assure that website visitors are getting the best impression of your brand?
While website providers like Wordpress and Squarespace have made it easier to administer your site, it is probably not a good idea to invest much time in it, especially if your intention is to grow your brand as quickly as possible.
Instead, outsource this area of your business to someone else. Whoever you choose can not only keep your website current with content but can interact with the audience by replying to blog post comments and answering emails.
In an era where competition is at an all-time high, it is pertinent to maximize productivity by leveraging other people's time. Outsourcing is your most important form of leverage. If you want to grow your business fast or even put your business on auto-pilot, nothing will be more important than outsourcing.
This article originally appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine.