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Don’t procrastinate. Outsource!

Outsourcing isn’t just bad tech support in India.

Computers and other technology have enabled people who are very good at one certain thing to go into business to handle that one thing for others. Outsourcing to overseas has become popular and was really publicized by Tim Feriss in 4-Hour Workweek, but there are a lot of reasons that might not be the right fit for you. Fortunately, a lot of outsourcing is available right in your own business community.

Bookkeeping:

This service is one of the most popular for outsourcing. Taxes, payroll, those are mysteries that most of us would be happier never delving into. Fortunately there are many, many options for this that can be more affordable than the traditional hiring of a full time accountant. There are specialist book keepers who will keep your Quickbook files up to date and pay your bills. There are tax accountants who will handle only your taxes once a year. There are payroll specialists who will take your timesheets and produce everything from the paychecks for your contractors to your monthly or quarterly IRS documentation. Figure out what your needs are and take a look around.

IT support:

This is another one that too many people try to do themselves thinking its cheaper. How cheap is it when its costing you the time you could be generating billable hours for a client? How cheap is it when you spend hours on it and it still doesn’t work properly? What good is a network or computer that’s always down? If you live in a metro area check with your local Chamber of Commerce, I bet there are several businesses who handle anything from setting up your entire office IT pathways to cleaning viruses off your kid’s computers. A lot faster than most of us, and without the frustration.

Phones:

As business picks up, are you still trying to handle all your calls yourself? This one really depends on how big your business is and what kind of service you offer, but there are really excellent answering services out there. Some of them will answer as if it were your own office and can handle simple things like calling up a quote or setting up an appointment. Some can handle very detailed customer support. Some just take the traditional message and text your phone with it. How much would your productivity increase if you weren’t being constantly interrupted, even if those interruptions are really important? Could they wait 50 minutes if you check your messages once an hour? Could they wait until noon? Only you can judge the needs of your business, but give it some thought.

Web Development:

Having a spiffy professional website is as much about having the right tools and knowledge as it is having fresh interesting content. Unless you have training in coding, and graphics, and copywriting, you could probably use professional help with some of the pieces. Systems like Joomla are designed to make it easier to handle some parts, but easier is relative. How much knowledge do you have to start with, and what is the time it will take you to really figure it out worth when balanced with time you could be doing things you’re really good at. Ones that generate revenue? Web developers are a dime a dozen out there. Look at their websites, but don’t just look at the graphics or colors. Do you like what they have to say? Do they have actual content on their site? How do they feel about designing a website with a CMS system so you can adjust the content to suit yourself without having to wait on the developer and pay web developer fees to change simple text? Ask a lot of questions. How long have they been programming? Can they write a store system from scratch? Can they set up your web forum? Do they have customer testimonials or references to offer? Websites are an integral part of business now. Take the time and spend the money to have it done right, once.

Copywriting and editing:

The first rule of writing and editing is to always have someone else read it before it goes out. Even the best editors can and do make simple mistakes in their own work. Do you write well? Is your grammar correct? Does your style enhance your business? A good copywriter will take your ideas and set them out clearly and concisely. One document can be revised into several kinds of content. Often your written presentation is your first impression, either your website or your brochure. Are you making the right kind of impression?

This is just the beginning. Almost every possible task has someone that is devoted to doing it well as an independent professional. Think about what parts of your business you don’t enjoy or that don’t have a high enough return on the time investment and see about outsourcing it.

A growing outsourcing profession is the Virtual Assistant. A profession near and dear to my heart. So they’ll get their very own entry.