Outsourcing might seem like something reserved for larger businesses - for businesses that can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to keep a freelancer or two on retainer. However, growing businesses also need to make use of freelancers. Refusing to outsource tasks that you can't keep up with can end up causing you even more money in lost revenue!
You can't keep up with it all
This seems like an obvious one, but if you're no longer able to keep up with it all - the work, the lead generation, the outreach, the marketing - then it may be time to outsource. Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, WriterAccess and Fiverr and similar sites allow you to hire workers either for short- or long-term projects.
However, these freelancers may be inexperienced, and oftentimes struggle with juggling multiple projects. Smaller businesses and consultancies are a viable solution to outsourcing as well.
You don't have time to grow your business
If you're spending all your time keeping your business barely afloat, then outsourcing is a solid solution to this problem. By having someone else handling marketing, bookkeeping or other tasks that eat up too much of your day, you'll have more time to network and follow up on leads.
Networking is key to growing smaller businesses. Staying in your bubble, focused on keeping your head above water, is a surefire way to ensure you won't be growing anytime soon. You'll be too busy preventing bankruptcy!
Things are falling by the wayside
Have you fallen behind on your bookkeeping? Has your marketing campaign stayed in your drafts for too long? More and more "housekeeping" chores being put off and forgotten is a sure sign that you need help.
While some tasks can be ignored for a while, no business can survive forever when important tasks are ignored forever. Virtual assistants, part-time employees and paid interns are all ways that you can outsource tasks that need to get done, without breaking the bank. Whether you need an in-person worker or a remote worker all depends on what you need to get done.
You're losing business
The biggest telltale sign that you have too much on your plate is that you're losing business! Clients feeling ignored, you missing product deadlines and getting lower-paying gigs are all big red flags. They show that you aren't networking as much as you should be, and that you're letting correspondence between clients fall by the wayside.
What to do
If you've recognized that you're in desperate need of some help, it's important to see what you need to outsource the most. Working on your own up until this point likely means that you have a tight budget, so it's important to begin with outsource the highest-priority tasks firsts.
You should also figure out how much you can invest in outsourcing. Can you pay someone an hourly rate to work you on a regular basis? Or is it more cost-effective to pay for a one-time job that will get you back on track?
Outsourcing can be the last step needed to make your business finally grow, or the last obstacle you needed to remove to find stability. Be sure to find a freelancer or two before you have to shut down!