What You Should & Shouldn’t Outsource

by cbenjasuwan

I’d rather strive for greatness at one thing then be mediocre at ten!

And yet I’m constantly trying to be about ten things at once. I’m a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, a photographer, a designer, a business coach, a blogger, a sister and I want to do all of those things exceptionally well! I also need to be an accountant, a house cleaner, a laundromat, a book keeper, a proofer, a scheduler… I don’t like the second list nearly as much because I’m not nearly as good or as passionate about it.

Implementation Time – M.I.R. (Make it Real)! Make a list of everything you have to do. Now circle the 5 things that you love to do and are best at and put a square around the 5 things that you can’t stand doing and or are worst at.

How long was your list? What things on your list can you get rid of? What things would you love to get rid of?

When I made my list the 5 things I squared were;

1. Deep Cleaning 
2.Book Keeping
3. Editing & Retouching (the bulk of my photo work load and biggest time snatcher)
4. Scheduling and
5. Ordering Appointments (while I actually really enjoy ordering appointments they were sometimes taking up two to three nights of my week).

So I did the unthinkable. I let go of the notion that I had to control everything and started to outsource.

The first and easiest for me to let go of was the cleaning! Thanks to Craiglist, I found a great high-school girl (at $12 per hour) to come over once a week as her after school job. She did all the deep cleaning that I’d hated while  I made it a point to take that time and spend it completely on my kiddos!

Next was the Editing & Retouching. It’s something I’d thought about for a long time but it wasn’t until I was hanging out at my friend Fundy when he said, “Leah, you’re the business owner. You shouldn’t be doing menial labor that you can teach anyone off the street to do that for $10 an hour”. I’d know it but it took Fundy’s timely bluntness to give me the kick I needed to make the change. I can tell you that I will never go back!

Item by item that had been squared on that piece of paper was outsourced or let go of, giving me the time to refocus my passion and energy on what I am best at!

I see and hear about it every day, too many amazing people have stunted their growth because either they believe that no one can do it as good as they can and or that it would be redonkulous to presume that they deserve a second set of hands.  I’m telling you now, unequivocally that my life would not survive without second hands… And third and fourth.

BUT, I caution you to be very careful with what you outsource. I keep seeing people outsourcing their relationships instead of their workload. What message is that sending? Would it be fair to say that what we outsourse is either what we put the lower value on and or what we believe we are least proficient at?

Too many people believe that the obvious choice is to get someone to watch the kids… I just don’t get that. Yes, of course sometimes I do need to get baby sitters to watch the kids. Schedules conflict, it happens for sure but before I go that route – I’ve done everything I can to plan for every other outsourcing option first. I would much rather teach someone to do my job in Photoshop then to do my job as a mommy.  I started this business to give my family more while fulfilling my own aspirations not to take anything away from them (especially not their mommy).

I want to make sure you know that I am far from perfect! I screw up all the time. I plan wrong or the unexpected happens or a million other things show me that I still have so much to learn. Keeping the balance seems to be a full time job all on it’s own – never mind ever paying any attention to what you’re actually balancing. I’m learning that I have to be realistic in my expectation for myself and constantly re-remind myself where my priorities should be… But it’s worth it, it’s so worth it because you and “I are Super Women!

M.I.R. Make it Real by Taking Action!

Make Your LIst… Then Leave a Comment… I’m dying to know what five you circled and what five you squared. 

  1. Melissa says:

    Fantastic Article!! Now I just need to find the time to make my list, and the courage to follow through with it ;o)

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Don’t wait to make the list! You had time to read my blog post (and btw thank you so so much for that!!) now make the time to do this for yourself. That is your first and most important step! Reply back and tell me when it’s done… I want to know what your list consists of! 🙂

  2. Kalli says:

    I HATE, hate, HATE, hate, HATE editing. I despise it with every fiber of my being, and spend more energy thinking about how much I dislike it than I actually spend doing it. (Problem #1, I suppose.) I seriously want to outsource, but I AM in slow season right now, with the heat of Texas, and what if I don’t get super busy in the next few months? Money is precious right now, and I’m never making enough, if I can do it and save a few bucks it should be worth it, right?

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I think your slow time is the PERFECT time to make the change because you have the time to adjust for the learning curve of training someone to get your style! My daddy taught me that there will always be more money to be had but no guarantee on time. You know Tay is in school and money is not necessarily in abundance here either but my time is right now with them is way to precious!

  3. Thank you for the inspiration! It’s so important to be able to admit to ourselves that getting help is a-ok!

    As of right now I only have three things that I squared:
    1. Fulfilling Orders – I’ve set up a system online that allows my clients to fill their carts, pay and have it shipped right to their front doors!
    2. Branding – Funny as I’m a trained graphic designer, but I found it beyond stressful to create my own branding system, so I hired One Willow Studios to complete that task for me.
    3. Accounting – Now, this isn’t something I’ve arranged to have outsourced just yet, but I am looking for someone to fulfill that role for me.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      You’re are so awesome Jessica! I love that you are making things happening and doing this for yourself!! When you look for an accountant/Book Keeper – they typically offer an initial consultation at no charge, so find three in your area and make appointments. You’ll learn a ton and get a good feel for who’s the best match for your personality!

  4. Anna says:

    Hi Leah — this is such a great post. I have been thinking about outsourcing for a while. Which company did you end up going with to do your post-production work?

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I don’t work with a company so I don’t have any to recommend! My advice is seriously to go to Craigslist! Oooh I just LOVE craigslist!! I didn’t want someone who did one style, I wanted someone who I could train to duplicate my style. You can hire a college student or SAHMommy who knows a little about PS and teach them your style, set them up with your favorite actions and plan to pay them about $10 an hour. It’s a win/win. They can work from their own home at what ever time of day they want to. For me, I edit the first 5 images for the blog and then give the rest to my editor via a file sharing site. She finishes them up at her own home, drops them back in with in about a week and I’m ready to go.

      • Kalli says:

        Now my problem is that I’ve just started to photograph newborns, and I find the editing to be way more difficult than with my regular child and family clients. So I don’t really know HOW to edit the newborns the way I’d like to. Is this a situation where using a company would be a must, as opposed to a SAHM?

        • Leah Remillet says:

          Not necessarily. Crunch the number but I would think that it might be your best option to invest in learning how to edit, so you can teach your retouch artist… In the long term that could be your more affordable route. With my newborns I do more skin softening and retouching but besides that it’s pretty much the same.

  5. Nicole begley says:

    Thank you. I was literally struggling with planning my fall schedule between my part time job, two young kids, and my growing (which is great) photography business. It was making my head spin. I have been thinking of outsourcing my editing for some time now. I just need to bite the bullet and do it. That is always the thing that is holding me up on my to do list. That frees more time up for the kids and marketing my business, which I love and coincidentally totally affects my bottom line. This week I will look into three options for editing outsourcing!

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Awesome Nicole! I’m so excited for you… When I finally did it – I’m telling you I wanted to seriously kick my own trash for waiting as long as I did! It was that revitalizing! I mentioned it in another comment, but seriously try Craigslist! It’s so much less intimidating, find a SAHM who owns Photoshop and train her to your style! You’ll both be so happy! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  6. Kym Boswell says:

    Hi Leah…I was wondering if you would tell us what some of your favorite actions are for children/families? I have been “unplugged” for a week so I am really enjoying catching up on your blog. Looks like I missed a great week!!!

  7. What a fantastic blog post-I have been receiving your emails in my inbox and have loved them.
    My husband and I are both trying to write everything down for our businesses, so this is perfect timing-I have an IPhone and I just downloaded the Mind Node app, where you can make lists and record what you are thinking. So I did make a list from what you recommended in this blog post, which I ended up with 6 things I don’t like. I found this to be a great excersize because I always shy away from negative things in writing/recording, but focusing on my weaknesses with the idea to see how to im
    prove them is a trait I need to do more of.
    Just like almost everyone else responded-I too, hate Editing, but when really thinking about it, I don’t like how long it takes and know that how full my computer is would make a huge impact on my speed. So after this, I think I am going to review how I can improve my technology speed. (I have an iMac but just hate deleting photos off there and besides my USB hardrive, I would love to find a good relable affordable solution to online storage and accessability.
    Another one is blogging. I know I have a voice, I have something to say and I have photos to aid my posts. But two things are keeping mee from blogging. The first one is time management; finding when I can blog. When I’m not too tired, when I do have something to say and when I am not avoiding my kids. Second is my blog design. I absolutely hate it. I have been working on it for so long that I don’t really know how to make it better. I really want to hire a blog designer, but realistically it’s going to be about a year before I save enough pennies to pay for help. I wish I could trade services, but haven’t found anyone willing too yet. So I kind of feel hopeless at this point.
    On a good thought, this was a really great challenge, and I can’t wait to work through these and continue to do this more often!
    Thanks!
    Cheerio
    -Melissa E Earle

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I’m going to have to check out the MInd Node app!

      I’m the same way… with bulk editing I do not enjoy!! But just a few (5 is my magic number) now that I do enjoy. So I edit my fave five and send the rest off. And I just went in (again!) to speed up my mac. I added 12 more gigs and re-cleaned everything out transferring old stuff to hard drives and disks. It was a time sucker but very worth it I know. And guess what… I’m currently wanting to revamp my blog too… Someday, but someday is not happening for a while so you and I are two peas in a pod! 🙂

      Anywho… Thanks for the comment. It was really fun to read and I’m so happy that G4P has been helping you and your hubby!

  8. Melissa says:

    Just discovered you and your blog – where, oh where have I been??? This exercise wasn’t a surprise to me – it’s editing. Hands down, my LEAST fave thing to do. Why? Because I’m not proficient in either program I have, despite having taken courses in both. I know what I want, yet I can’t make it happen. I’m an old-school film photog that switched to digital less than 2 years ago. The biggest reason I waited so long was the ‘digital’ part. LOL I’ll be looking on CL later today to see who I can find to do this for me. I’m intrigued by your pricing and what online file sharing system you use. I’ve been a biz owner in the past and found the best bang for my buck was a set fee (think salary vs hourly). I think I’ll structure my fees to not be dependent on how long they take, but by how much editing there is to do. Tips to find online sharing sites would be great!!

    The other thing I don’t like is the record keeping/organization. I’m OCD by nature and this shouldn’t be a big deal, yet that’s EXACTLY why I dislike it. I MAKE it a big deal. I drag my feet, procrastinate and generally wait until it’s so late, then make a rush and blunder fuss to get it all done. Well, no more of that either. My son has been wanting to make a few bucks and he’s excited to now handle the mundane paperwork tasks for me.

    I can tell yout that list making worked for me in real estate. Each family had a folder w/ a specific list (buyer/seller/investor) on the front (full sheet labels w/ list printed 2 columns wides. Cut in half.) Each task was listed w/ a space for completed date. LIGHT BULB MOMENT = I’ll be making this for my photog clients. It’s amazing how often I forget a little step (blogging, FB sneaks, thank you notes etc.) Now, it’ll be an effortless system-in-place thing.

    Hats off to you for all this great sharing of info. It’s wonderful that you’re doing this!

    • Hi Melissa!

      It’s so great to meet you and I’m so happy you’re enjoying the site!!! Go{4} Pro is here to do what it already sounds like happened on your first stop… To inspire your own light bulb, to help you thrive and to get you passionate about working less and making way more. It’s a beautiful think to be loving what you do and to be proud of what you’re bringing in!! Can’t wait to hear from you more and get to know you better! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, I really enjoyed reading them!

      inJOY!
      Leah

  9. Jacqueline S says:

    This is a great article and another “confirmation” of what Sarah Petty had mentioned in one of her video or book.

    There are tons of things that I need to let go in my photography business. I want to have totally hands on everything and I don’t need to. For ex: Instead of booking clients for events, I will sit home and “try” to revamp my website or create a new logo for my business. I am NOT a designer and I am not creative. Hire someone for-gosh-sake! I don’t need to worry about design, SEO, page width, navigation, or facebook and twitter. I’ve seen so many beautiful websites that I could just pick and have. Why am I reinventing the wheel?

    Thank you so much for this article. I am hiring someone to take care of those things…that pulls me away from my passion of taking pictures.

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