Outsourcing is a game-changer for solopreneurs, but here are 7 essential tasks you’ll want to learn to do yourself before outsourcing them.
If you’re a new solopreneur or getting ready to start a business, you’ve probably been doing lots of research about how to start and run a business. And you’ve probably heard lots of experts talking about the importance of outsourcing — especially the tasks that you really don’t like, aren’t good at, or that are super time-consuming. This frees up time to work on the more important aspects of your business and the things you’re best suited for — like client work and content creation.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. Outsourcing is the bomb!
But, I learned the hard way that if you’re not careful, you can become way too dependent on outsourcing.
Why i think outsourcing some tasks too soon is a mistake
When I started my business, it was a side hustle. I was also working a full-time job that often required travel and after-hours events.
It was all I could do to keep up with creating content and working with clients. Plus, I’d just moved my website to WordPress and changed my email service provider, and didn’t have a clue how to use either one of them! So I decided to outsource all things related to my blog.
This was awesome in the beginning because it saved me SO much time! And I congratulated myself for being such a smart and savvy business woman.
Until the day came that there was a problem with my blog post when it went live. It was the weekend and my VA didn’t work weekends, so I was stuck. I literally didn’t even know how to log into WordPress and edit a blog post (embarrassing, but true).
When you’re a solopreneur (especially if you’re starting out with a side hustle), I know it’s hard to find time for learning new skills. But I really encourage you to learn how to do the essentials before outsourcing them, which I’ll list below.
7 essential tasks to be proficient in before outsourcing
1) Publishing blog posts
If you’re a digital entrepreneur, you should definitely know how to publish and schedule a blog post. Which seems kind of obvious, but like I said, I honestly did not know how to do this when I switched to WordPress! When you don’t know how to do something this essential to your business, you really give up a lot of control and it’s also very limiting. Don’t make my mistake — learn how to publish your own blog posts!
2) Editing your website copy
When I first launched my website, I was still trying to get clear on my mission and communicate it effectively with my copy (still an ongoing process!), so I was regularly making tweaks and wanting to update my copy. But every time I wanted to go in and edit one of my website pages, I had to send it to my VA (who I probably drove nuts) and wait until she had time in her schedule to make the changes. It was expensive and really slowed down the process (just to be clear, she was wonderful, but she couldn’t just drop everything every time I wanted a change to my copy). Knowing how to do this simple task lets you adapt quickly, make changes on the fly, and easily experiment with changes to your copy.
3) Using your email service provider
Early on in my business, I switched email service providers. I was pretty overwhelmed with #allthethings, so I didn’t bother to learn how to use the new system and relied on my VA to handle publishing my newsletters. Then the day came that something time-sensitive came up that I really wanted to share with my email list, but guess what? I couldn’t because I didn’t know how! Your email list is your business’s life blood, so you absolutely need to know how to communicate with the people on your list without having to rely on someone else.
4) Creating graphics for your blog posts and social media
Especially when you’re first building your brand, knowing how to create your own graphics allows you to experiment with design and get really clear on your design elements. It also lets you quickly take action in the fast-paced world of social media if you want to post a graphic on the fly. It can seem daunting if you don’t have any design experience (I had zero design experience when starting out), but using a tool like Canva makes it super easy. And you might find (like me) that you really enjoy design!
5) Tracking basic performance metrics in Google Analytics
I’ll be the first to say that I am completely overwhelmed by Google Analytics. There’s so much info in there! But it’s really important to be able to track at least the basic metrics for your website so you can gauge your progress. You’ll also often need these numbers when you’re applying for affiliate programs or trying to secure sponsored posts. Plus, they can help guide your content creation by showing what content is performing well and what’s not. I’m not very proficient with Google Analytics, but a few basic metrics I’ve learned to track are: sessions, users, unique pageviews, bounce rate, and acquisition (where my traffic comes from). I also track my top viewed pages, which is how I learned that my How to Spend a Day in Wichita post is one of my top performing posts (who would have thought??).
6) Creating and embedding content upgrades
Content upgrades are such a great way to add value for your blog readers while also growing your email list. If you’re not familiar with content upgrades, it’s simply a freebie you create that’s specific to the subject matter of your blog post, and you have the opt-in embedded within the post so people can sign up for it. It should be something simple to use that helps your reader put the content in your blog post into action, and ideally gives them a small quick win. For more involved freebies you might want to hire a designer, but for a simple content upgrade like a checklist or cheat sheet, it’s nice to be able to know how to do this yourself. It’s also really important that you know how to embed the opt-in in your blog post without having to rely on someone else to do that for you.
7) Updating your plug-ins
I literally just started updating my own plug-ins like a month ago (another embarrassing but true fact). I was always afraid to do it myself because what if one of the updates messed something up and I didn’t know how to fix it? Well, I finally got over that and I’m happy to report that I’ve been updating them without issue ever since. Updating your plug-ins is super important to the security of your site (I talked a little more about that in this post). I update mine once a week.
To recap, the 7 essentials I recommend learning to do before outsourcing are:
- Publishing your blog posts
- Editing copy on your website pages
- Using your email service provider
- Creating graphics for your blog post and social media
- Tracking basic performance metrics in google analytics
- Creating and embedding content upgrades
- Updating your plug-ins
These 7 essential tasks are all terrific things to outsource and I highly recommend it when the time is right (I’m looking forward to outsourcing some of them again soon myself!).
Just take a lesson from me and learn how to do them yourself first! That way you’re prepared in case there’s ever an issue with your VA, like if she gets sick or has an emergency.
That said, I don’t think we need to know how to do everything in our business, like highly technical things or activities that require a high skill level. It probably doesn’t make sense to invest the time and money to learn those types of skills. For example, you’re never gonna see me trying to learn how to code — that has disaster written all over it. And there are lots of other technical things I don’t know how to do on my website, and I’m thankful to have an awesome website fairy godmother who takes care of those things for me.
Know how to do the basics first before outsourcing them, and be intentional when deciding which advanced/technical tasks you need to learn and which ones aren’t worth the investment of time and money to learn on your own.
And while we’re on the subject of outsourcing, another great thing to outsource is your Pinterest marketing! If that’s a job you’re ready to take off your plate, click here to learn more about my Pinterest management services.