It’s a week where I’m on a team that’s launching two companies at the upcoming DEMO Conference. Multiple other projects and clients have “Ummm…like NOW?!” needs. I don’t have enough arms to keep all of my balls in the air, so I look at my roster of contractors and I think, “Hmmm. Who’s a fit for my less-than-optimal-arm-quantity scenario?”
Hiring contractors is incredibly empowering. It’s the culmination of all those moments where you can say:
- My time should be spent doing other things.
- I’m so busy that I can’t do everything myself.
- There are people who do this stuff faster/better/more efficiently than I do.
But there’s a key element in this list that’s missing: can you afford to outsource?
And by afford, I mean both financially and intellectually.
The financial costs to outsourcing are two-fold. You have to be able to retain enough profit margin on whatever it is that your outsourcing that it covers your costs. For example, if you’re outsourcing a page of SEO copywriting, you have to cover the time and costs it takes YOU to:
- Manage the project (explain to your contractor what needs to be done and how)
- Edit the project (review the work)
- Communicate with the client
- Invoice and manage accounting
- Pay your contractor for the work that’s been done
- (holy crap, that’s a lot more than just writing the damn page, isn’t it?)
If you’re outsourcing a community management initiative, you’ve got a whole other world of costs to consider:
- (Again) Managing the project
- Communicating with the client
- Setting up reporting
- Monitoring the account (so shit doesn’t get all Fake Sarah Palin on ya)
- Invoicing, accounting, paying contractors
- Making everything above WORTH your time
There’s more to just charging $100 and paying someone $50 to do it. Many business owners forget about the value of their time and what they actually do to earn the business, keep the business, get paid for the business and close out the business.
But, Erika – if I start billing for MY time, that’s going to make my costs go up! Nobody’s going to hire me?
<insert big ass “waaaaaaaaaaaah” here>
Great work is worth paying for. There’s a reason that agencies charge what they do – and in many cases, it’s because they actually sat down and figured out what it takes (manpower-wise) to write a page of copy. Design an ad campaign. Compile and deliver monthly reporting. If your costs go up, there’s going to be some fallout – some good, some bad.
- Holy balls – you might actually MAKE money on a project!
- The cheap-ass clients you’ve been catering to might go away, making room for those that will pay you what you’re worth.
- You’ll be able to pay those nifty quarterly taxes on your 1099 income that you’ve been putting off.
- You’ll rethink how efficient you are in completing and delivering projects and if you need to lower your new-fangled pricing, you’ll find a way to do so to remain competitive.
I just found myself sharing this information with a good friend this week and writing down and passing it on to you seemed like a dandy thought.