One of my audience members asked me how you know when it’s time to start outsourcing. Which is actually a really super awesome question.
The short answer is, ‘before you need to.’ But that’s still not overly helpful.
So, how do you know?
In this post I’ll walk you through how to figure out if it’s time.
1. Are you always running behind?
A good indicator that it’s time is if you’re always running behind schedule, barely making deadlines (or missing them), and always feel totally helter-skelter with everything.
At that point, it should be clear that it’s time to get some help.
2. When was the last time you spent real time with your family?
You might have dinner with your family every night, but are you really there? Are you really present? Or is your mind going a million miles an hour thinking about all the stuff you have to do and your family isn’t really getting 100% of you?
If you fall under the latter category, that’s a good sign you’re pretty stressed out and may want to start looking into bringing on some help.
3. Are you spending too long on something?
Do you have any tasks that you regularly do that you feel take you too long? It’s very possible that there’s someone else out there that could do it for you and do it better and quicker. Which would free up a ton of your time for other things.
4. What does your calendar say?
If you’re still not sure, Here’s an exercise I want you to go through.
Get out your calendar. Or open up your online calendar, whichever works.
Go to the first day of your week, and think about what you usually do, first thing in the morning once you’ve started working. It could be email, it could be editing, whatever it is. Block off the time it takes to complete this task.
And most importantly, be honest with yourself.
If the first thing you do in the morning is check your email and it usually takes you half an hour to do it, but you also spend half an hour on Facebook while you check your email, block off one hour of time. This exercise will not work if you aren’t honest about your own time expenditures.
If you’re not sure how long it takes you to do some of these things, there’s a handy browser extension for chrome that you can use to time yourself while you do various tasks.
Once you’re done blocking off time for the first task of the day, move on to the next one.
And so on: do every day of the week for the next two weeks. Don’t forget about travel and commute time, and leave some empty space in there every day for make-up time for when something takes you longer than you originally thought it would to finish.
And don’t forget about personal time either! Block off the time you want to spend with your friends and family, or just hanging out and binge-watching Netflix for a few hours.
When you do this, make sure that you’re taking your own deadlines into account too, and blocking off time for various projects in such a way that they’ll be done on time.
Now here’s the kicker:
If you’re having trouble finding enough time to do all those things, still meet your deadlines, and still have a life, guess what? It’s time to look for help.
Or if you look at your schedule and realize you’ve blocked off 70+ hours of work for the week, that’s probably another indicator. Burnout doesn’t do anyone any good, and trust me when I say your clients can tell if you’re burned out! Not only in how you act, but your work will suffer too.
So you figured out you need help, now what?
What comes next? Well, first you want to figure out what you want to outsource.
A lot of photographers outsource their editing, which is a good place to start. It generally frees up a lot of time for most photographers since that’s a really time-consuming part of photography.
But you don’t have to outsource editing if you don’t want to. There’s actually lots of other stuff you can outsource too. Things like customer service, writing and sending newsletters, blogging, album design, social media, etc.
If you’re not sure where to start, use the form below get in touch with me and I’ll help you work through it. If I can’t help you, I may at least know of some resources or other companies that can help you out with whatever you need so you can start working towards a better balanced, more sustainable photography business.
That’s why you started this whole crazy thing in the first place, right!?
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Story behind the image: The pocketwatch in the image is a gift from a client and friend from Australia. The cover, which you can’t see in the image, is a pirate ship like the pirate ship tattoo on my left shoulder.