In our Black Dress Circle roundtable discussions, I regularly create time for members to ‘Ask Me Anything’ to offer additional value-added time to address pressing business issues. This month, the question of when to call-in experts was raised in several roundtable meetings…it seems many business owners aren’t sure when to outsource projects vs. roll-up their entrepreneurial sleeves and take a DIY approach.

The short answer: When there are places in your business that you’re feeling stuck, that can signal that it’s time to rely on an outside resource to help you move things forward.

An example came up for me recently involving a pesky ongoing issue of managing paper. (For years I’ve had a paper problem that I’m determined to get a handle on.) A colleague had a brilliant insight that my paper piles ‘represent unfulfilled dreams and wishes like a superwoman complex.’ I now have my ever-capable colleague Sonja pushing through this project! It didn’t make sense to outsource it, but it certainly needed to be done.

Of course, another option is choosing to do nothing! (But you know where that gets you: Nowhere.) 

There are circumstances that call for a DIY approach, and times when ‘just Googling it’ is what’s easiest and best. (And do I ever have an afternoon full of great stories about this!) For example, learning how to launch a webinar or a Facebook live event could fall into this category: they’re not too technical or time-consuming, there are tons of learning resources out there, and they’re excellent hands-on learning experiences that don’t require big investments. But then there are other times that DIY’ing / Googling it just isn’t the answer. That’s when you need to have a little talk with yourself…

Here are key questions when considering outsourcing work:

  1. How high are the stakes? Are you facing an opportunity to buy a business? Expand into a new market?
  2. What is the consultant’s billable rate compared to yours?  
  3. What is the consultant’s level of expertise compared to your own?   
  4. How much anxiety is involved in taking on the project yourself?
  5. Are you trying to ‘do it all’ and it’s negatively impacting your quality of life? That’s a positive sign for outsourcing.
  6. Are you utilizing your team members to their fullest potential? If in doubt, consider tapping into those resources instead of outsourcing.

Along with the above questions, simply asking what others have done in situations similar to yours can offer aha-moments and remind you that you’re not alone in your challenges. And when the stakes are REALLY high, you want to do all these things — Google it, talk to peers, delegate, and hire an expert.

Here are a few other resources to consider in your outsourcing decision:

Forbes three key questions:

Business Know-How provides these practical tips for deciding when to outsource and how to effectively manage it once you do (acknowledge that it’s an oldie but a goldie):

In our entrepreneur roundtable sessions, I always strive to challenge members (and readers of this newsletter) in positive, growth-inspiring ways. So I’ll exit here with these key closing questions:

  • Are you strategically outsourcing to maximize your company’s growth potential?
  • What projects might you turn over to outside experts in both Q4 and 2019 to move your business forward?
  • Do you have the right advisor on your team to harness opportunities?

In your business challenges, remember that small and consistent changes over time add up to big change and steady growth.


Erin Joy

PS – Would you also like to “Ask Me Anything”? I’ll be holding my first public “Ask Me Anything via Facebook Live on 10/26/18 at 11:00am. Go here to tell me what you’d like to ask!