Why Not Outsource? Beats me!

In Outsourcing by kimcaloca

My mom doesn’t like beets.

I can’t say I blame her. They kinda taste like dirt. It’s not their fault; they grow underground. Apparently they just happen to soak up a lot of their environment. Unlike potatoes or carrots or other root veggies.

My mom is also a chronic DIY’er. Both my mom and my dad, actually. It’s great for me. My dad can change the oil in my car and do other mechanical fixes. My mom can sew my kid a halloween costume like nobody’s business. My dad can install electrical outlets and rain gutters and solder things. My mom reupholsters her own furniture with her industrial sewing machine.

And lately, they’ve started to verbalize their thoughts about people who hire others to do things for them. They attribute outsourcing to not having any money. Their thought is you shouldn’t pay someone to do something you can do yourself.

Sometimes, I agree with that logic. It can be sound. I grew up in this DIY logic, after all. My dad worked hard at his desk job. Every day my mom was cleaning or doing some household chore. On the weekends they both worked together on the bigger home improvements and repairs.

As an entrepreneur, I have to push myself to shift my thinking about doing EVERYTHING myself.

Here’s an example.

My grandma (whose property I live on) saves her water bottles. She told me I could take them and turn them in and keep the money.

I dreaded the task for weeks while the plastic barrels filled higher and higher with flimsy plastic water bottles.

I knew I would get about $8 for wrangling both barrels full to the recycling center.

When the day came that they were both full and grandma had nagged me and my mom enough, I finally took them.

First, I had to transfer them OUT OF the barrels and INTO bags. Tall kitchen trashbags were not cooperating. I had to drive down the street (same place where the recycling center is) to get big lawn trashbags.

Then, I drove home and wrestled the barrels to dump the contents into the bags.

Back to the store I go, only to find the operator of the recycle center is on lunch break. And he’s late getting back. I had to wait for about 20 minutes.

Once he finally weighed and evaluated all of the water bottles and gave me my ticket? $8.27.

I just spent $3.99 on trashbags. I spent my time on two trips to the store. I spent my energy on dumping those bottles into the trashbags.

Of course then I also had to wait in line inside the store to collect my ‘big money.’

I told my mom I was never going to do that again. It made absolutely no sense for me to spend an hour of my time doing something that’s just a chore for me, to make significantly less than I would bill for spending the same amount of time on my business.

My suggestion for the bottles was that we put them on the curb for someone needy to take – a family that makes a living turning in recyclables.

My mom thought that was ludicrous. Apparently she’s taking the bottles next time. Which makes sense for her, I suppose, since she has no income baseline to compare that $8 with.

For an entrepreneur, though, there comes a point in time in which it doesn’t make sense for you to take your own recycling in. No, not literally your recycling. But that task that you spend time on that doesn’t leverage a whole lot of income into your business.

That task that you don’t really like doing anyway and somebody else would happily do for a price that makes sense for you.

And THAT’S when you outsource.

Do more of the things that ONLY you can do. Pay someone else to do the things that need to be done, but aren’t in your genius or passion zone.

The other caveat of this is that you have to know what your time is worth. If your time is only worth $10 per hour based on what you’re making in your business, you’ll have to look at cost-benefit closely.

Do you know what your time is worth? If you don’t, here’s a tool that can help. If you’re time isn’t worth much, don’t be discouraged. Just start bustin’ to make it worth more!

What do you outsource currently? What tasks are you dying to give away to someone else? What keeps you from outsourcing?

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