When do you know it's time to outsource
Welcome my darling Pretties to our Beyond to the Dawn of Business podcast for pretty empowered female entrepreneurs.
It’s time to step into your power Pretties! Lift each other, support the squad and choose a life filled with the autonomy and freedom to live your dreams.
I’m your host Dawn Beth, the Owner and Founder of Beyond the Dawn digital business brand and agency. My coffee is hot and my eyelashes are on, so we are ready to go!
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Welcome to this new episode. Today I want to answer a question I have been given about when you know how to outsource or when to know when to start considering taking on a team. And just to give you some insight. I am speaking to you right now, in an area of time when I normally wouldn’t be working. I have been able to negotiate some additional childcare with my mum, she has the kids for me so that I have the opportunity to catch up on a little bit of work, and actually get ahead because I’m planning on taking some family time in the next couple of weeks. Okay.
And I wasn’t even meant to be recording a podcast today. I wasn’t meant to be recording this right now, and I felt the urge to come, record and speak to you at the moment when my heart is absolutely full of joy due to my team, okay. Due to my team, because they’re amazing and I have had a real evolution when it comes to bringing people into my business. I’ve had a real evolution in terms of many many eye opening experiences in terms of the hiring process, and finding quality candidates, and finding candidates that can perform what they have, you know initially said that they can perform when they’ve applied, and I’ve had some really funny experiences in lack of professionalism. Just things that you just would not expect to happen, especially if you’re the type of person who’s ever worked in a corporate background and you have an understanding of how larger companies and big corporations work, you will have a deep set feeling of professionalism and how things fit together in the whole jigsaw of different departments and the whole jigsaw of employing people and being an employee. I guess when you’ve been subject to a human resources department, whether you’ve been in the human resources department, or whether you’ve been in a company that has a human resources department or whether you’ve been an employee of a company that has a stellar human resources department that when you actually go out into the wide world into places where there isn’t that incredibly big area of HR knowledge, it can actually be quite eye opening, how people conduct themselves and it can make it really difficult for solopreneurs, business owners, and agency owners to bring people in, outsource or onboard team members, it can be so hard.
But today I’m coming to you from a place, humble brag from a place of absolute team joy, absolute team joy. I’ve just had a look at one of our monthly newsletters, designed by one of our lead designers who just feels like my design soulmate, she just gets me and I have had a conversation with another team member about that and what we might do with that in the future, and how we can develop it and what we might do in our business with these things, and the attitude and excitement and just how loyal and involved and on board they are. It’s amazing. It feels absolutely amazing. They are incredible women and it is such an honor, such an honor to have them all the way from the inside my business. There with me by my side it’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing.
My sister is in my business and I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned that on this podcast before, but we are a family team. And she, this week, cracked something in our business that we’ve been working towards for a little while. She just went and was tenacious and did it – she found a way. And that was an amazing feeling as well. My sister is amazing, she doesn’t realize she’s amazing, but she is. And just having her, even to be able to just talk about business things has been a massive, massive support to me – it’s fantastic. I’m very, very lucky that I have an amazing team within the business and that I have an amazing friends and family network of hypers that are just so proud and so happy and so incredibly supportive of everything that we’re doing, everything that we want to do. It’s really special. So with that in mind and for everything that I’m about to say in terms of what I believe you need to consider when you’re thinking about outsourcing and what you need to consider about possibly hiring or onboarding, or having retainer agreements with freelancers however you want to do it for your business, depending on where its at – I want you to know that first and foremost, the practical advice has to come from the motivation of really understanding what having a team can do for you, and how amazing it is when you have the right team and the one thing that I will also like to say is that the team that I have are amazing, brilliant, inspirational, intelligent women who have at some point previously, either, not being shown the best side of business, or have been overlooked or not everybody but a lot of the women that I work with at some point have either been subjected to somebody’s mistreatment or somebody’ – they haven’t been able to recognize their potential and that’s exactly where I come from is exactly the feelings that I’ve previously had to in times in my career. And it’s so strange to me that when you put a bunch of women together the way we are together, how much of a force we are and how much we can do and what we, what we can achieve together.
I really feel like it’s that Pretty Woman moment where, you know, those shopkeepers say no I don’t think you should shop here, I think you should leave and she comes back, she says, big mistake. Huge. There’s a lot of people who have let these amazing women slip through their fingers and I will not allow that to happen. I want to keep them forever.
So, when you’re considering hiring or outsourcing, what I would suggest first and foremost, is I would suggest considering what is it that you really want to achieve with that. Are you trying to outsource something that possibly isn’t your area of genius, and if that’s the case, then absolutely start thinking about it as soon as you possibly can, because one of the things that holds us back occasionally can be the fact that we try to be all of the things, and we can hold on to that feeling of trying to be all of the things, almost like if we don’t do every single thing. If we aren’t an expert in every single corner of our business, then that takes something away from us in terms of our self worth, in terms of our expertise, our knowledge, our area of genius. And I totally totally disagree with that, because I started pairing, collaborating and onboarding within my agency fairly early on in the journey. I got booked up super quick and I realized quite quickly that I could not physically do all of the things that needed to be done. I was going to end up losing potential ideal clients and they were ideal clients, they are ideal clients, and I didn’t want to do that and I knew that there were other people just like me that have the same core values and ethos possibly not the same experience or qualifications or whatever we all come from different backgrounds, but I knew that I could bring somebody in and I could train them up, I could do what I needed to do to get them so that they were working with me in the same format. So I did it quite early on.
Now there are certain areas of my business that I didn’t outsource quickly enough. There are definitely things that I should have done sooner. And I would suggest you outsource as quickly as you can. Because what we tend to do is we tend to think about oh my gosh the investment, oh my gosh, giving over control for somebody else, oh my goodness you know I have to consider. Now, managing a person or at least for managing the workload thereof, and it can be something where we kind of get a little bit overwhelmed. It is a new skill, it’s definitely a new skill, it’s on another level every time we up-level we learn something new right so it’s like something that you almost have to be in it. And, of course, again there are things you can go and learn. There are skills that you can go and pick up if you wanted to make sure you were the best leader and make sure that you had those great understandings. But I do think it’s one of those things that no matter how much you go and learn how much advice you take, how many natural skills you have as a leader, you do kind of learn a little bit on the job so you just have to kind of jump in and do it.
Then I really want you to think about which areas of your business are the priorities. Okay. I have had so many discovery calls with people who have wanted to take the agency on for social media management, and they will say to me, okay I’m loving, loving everything that you’re saying Dawn, I think it would be great for one of your girls to take over our management, I would love to talk more about your idea of what our strategy would be. However, I’m gonna come back to you in a couple of months time, because I need to get some more sales in before we can kind of cover this investment or I’m going to wait until that launch is out of the way, or I’m going to wait until that new product range has been discontinued. And that for me is always a really difficult conversation because I am not a pushy sales person I always offer an invite. But actually often that can be the wrong move, it can be it can be a thing that makes it difficult and more harder, because if you’re the type of business which all businesses pretty much are that can gain more sales or that can communicate with their customers through social media, then you need us yesterday. You need us this time last year. LIke there is no better time than this moment, and the next best time will be the moment after that. And the more you delay, the more you’re almost kind of delaying your own success. And that’s not to say that I’m trying to suggest that social media management in particular is the thing that absolutely converts. It’s not a lot of organic social media is not there to be the end close of the sale is very much to be the brand awareness it’s very much to be the communication it’s the connection between you and your customers, your ideal clients, and there it’s the whole foundational stuff that actually is very important, before you can even consider trying to close the sale. And there’s a whole sales process that I think, if you are new to business, or if you’re new to sales. You’ve never been in that world, that you may be don’t inherently recognise.
Think about that when it comes to what you’re going to onboard, am I really good at doing my own accounts, my bookkeeping? Do I enjoy it is a great question, do I love doing my own accounts and bookkeeping. If the answer is like me and it’s a no then get yourself somebody else who knows what they’re doing, who enjoys it, who is in their zone of genius when they’re in that arena, and pass it over to the expert. I really love looking at the areas of my business and thinking about the things that I’m not an expert in, thinking about the things that possibly I don’t enjoy that doesn’t send me to my joy space for instance I’m not big on admin, I think in vision and colour and I struggle to kind of pin myself down to that stuff, it’s just a natural way for me working. It turns out that I find myself in that bundle of ideas space which I love, I am so happy that I work in that space. I really do need other people to kind of pin everything down and that’s why I went and got myself an amazing business operations manager to partner with me and my sister, so that there is somebody there kind of taking care of all of that stuff. Almost like managing me, like telling me Dawn this is what you’ve got on with your diary today. Dawn, this is what you need to have done by this date, Dawn you need to do this, you need to do this, I’m really good with self management. But when it comes to the admin stuff I really, you know I it doesn’t hurt to have somebody there to kind of bring me back down from my dreamy in the cloud state back to where I need to be. So like that for me was something that I found really, really, really beneficial. And I did it all myself before and I was fine, we managed, it was good, everything was okay. But what I’m saying is that my life is enhanced. My business is enhanced greatly, and this is the bit that people miss when they consider outsourcing or building a team is that actually sometimes taking that step a moment before you maybe feel you’re ready. It’s exactly the right moment. And that’s because we tend to have needed that support much sooner than we get it, we delay it. And as soon as you get that support, especially once you get past the initial onboarding stage where you’re learning about what tasks need to be completed and training and all of that. It’s a beautiful place. It’s a really, really enjoyable space.
So, it’s so joyous that I am really kind of trying to get ahead of my tasks this week, so much so that I have taken some time out to work when I would normally not be working for the greater good of me having some more focused time together with my children, at the right time when it’s half term but I’ve been able to switch out what I was doing right now to be able to come and quickly jump on and record this at moment when it felt absolutely aligned to deliver this message right now to give you an idea of what this is like.
One of the things that I found, slightly more challenging, and I think that one of the reasons why this is so joyous for me is because one of the things that I have found challenging when it comes to growing my business and growing the agency in particular, is getting good quality candidates who are what they say on the tin. I think there has become especially in my niche, in my industry, the digital marketing space, there are a lot of people who believe that because they’ve had a Facebook account since 2007 and they’ve run their own personal profile, and they get good likes, and they wrote a blog at college or something similar that they are an expert level, Social Media Manager and/or strategist. The truth is that you don’t have to have a qualification, I just want to kind of caveat that I’m not suggesting you have to go to university to be an amazing social media strategist and/or marketeer and/or manager. I’m not saying that. I know some amazing women who literally have just gone, dived in early on, tried lots of things, kept all the things that worked really well for them. You know, captured data, used that incredible data to learn and pivot and test and learn and pivot and test and get to a place where they know it like the back of their hand right, they know it better than the back of their hand. But you can’t run a couple of small business accounts, and then say you are an expert level or you’re an advanced level social media marketer you just can’t, because we’re talking about a level of experience that is required for massive, massive accounts, that would just be stuff that you don’t even know you don’t know. And there has been a massive amount of new social media marketers, new social media managers, since the lockdowns in the COVID situation, and I am on the sidelines, absolutely hyping all of you up, I am completely 100% behind you.
But if you’re sat listening to this podcast thinking, okay, so I’ve managed a few accounts and I understand about hashtag strategy. I know how to build a strategy that I believe will work. I know how to split a and b test organically, not just with Facebook ads but organically and I know how to read data, I know how to read buying behaviors. All of these things, you’re in that space, if that’s where you’re at, then speak to somebody, have a conversation with somebody a peer, a mentor, you know somebody that you look up to, in the industry, and have a bit of a soundcheck. This is the stuff I’m proficient with. This is the stuff I’m capable of. What am I missing? Where are my gaps, how can I fill them, what courses can I do? What resources can I consume, what kind of experience should I be looking for? You have to consider those things you can’t just go and say, okay, I am an advanced level social media marketer. When you possibly have posted once a day using the same generic hashtags, as everybody else on one account that was your friend’s account and you were just helping them out like you can’t, you can’t do that you’ve got to understand that, like in every single industry there are levels of expertise. It’s not to say that if you’re at that place that you should give up you absolutely should not give up, this is a very, very fulfilling beautiful career path, it’s wonderful. The girls in the agency love it and absolutely adore it and it is such a creative space and there’s so many opportunities for not just, you know career fulfillment, but life fulfillment in this particular niche so don’t give up. But definitely, definitely soundcheck with somebody that you trust, get some ideas of how you can build on that. Go into an agency like mine. We take we take on people who are at the lower level and we train them in house, we train people up, so that you get, you get experience, you get that good knowledge, and you can also be earning money whilst you do so, and we have levels of that in house and that’s one of the things that I absolutely truly enjoy is being able to support people coming in at whatever level that they are at, whatever level they believe they are at and we get them that we get them to that point.
When you’re onboarding people, you have to know that they have what you need, you have to be 100% sure that they have what you need. So, I mean due diligence is something that none of us should ignore. We should always be looking for information as to what this person has, what they do. One thing I will say is that I have taken offense before to people requesting information about clients. We sign more non disclosure agreements in the agency than I would care to admit and I do not go out about who our clients are in the agency, unless the client is happy for people to know that we’ve been hired. We do obviously have those as well, but if somebody comes to me and says, oh I want to list of accounts that you’re working on, I’m never going to give that list, and the fact that you haven’t looked into who we are and what we do, our testimonials, our social proof, or any of those things that are readily, publicly available, proving to me that we might not be a good fit because I want somebody who really knows who it is that they’re trying to hire. Somebody who’s gone and checked around a lot of places, and has figured out that that we’re the best. You have to do that yourself when you’re hiring or outsourcing or onboarding, you have to have a good understanding of what that person has previously done, what kind of experience level, they’re at, also their personality type, are you a good fit, are they going to fit in with the rest of the team.
Attitude is everything, absolutely everything. I will take a good attitude, over hyper experience any day of the week, because even if somebody comes from one of the biggest marketing firms in Manchester or London or LA or New York or any of these kind of like standout places where you would issue, people with a lot of great experience would come from. If they have a crummy attitude it’s just not going to work, you’re not going to be able to reach them on a level that works for you or them, and it’s just a massive waste of time. Social media is one of those places, there’s a lot of ego, a lot of ego so when we have done digital business services, we’ve done social media services, we’ve done design. We have to be really careful about that when we onboard we have to get people who actually have the heart, have the soul for it, that have the – just the great attitude and the great outlook on life and that’s really super, super important.
So think about that when you’re hiring people not necessarily going off my ideals, because those are just my ideals, but your ideals, what are your ideals, maybe you want somebody with massive ego, maybe there’s something that works for you but be aware of that and make sure that you tick that box, and that the attitude, whatever attitude it is that you want them to have is right for the skill set that you’re going to require from them for the task list that you’re going to give them over. You might want somebody who has, you know, a massive audacity the audacity! You might want somebody like that if they’re going into a high-pressured sales or investment arena, you know, it depends. The vibe is different in every niche, but you will know yourself what you want and that’s what you need to look for something that’s aligned, something that really works for you.
I think the hardest thing about outsourcing or onboarding is having difficult conversations. And also just when you do get it wrong, and I have got it wrong. I have got it wrong in the past, and it has been difficult. And I think you have to be aware of that before you do it and you have to be prepared that sometimes there’s going to be a slightly more difficult situation and you’re going to have to handle it and I promise you that if you just give yourself the self belief that what you what you need from somebody and what you want to achieve is possible. Have an open mind to listen to an expert like if I’m onboarding somebody, or if I’m outsourcing something within our business and it’s something that I’m not the expert in, I’m going to listen to that expert because there’s absolutely no point in me hiring somebody to help me with an area or an arena that I am not familiar with or I’m not the best at, to hire an expert in the area of for them, for me to tell them no, that’s not what I want or that’s not how this works. You do have to lean into that process a little bit, there is something to be said for trusting the expert that you’ve brought in, and that’s why it’s really important that you feel comfortable with the person and you feel like you have explored all of the options before you do so.
You really want to consider what it is you want to achieve from it and be really, really clear. This is what I want. This is what I’m looking for. Is this something you can do, is this something that’s achievable, and I always like to ask like, is this something that interests you. Is this something that’s going to fill you with joy, you’re going to enjoy doing this, because I think it’s really important that you have people that actually are in their zone of genius and joy space, not just can you fulfill this function but will this be something that you will enjoy. Is this something that you will really, really, you know have some great feelings about, and will be able to just be in that amazing space where we’re bouncing off each other and the growth is amazing. The experience is amazing and you’re happy and I’m happy. And then the clients are happy, the customers are happy and it’s a win win win win win win win. It’s really important, really, really important.
And you know, if you have a lot on your plate. It can be just so incredibly life changing, to be able to step back a little bit. And I have found that my business has come on leaps and bounds. The moment I kind of relinquished control over all the things like a crazy octopus with some sort of business tasks in every tentacle. I can put that down, and I can just think about the things that I need to think about, I can be the, the CEO or the MD or whatever you want to call me of my own business, I can be the ideas guy, and I don’t have to be bogged down with all of the different tasks, no one’s bogged down. Everybody’s in their area of genius, everybody’s spinning the plate they need to spin, and we are a well oiled machine. And that’s something that I found really really beneficial for me. I really found that to be fabulous. And there’s been a lot of growth within my company, since I did that, since i stepped back and did that.
So if you’re busy, and you’re constantly, you know, chained to your Mac or your laptop or your iPad or your phone, and there is just too much to do, or you have an area in your business where it isn’t your exact zone of genius, then that’s the time, that’s the time to consider, make really educated decisions speak to people get an idea of their expertise and their qualifications, and their attitude and their personality and see who works, you can always take people on on small contracts. You don’t have to like, fully, fully, give yourself, two years worth of contractual agreement. You absolutely can just test things out, give it a go, give it a trial, loads of outsourcing freelancers will allow you to have contracts that are three months or less. Three months is a nice amount of time to give something a proper goal. So, see what people say and go out there and give it a try, put some money behind it and see what happens. It is an area of collaboration. It is something that needs to be worked on together. As soon as you bring another person into you space, there are a few things that you need to consider like anything within your business that is confidential. Who needs to know what, who doesn’t need to know everything, how you’re going to conduct your communication between you and your team. But these are all things that come after that initial step of outsourcing. I once thought that outsourcing it would be incredibly expensive, it would be something that was the type of investment that you would only make once you were successful whatever successful means. And actually, as soon as I started investing in other people. My business financially grew more than I could have ever imagined. And it is not a coincidence that we are able to do more, we are able to perform more, we are able to help more people and we show up in more places. You know, it’s not a coincidence absolutely is a conscious choice that once we made it on both the agency side of things and inside the general umbrella brand that actually everything just keeps getting better. So, the main advice is do it. Outsource, onboard. Do it, do it sooner than you think. And just go for it and give it a try, because I really do believe that there are learnings and benefits to just getting in the pool, and seeing what the temperature of the water is so that you can decide what’s best for you going forward.
That is it for this session, I’m smiling from ear to ear, and full of joy, recording this for you Pretties, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll speak to you again soon.
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