3 Times to Outsource Jobs, and 3 Times to DIY
There's a time to call for help, and there's a time to do it yourself.
I’ve gone through several phases in my life when it comes to outsourcing jobs. There was a time when my kids were very little and I outsourced absolutely everything. Since then, I’ve opted to do more and more tasks on my own.
Outsourcing is great when you need it. If things get busy, it’s important to be able to let go of some control and get the help that you need. Still, outsourcing jobs can also be more trouble than it is worth at times, and it can require time and commitment to schedule and then double check everything that you outsource. So I outsource some tasks, but I still do some other tasks myself.
3 Jobs That I Outsource
For the first two years of my children’s lives, I had an amazingly sweet and productive housekeeper who helped keep my home afloat amid the chaos. She essentially deep-cleaned everything once a week, and later — as the kids got older — once every two weeks. There is truly nothing better than coming home to a clean house and having someone else wash your dishes for you while you play with your kids.
Many people think that hiring a housekeeper is only for the rich and famous, but it isn’t much more expensive than two to three meals out each month.
Outsourcing jobs like this is just about setting priorities and deciding what’s most important in your life. To me, having someone help me keep things tidy really helped me when my kids were young.
2. Taxes and Accounting
Every year, I hire an accountant to do my personal and business taxes. Although I’m a stickler for doing my own bookkeeping, as you’ll see below, I don’t want to mess up my taxes. Plus, if I get audited, I want a professional to stand behind me to help make the process less stressful.
When it comes to accounting, it pays to shop around. Some accountants charge exorbitant fees, while others are more reasonable. I chose an accountant who worked for herself and was also a mother of twins. I felt like she understood my business and my family, which made it a great match.
If you want to do your taxes yourself, consider using TurboTax to make sure that you don’t miss anything.
3. Grocery Shopping
When things get busy and my deadlines are overflowing, I love to order groceries online and have them delivered. I absolutely loathe going to the grocery store, especially if I have to bring both of my toddlers with me. Someone inevitably cries or pitches a fit. One time, both my kids separately canceled my credit card transactions by pushing the buttons on the keypad at checkout.
Needless to say, it’s extremely convenient to have fresh produce and other groceries delivered to my door. It comes at a premium, so I don’t do it all the time, but it’s a lifesaver when I do.
3 Jobs I’ll Never Outsource
1. Business Bookkeeping
There are a lot of business owners who use bookkeepers to keep track of their invoices, bills, receipts, and expenses. I can definitely see the value in hiring a bookkeeper — I’ve even considered it myself. But the truth is that I’m too detail-oriented when it comes to my small-business accounting to hand it over to someone else. For me, “detail-oriented” is a nice way of saying I’m completely obsessed with getting the numbers right.
I actually enjoy going over my business numbers at the end of each month. There’s something cathartic about balancing a (digital) checkbook and making sure everything looks right and all expenses are paid. Besides, I feel like it’s the responsibility of the business owner to know how things are going in their business financially.
Taking an hour or two at the end of each month to do bookkeeping is a great way to stay in the loop with your finances.
If you’re like me, and you prefer to do your own business accounting, QuickBooks can help you keep track of your finances all in one place.
2. Answering My Emails
Many people — especially business owners — hire someone to answer emails when they’re on vacation. I tried this one time, and I’ll never do it again, as I had a very bad experience with it.
The person I hired to read and respond to my emails for a short time ended up keeping access to my emails for several months, reading tons of them, and seeing all of my business contacts, payments, and more. I only figured this out by accident, and it was extremely disappointing.
For this reason, I am now happy to spend 30 minutes each day on vacation going through my email. This keeps me connected to my business and ensures that I won’t miss anything important (or share anything important with people who shouldn’t see it).
3. Writing Personal Stories
My job as a digital entrepreneur involves many different tasks, from scheduling social media content to doing interviews to recording videos and writing blog posts.
Although I’ve gotten help in the past with social media and other small tasks, I like to do my own writing, as that’s my favorite part of the business. In fact, it’s how I got started in the first place. Occasionally I will have a virtual assistant help me with research-intensive posts, collecting data from relevant studies and articles. But when it comes down to it, I like to inject my own personality and voice into my articles, and it’s hard to outsource being me.
The Bottom Line on Outsourcing Jobs
Like I said, outsourcing can be a great way to free up time, especially if you own a business. It can also be lucrative if your time is worth a lot of money. These days, I’m not outsourcing jobs as much as I have in the past. However, I’m definitely open to it if things get busier than I can handle.