One of the most precious commodities of any person (and not just us business owners) is our time. We can usually make more money or get more resources, but we each have a finite amount of time.
It’s important to delegate any task that can be outsourced for less than our hourly rate, or that we can hire someone else to do better than we can.
Why outsource anything? It’ll take me 15 minutes…
There are quite a few reasons.
1. Business owners usually have an exceptionally long to-do list anyway
Why would you want to add anything to your really long to-do list?
I’ve never met a business owner who has said to me “Oh, I need more to do”!
(And I’ve met a lot of business owners).
I personally would prefer to spend more time with my family and friends or enjoying my hobbies than cleaning, mowing the lawn or washing the car.
2. Do what you do best, nothing else
If you’re great at something, i.e. key roles within your business, you’re going to add plenty of value, do it quickly and (hopefully) be paid well for it. It’s the most efficient use of your time.
Obviously, there are exceptions, as there are things I naturally want to learn and be better at (including DIY, Salsa and cooking). So I’ll choose to do these things because they bring me joy. And that’s also an efficient use of time, doing things that bring you contentment.
Anything else? Get some help.
3. Learning to let go of tasks will help with your business
This is something that I’ve found has helped me to grow my business. The better that I have become at delegating things to other people, both at home and with the business, the more things I have got done overall.
The more I get done, the better I feel. And there has been a correlation in growth in business earnings too.
I also have a smaller to-do list on my mind, giving me more headspace.
4. Things happen more quickly and reliably
If we take house cleaning for example… I used to procrastinate on it hugely. I’m good at cleaning but I don’t enjoy it.
My cleaner is much faster than I am, does a better job than I do, and cleans on a significantly more reliable basis compared to me.
By delegating, things happen around me. It’s brilliant!
5. You’re adding money to the economy
When you hire someone to help you at home, you’re adding money to the local economy. That can only be a good thing.
What do you outsource?
As the owner or director of a business, ideally, you’ll be only doing work that achieves your minimum hourly rate. (I appreciate that reality is trickier in reality than in theory, but bear with me).
Let’s say that your desired hourly rate is £100.
- If you personally do a job that you can pay someone £25 per hour to do, but your target hourly rate is £100, then that job is actually costing you £100 to do because you’re the one doing it.
- So any task that costs less than £100 per hour should be delegated with the knowledge that you’re not losing money by way of opportunity cost.
What is opportunity cost?Opportunity cost is the value or benefit of what you lose when you choose another option that has a lower value or benefit.
Clearly if you enjoy certain jobs and gain satisfaction from doing them (e.g. giving your car TLC by spending 2 hours cleaning it), then carry on. We’re talking about the tasks that you don’t need to do yourself.
Whilst I’ve had help for a while now, it took me a while to get over the idea of spending cash to free up my time. Now it’s second nature. Here are 11 things you can outsource at home to free up your time.
What you can outsource at home…
This one is a really big time saver. I can clean, but I don’t enjoy it. My wonderful cleaner Anna can clean my house top to bottom in 2.5 hours than I can do in about 4 hours. So I save 4 hours here! There’s something to be said to coming home to a sparkling-clean home too.
I love landscaping my garden, putting in new plants, flowers and features. However, mowing the lawn or cutting hedges does not excite me. Typically I outsource the routine garden maintenance and I handle the fun elements of gardening. But if you’re not green-fingered, you can always hire a local landscaper to manage your garden for you.
3. Mobile Car Valeting
I can have a full routine clean of my car (including cleaning seats) for £35, and the gents who clean my car will come to my house to do the work. I could go to a local car wash and spend about £25 for the same cleaning, but I’d need to stay with the car whilst they did the work. By having a mobile car valet, I carry on working whilst my car is cleaned. Oh, and they do a far better job than I could ever do!
4. Food Shopping
Online shopping is incredibly popular, easy, and affordable now. You can always pop to the shops if you fancy a browse. I like to have my regular food delivered so that I don’t need to think about it. You can save favourites and recipes to reduce the time needed to work out what you need to order too.
5. Meal Prep
With services such as Gousto*, Mindful Chef*, Hello Fresh*, and more, you can very easily get the components you need for your meals with minimal thinking. My personal favourite is Gousto and I’ve learnt so much about Asian-style cooking as a result. I love cooking but working out the ingredients is time-consuming.
There are also people out there who will batch cook your meals for the week, they run businesses locally and can deliver your food ready for you to warm up!
I recently discovered this from a business friend of mine who hires someone for £15-20 per hour who will run errands. That includes trips to the post office, IKEA, taking rubbish to the local recycling centre and more. The person who I spoke to typically batches up work from several clients at once making it more efficient on her time. You can also use services such as TaskRabbit to do the same.
7. Window Cleaning
It amazes me how quickly windows can be cleaned on a home. With the right equipment, a window cleaner can clean all your windows in 20 minutes, and it’ll cost £15 to £30. For that efficiency, it’s not worth doing yourself. Oh, and I don’t like going up ladders, so it’s a big bonus there too!
8. Mobile Barber / Hairdresser
A really simple way by avoiding queues would be to have someone come to you for your regular haircut. When a barbershop gets busy, I sometimes have to wait over 30 minutes for my turn, and that feels like a big waste.
9. Personal Organisers
If you’re a bit of a hoarder or just hate tidying, then a personal organiser can take away the pain and time hassles for you. There are many professional organiser companies now, and if you need that help to declutter your spaces, this could be a brilliant investment.
10. Dog Walkers & Pet Sitters
I appreciate that we sometimes get really busy and don’t have the time to give our pets the TLC they need in terms of walking. For short periods of time, you might find it best to hire a walker to help ensure your pet gets the exercise and socialisation it needs.
11. Trades – Decorating, Plumbing, etc
Of course you’d hire someone to help you with the specialist work that you need, but you might find it worthwhile to hire help for more routine work such as decorating. The time needed to decorate a room usually takes longer than you expect and sometimes it’s worth getting help.
12. Ironing Services
If you seriously dislike ironing, there are services who will collect your clean laundry items and return them all ironed for you. Some of those services will even clean your dirty clothing too. If you have a lot of shirts or blouses for work, you might find this to be a particularly useful time saving.
Do you outsource anything yet?
If you’ve not yet outsourced anything yet, you might find it a little daunting to hire someone to help you. My advice is to try something a couple of times and see if it works for you. But be warned, once you start, you probably won’t stop!