Outsourcing series part 1: How to outsource in your business so you have more time and less overwhelm - Shea Brianne Photography

September 17, 2021

Outsourcing series part 1: How to outsource in your business so you have more time and less overwhelm

If you’re a business owner who opened this blog post because you’re overwhelmed by your to-do list, welcome to the club! 😉 

Today I am writing about how to outsource tasks in your photography business!


In all seriousness, owning a business comes with a (huge) variety of tasks that seem to pile on one after the other. The idea of being able to hand over some of those tasks like a stack of overdue bills to another person might feel too good to be true– but it’s not. 


Welcome to the world of outsourcing!


Now, before we get started, let’s leave all of those excuses for why you haven’t started outsourcing at the door. Trust me, I’ve heard them all– because at one point or another, I’ve SAID them all!


“I can’t afford to outsource.”

“It’s silly for me to hire someone to do something I can do.”

“No one’s going to be able to fulfill those tasks the same as I can, it won’t be good enough.”


If myself– a Type A, wing 1 human being with a tendency for control can outsource, you can too, my friend!


We’re taking baby steps here! (I plan to continue this convo on outsourcing through an entire blog series that will go into 2022, because there is a lot to cover!)


 Here’s what we’re covering in today’s post all about preparing to start outsourcing: 

  • Common types of outsourcing for photographers
  • Preparing an operations manual
  • Creating a task list before hiring


 What can I outsource?


Outsourcing is a vital tool in our business because it allows us to stay on top of all of our demands without burnout. (Yes, that’s a real, possible thing!) 


So, essentially, you can outsource any task(s) at all that is creating more demand than what you can healthily fulfill. However, my word of advice? Understand your strengths and weaknesses… and then hire out those weaknesses. 


There are some things in your business that you are a pro at. You know what to do, how to do them, and you do them fast. Better yet, there are some tasks that truly need to be done by you (like doing 1:1 client calls or shooting your clients’ weddings/sessions.) 


However, those weaknesses? The things that don’t HAVE to be done by you? Outsource away! 


 Here are some common tasks photographers outsource:

  • Editing
  • Admin work, like email management
  • SEO tasks
  • Blogging
  • Bookkeeping/taxes
  • Website design or management


 The next prep step: Making an operations manual


Fun fact: I used to do work on the side as a virtual assistant when I got this business started! 


As someone who has not only hired/outsourced herself, I am also someone who has BEEN hired/outsourced with. So, I have a little perspective to share here on how to make onboarding and getting things set up for your new contracted/hired help much easier.


When I was a VA, the wonderful, super organized life coach that I worked for started me off on the job by giving me a Word Document that was our team’s “Operation Manual.” 


Mind you, our “team” was just two people! Nonetheless, it didn’t matter that I was working for just one single business owner. Having that Operations Manual was so vital to my knowing what to do and how to do it as a virtual assistant. It was what I constantly referred to so I knew how to do my job correctly.


When you outsource or hire someone, you need to already be prepared with what they are going to need to help you with the tasks you’re outsourcing to them. 


Not only will they potentially need things like your login information, their own email address, etc., but they will need to know the ins and outs of your business so that they can serve you well. This is why you need an Operations Manual! 


 What is an Operations Manual?


An Operations Manual is a document that lays out how tasks are to be performed within your business. 


Essentially, it’s a guidebook to your business. Imagine if you decided to hand over your ENTIRE business for one week to a friend. She’s going to be in charge of everything that you normally do and you aren’t allowed to help at all. The only thing you’re allowed to give her is a notebook full of notes on how you run your business step by step. That notebook is your Operations Manual! 


In our Operations Manual, not only do I have step by step processes laid out in writing, but I also have recorded video tutorials and put links to them in the document. I highly recommend trying this as it makes things much easier for your hired help! 


Having all of your business’s systems and processes written out/videoed out will make onboarding your outsourced help a breeze! Which, speaking of onboarding, that’s my next point.


 Creating a task list before hiring


For a few years I really pushed back at the thought of outsourcing and hiring help. I kept telling myself my business was too small, that I wasn’t making enough yet, or thought that only creatives with huge projects and crazy work hours “deserved” to outsource. 


What changed my mind? One day I started writing down EVERY single task that I do in a week. I organized those tasks into similar categories (like admin work, workshop tasks, client work, etc.) Looking at that list, I started highlighting the things that technically I didn’t personally need to do. I sifted through that list asking myself, what if someone else did these things? How much time would I get back to do things I enjoy or to work on more important things?


It added up to a lot of time– like an entire DAY of time! (For really not a lot of cost!– but that’s for a different blog post.) 😉 


The thought of gaining back an entire day of my week was worth the cost and time it would take to learn to let go of some things and start outsourcing.


Like I said though, this all started with a task list, which is what I recommend you start with if you’re trying to outsource within your business. 


 Make a task list of what you’re wanting to outsource


When you make this list, you’re identifying expectations and needs that you will be able to communicate clearly when you begin looking at who to hire. If you don’t communicate this clearly or have a concrete idea of what you need, the hiring and onboarding process will be difficult.


 Bonus tip: Make sure you understand the difference between contracting and employing! 


I’m no lawyer or accountant, but I know from experience that there is a major difference between contracting and employing help within your business and that you MUST know the difference and hire accordingly. The reason for this is you want to avoid any legality or tax issues. Before jumping into hiring, reach out to your lawyer and/or accountant to discuss what type of role you are planning to hire out so that they can advise you!

I hope after reading this post that you feel like outsourcing tasks in your business might be more within your reach than you once thought! As I said, I will be continuing this series on outsourcing after my maternity leave, so keep an eye out for part 2! In the meantime, DM me your outsourcing questions on Instagram! 

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