What does outsourcing really cost?
How to identify the true cost of working outside of your zone of genius.
Do you know what it actually costs you to ‘do it all’?
Whether you’re a bootstrapping startup or a seasoned small businessperson, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to be responsible for everything. As KPMG identified in its 2019 Fitness, fulfilment and foresight research into the wellbeing of startup founders and entrepreneurs, “70 percent reported having more work to do than the capacity to handle it.”
Can you relate? Have you ever taken stock of how much time you spend doing tasks in your business you don’t enjoy? What about the ones you aren’t good at? The truth of the matter is there’s probably someone who could do those things quicker than you, someone who’d be working from their Zone of Genius (ZoG), saving you much more than just money.
What’s your superpower?
We all have one. It comes out when we enter that zone where everything seems to flow – it’s called the ‘Zone of Genius’. This label, first coined by Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap refers to the zone we seem to enter when we do work that we are good at and that we love. Gay suggests that in this state, “things come easily to us, time flies, and we feel we are in flow.”
Being in your special Zone also doesn’t mean you’ll never fail. Not at all. What it does mean is that if you do fail, you see the opportunities that present themselves and you enjoy applying them when you approach the task again.
Working in your Zone of Genius
And Gay is right, when we’re in ‘the Zone’ we feel excited, peaceful, in our element. It just feels so easy. David Hassell, CEO of 15Five explains it further, “Often times this [Zone of Genius] is at the intersection of your innate talents and passions and is often difficult to distinguish in yourself as unique or special because it comes so naturally.” THIS is where you should be aiming to work every day in your business. And if you have a team, or are looking for one, choose people who can articulate what skills or tasks fall into their Zones. Not only will this ensure all tasks in your business that need doing, get done, you’ll be delighted to find that they are executed by people who have energy and enthusiasm for them.
You really can…
…get your tax in on time,
…update your social media regularly,
…insert regularly procrastinated-on task here.
Expenses come in many forms
So, what are the costs of being responsible for all aspects of your business and not working as much as possible in your zone of genius?
- TIME – there are only 24 hours in a day. No matter what you are responsible for and who sets the deadlines, everyone has this same finite resource of time to work with.
- MONEY– you must pay others to do the things you don’t do for yourself. But what is your time worth? Are you paying yourself? Have you even discovered what others charge?
- BUSINESSS REPUTATION– a job done poorly can produce worse results than one that is not attempted at all.
- PERSONAL WELLBEING – your mental and physical health can suffer if you insist on ‘doing it all’ without the right attitude and adequate support.
- PRODUCTIVITY – how productive are you when you must push yourself to complete something you don’t know enough about? Now consider how your productivity suffers exponentially when you add, answering the phone, writing emails, drafting proposals, sending texts and DMs and putting out the random fires that day-to-day business entails. Do you think multitasking helps your productivity? This article by Well+Good provides some science to back up the idea that multitasking is just ‘doing multiple things badly.’
- ENERGY – the old saying, ‘energy flows where energy goes,’ well there’s some truth in that. Most of us have a limited reserve of energy we can apply to our day or week. Give out too much to the wrong things and you’ll soon find there’s not enough left for what really matters. Not only will you not get done what your business needs, you’ll increase your risk of feeling overwhelmed.
Overwhelm can derail the best intentions
Experiencing overwhelm is a real possibility when you take responsibility for all aspects of your business. While no one can predict the actual effects that overwhelm might have on you, the following are quite common:
- poor communication,
- missed deadlines,
- substance abuse,
- Ill health,
- broken relationships, and
- the desire to find an escape or peace.
How to spend more time in your Zone of Genius
The very first step to spending more time in your Zone of Genius is to determine what tasks fall within and outside of it. Most people have a fair idea of the things that aren’t in their Zone. If you hate the sight of a spreadsheet and don’t feel comfortable at math, then bookkeeping probably isn’t in there. If you’ve always loved organizing and creating systems, logistical matters probably fall do fall in your Zone.
Once you know what is and isn’t in there you can take a realistic look at what the costs are that surround giving someone else responsibility for them. Remember, as discussed above, the costs aren’t just financial.
The cost-value equation
Every profession or craft has a barrier to entry and a base level of knowledge that takes time and effort to procure. When you do a task in your business that requires this base level of understanding (e.g.: accounting, social media management, content creation), you either pay (in money) for someone to do the task for you, or you pay (in time – and possibly money as well) to learn how to do it yourself.
There are several questions to consider:
- how valuable is it to you to have that task done by a professional and how much will it cost to achieve that?
- what are the actual costs associated with you learning to do it yourself? (time, money, frustration, reputation etc)
- How much money/time can you make/save by having a professional do that task?
- And the big one, how much money are you NOT bringing into your business because you’re trying to do it all and not focusing on your genius?
Quite often, it’s more logical to spend time making your income – doing what you love and are good at – and outsourcing the other tasks so someone else can do the same. Pushing through and accepting the ‘Overwhelm’ badge of honour might seem noble, but all it does is increase your odds of overwhelm.
Also, if you are just starting out and outsourcing just isn’t an option right now, that’s ok, too! It is a matter of keeping these tips and guidance in your back pocket to enable you to make more conscious business decisions for when you do start getting some cash through the door!
The primary rule of outsourcing
Once you understand what work falls within and outside your Zone of Genius, it’s much easier to determine which things you can outsource. Using the questions posed above in the cost-value equation, you can confidently determine what to get help with.
The key to outsourcing is to be very clear with your brief. Clarity makes easy and efficient for somebody to help you with the task and it also makes pricing decisions more straightforward for everyone involved. If you don’t know what you need or what is required, that is ok as someone working in THEIR genius and working with integrity, should be able to provide you the exact guidance you need!
An unexpected benefit of outsourcing
An added bonus of outsourcing projects, especially when you work on your own, is that it has the potential to expand your network considerably. This outcome can be mutually beneficial if you choose to work with other sole-traders or small businesses when your ZoG’s are complementary.
Let’s face it, businesses owners and staff already wear a lot of hats, why add another that doesn’t quite fit or is uncomfortable? If you’ve discovered that the marketing and video requirements of your business don’t fall into your Zone of Genius, Contact Blue Clay to discuss your needs and have our professionals provide their genius for you! After all, we love what we do – which allows time, space and energy for you to what you do best, too!