Hey Darl, Grace here, and I’m jumping on the blog today to talk about something I decided to start doing years ago when I was stressed out, maxed out and laying in a hospital bed.
Yep, for real.
I wasn’t just exhausted… I’d reached the point of burnout in running my business.
I’d been overwhelmed, emotionally drained and running on an empty tank for far too long…
And I guess that years of living in constant fight or flight had finally done it… my body had decided to clock out.
You see, I’d been trying to create the type of lifestyle business where I could focus on what I loved the most, and the things I was good at…
Like creating the courses and systems that I knew my market was craving… and showing up for them in a really thoughtful and strategic way…
But in reality… I had a to-do list that never got smaller.
I was wearing all the hats – sales, marketing, admin, fulfillment, customer service, accounts…
Working 10-14 hour days just to keep a small number of clients happy…
And spending all my time stuck in the overwhelming tech and business tactics… you know, building websites and landing pages, automating emails and learning how to set up and connect all the systems.
Darl, maybe you’ve experienced this too… where you’re stretched so thin, you feel like a rubber band that’s about to snap.
This might sound controversial, but that hospital stint turned out to be a blessing.
Yes it was stressful… it felt like my business was tumbling down and I want you to avoid that breaking point at all costs…
But it forced me to make a decision where I haven’t looked back since.
And that decision wasn’t taking a break from my business, reducing my clients or taking a sabbatical…
(Although a European summer sipping Aperol Spritz would have been nice!)
It was getting help.
I realised that working 10 – 14 hour days without any support was neither serving me nor sustainable… it was a recipe for failure and frustration.
And I realised that if I wanted to get the scale and lifestyle I really craved – one where I was helping many and where I could take weekends off; God willing a break…
Then I couldn’t keep running myself ragged. I needed to start getting help.
I had to commit to doing far less hours and focusing on the most high-value tasks that could truly grow my business… and step away from that never ending to-do list.
That massive moment of clarity is what finally pushed me to get the help I so badly needed.
So here’s what I did next.
- I went to an agency, but quickly realised that it’s a really expensive option for getting support. Creating an ad campaign to attract new clients? 100%. Paying hundreds of dollars to batch schedule posts? Heck no.
- I tried my hand at freelancing sites, but that kinda flopped. It cost a lot less than agency work, but they weren’t experts… and after pouring all my time into training them, the results I got back were pretty poor.
That’s when I turned to outsourcing… and my life started changing for the better.
It wasn’t a quick fix (more like slow and steady) but I want to paint a picture of what my life looks like today, before I get into how I did it:
- I’ve gone from working 10 – 14 hours a day serving a handful of clients… to working less than 24 hours a week and reaching more people than ever. In fact, I’ve reached over 50,000 clients in 72 countries through the online courses I built, thanks to freeing up my time.
- I’ve gone from doing every task to keep my clients happy and my business afloat… to thinking strategically and only doing only the money-moving things I love (like creating a new course or system to fix a pain point in my market).
And I’ve managed to reclaim nights and weekends – woohoo!
Darl, if you’re feeling like I was, at capacity and on the edge of sanity as you’re working overtime night after night, I GET IT.
So let me take your hand and show you the exit sign.
I’m going to run you through how I started outsourcing to grow a business I love.
It’s not an overnight fix, but it’s the most sustainable way to get scalable, long-term results.
And trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.
The good news is, I’ve done so much of the groundwork already, so you don’t have to!
So here we go.
- I started looking at where I could outsource…
(And this is a part that you won’t have to do, ‘cause I’ve done all the research for you 🙂
After combing every offshoring country and weighing up the options, the Philippines was my number one choice for outsourcing. Here’s why. Their English is really strong – in fact it’s one of two official languages, so there’s no communication barrier. They have a really high standard of education and a deep pool of trained talent. Out of all the offshoring countries, the Philippines is the most closely aligned to the West – their culture even has an American bend. Their reputation of work ethic precedes them, and they have really strong technology… Plus, outsourcing to a VA in the Philippines costs roughly a third of the price of hiring locally.
- I found a company that outsourced to the Philippines, and I got myself a Doer…
(And in a moment I’ll explain the easiest way to do this.)
Then, I started making a few changes to my business. Firstly, I really had to shift my mindset to working smarter not harder. And this was a big one.
You see, just like me, many leaders get caught up working harder… but not necessarily smarter. And of course, hard work isn’t the end goal… results are. Unfortunately, working hard is ingrained in most of us to look like success. We feel validated when we have a long to-do list and it feels good ticking off tasks… Until of course we reach capacity, run ourselves ragged and burn out. Then it doesn’t feel so fun anymore.
That’s why as outsourcing entrepreneurs, we have to shift our mindset to working smarter not harder. For me, that was taking a step back to really look at where my business was, and where I wanted it to be.
- I wrote down every task that I had to get done, and I split them up into low-value and high-value tasks.
I did this by taking my #1 business goal, and breaking it down into milestones… then breaking those milestones down into steps…then breaking those steps down into tasks. This gave me a roadmap for achieving my goal. Clever right? Then, I split those tasks up into low value and high value tasks.
- Low value tasks are things that don’t directly make me income – like checking emails, scheduling blogs and social posts, setting up tech like landing pages, email automation and creating course portals…
- While high value tasks are things that only I can do and that use my Genius Zone – that combination of expertise, knowledge and insight only I have.
- I made a plan to outsource my low-value list…
First I broke my tasks into 4 parts:
- Things I don’t like and I’m bad at…
- Things I love but I’m bad at…
- Things I don’t like but I’m good at…
- Things I love and am good at (these are high-value tasks only)…
Which let me see what to outsource first, starting at number one and working my way down the list.
- Next, I spent time introducing my Doer to my business.
- I gave them an overview of what I did; explained my goals and what their role would look like…
- I asked them to watch my courses, outlined what programs I used and showed them where things were kept…
- I asked my Doer to research my top 10 competitors, and create a document outlining what they did…
- I asked them to highlight what my competitors were doing well and any gaps they could see.
Then, I planned the daily, weekly and monthly tasks I could start outsourcing to them from that low value list, working my way down from the top.
(Side bar: a good way to explain things to your Doer and introduce them to your business is by creating Loom videos. Loom lets you record a video of your screen as you walk through a task and explain every step. It records voice too – then generates a video link you can copy and send to anyone.)
- Next I moved into briefing…
I created a step-by-step brief for everything I wanted to outsource. At the top, I included a really specific description of what I wanted – including any details like sizes, colours and quantities…
Then I listed short, clear steps from A-Z that my Doer could easily pick up and implement. I added the expected outcome, a due due date and explained why they were doing every task. (In my opinion, a brief isn’t complete until you add a why.) And I always finished off with… Does this make sense?
Tip: don’t make assumptions… Short, simple, clear and concise is key 🙂
I also started assigning tasks to them in a project management platform where I created their to-do list and added the brief under every task – I personally like to use Basecamp.
- And the cherry on top… I focused on building a strong relationship with my Doer.
This is where understanding their culture is really important. In the interest of ‘saving face’ and not ‘feeling shame’, Filipinos may often not ask for feedback and just hope they’ve done the job well and correctly – this is a common thread in many Asian countries. But unless you show them how you want a task done, they cannot learn… so taking the time to encourage my Doer with constructive feedback worked well.
I also asked plenty of questions and made them feel like they could approach me any time. Thanking them and expressing appreciation and gratitude also went a long way in building a strong relationship. I sent them ‘thank you’ messages explaining exactly what I loved, and why it was helpful instead of just telling them “thank you”.
So gorgeous woman, are you still with me? This nutshell version of how to outsource is still a lot to cover!
By far the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in business is the importance of getting help…
You cannot build a thriving business without it.
From years of outsourcing, I’ve created a shorter, sharper and faster way to leverage help in your business – to save you time and get you results quicker.
It’s called Outsourced Doers, and it’s your rescue remedy when it comes to taking tasks off your plate 🙂
At Outsourced Doers, we recruit loyal, hardworking virtual assistants – or “Doers”…
Train them up in 150+ business essential tasks that we’ve found critical in getting more clients and more growth…
And we match them up with time-strapped Founders… business owners just like YOU.
This means that you don’t have to spend time finding a VA, training them up in all the right tasks, and figuring out what you want them to do next.
We’ve literally done all the groundwork for you, so you can start getting support from day one.
We even show you how to outsource, and assess your business to plan out the most essential, money moving tasks to start delegating.
To start taking action, click here.