Outsource and Delegate In Order to Grow
Many Type-A personality types find their way into entrepreneurship, lured by the idea of being the boss. And given the detail-oriented and creative nature of the public relations profession, PR entrepreneurs find themselves at the mercy of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, our Type-A /take charge/make it happen personalities allow us to get tons done. But our somewhat control-freakish entrepreneurial tendencies also hinder us: we often keep our projects on a short leash.
But keeping projects close doesn’t serve us in the long run because we end up spending loads of time on mundane tasks that we can’t bill for.
Lately I’ve been pondering the subject of growth, and what’s needed to make growth a reality for a service-based entrepreneur. For many public relations and marketing pros, and now social media specialists, not only are we charged with managing client projects from start to finish, but we’re also responsible for handling the day to day operations of running a business. We’re the mailroom, accounting department and janitor. We are the community relations person and publicist for our practice, and it falls on our shoulders to get the word out about the business.
If you’re on your own and making a profit, chances are, you’re delivering superior client service. Your clients probably adore you and love the work you’re doing. You’re getting by with one to two great clients, a few clients who you bill regularly but they’re not on a monthly retainer. You’re not breaking any records with your profit so you want to branch out and grow, yet you’re barely able to finish all of the work for current clients.
The lesson I’ve learned after almost six years as an entrepreneur is something that some of the more successful entrepreneurs get right out the gate: outsource the little stuff. If filing and general office maintenance is taking up hours of your time, get someone else to do it. By hiring someone to take on the tasks that you can do but aren’t being paid by your clients to do (filing, phone calls, spreadsheets, databases, cold calling, web site updates, etc.) you will save money in the end.
If you’re thinking “I’d really love to hire an assistant, or a junior account executive to help me manage some of this workload, but I couldn’t possibly afford it…”look at it this way: Your assistant or account exec will free up 10-20 hours of your time each week if you use him or her effectively. Could you use an extra 10-20 hours a week? I know I could.
After you’ve freed up this extra time, you’re free to put those hours into bringing on more clients, or doing more strategic work for your existing clients.
Things You Can Outsource:
Web Site Updates
Preliminary Media Pitching
Assembling Press Kits
Writing Media Advisories
Update the company blog
Upload videos on YouTube
First Draft of Proposals
Don’t let paperwork keep you from being a rainmaker. Your firm’s rep is on you; no one else is going to get out there and network to get new business on your behalf. So get out there while your number two stays behind to keep the wheels of the business turning.