WARNING: This is going to hit very close to home for you.
For a long time, I tried to do everything myself. I was my own web designer, bookkeeper, graphic designer, brand strategist and more ( ... also my own lawyer, but that’s still going well). I was overwhelmed because I thought that’s the only way to do it. But there’s one thing that’s consistent with all the big dawg ‘trepreneurs. Tim Ferriss, Chris Ducker and Marie Forleo — they outsource everything but their original work. They find a way to automate as much as possible. And if you want to punch me because you’re like, “Yeah, but Christina, I’m not profitable yet…” then heed my advice: choose ONE thing to outsource, and figure out how to do that first. (Sidenote: delegation takes practice — consider this an educational experience as well as an investment!!)
The truth is that you need to outsource if you want to scale your business. You don’t want to be wasting time (money!) working outside of your area of expertise. You could be doing something else, like making progress on your business goals + spending more time with your family.
In February, my life looked like this:
8am: Wake up
9am: Finish chores, freak out about how late it is and I haven’t even started my day
10am: Start working; open email; feel defeated
10:15am: Give up and go to grocery store, feel like I can’t do ALL THESE THINGS
12pm: Oops, grocery store turned into Pottery Barn; sad I can’t afford anything there…
4pm: Holy cow, it’s already 4?!? I have GOT to work NOW… but wait, I need lunch!
5pm: Frantically draft a blog post, newsletter and throw together a graphic for each
7pm: Get in a fight with my partner because he wants me to eat the dinner he cooked but I’m working
1am: Lay in bed, I’m exhausted but too anxious to sleep
2am: Finally fall asleep
I wish there was a pretty little bow to wrap up this story and move on with, but there’s not yet. However, this is what my life looks more like now (not perfect, but getting better):
8am: Wake up, start coffee + chores
9am: Let cleaning crew in, get to work
10am: Review blog post; check email; review Dannie’s content calendar suggestions (my brand strategist)
11am: Write content; send to brand director who turns it into blog post + newsletter
12pm: Go to lunch (!! holy moly- what a concept)
1pm: Get on the phone with copywriter who’s creating sales copy for course
2pm: Outline first module of my course; send to graphic designer to turn into slides
3pm: Take a break- go to Target to pick up some Sugar Paper stationery for my office
4pm: Clean up and head home; answer some last minute emails
5pm: Barre3 class
6pm: Dinner with Joe
7pm: Walk with Joe
8pm: Read a novel. Not a business book. Okay, sometimes a business book…
If you’re more like February Christina, you need to hear about all my recent hires (or want-to-hires). Here’s my secret guide to the 10 people you need on your team to help you (sanely) run your creative biz:
1. Bookkeeper and Accountant. Let's face it, money is what makes you a business (and not a hobby). Even if you manage your personal finances like a pro, shifting from a 1040 to a Schedule C is a BIG change. Consult a professional before you leave money on the table because you didn’t know the latest tax incentives (or you’ve been logging your expenses to the wrong accounts and it will take a pro HOURS to fix it in time for Uncle Sam.)
2. Personal or Virtual Assistant. Those little micro tasks that add up and take away so much time from your day? Stop doing them. There’s someone else out there who can do them faster and better than you (but the good news is you can use your newfound freedom to MAKE MORE MONEY doing what you’re best at!) If managing the house is a point of stress, hire a cleaner or a mother's helper. If your email inbox is overflowing, a VA can take care of that for you. (Feel like you never have enough time? Here’s the solution…)
3. Content Writer. Coming up with new ideas for your blog posts and newsletters ...and then actually writing them...whew! That can be a serious drag. But it’s so necessary to keep reaching a new audience and engaging your current one. Hand off your blogging and free up your creative energy for other projects, like launching a new product!
4. Sales Copywriter. Speaking of launching, you’ll want to hire a pro wordsmith to help you tell your story so you can sell more seats in your upcoming course (or book more weddings). The art of selling in a way that connects to your ideal client is a GIFT (that most of us don’t have!)
5. Social Media Manager. If you’re starting to feel like social media is taking over your life… IT PROBABLY IS! Generating a steady stream of content to share (see #4), overextending yourself on every network, and keeping up with the algorithm changes (seriously, Facebook?) can easily pack your calendar with itty bitty tasks.
Suggested Vendors: LISH Creative
6. Brand Strategist. A brand that sets you apart as a professional and attracts your ideal clients is a MUST. Ever get an email and know IMMEDIATELY who sent it to you, even before you scroll past a visual or read their signature? This type of recognition — the kind that instantly connects you with your customers — comes from investing in a cohesive brand and PR strategy.
7. Graphic Designer. After your brand guidelines are in place, you’ll want a go-to graphics guru who consistently delight your audience with visuals. If you prefer to DIY, have your designer create beautifully branded templates so you can make your own social media and blog graphics.
8. Web Designer. Your website is the single most important marketing asset for your business. It’s where you establish yourself as an expert, a professional, and as someone people trust and feel comfortable purchasing from (<< hint: time to get PAID yo!). If you don’t have the skills — or can’t devote the time to learning them — to create a modern, user-friendly, and mobile-responsive website: Hire a Web Designer. All the cool kids are doing it.
9. Business Coach. Have you ever had a conversation with a friend about her relationship with her dude and you could TOTALLY see what the problem was, but she couldn’t? Yeah, you’re that girl, and your business is your dude (or chick- whatevs!). I don’t care where you are in your biz- every. single. creative.can benefit from a business coach. They have this wonderful ability to help you see past the clouds and reconnect with your business with more clarity, focus, and dedication by honing in on the real roadblocks (and not just the ones we perceive). And once you have those things? Helllllloooo profit. Profit is a beautiful thing: it gives you the choice to donate it to charity, support your family or grow your biz. To think —it’s only a coach away!!