If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as an entrepreneur, it’s that every decision I make should be an informed decision.
I love my pro-con lists, research the heck out of new endeavors, and even invite my girlfriends to play devil’s advocate when I’m kicking around an idea.
With that in mind, I’m going to walk you through some advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing with examples. After all, I firmly believe that outsourcing can transform businesses for the better. BUT I’d never want you to just take my word for it!
Just like me, you should weigh the good and bad and choose for yourself.
Ready? Let’s dig in!
Advantage of outsourcing: Leveraging other people’s time
I’m amazed how many entrepreneurs still cling to the belief that doing everything ourselves saves money.
We have limited time in each work day, and spending it on tasks that could be outsourced is downright wasteful!
A huge advantage of outsourcing is that when you delegate to team members, you’re freed up to focus on top priorities.
Example: Say you spend 2 hours each day answering emails and working on your schedule. A skilled VA could handle those tasks, and you’d regain 10 hours every single week! That’s more than a full work day! Talk about an advantage of outsourcing!
Advantage of outsourcing: You get to work in your sweet spot
Business coaches who outsource get to work with more clients, instead of spending time on social media, doing bookkeeping, creating graphics, or whatever else they should be delegating.
When you’ve got a capable team, more of the work you do is work you LOVE doing.
Example: Moderating your own Facebook group? That task earns you little-to-no money. Even if you had a team member do it a few times per week, you could schedule that time with a client and make hundreds of dollars per session. A much better use of your time.
Advantage of outsourcing: Infinite scale
There’s a growth cap for solopreneurs that does not exist when you grow a team.
When you bring on people who have skills and talents you lack—tech, graphics, marketing—you increase your capacity for growth.
And when you entrust low-level tasks to team members, you can focus on the big picture and strategic planning.
Example: Say you’re amazing at writing and strategy. If you don’t outsource, you graphics may look sloppy and your website may be buggy, but YOU can’t do anything about it. With a team, everything is handled, your customers are happy, and your business is primed to thrive.
Disadvantage of outsourcing: Cost
It’s easy to say, “I’m going to just do it myself because I have time.” And if you truly do, then go for it!
Outsourcing works best for entrepreneurs who have more money than time, but if you actually have the capacity you might not want to spend the money on freelance support.
A definite disadvantage of outsourcing is that it requires money up front.
Example: If you’re just getting started, you might not have steady cash flow. In this case, writing your own blog posts and handling your own bookkeeping makes sense since you’ve got time, but not money.
Disadvantage of outsourcing: You have to be the team leader
When you choose to hire a team, that means discipline, hiring, and firing are all on you. Leadership is tricky, and not something we all do naturally.
If you shy away from conflict—even when you know a situation needs decisive action—running a team of contractors might be tough.
Example: You may hate writing Tweets, and hire someone to write and post them for you. But if she doesn’t do it on time or the work is shoddy, you must be comfortable bringing that up. If you’re not, it might be better to just keep writing them on your own!
Disadvantage of outsourcing: You have to be super organized
You can’t drop a new project on your team at the last minute and expect it to get done; you have to assign out the tasks in advance, and give them sufficient time to complete the work. Also, you need to leave time in the team’s schedule to recover in case a team member is ill or otherwise unable to complete a task.
Bringing on a VA can help you get more organized, but as the business owner you’ll still need to be fairly detail-oriented yourself. And if you’re not, that’s a drawback to outsourcing for sure.
Example: Say you forget to tell your team about a deadline, and by the time you realize it, the deadline is 3 days away and 2 of those days are over the weekend. If you had no team, you’d just suck it up and handle the project solo. With a team, you need to weigh the cost of fessing up to your mistake, asking for their help, and potentially paying overtime to get the work done.
When you look at the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing with examples, you can see that much of it comes down to priorities.
If you’re focused on growth, strategy, and maximizing your time, building a team of contractors is a no-brainer!
But if you desperately need to save money or lack top-notch people skills, outsourcing might just add to your stress load.
Weigh those pros and cons, consider your unique situation, and decide what’s truly best for you. After all, every decision you make should be an informed decision!