Maximize Your Effectiveness by Outsourcing
By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
Whether they excel at design or a running a business, the most successful designers I know all have one thing in common. They focus their energies on their core competencies and let others do the things they don’t do so well or don’t have time for. If you are a sole practitioner or run a small firm, those are probably things you don’t do every day or even every week. That makes them perfect tasks for outsourcing.
Many designers outsource basic administrative tasks, such as invoicing, bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll and tax preparation. Even if you use design business management software, keeping up with these tasks takes time away from hours you could be billing to clients, at a far higher rate than you will pay someone else do them. Outsourcing is also a great way to access skills and technology you only need occasionally, such as creating or upgrading a website, producing marketing materials and e-newsletters, maintaining a presence on social media, developing 3-D renderings and other images for client presentations, or engaging specialists to assist with a project. When business is good, outsourcing lets you handle the extra workload without having to hire additional personnel.
If you have periodic need for such assistance, you will want to consider whether to work with a freelancer or an agency. An agency will charge a higher fee but offers stability and reliability for key operational tasks like invoicing and payables. For tasks that involve a variety of skills and expertise, such as creating a website and producing the content and imagery, an agency may be a better choice than working with an individual who may excel in one area but not another. A freelancer will usually charge less and have more flexibility if you need something done in a rush, overnight or on a weekend. In either case, ask for a sample of their work and references before hiring either. Consider carefully both cost and quality of work. Sometimes with freelancers the quality of work may vary depending on what else they have on their plate at the time.
Using outsourced services can save you time to focus on the areas of your business that are most profitable. They can be a valuable addition to your team and will more than pay for themselves in the long run.