Recently, my company, Wapiti, reached a critical point - to hire help, engage contractors or to outsource some of my workload needs. This critical need brought out a learning process. Here are my thoughts on hiring contracting and outsourcing.
Business growth comes along with growing pains. For my marketing company, the growing pains became unmanageable. In this article, I'll discuss how my business arrived at the point of hiring a contractor and the indicators that may mean it's time for your small business to hire, contract out or outsource.
First, let's talk about when you should look to hire or outsource people to help your company grow. Recently, I missed a deadline to record a scheduled podcast. Where I should have a continual stream of episodes ready to publish, I'm currently recording podcasts and releasing them the following week. Some weeks I miss a recording altogether. My workload has not allowed the spare time to plan, record and release podcasts in a timely manner. This hinders my business growth as my business growth podcast is a means of marketing my company.
As a solopreneur, it's hard to manage your client workload and market your own business, especially when you look at your priorities and you see that marketing your business results in business growth and expanding your client base. But how do you handle the incoming clients and income flux from that marketing? The priority should be to capitalize on what you've been able to create. While all businesses should and do focus on their clients' needs first, a marketing company cannot neglect their own marketing.
Close to a month ago, I realized that my workload was growing and increasing. I approached a potential contractor about managing Wapiti's social media campaign, which includes transcribing podcasts into readable content. While I had been managing as best I could, Wapiti wasn't where it needed to be on various social media platforms. Added to this is that social media strategy is not my strength. My company outsources social media projects for clients.
It became painfully obvious that I needed help when I saw pieces of Wapiti that I'd worked so hard to build get less time and energy due to other work project needs. I decided it was time that I had my own in-house expert. I hired a local contractor to manage my social media marketing with a longterm goal to handle client social media projects. This frees me up to more aggressively meet the needs of my clients, while at the same time knowing my business is meeting its own needs and growing.
Shortly after bringing on the contractor, Wapiti signed four smaller clients. This was in addition to the 10 projects in queue. Even small projects involve time-consuming tasks such as complete web builds, setting up email campaigns or building a social media schedule. Once I hit 10 projects, I realized I had no time for anything else.
The conversation to bring on help began, however, company growth was not sustainable in the ebb and flow of my workload. Busy times would balance out in periods of maintenance. But, once I began marketing Wapiti in 2018, I began feeling more strenuous growing pains.
I recognized three things that Wapiti ideally needs: a good networking/salesperson who can bring in new clients and connect Wapiti with the community and other business, an analyst who could manage advertising statistics and a creative person who can do design work. There is no way that any well-run business can run off of one person fulfilling all of these roles, so along with my client workload, I've been working to identify these people starting with my own network. Business growing pains have made it clear I need the help.