“Kevin tries hard. However, I feel his talents must lie elsewhere.” There was a passive-aggressive tone to the only report card comment that I can remember. That was 27 years ago. I’m sure there are some positive report card comments hidden in the dark recesses of my brain, but no, that’s the only one I can remember. The subject in question was Art.
Mr. Adam wasn’t wrong. My art skills were somewhat limited. OK, I’m being kind. For whatever reason, the artistic part of my brain is missing. I can’t draw even the most rudimentary of pictures. When your 6-year-old son is a better artist than you, you know it’s time to give up.
It’s surprising given the fact that my sister and both my parents are accomplished artists. When I see the work they produce, my initial envy is replaced with the only natural conclusion I can ‘draw’ – I’m clearly adopted!
Every few years I pick up sketch book and pencil and try again, deluded in the notion that my latent art talent will finally reveal itself. It never does.
When I launched Square Tree Marketing, I forgot Mr. Adam’s subtle advice. I tried designing my marketing materials, including my logo. How hard could it be? Well actually very hard. I wasted so much time, and the result was awful. So I did what I should have done from the start – outsourced my design work to a professional graphic designer.
I learned a valuable lesson. I needed to stop trying to do everything myself. If it can be done better by someone else and save me valuable time, then I outsource it. I make my living by writing content. If I waste my time doing tasks I’m simply not cut out for it reduces my writing capacity – which in turn limits my earning potential.
Outsourcing for me is a commercial necessity.
If you’re a business owner, ask yourself what else could you directly outsource? What are the tasks that would free up more of your time? What could you do with that time?
If you’ve got a team, you might consider Insourcing, which essentially means outsourcing a task to one of your own team. This can be a great use of your resources, but only if it is something they have a genuine aptitude for.
Using my artistic example, you might be as bad a graphic designer as me. (If you are, maybe we can form some sort of Self-Help Group? FAA Frustrated Artists Anonymous?) You could ‘insource’ to someone on your team who is slightly more artistic than you. But can they create the graphics that will do your business justice? Remember, sometimes, good enough, simply isn’t.
Insourcing only works if the person completing the task can do it to a standard you’d be proud of. There should be no compromise. But even if they can produce the work to a high enough standard, is it the most profitable use of their time? By being your go-to graphic design person, what work CAN’T they complete? Ultimately, something has to give.
Here’s what I’d recommend you do. Identify all the tasks that you don’t enjoy doing, aren’t good at or typically take you longer than planned. And simply ask yourself with brutal honesty the following question –
“Do my talents lie elsewhere?”
P.S. – If you use a Task Management Tool, I recommend you create a new list labeled ‘Elsewhere’ for the tasks you need to outsource or insource.
P.P.S. – My tool of choice is the incredibly powerful and flexible AllThings. You can take it for a 14-day free test run. It’s now my business dashboard. (If you want me to take you through how I use it, please get in touch.)
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