As you know, when you’re a freelance trainer actually delivering any training is just one part of what it takes to keep work coming in and your business ticking over.
Like all freelancers, we trainers have to walk a fine line between managing the systems and processes of running a business with doing what we love most – training. Unfortunately, many freelancers feel that they spend so much time working ‘in’ the business that they rarely get the time they need to work ‘on’ it.
If you feel that same way and are suffering from overwhelm, I want to help you make some changes that will free up your valuable time.
I am a big fan of outsourcing key admin and marketing tasks. As essential as they are to your business – after all, invoices need to be paid and you need to be connecting with potential clients -, they can be incredibly time consuming. They can also take you away from where your focus is best spent.
Many people tell me that they can’t afford to outsource and I understand that this is a legitimate concern. Money doesn’t grow on trees and, if you’re still in that cycle of feast and famine, every penny may count.
That being said, in my experience trying to do everything yourself can be a false economy, and play a contributing role towards keeping you stuck on the feast or famine rollercoaster. Every hour you spend on doing your accounts, writing blogs or posting on social media is an hour of billable time that you could be spending with clients.
Just think how much you could earn if you didn’t have to spend as much time on admin. The chances are that you can earn more per hour than you would have to spend on outsourcing.
So, if the admin side of freelancing is sucking valuable time from your week and leaving you in a next to permanent of overwhelm, these are five tasks that it could pay you well to outsource.
1. Accounts & bookkeeping
Instead of spending hours filling in spreadsheets and balancing your books, an experienced bookkeeper can do the same job in half the time, keeping your financial records in tip-top order so you know where every penny is being spent within your business.
Equally, hiring an accountant to complete your tax or VAT returns can save valuable time and money. An accountant will be able to help you offset some of your expenses and make your business expenditure go further.
A bookkeeper will probably charge in the region of £15-£30 per hour and you can probably agree a set number of hours per month or hire someone on an ad hoc basis. An accountant will charge more and may have a fixed fee for completing your annual accounts. It’s a good idea to ask for a quote and for recommendations from other small business owners.
2. Social media
Social media pages almost seem to operate in a different time zone where minutes turn into hours in what feels like seconds! As important as social media can be to helping you connect with potential customers, it’s essential to protect your time by only using social media sparingly during your working day.
Better still, there are some fantastic virtual assistants (VA) or social media management companies that specialise in managing small business social media accounts. In the case of a social media management company, they may be able to help with your social media strategy, write and post on your behalf, deal with customer enquiries and monitor your analytics. A VA may provide a service where they schedule the social media posts you’ve written a month in advance – services tend to vary from one company to another.
The prices charged by social media management companies and virtual assistants also vary enormously so it’s worth shopping around. You may be able to arrange ad hoc support for just £20-£25 per hour or pay a fixed monthly charge.
3. Blog writing
There’s no escaping the fact that having a blog on your website can be good for business. It’s a great way of showing your expertise, connecting with customers and providing fresh content for the search engines to index. Of course, finding the time to write something original every month/fortnight/week can be overwhelming if you’re already busy. It’s all too easy to let your blog slide to the bottom of your to-do list.
You might want to consider outsourcing your blog writing to an experienced copywriter or blog writer. They may even be able to come up with content ideas on your behalf. Again, prices vary from content mill rates of £10 per article up to £100 an article or more; £40-£50 per article seems more common and will give you unique, meaty content for your website that your clients and search engines will love.
4. Newsletter content and creation
Newsletter content and creation can be time consuming and yet having a newsletter to email out to your mailing list is a fantastic excuse to regularly contact your current, past and potential clients.
Again, there is a choice of newsletter content and creation services available. A virtual assistant may be able to take your copy, for example, and put it into a Mailchimp, Aweber or Constant Contact template on your behalf, as well as sending out the newsletter to your list and managing bounces, unsubscribes and enquiries. This could cost as little as £20-£30 if the VA charges an hourly rate.
You’ll also find that some copywriters offer this service in addition to writing the newsletter on your behalf. If the copywriter is writing the content too, you can expect to pay for several hours of their time. Junior copywriters tend to charge £25 to £30 per hour but more experienced copywriters can charge anywhere between £40 and £100 per hour.
5. Call answering
If your phone is constantly ringing or you’re delivering training and worried that potential customers are always going straight through to voicemail, you might want to consider handing your business line over to a call handling service. This will ensure that no phone call is missed but that your time is still protected from constant interruptions. Having someone available to answer the phone can also make your company look bigger and more established.
Call handling services cost as little as £20 per month, although different packages are usually available to give you the most affordable option for the volume of calls you typically receive.
NB: The prices I’ve mentioned in this article are just intended as guide prices based on rates I’ve seen advertised or have been quoted. Personally, I think the most important thing when outsourcing is to find someone that you can trust to treat your business tasks with the same care and attention as you would give them.
Do you outsource any of your admin or marketing? What difference has it made to your business? Are you worried about outsourcing? What’s holding you back? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences around outsourcing in the Comments below.