I took a pretty huge step this week and started working with a business coach. The main reason this is a huge step for me is that I really dislike parting with money. So what’s one of the first things my coach talks to me about? Outsourcing.
Yes, apparently one of the secrets of success is to identify all the things you don’t like or don’t need to do yourself and pay someone else to do them, freeing you up to do more paid work. The thought of paying out yet more money to more people does give me the heebie-jeebies, I’ll admit. But then it occurred to me that by working with her, I am outsourcing something I really need to outsource.
When my coach was talking about outsourcing, she mentioned things like marketing and admin. Now, we all know I am not exactly in love with this marketing thing, but the marketing I have managed to get to grips with is social media networking (which is the fancy name for pissing about on Twitter and Facebook). But the thing about that is that it’s obviously a very personal thing. That’s un-outsourceable. Same goes for this blog. There are plenty of very talented copywriters out there who can write blog posts, but my blog has always been about sharing my own thoughts in my own way. I can’t hand that over to anyone else and remain authentic.
As for admin, I worked in admin for over a decade. I actually love the bits of my job that let me faff around with spreadsheets and filing systems. Developing admin processes that are efficient and easy was pretty much what I spent my whole arts career doing, so that side of self-employment has never felt too onerous to handle myself.
So what do I need to outsource? Well, the great thing about running a business is that you get to be your own boss. And the difficult thing about running a business is that you have to be your own boss. Many people are quick to associate bosses with oppressiveness, with a controlling, authoritarian presence that stops you doing what you want to do. But that’s not the only things bosses are. A good boss is more than the person who tells you what to do and when. They’re the person who looks out for you, who helps you figure out what you want from your job and how you can get it. They help you find opportunities for you to develop your career, and push you to improve and grow. They support and encourage you when things aren’t going so well.
I was blessed with some brilliant bosses in my former career. My new one, well, she’s a bit shit at times. She doesn’t always believe in me, and she tends to be a bit too gentle on me when I don’t feel like stepping out of my comfort zone.
I can be my own accountant. I can be my own marketing department. But actually, what I really need help with, what I really need to outsource at this point in my career, is being my own boss. I need someone to help me identify my goals and the steps I need to take to get there. And, crucially, I need someone to notice and care when I’m not taking those steps, and tell me off for it.
So I’ve hired someone to do those bits of bossing for me. I’m not abdicating responsibility for myself and my business (and I highly doubt my coach would let me!), but I am recognising that I need a bit of a push. I’m hoping it will be the start of good things. And maybe one day I’ll be so busy and financially successful that I will hire someone to write these blog posts for me instead of just doing my usual brain-blurts. I bet you’re all looking forward to that.