10 tasks a creative business owner should outsource

Outsourcing for Creatives

If you’re running a business based on creativity, such as freelancing or selling your artwork, there’s really only one thing bringing in bucks for you. The more time that you can devote to actually doing your creative work, the more money you can bring in.

That can mean outsourcing tasks that have little to do with the main focus of your business — but that still need to get done. Here are 10 tasks you should consider outsourcing:

1. Taxes

Even if you get a kick out of doing math, your taxes are something better handed off to a professional. That’s because tax laws change every year. While you could invest the time to get a good grasp on what your taxes require this year, you might not be clear about next year. Since you own a business, you probably don’t have time to keep up with all the details of the tax code, so handing the job off to a tax pro is a good idea.

2. Production

Many creative businesses involve making what amounts to exact copies over and over again, such as a specific clothing design. Even if one of your selling points is that your pieces are hand-crafted, getting production help makes smart business sense. If you’re constantly stuck in production mode, when do you have time to create new designs?

3. Custom technology set-up

When it comes to any kind of technology, from building a new website to installing computer hardware, you can find tutorials and tools that will help you get the job done for no more than the cost of parts or hosting. Template-based website builders make it easy to get a site up and running. But if you want more customized technology solutions, consider contracting professional help. Someone who works on that sort of technology can do it in a fraction of the time it will take you — and your time is valuable.

4. Scheduling

It can take a ton of back and forth to get a meeting on the books, and if you regularly need to meet with clients, scheduling can quickly become a nightmare. There are both professionals and tools that promise to take the task off your hands, so why are you still messing around with scheduling your own appointments?

5. Cleaning

Especially if you have a workspace frequented by clients or employees, it needs to be spic and span. But during busy times, it’s easy to forget to vacuum the carpets and empty the recycling bins. A cleaning service can take that burden off your full plate. You won’t have to worry about anything beyond cutting a check and getting out of the way.

6. Bookkeeping

It can be a challenge for small business owners to keep up with their small business books, and the problem can be even worse for a creative business owner who’s more of a free spirit. Get some help. You deserve it.

7. Data entry

You’re doing things right. At conferences or meetings, you come home with hundreds of business cards to follow up with. Your bag is full of order forms after sales events. All of those details need to get into your system ASAP,  but it might take weeks for you to get around to it. Have someone on call for data entry so you can get on with following up and filling orders.

8. Shopping

If you’re willing to spend time shopping for business supplies and equipment, you can probably save some cash. In the process, though, you’ve spent several hours that could have netted you more if you spent them on paying work. Figure out if it’s in your best business interests to let someone else do the purchasing.

9. Creative work other than your specialty

It’s tempting to tell yourself that you’re an all-around creative professional — you can write all your marketing materials, design a website, and take on every other creative task that comes your way. And, truthfully, you can probably handle the creative aspects fairly well. But all that time and effort spent on creative work outside your area of expertise detracts from the time and effort needed to produce the work that defines your business.

10. Anything you don’t enjoy

The simple truth is that you can outsource pretty much every task that your business requires to function. You can even outsource the creative bits of a creative business — although that’s not really recommended. But if there’s a part of your business that you don’t enjoy dealing with, you should look into outsourcing it. It’s rare that there are enough hours in your day to accomplish everything you want anyhow, so why should you be spending your time on something you dislike doing?

When you’re first starting your business, it might make sense to keep most of these tasks in-house — if your cash flow isn’t stable yet, you’re usually better off spending your time on tasks than trying to round up funds to pay professionals.

But as your business grows, consider outsourcing at least some tasks. It will allow you more time to be the creative professional you set out to be — and your business will benefit from it.

Thursday Bram
Thursday Bram writes about the business of creativity, along with small business and freelance topics.