How’s it going?! I know that here in Michigan, I am loving the “early” fall weather we’re having. In a perfect world, it would always be fall. With the crisp mornings and nights by the fire, it’s only made better by being able to wrap up in a cozy blanket.
Anyways…. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about outsourcing and what I believe should be the first thing to go. You’re likely here because you’re either a business owner that has been on the fence about outsourcing or maybe do you already outsource a few of your tasks but your email and customer service tasks aren’t one of them? Or maybe you’re a virtual assistant that’s just starting out and you haven’t really decided what your service offerings should be. Either way, this post will help you all!
As a business owner, your to-do list is a mile long and sometimes feels like it may never be complete. I totally get it. I also understand that as your business is growing, you may be thinking that there’s no way you could outsource anything. You think you can’t afford it or that you can be superman and do all of the things all of the time and not be completely burnt out after a while.
While you may not be able to outsource everything under the sun at first, outsourcing your email and customer service is one of the best practices that you can instill into your business to take it to the next level.
Now for the perfectionists, just hear me out, okay? The very thought of someone else helping with your “business baby” can invoke anxiety pretty quickly. You worked so hard to get to the point that you are today and you would never want to risk anything happening to ruin your reputation or your company.
I wanted to go over some of the expected, and maybe unexpected, ways that outsourcing your email and customer service can improve your business and your personal life.
Email is one of those things that everyone knows is a necessity in your business but it can be a total time suck. For some, it’s the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you check before you fall asleep. For others, it’s something you avoid at all costs and you have thousands upon thousands of emails, mostly unread, in your inbox.
So let’s play out a pretend but potentially very real scenario. Sarah’s graphic design business has taken off faster than she can believe. While she’s elated that her business is booming, she feels like she’s always being roped in by email and spends a few hours EACH day just to get caught up in her personal email and responding to customers. Even though she quotes per project, she’s averaging $80-$90 per hour for actual work that she completes for her clients.
She’s finally decided to take the plunge and hire a virtual assistant because she can’t keep up with both her email and managing projects for her clients. She hires someone at $30 per hour for 10 hours per week so she doesn’t have to touch or even think about any emails, except for the few that pertain to herself specifically.
A simple math equation will show us:
$30 x 10 hours per week =$300 per week or about $1200 per month for a VA, or independent contractor
$80 x 10 hours per week =$800 per week or about $3200 per month for extra projects
$3200 – $1200= $2000 extra earned
An average of $50 extra earned per hour of outsourced work.
Now this isn’t representative of every situation but there’s still a valuable lesson here and it’s about yielding a higher ROI for your business. You may think that you don’t have an extra $1200 in your budget but it may be costing you $2000 PER MONTH in the long run.
Math wasn’t always my strongest area in school but basic arithmetic was, and I definitely don’t want to be missing out on that kind of money every month!
As you saw in the example above, there could be a huge cost advantage to hiring out your email and customer service, or really anything in general that you dislike doing. But the other side of the coin is about just having more free time in general. I know that as a mom who works a typical 9-5 plus has an online business, my free time is very valuable and not something I easily give up.
So maybe it’s not going to be about the money for you exactly, but all that you have to gain. Extra time with friends or family, time for a vacation or even a day of self-care that you desperately deserve. It could also create extra time that you have to work on your business. Things like strategic planning, product launching, anything to grow your business is made with greater ease because of that newly found gift of time.
A wise person once said, you can always make more money but you can’t make more time.
Potential for new leads and repeat customers
So let’s switch gears and talk about those of you that truly hate your inbox. I have met people whose inbox has thousands upon thousands of emails, mostly unread to boot! While it makes my Type-A side just cringe, this is a reality for many people. Let’s think, who are all of those unread emails from? Sure, there are probably unread sale promotions from Bath and Body Works (seriously, do we really need one every other day?!) but what about potential clients? Current customers that had a question to which you never responded to? Or it took multiple emails and two weeks before they had an answer?
Although I would like to say that a great product or service should speak for itself, the truth is that almost everyone wants a great customer service experience. Heck, from my own experience, showing that you care will keep them coming back years later. And someone that has had a bad experience… people love to tell the world about it. That just seems to be the way it works.
Uninterrupted Workflow=Higher Productivity
Remember earlier how I was talking about those of you that check your email ALL THE TIME? You may think that you’re being productive by responding to every email that comes your way but unfortunately, that’s not how our brains work. When your brain has to switch from task to task, you are actually slowing down every time you switch your train of thought. This is why batch-working is all the rage right now and for good reason. It allows you to maximize your time and productivity in whatever window of time that you decide to work by focusing on one thing only.
For example, you could schedule your social media for the week on Monday and write your blog posts on Tuesday, etc. You “get in the groove” if you will, and allow yourself to complete your tasks in a more timely manner. And who doesn’t love getting their work done early?!
There are the benefits mentioned above but hiring someone out if you have inbox overload also means that they can organize, archive, and prioritize your past and incoming emails. You may think you can’t outsource but can you afford not to?
P.S. If you’re curious about how much time you’re actually spending in your email each day or wondering how often you feel the need to check, there are some great tools available to you.
Boomerang For Gmail– One of the main features being inbox pause so there will be a dedicated time frame that you will not receive any notifications about incoming emails until a certain time.
Rescue Time– This monitors how long and often you are in your inbox. Think you didn’t spend over five hours in your inbox last week? Guess again!
P.S.S. Also a great tool to use if you want to outsource your email. You’ll have a starting point for how many hours to expect them to work.
Anything else you like to outsource in your business? Let me know in the comments!