There are many forces that can pull us away from making a decision to get outside help in growing our businesses and making things run more effectively. We can often be oblivious to the bubble that ensures we stay stubborn about doing everything ourselves.
We tell ourselves that we need to do everything because we are perfectionists. We do it ourselves because we don’t want to spend money or spend it unnecessarily.
But time is money. And if we’re spending time doing all the work that is required of a business ourselves, we are spending money in the form of time.
There are many ways our businesses can benefit from exchanging money for time in more effective ways, but I want to focus on the things that will help us expand our brands through promotion, for this post.
Don’t forget that outsourcing support can be paid for through means other than money if you are low on cash. You can in many cases exchange your skills for the skills of others in a win/win deal.
I know I often crave the ability to clone myself so that more gets done and I can focus on what’s important.
This is a possibility with outsourcing, and it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. In fact, outsourcing is one of the most overlooked means to doing and earning more, but many of us simply don’t make use of it.
I personally use Upwork.com regularly to find people to support me in a range of tasks. It might take a few trials with various people until you find the right one, but it’s always worth it when you’ve you’ve whittled down to the right person for the right tasks.
I have also found skilled help through my own network, on- and offline, as well as personal friends, subscribers and followers.
Whether you’re an artist, writer, musician or business owner of any kind, outsourcing can help you make huge leaps.
Here are some ideas for using the support of other people to promote your business…
One of the most effective forms of promotion is through sharing content, or what is called: ‘Content-Marketing’.
People who promote themselves really well are constantly pushing out content, like images, blog posts, videos and live streams that their target audience is just eating up.
In return for sharing this great value, the marketer receives attention and a following. That is good marketing.
You can use the support of others to gather information and various forms of content, including in doing further research to help you create great content that is of relevant value to those you are seeking to gain the attention of.
For example, if you are a UX designer, you could become an authority on the subject, and use help in gathering information from other designers, for example, to help you create great blog or video posts that attract the attention of those businesses in need of your services.
There is a whole host of people available to help you learn more about your potential market by undertaking all kinds of active research.
You can source all kinds of information in this way, including the size of the market, your competitors, what kinds of people and organisations require your work and services, where to find them, what problems they are having, and what is happening in the industry that you need to know about.
I’m only just getting started with this, and still have plenty to learn, but I know that to provide an outstanding service, the more I know about my target audience, right down to the tiny details, the more I will know how to meet their needs.
If you have anything to sell, from prints to paintings to services, you need to attract the attention of people who could potentially buy from you.
One way of doing this is to actively go out and find these prospects according to the various criteria you have decided on and engage with them through social media, calls, visits and emails (avoid bulk emailing).
You can outsource a lot of the work in finding potential people to work with in the form of market research, but also in finding the contact details of those target clients and customers.
You can also get people to help you find influencers and other kinds of people according to certain criteria.
For example, if you are looking to promote your book on Chinese cooking, you could create a list of people and their blogs who have large audiences containing those who are interested in Asian or Chinese cooking.
You would then be able to go through the list and start connecting with these people, eventually leading to you suggesting inclusion of your content or book-mention to their audience.
Tools that can be used to find contacts include online searches, LinkedIn searches, and social media search with tools like Audiense, which many specialist outsourcers will have access to if you don’t.
Packing and Distributing
Sometimes when you don’t consider that you can have other people help you with tedious tasks, you can even fail to see the things that can help promote and expand your business.
Posting, packing and even distributing physical material like letters, packages and leaflets is not necessarily dead with the presence of the Internet.
You may have never considered making physical post an element of your promotion, but it can be, especially with the aid of other hands.
One example of using this kind of support that I’ve seen people use is to hire someone to print, stuff envelopes and send. The contact-collection work from above can come in handy here!
Don’t forget that you can have people work for you all over the globe. So if you have products you want to distribute in a far-away land, you can find someone who’s already based there to do this for you.
I’ve even heard of people who can distribute posters and flyers for you in specific places. Getting your brand out there doesn’t need to be restricted to the web!
Social Media Marketing Support
There is a ton of time and energy that can go into engaging on social media, and for the most part it needs to be done by you – the face of the brand. But there are several aspects of putting out and distributing content on the web – namely through social media, that can be done by others.
This includes sourcing content – yours and relevant material from other people – and sharing it at specific times of the day over the course of a month.
In this way, a lot of time spent finding and re-sharing your articles and content is put to better use.
You can also hire someone who understands your business and your work to interact with people online in support of – and in addition to – the work you do.
Further Online Distribution
There are many places and platforms online that you would benefit from including your material, such as sites showcasing art if you are an artist.
Because there can be so many, it might be worth having someone help you take your images or links, for example, and upload them to these sites.
News submission sites like Product Hunt (which I used to help promote a couple of my books when they launched) and Designer News are other places that could help with your exposure to the world when used effectively and at scale – things that outsourcers can help with.
In addition to the research and distribution of your content for the purpose of raising awareness to your work and brand, you can outsource – in some cases – the actual content.
Obviously you want to be finding talented people who understanding you and your brand’s message, so it’s worth investing properly into content-creation from others, especially if it goes beyond simple tasks.
Some ways in which others can help you make content – and thus more value for you – include writing posts, creating images and posters, interviewing people through articles, videos and podcasts, creating researched lists, making animations and films, and
On Ape on the Moon, I used the free support of a range of designers to donate hundreds of downloadable textures to give away to subscribers and grow our newsletter list, in exchange for my free coaching support and ongoing promotion of their brands.
Good design is crucial for creating an attractive and smooth user experience for your customers and visitors, not to mention creating a credible impression and sending a positive brand message to your audience.
If you can’t do all the design work yourself, get help.
You can outsource people to help with all aspects of design, like creating a fresh website from scratch or through a pre-made template; logo work and other branding graphics; illustration
In my businesses, I’ve hired others to help code and design my websites, make graphics, illustrations, and the additional value this has provided was – for the most part – well worth the investment.
Automation and Efficiency Support
The tools with which we can make many of our activities to promote our brands quicker and more efficient are often overlooked. Tools like Zapier, IFTTT.com, and Bufferapp are out there to automate and manage our tasks more effectively.
Zapier, similar to ‘ifttt’, is a tool that helps you perform multiple actions, such as sending an email, sharing an Instagram image and adding a new piece of data to a spreadsheet row, potentially all at the same time, to save you having to do it all, depending on what your intention is.
Bufferapp – a scheduler for content is straightforward enough – but more complex tools like Zapier might require the help of an expert if you haven’t learned how to use it yourself.
You could outsource the automation of several elements of your biz via someone who specialises in this very thing.
Although it will be an initial investment, there is a lot of value for you in reducing the time spent on menial tasks that can otherwise be automated.
The use of ‘bots’ – AI assistance – to help you with a range of tasks is on the rise, and in many cases, superseding the requirement for the applications we use, so keep an eye on bot technology in automating and supporting your business.
I’m just starting to learn about this area, but there are many resources out there to do so.
Real life humans are also out there to help you as an assistant. Many people offer their administration services that can support you in a range of areas all through one personal assistant.
The thing about virtual assistants over the Internet is that you can use them according to your needs and they don’t need to be present next to you or in your office as you use them.
They get assigned tasks within the allocated hours you request.
Those tasks can range from ordering products online for you, scheduling, reminding you of things, responding to emails, social media support, making phone calls and making bookings, etc. The list is almost endless.
You just need a budget in mind and you can offload a lot of tasks you don’t want to do, for someone who can work while you sleep.
You could even hire multiple assistants in multiple locations so that work gets done 24/7, while also increasing the odds that you can gain instant support when you ask for it.
Copywriting and Editing
Writing can make up a big part of your business, especially if you blog and write books, but for anyone who is in the business of selling themselves online, good, persuasive writing is a must.
I don’t know about you, but when I read something that is poorly written and filled with mistakes, this has a big impact on my perception of you and your image.
Sorry, I am judging you on your writing, so it’s good to take care of how you string letters together.
This also applies to other media like video and audio, though for me, well edited audio/video is not at the top of my priority list as is writing, though it’s certainly important – again for your brand and the image you present.
You can hire this kind of work out too, and get written and video/audio content edited before you hit publish.
Marketing Coaching or Consulting
Finally, getting direct assistance with real advice about how to market yourselves effectively can be a very worthy investment. Work with someone who has experience who can guide you, so that you are saved potentially a ton of hardship and confusion in doing everything yourself.
This list really demonstrates how wide-ranging the potential skills used in building a creative business can be.
You can choose to do it yourself, or you can trade your money or skills for time and leveraged expertise from others.
If done well, using the right people, this will be one of the best investments you can make in your business and career.
Let me know your ideas and further suggestions in the comments and do join the newsletter for more tips.