“When in Doubt, Hire a Professional”
Good advice, but in fact when NOT in doubt, that might be the best time to hire a professional.
Do you have trouble delegating? Be honest, as a high-performing individual, you do.
If you are building a law firm, are a business owner or are in any position of substantial responsibility in a corporation, “letting go” can be a challenge. After all, even if you delegate a task or project, you are ultimately responsible for the quality and accuracy of the work, right? I am going to share a few quick stories about my own outsourcing journey that I hope will save others time, money and stress.
I am not saying all lawyers are control freaks but, well, yeah we are. Early on in my career as in-house counsel, I was sternly upbraided one day by a boss who happened to see me making my own photocopies. She said, “We don’t pay you a lawyer’s salary to make copies, Paige.” At the time, my thinking was that if I wanted to be sure something was done, and done correctly, I had to do it myself.
Eventually I learned that identifying the strengths and talents of your team members, taking the time to hire excellent people, and providing clear, concise instruction were the keys to stress-free delegation. With a little up-front effort, I was able to delegate safely and effectively within the corporate setting.
Fast forward to 2015. I am an entrepreneur and founder of Online Legal Translations. In the beginning, I was determined to 100% bootstrap my company and I adopted that attitude with not only financial matters but all matters of running the business. I thought I could do it all, but of course, no one can do it all.
I likely could have catapulted my business forward by a year or more had I embraced delegating immediately. My mistake was in trying to control everything and trying to do everything myself. Eventually, I realized I would need to delegate some tasks if I were going to grow and refine my business any further.
The first thing I ever outsourced for Online Legal Translations was my company logo, to a professional graphic designer. I paint, sculpt and do other types of art for fun, but this was for my business. I wanted professional results and the latest graphic design technology that me and my watercolor set simply could not pull off. After a few false starts, I found Sunil Saini and have been working with him on many projects over the last 7 years. He is a great communicator, and his designs are worth every penny. If you need a top notch graphic designer, I highly recommend him.
It took me more than three years to hire a web designer, even though I have no skills in that area. I had “a” website with killer content, but it was clearly not professional in appearance nor function. I was embarrassed by its amateurish look and feel. How could I encourage people to visit my website in hopes of working with them, when I did not want anyone to see it? It was time to find a trusted web designer specializing in the language services profession. I did just that and hired them.
Websites for Translators built me a gorgeous website of which I am truly proud. I continue to work with this company for updates and maintenance on my website. The fact that I can now rest assured that my website, my company’s “face,” is professional and highly functional has been worth every penny I pay for their services.
I highly recommend hiring a professional web designer/manager that specializes in your type of business.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, I filed my own taxes. Once I started a business, I knew I was out of my depth. For the first few years, an accountant friend helped me figure out how to file them and helped me with the calculations. Eventually, I knew it was time to hire a professional accountant suited for my specific tax situation.
My CPA, Jonathan Medows, specializes in businesses and freelancers and has been an amazing partner for the past several years. He is kind, trustworthy and his team is professional and responsive. Their system of communication is perfect for a busy business owner. I never worry anymore: “did I fill out that form correctly?” As in the other cases where I let the professionals handle things, the services of this accountant have been worth every penny.
Outsourcing is one of the best investments you can make in your practice.
Do you see a pattern emerging here? Every time I delegated something, it turned out to be “worth every penny.” When I was starting out in my business, I was afraid to spend much capital on business tools or professional services. However, I quickly learned that investing in such assistance pays you back many times over in reclaimed time, stress elimination and saved capital.
Now let me tell you about my #1 favorite outsourcing experience of all.
Social Media Scheduling
My favorite and most impactful outsourcing experience so far has been outsourcing my social media postings. My goal in engaging in social media for my business is to provide fun, useful information to the legal community on a regular basis. But working in my business just kept getting in the way. I experimented with a few social media scheduling services but still spent up to 12 hours each month scheduling and posting social media, checking to make sure the material had actually posted and addressing the service issues I had with the scheduling providers.
One at a time, I gave up on each provider, due to their lack of features, clunky processes or poor customer service. I reverted to trying to post every post individually, myself—5 items a week on 6 platforms. Social media posting was still eating up too much of my time. In the end, I simply could not keep up.
Finally, I took the suggestion of a smart colleague and business coach who recommended “Meet Edgar.” I now spend just a few minutes each week adding fun and informative content to my company’s Meet Edgar account and Meet Edgar takes care of the rest. With my reclaimed 12 hours (12 hours!!) I can write that blog post, interview lawyer-translators in hard-to-find language combinations, or just go for more hikes in the woods. Think about the things you would do with an extra 12 hours every month.
It took me about a week to get myself thoroughly acclimated to the Meet Edgar platform and to load in all of the posts and content I wanted to post for the rest of 2021. I am not kidding: I am finished with posting on social media for the rest of the year, unless I decide to share something else on a whim.
Meet Edgar has a nice series of short videos to quickly get you comfortable with their platform. They also provide actual human beings who will help you by email or chat, and there is a weekly “Office Hours” where you can ask any questions you may have. Meet Edgar’s product works like a dream and their customer service is refreshingly helpful.
By using Meet Edgar, I am saving myself an immense amount of time and energy. I wanted to pay it forward a bit and share opportunity to reclaim 12 hours of your own time each month, to eliminate that “did it post?” anxiety, and to put your social media on auto-pilot for good.
As a lawyer, I have long preached that when businesses try to manage their legal issues on their own, they either spend way too much time on them or more commonly, foul things up for themselves, and end up spending more on treatment than they would have on prevention.
This year I am committed to identifying even more tasks and projects that can be outsourced and using the time recovered to provide even better and more diverse services to my clients.
So, with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, if I could go back in time and outsource more tasks sooner, I would surely do so. I have not regretted the expenses of any of my investments, as they have all paid off many times over. Moreover, being able to relax and “leave it to the professionals” allows me to focus more on the areas of my business that I love—helping law firms and businesses go global.
Tell us in the comments: What have been your favorite outsourcing experiences in your business or your firm? We would love to hear about how your own outsourcing has saved you time and aggravation. Please do share a link if you are really happy with a particular provider.