I’ve never been good at delegating. Back in high school, working in a group was one of my least favorite parts of class. Not because I didn’t like the other students, but because, in a lot of cases, I believed I could do things better and faster than anyone else. That’s a mentality I carried with me through college and into adulthood.
Honestly, I feel a little ashamed to admit that, but a lot has changed recently. I’m writing this post in hopes that in case you have the same mindset I used to, you can see how wonderful it is to let others take some of the work off of your plate.
Learning to delegate and outsource some parts of our life was really hard for me. Turning to others for help with tasks that I’m capable of doing myself made me feel like both a failure and like I was privileged at the same time. I worried I was paying too much money for things I could do on my own and that we wouldn’t see the return on investment for outsourcing those tasks. I also worried that when others heard we had outsourced things, they would think we were incredibly well-off.
But once Jack was born, my time became much more limited. I realized that in order to get the work I needed to do done for the business, while still caring for a newborn, I was going to have to let others help me.
And honestly, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was one of those people who never believed outsourcing was actually worth the cost. But now that I’m on the other side, I can attest that it’s well worth it.
I really can’t do it all and, in a lot of cases, there really are some people who can do things much better than I can.
So let me walk you through a few of the things I’ve handed off to others this year.
Before Jack was born, I cleaned our house every Friday. It was my way of winding down for the week by “resetting” the house before the weekend. I’m one of those weird people who feels more organized by going through the cleaning process and I have never minded doing it.
But once I became a mom, I needed Jack’s nap time in order to work and I wanted to enjoy my time with him while he was awake. This past summer we were also struggling with nursing and I didn’t have the time or energy to keep the house clean.
We started looking for cleaners and ended up hiring a company to clean our house twice a month.
At first I wasn’t sure it was going to be worth the cost, but our cleaning team cleans our house MUCH better than I ever did. They move couches and beds to vacuum underneath things, they clean the shower like I didn’t know was possible, and they save me so much time each month.
There are still a few things I do on a daily basis – such as the dishes, tidying, and the occasional vacuum (thanks mostly to the dog), but overall I spend a lot less time cleaning.
Our cleaning team does in an hour what it would take me four hours to do. Since they’re here twice a month, they give me about eight hours of my time back each month. And I know that by giving me those eight hours back and allowing me to work a few more hours, I can more than make up for the cost of hiring them.
Sure, now that Jack is older I could clean on the weekends, but I would rather work one or two hours on a weekend while Jack is napping than spend four hours cleaning the house.
There are a lot of different ways to simplify and outsource meals. In the past, we’ve used services like HelloFresh to save time meal planning, and Peapod for grocery delivery.
But now that Jack is older, we enjoy taking him to the store in the evenings to fill up some of the time before bedtime and get the family out of the house.
While no one makes our food for us or delivers our groceries, I do believe those are great ways to save time when it comes to food.
Currently, we rely on Trader Joes for simplified meals. Frozen packs of stir-fry meals, pre-cut fruits and veggies, and partially prepared meals all save us time planning, prepping and cooking. We also tend to repeat the same meals each week, which allows us to skip meal planning and re-use our digital grocery list.
Editing (photos, albums and podcasts)
Davey tried for years to get me to outsource our editing, but I never wanted to let it go. For the most part, I always enjoyed editing and I worried that no one would do it as well as I could. I was also a little weary about people seeing my RAW images. For a photographer, it can basically feel like the equivalent of standing exposed in your underwear. Plus, with shooting film, we were already paying for film processing and scanning.
If we were still shooting weddings today, I would most likely outsource our editing. Especially since last year, when we switched to shooting with the Fuji GFX, we stopped shooting as much film. What we saved on film processing could have been put towards outsourcing editing.
We’ve met a lot of really incredible editors and editing companies and I know that the couple hundred dollars I would pay them to edit photos would give me a lot of time back in my week- time that could have been put towards staying up-to-date with blogging, writing educational posts for our couples, shooting, or prepping social media.
I did start outsourcing album design in the fall to Align Album Design. I was a little hesitant about it at first because I’m a designer and I could easily do those albums, but all the back and forth with clients was eating up a lot of my time. I would put off album design until the final days of ordering before Christmas because I knew all the back and forth was going to be challenging. It took a lot of convincing on Davey’s part, but I’m so thankful he got me to try outsourcing to Align. They make the design process so much easier and my clients didn’t mind at all that I wasn’t the one doing the actual designs. Their designs are beautiful and I would have paid so much more than $8 a spread for their work!
While we don’t have images that need consistent editing at this point in our career, we do pay for a company to edit our podcasts. It costs us about $400 a month for 4-6 episodes, but given how long it would take us to edit podcasts on our own, we believe the cost is well worth it. This company specializes in editing podcasts, and they truly are experts at what they do!
We also pay someone to help us edit some of our videos. While I have been a videographer in the past and I know how to edit video, this person is MUCH better at editing video than I am and he saves us a lot of time!
Accounting was one of the very first things we outsourced when we started this business. At the time, we owned two separate businesses (one of which was a partnership), and Davey and I both had full-time jobs. We realized pretty quickly that TurboTax and other online tax filing software wasn’t going to cut it for us.
When we first started using this service, I think we paid about $300 to this company to have them prepare our taxes. While that was twice what it would have cost us to use online software, we had peace of mind knowing that things were done correctly. This company also serves as a resource when we have questions about write-offs and forms that need to be filed throughout the year.
Now that we have employees, they file our taxes monthly and pay social security and other fees we’re responsible for.
Taxes aren’t something that you want to mess around with, and even if your business is brand new I highly, highly recommend finding a local accountant to help you.
Pinterest (or social media)
Pinterest is one of those social media platforms I was never quite sure about. I knew that, when used correctly, it could be powerful. But even after taking an online course, I wasn’t sure I was pinning enough or setting things up correctly. I knew that apps like Tailwind could make managing Pinterest easier, but I was never really sure how to set them up and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to maintain a steady stream of new pins.
After listening to Davey’s interview with Vanessa Kynes, we hired her to take over our Pinterest account. Our traffic has grown exponentially and I’m always impressed by how well she understands our brand. Vanessa periodically asks us for fresh pins for content that is doing well and she stays on track of adding pins for our new content.
Instagram is another area we’ve always struggled to keep up with – especially with our Davey & Krista Instagram account. We tend to get so busy actually working on client projects and content, that we forget to share the projects we’ve actually worked on.
Since our Davey & Krista team has grown over the past year, we now have a team member who helps us create graphics for social media and schedule them for sharing. She’s a much better writer than I am and she has the time to focus on doing our account well. If I were still trying to maintain Instagram, my posting would be inconsistent, captions would be incredibly short (because I’m one of those people who never knows what to write) and the world would never know about the amazing projects we get to work on.
We started outsourcing our landscaping a few years ago when Davey was still coaching lacrosse and shooting weddings on the weekends. He was almost never home, I don’t even know how to turn on a lawn mower, and we were those neighbors with the lawn that was on the verge of becoming a prairie.
When he did cut the lawn, it took him at least four hours to mow, trim and blow debris away.
I started researching lawn care companies and found one that could cut our lawn for around $30 a week. Just like with cleaning, I knew that if someone could give Davey two hours of time back a week, or about eight hours a month, he could more than make up for the cost of hiring someone to help with lawn care.
Depending on the season and what’s going on in our lives, lawn care isn’t always something we outsource, but when our schedules get busy, it’s often one of the first things we outsource.
Ready to start outsourcing?
If you’ve never outsourced anything before, and the thought of paying money for something you could do yourself seems overwhelming, I would start small.
Hire a cleaning company to come once or twice a month. Or try outsourcing editing on just one engagement session. Do a free HelloFresh trial.
One of the great things about outsourcing, besides getting time back, is that in very few cases are you actually committed to anything long-term. It’s also easy to test things to see what works long-term for you and your family.
For our family, outsourcing has meant more quality time spent with our son, Jack, and more freedom and energy for date nights and connecting with friends and family. It has also enabled us to grow our business faster and more efficiently and to focus our time on the areas of our business we love most.