Professional Development

Outsourcing for Your Business

Your two most valuable resources as a business owner are time and money. Both are necessary but also finite. New entrepreneurs often handle as many responsibilities as possible to keep costs low, sacrificing income-producing activities in the process. This year, I made it a priority to delegate more tasks so I can focus on the quality of my work. Turns out, I’m not alone. Consider outsourcing some of these roles for your business.

Accounting and Bookkeeping
I quickly realized how much of my valuable time was wasting away each week updating spreadsheets, sorting Quickbooks, and balancing my checkbook. So my first priority was hiring a bookkeeper, and I don’t regret it one bit as I pay her each month. Tax season was a breeze this year, and it’s great having an expert report my monthly status in a timely fashion. I introduced my bookkeeper to my accountant, so now they talk directly to each other with minimal involvement from me. I found my bookkeeper and accountant through referrals, and after meeting with each of them I felt comfortable letting go of the reins. Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, found hers through trial and error, while Gisela Belén Bouvier, MBA, RDN, LDN, hired a friend’s sister with this expertise.

Assistants
I assessed how long it was taking me to create a blog post from start to finish. My content development was suffering due to all the time spent doing layouts, creating graphics, linking content, performing search engine optimization (SEO), and managing social media posts. I finally auditioned a few virtual assistant (VA) candidates I found through Fiverr and Upwork. Now, I can’t live without my VA. I write the content and related social media posts and then hand them off to my VA to do the rest. The true test came when I was away for three weeks, and my VA maintained my blog with minimal input from me. I wish I’d hired one sooner!

There are more ways than you may realize to use a VA. These are just a few tasks they can take off of your hands:

  • Answering phones, scheduling client appointments, billing, client communications;
  • Writing, researching, and creating blog posts, newsletters, and educational materials;
  • Graphic design;
  • Social media management;
  • Bookkeeping; and
  • Technical skills such as website design, SEO, and e-newsletter management.

Some people prefer working with someone in person. Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, found her assistant while teaching a college-level nutrition class who now handles her social media and blog tasks, while Nikki Cannon Estep, MPH, RDN, LD, CDE, hired a former dietetics intern. Ayla Charissa, MS, RDN, negotiated with the physician’s office in which she works to use their available resources while building her private practice.

Technical Expertise
Website design, photography, graphic design, SEO, social media marketing, and video production typically aren’t part of the dietetics curriculum. Now, many RDs are spending time and money learning these skills. I have a secret for you: You don’t have to be good at everything!

Recently, I wanted to redo recipe photos from the early days of my blog. The thought of backtracking wasn’t enticing, so I hired a photographer to make the recipes and reshoot them for me. I had time to move forward on other projects, and the photographer did what she’s an expert at doing in less time than it would have taken me.

If there’s a technical skill you don’t have the time or expertise to do yourself, research or obtain referrals to hire someone. You can work alongside them to have input and the final say without doing it all. Remember—not every movie is made with a producer who writes, directs, stars in, and edits the entire production him- or herself.

Are you currently outsourcing any areas of your business? If not, I hope you’ve been inspired to consider finding some helpers so you can focus on the work you excel at doing. Use the extra time to increase your income potential, and remember to set aside some time for self-care.

— Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, is the owner of Team with ME: Nutrition & Fitness Consulting, a communications and corporate wellness company based at the Jersey Shore. She’s the creator of the couples’ nutrition blog and podcast Nutrition Nuptials. A former advertising executive, Mandy combines her business expertise with nutrition knowledge to assist colleagues in building their businesses through branding, advertising, and relationship skills via her signature The BAR Method e-course. Learn more about Mandy at www.mandyenright.com, and follow her on social media @mandyenrightRD.

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