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I'M ASHLYN

I hook up women with words as a conversion copywriter and launch strategist. Even while raking in more than 7-figures since I've been at it, I believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you.
 
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February 18, 2019

8 Ways I Outsource my Life as a Creative Small Business Owner

Reading time: 7 min.

Awwwwww, yeah outsourcing. Here in this day and time, we have the most workaholic culture in the history of the world. As a Christ-follower, my constant lesson is how Jesus’ unhurried pace stands in stark contrast to our twenty-first-century pace.

Part of that for me is learning that B+ work is good enough.

That plenty of the list (especially now as a mom) will never get checked off—and that’s okay.

Another part?

It’s learning to loosen my grip and let someone else do it … even if (espeically if) that means figuring out how to move dollars around and pay for it.

8 Ways to Outsource You Life - Ashlyn Writes

There was a funny article in my most recent Town & Country talking about how helpful it feels to outsource something, and I used to feel like it was pretty “bougie” too. Tim Ferris really put virtual personal assistants on the map for a lot of folks when he talked about outsourcing in his book The 4-Hour Workweek.

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau asks “The cost of the thing is the amount of what I’ll call life which is required to be exchanged for it”  … that’s the place I’ve had to come to as a creative small business owner.

So yes, you need to definitely see if you can replace the task with a high-value time investment.

Yes, the dollar amount is important.

But all of that leaves out the cost in LIFE.

What about the life trade-off? With outsourcing, do you get more life back … and if so, that’s worth it to you?

Let’s get down to it — have 8 things I outsource to get your wheels turning. I’ll talk through:

  • Why housekeeping is #worthit in my book
  • Where to start if inboxing stresses you the heck out
  • The #1 thing to think through if um, you’re not even good at something you have to do in you business … spoiler: quit it.

 

If you’re looking for more outsourcing tips, make sure you join thousands and grab my free guide 5 Things to Outsource in Your Business Checklist.



No. 1: House cleaning

We’ve had a house cleaner for about a year now, which means—checks notes—she’s saved us about 52 marriage arguments.

I used to get so bent out of shape over getting things tidy on Saturdays, mostly because (in my Type A, checklist-oriented style living that probably makes me a flight risk to live with most days) I wanted the home clean by Saturday lunchtime … and Wes was more than happy to help me after his morning tee time.

We had budgeted for a housekeeper for a year before I finally trusted the budget and finances to see it through. I kept thinking we could save a little bit of money if I just did it myself. I’m NOT a speedy cleaner—it was taking me entire half-days to clean the house on the weekends, too … time I wanted to be going to a yoga class!

| Related: Where to Spend Your Money as You Build a Creative Biz: Small Business Investment Tips |

This is one outsourcing task I don’t think I’ll ever give up if at all possible. 🙂 Now that I’ve seen the stress it saves our marriage, and the time it gives me back to spend Saturday mornings at yoga or with my little baby boy, I will FIGHT to make that additional $200 a month to pay for the housekeeper.

Cost

To crunch numbers for ya, Willie Mae’s team comes every other week for a deep clean … it’s a cool $100 each time. During the off weeks, I spot clean. To note, a Roomba won best Christmas present of 2017 for me—it’s scheduled to run every other day via the app on my iPhone, because #germanshepherdfur.

This takes so much stress off my plate.


No. 2: Taking notes on calls

As a small business owner who works online, I rely on calls over the internet to service clients.

I’ll jot down notes during the call, but when I need to review in greater detail what was said, Iturn to Rev.com. This website is soooo million-bajillion times better than any Fiverr person I’ve found.

Cost

It costs about a dollar a minute, so it’s a low enough price point that you can easily bake it into your service cost. I’ve used it from onboarding calls with brides for their calligraphy suites to more deep-dive calls with copywriting clients for funnel build-outs—it’s ah-mah-zing.


No. 3: Scheduling calls

On the subject of calls …

I hate all the back and forth about calls asking where’s the link/reminder we have a call tomorrow/etc., not to mention all the email ping pong just to find a time that works for both parties.

Acuity has been my go-to online scheduler slash internet robot secretary for a while, and I still love it! (Side note: Calendly is great too, but I had a few issues with it. They’re based here in ATL and I always hate to break up with an Atlanta start-up, but Acuity’s just been better).

Acuity lets me block out 6 meeting slots on Thursdays—a few always reserved for current clients, and a few for new business calls—1 virtual coffee meeting a week, and 2 Friday in-person lunch dates a month.

Remember, it’s ok to say no or push people to a tool like this to chat with you. You’re running a business!

Cost

$10-15/mo.—click here to get started with Acuity fo’ free.


No. 4: Grocery shopping

The other day, I was sick, the baby was sick, and I needed to run to the grocery store to stock up on medicines, chicken noodle soup, Gatorade, etc., meaning I’d have to get him out of his car seat and the whole nine yards when we both were germy.

In that moment, paying $8 for someone to bring it to me?

Uh, yes pls.

My tools of choice here are Instacart or Amazon Prime Now—since Whole Foods is a ~*WHOLE*~ lot cheaper now that they’re in the Amazon fam! On Sundays, I sit and do our fam meal planning, add items to the app, and get things delivered. These apps have also helped keep me from putting random things in my cart as I waltz the aisles.

Typically, we have a family rule that we don’t do Instacart or Amazon Prime Now for groceries unless it’s over about $70 worth of groceries. In my opinion, this only works as a time/money saver if you’re using it for your big weekly grocery haul … otherwise, it’s just cheaper to run to the grocery store for an item or two.

Cost

X


No. 5: Administrative tasks & project management

I have Kate and I think every small business owner needs a Kate. 🙂

My inbox was a huge source of stress for me rounding the corner into my second full year in business. Despite all my work to email ninja, I was drowning in emails … mostly because of a personal problem. 😉 Customer service drains me emotionally, and my strong suit is overarching business strategy and client work.

Hiring Kate was one of my best business decisions because operations and virtual assistant work light her up—she manages the inbox, schedules appointments, reads my emails, flags them for follow-up, and responds to the ones she can take care of.

This frees me up to get solitude to think, to write, and to create.

I’ve blogged before about what you need to know about hiring/outsourcing before you make the move, and I can’t say enough about making those decisions sooner than you’re ready to.

Cost

Dependent on the VA—sweet Emily Yost saw a need in the creative industry for a match-making of sorts with entrepreneurs and virtual assistants, filling the void with her Outsourcing with Love service. BRILLIANT!


No. 6: Bookkeeping & Payroll

Oh heck yes.

My students inside The Art of Efficiency™ know that I say I think you need to know enough about something to be dangerous before you hand it off. Bookkeeping is like that—before I paid to have it done in the business, I did it every week, meticulously spending a few hours every Friday. It got my non-finance minded brains in gear to run a business, but after time, I saw that those 3 hours were better spent elsewhere.

I think this is a great goal to get off your plate if you haven’t.

Having a bookkeeper means I can look at a high-level at my PnLs, digest the numbers I want to track, and monitor the budget so I can make financial decisions for my business. BUT when it comes to categorizing the Amazon order for the flash drive I needed or hawk-eyeing my accounts for any weird expenditure, those things are off my plate.

Cost

I pay about $450 as an S-corp with multiple team members on payroll for this service, but started at $300/mo. as an LLC.


No. 7: Reading

This one’s new to me!

I’m a voracious reader, but I didn’t get really into audio books until this past month. My sister in law and a buddy told me about Libby, an app that just uses your library card to log you in. Hellllooo, free audiobooks (and digital books, but I’m a nerd for book smell so those aren’t my style)!

When I’m folding laundry, soaking in the tub, or washing bottles, I just put on my headphones and listen to a chapter.

Cost

FREEEEE.


No. 8: Editing

A friend texted yesterday to ask if I edit my YouTube videos—I don’t.

I have a contractor on my team who does the post-production, editing, and posting the finished files online. Again, this gets me out of the weeds—it’s truly the part I hated—and lets me focus on the part I really like. I wasn’t even good at editing.

SOOO … to wrap up, that brings me to this question: what’s a part of your client process or workflow you can outsource? What’s a part of it you’re slow with, or just not that great at? The first team member I ever hired was my momma to check every single envelope I calligraphed for accuracy because again, I wasn’t that good at it—I was constantly misspelling things in the stack of 300 envelopes, and she vetted that so we turned in a good client product.


If you’re looking for more outsourcing tips, make sure you join thousands and grab my free guide 5 Things to Outsource in Your Business Checklist.

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Hey, y'all! I'm Ashlyn.

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure you stand out as a copywriter and calligraphy. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

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