Consulting Tip: Don’t Wear All the Hats

Like most of us, I receive a lot of joke and story emails. Sometimes I read them, sometimes I don’t. It depends a lot on whether I need a mental break. My latest mental break highlights my philosophy that consulting tips (learning of any kind, really) and blog topics can come from anywhere.

The particular story in question has strong political leanings. I often read these, because I like to analyze arguments for their structure, logic, and support—blame it on the argumentation theory/rhetorical scholar in me. Anyway, the conclusion jumped out at me, because the author declared two “universal truths,” one of which I completely disagree with as a consultant/business owner:

You can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

Ah, no.
Outsourcing Is Like Purchasing Time to Do What You Do Best
Sure, if I hire a bookkeeper (one of my top 5 best business decisions ever!), I have to pay her money to do the job—money that I could keep in my bank account if I did it myself.

But…and that’s a big BUT…

For every hour I’m NOT doing my books, I can service my clients. I can do business development. I can explore new business strategies. I can do any number of things that bring money into my business—things that are my core strength and that I’m better and faster at than bookkeeping.

If you were to ask the consultants in the top 20 percent of WIC’s annual best practices and compensation survey, all of them (I’d bet on it) hire out services: bookkeeping, admin support, computer repair, etc.

It’s a best practice. And if you want to grow your business, you need to bite the bullet and do it.

It took me a while to bite that bullet—and I was worried about the extra cash outlay—but I knew it was the right thing to do.

Outsourcing services also helps with that whole work-life balance thing. If you’re working all day servicing clients, that means you’re doing all that other business stuff after hours when you could be hanging with your family and friends, reading, enjoying a glass of wine…all of which are infinitely more fun than filing, fixing your computer, or doing your books.

So technically, yes, if you look at dollars paid, I have less expenses if I do the bookkeeping myself. But it actually costs me a lot more in terms of revenue, time, and my sanity to do it myself vs. outsourcing it. And that’s definitely not cheaper.' About Avery Horzewski

Principal of AVE Consulting, Avery is a marketing and customer communications consultant, and serves on WIC's board of directors as president. As a consultant, she works with companies of all sizes to develop compelling, persuasive, and effective customer-centric marketing and communication strategies that encompass everything from websites to social media to print collateral. Avery assumed the role of WIC president in January 2010, after overseeing the organization’s marketing, PR, social media, and website initiatives for three years.

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