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Know when to outsource and when to do it yourself

As someone who’s worked in online marketing since the start of the 21st Century (wow, that makes me feel old) I know from talking to people at networking events that a lot of business owners attempt to do their own SEO (search engine optimisation) and build their own websites. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, so long as you have the time to research it thoroughly and the skills to do it properly.

In my industry, that can be difficult because there is a lot of false information and, in many cases, outdated information on the web. Knowing what to believe and what to dismiss can be very tricky indeed.

Researching and doing something yourself isn’t exclusive to online marketing either; it applies to many different aspects of running a business and to your personal life too. In fact, I bet everyone has ‘outsourced’ something at some stage, and does it on a regular basis. For example, do you clean your own home or do you have someone come in and do it for you? Do you wash your own car, or do you take it to a car wash? Do you clean your own windows or use a window cleaner?

All of these things save time, and effort, yet cost money. The trade-off is whether or not you’re better doing it yourself or whether it’s more cost-effective to pay someone to do it for you.

With a website and online marketing, you can get a free website from companies like, or you could even build one yourself after doing some research. Is it better to get it done by a professional though? Would you get better results? Would you get more business? Or would the cost be wasted money?

Should you hire a cleaner for your home or office? How long would it take you to clean it, would it be as good and would your time be better spent on other things?

That’s the crux of the issue when it comes to outsourcing. You can look at the cost, and the merits of hiring a professional to do it for you but, for me, the real decision lies on whether it’s worth your time doing it.

When my nephew had just left university he used to pay someone to do his ironing for him. They would collect his shirts from his flat and return them ironed. At the time I thought this the height of decadence but, in hindsight, I realise it was just clever use of his time. He earned more money per hour running his own business than he paid someone to iron his shirts. It was a simple equation.

So when you’re thinking about outsourcing you ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Do I have the time to do it myself?
  • Do I have the skills to do it myself?
  • Could I do it properly and to a high enough standard?
  • What would the real cost be if I do it and get it wrong?
  • Would my time be better spent doing something else?

Don’t be afraid of paying to outsource, just make sure you do it for the right reasons and outsource the right things. Your time is precious, don’t waste it.

Categories: Outsourcing


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