DanMay 11th, 2012 at 1:31 pm
Lawn care?!?! Really? How big’s your lawn?
Posted May 11, 2012 in How-To
If you’re like most of us, you probably answered “yes” to that question. Which of us wouldn’t want a little more coming in each month?
In this post, I’ll share a surprising technique to help you earn more freelance income–delegating your routine tasks.
We freelancers are an independent breed. We like to “do it ourselves.” That’s probably one of the reasons many of us struck out on our own in the first place.
However, sometimes doing it yourself just doesn’t make sense. It may seem contrary to logic, but delegating routine tasks to others can often result in a higher freelancing income. That’s because delegation frees your time up for paid work.
Here are two clear signs that it’s time to delegate:
Delegation frees you up to take on more work at your higher hourly rate. Remember, you don’t earn anything for the time you spend on daily tasks.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s suppose that you want to bill for thirty hours of freelancing business each week. You average $50.00 an hour for your freelancing services.
However, you rarely find yourself billing for thirty hours. The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough work. In fact, you’ve been turning work away because you don’t have enough time to get to it.
After examining your time carefully, you realize you’re spending about ten hours each week on non-billable tasks. You delegate these tasks to someone else for an average hourly rate of $25.00 an hour. Now, you can take those projects you’ve been turning away.
Now that we’ve discussed when delegate, it’s time to take a look at what to delegate.
From personal tasks to professional tasks, many of your routine tasks can be delegated to others.
Here is a sampling of eight common freelancer personal and professional tasks that can be delegated:
What routine tasks do you delegate?
Share your answers in the comments.
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Lawn care?!?! Really? How big’s your lawn?
Dan–The size is not the point.
Let me give an example. Let’s say it would take you an hour to mow, trim, and edge your lawn. You charge your clients $50 an hour. The lawn services charges $35 for the same work. If you are so busy that you are turning work away, you will lose $50 you could have earned if you take the time to mow the lawn yourself instead of working. If you hire the lawn service you net $15.
Multiply that $15 over the (roughly) 12 weeks of summer–There’s an additional $180 just from delegating lawn work.
Of course, if you really enjoy doing the lawn work yourself you may want to hang onto that task and delegate a task you don’t enjoy. :)
Yes, yes, yes! Laura, you are so right. I’ve recently been thinking about outsourcing some of the admin stuff to leave more time for the rest of my work (and life).
Accounting, hands down. I can never work around numbers and I certainly do not want to end up paying penalties because of miscalculations when paying taxes.
Great post. I out-source numbers 1,3,6,7,8. I began hiring a house-cleaner when I recently had major surgery and couldn’t even sweep the floor while recovering; now she comes twice a month for a total cost of $110 (we live in a 1 bdrm apartment with no kids or pets.) That’s much less than my lowest hourly rate, so it’s been great.
I just hired an assistant at $10 an hour and her $70 worth of work already netted me four new clients. Cha-ching!
I know what I do best and most quickly. The rest I pay others to do, and write those costs off as business expenses.
When I am very busy and working on getting more jobs or focusing on big projects, I even delegate smaller design jobs to other designers. So that doesn’t mean always I delegate jobs that I “don’t like or can not do”
Great shares and tips!
It sounds like we have a lot of freelance readers who aren’t afraid to delegate. :)
You’re right Laura, delegating’s the only way to expand and move forward in business.
Morgan & Me Creative–Thanks! I know that not everyone wants to delegate, but it really can help.
I am a freelancer working through http://www.peopleperhour.com .
I delegate my daily tasks to my family (in their free time). Those tasks include housekeeping and simple outside jobs. I cannot say I can afford to delegate parts of my jobs though. Not yet at least.
Laura, delegating tasks is a perfect way to increase productivity, there’s no doubt.
However, here’s the catch: you still need to stay involved, especially with anything that is related to your business (I will cross out mown lawing from this). You can outsource accounting, yet you still need to keep track of your finances regularly to know what is going on in your business. Writing – sure, yet you still need to make sure that the copy takes the direction you want your business to head towards etc.
Luckily, providing that the person you asked to help you does a good job, your involvement will not require as much time as doing the task itself would….
Timothy K.–I’m glad you understand the value of delegating. As you grow your business you may find that you want to hire people outside of your family. Thanks for sharing. :)
Pawel Grabowski, Excellent point! Yes, it’s true. Delegating doesn’t mean that you are totally relieved of the responsibility. That’s why it’s important to pick reliable for your professional tasks and make sure that you supervise what they do.
I’m at the beginning of my delegating journey… starting with #1. I’m getting better out explaining myself and getting a feel for the style of the assistant but I agree with Pawel… you most definitely have to stay involved.
Staying involved feels kind of counterproductive at first but the notion that “I could have finished this already” because in the long run…you’ll save time once the assistant has been trained properly.
Great tips, Laura!
Joyce M Washington, CPA–Thanks for sharing your experience. Good luck with your delegation journey. :)
Great post Laura!
I’ve got another task to add to the list: child care. When you have young needy kids sometimes it pays to have someone watch your kids so you can have some peace and quiet to get things done!
I could not agree more! I work part time for http://www.adducology.com and I have ‘outsourced’ much of the companies back end. Particularly, accounting and wed development it went down really well with my boss who gave me a promotion once the savings came in.
It has given me free time to focus on the more interesting aspects and I am now more client focused. :)