An elderly couple lives next door to us. They are devoted dog owners with two terriers, Tiffany and Jean Luke, whom they love dearly. I see my neighbors out every day, taking the dogs on long walks. Whenever we stop to chat, they always give me an update on each dog’s funny antics.
Managing two frisky dogs can be a challenge for older people, especially when it comes to washing and grooming. That’s why two days a month the Flying Fur pet grooming van pulls into their driveway for an hour. If you peer into the window you’ll see Tiffany and Jean Luke inside getting shampooed, brushed, and trimmed. A half hour later the two dogs hop out looking shiny and new.
And you know what? I’ll bet every time the dogs come back into the house after their Flying Fur treatment my neighbors remark, “That was so worth it.”
You can still be a dedicated pet owner even if you delegate certain tasks to other people. In fact, it might be a sign of your dedication that you do. Delegating can save on your most precious resource: time. It can give you access to expertise you don’t possess. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are some things I’ve delegated recently, and why I chose to delegate these tasks rather than do them myself:
1. Turning my hand-drawn scans of pattern templates into vectors.
After attempting to digitally trace templates myself I realized that although I could learn how, I didn’t want to. It’s time consuming and fussy in a way that makes me annoyed. If I forced myself to master vectors I would end up not enjoying my job. Instead I use Swiftly to get the job done. For $15 they're done in an hour. I’m thrilled.
2. Getting a logo.
I was recently chatting over email with a new designer who is working on setting up an Etsy shop. She knew she needed a nice logo to use in her shop banner, but just couldn’t come up with something she thought looked professional. And so she was stuck. She felt like she couldn’t open her shop and get her business underway until she learned to design a logo.
Logo design is an art form. You don’t have to learn a new art form in order to start a business. Not sure where to look? Check out 99designs where you can bid your project. Pay what you want and get something you love and can use for years to come.
3. Copy editing my ebook.
I wanted my ebook, The Insider’s Guide to Starting an Online Sewing Pattern Business, to be as helpful as possible. It’s fairly long and I knew it could benefit from the wisdom of an editor so I hired Kim Werker to help. Thanks to her edits, the text is tighter and clearer, and I feel proud and confident when I promote it.
If writing, or writing in English, isn't your strength, get some help copy editing and proofreading your shop listings or your About page. Even if you love to write, hiring an editor or even a copywriter can be worth it!
4. Preparing my taxes.
Hiring someone to prepare your taxes is perhaps the most common sort of delegating small businesses do. I just signed off on my tax return last night and sent it to our accountant. Whew.
I also used Elance in January to hire someone who could create a specialized pivot table for me in Excel. This table allows me to more easily record and track my revenue and expenses by automatically updating the totals. I paid $30 for it and it was worth every penny. I use my pivot table each Friday when I do my bookkeeping for the week and I have a much better sense of how things are going financially as a result.
5. Taking pictures of me in my studio.
If you’re going to run an online creative business you need great pictures of yourself working. My friend is a photographer and she’s coming to my house today to take photos of my studio space, my toys, and me. I'm excited for some fresh shots!
Either pay a photographer or see if you can trade with someone to get professional photos taken. Potential customers need to see you in your studio. You'll use the photos on your blog and shop and whenever you guest post, get featured in a magazine, or contribute work to someone else's project.
What else could you consider delegating?
- packing up kits or paper patterns
- tagging items for a craft show
- addressing and mailing postcards
- organizing and tagging your blog post archives
- designing a new blog header and some pretty widgets
We are in the DIY sector and for many of us figuring things out on our own is just part of our how we operate. But sometimes doing everything yourself is so overwhelming that you simply can’t make progress. See if you can find tasks that you could delegate for now so that you can keep moving. They may even save you money in the long run. Sometimes it’s worth it to let someone else wash your dog.