I think probably the biggest objection I hear when faced with the question “Are you ready to hire?” is “But Shelagh, I can’t afford to hire right now.” My answer to that is always, always, always “Can you afford NOT to hire right now?” Now I am a huge proponent of not going into debt, so don’t hear what I’m not saying—I am NOT saying it’s a good idea to hire at a detriment to your business. But what I AM saying is we need to ask ourselves this clarifying question when we are deciding whether it is prudent to hire: “Can I afford to do this myself?”
The following questions can help you decide if you can afford to do it yourself:
1. Is the position you’re considering hiring out a primary service or offering from your business? In other words, is this your chief moneymaking talent? Is it what’s bringing in the big bucks? If you are a coach and people are buying your coaching skills, then coaching is not a position you can outsource. If it’s not a moneymaker for you, then yes, you can most certainly consider hiring it out.
2. Is there a competitive advantage to doing it in-house? For example, housecleaning—is it going to make a difference whether I scrub the bathtub or whether somebody else scrubs the bathtub? No. It’s not going to make a difference. And the time it would have taken me to do that task might have been put to better use if I were doing what I’m best at and getting paid for it. So consider whether it makes a difference if a task is performed in-house or out when making the decision to hire.
3. Is it a specialized service that does not require full-time support? Many tasks can be performed on an occasional or even one-time basis and so make more sense to hire on contract a person whose specialty that particular product or service is. No reason to weigh your own workload down with tasks you’re not best at when someone else can get the job done better and for less.
4. Is it something that someone else can do better and more efficiently? If a particular task will take you ten times the amount of time and effort and yield worse results than hiring out, consider taking that plunge and paying someone to do it better and in less time. Remember, that is time you could be spending toward generating income, growing your business, and moving toward success.
5. Is the cost of hiring lower than doing it yourself? Your time is money. What value is an hour of your time? What revenue-generating activity can you accomplish in one hour? What is the difference between that and what it would cost you to hire someone else to perform the task at hand? Time is your most valuable asset. Don’t forget to attach a dollar amount to that time.
So when do you hire? When it’s not your chief moneymaking talent, when there’s no real advantage for you to do it in-house, when it’s a one-time or occasional specialized service, when somebody else will do it better and more efficiently, or when the cost of you doing it yourself is more expensive than hiring out—it’s time to hire!
So in light of these questions, what are you doing right now that you should be hiring out?
Are you guilty of saying, “But I can’t afford to hire right now,” without examining the true cost (or benefit) to your business?