I'm Mylah Renae, a Texas wedding photographer based in Austin. Grab a coffee (or sangria) and enjoy some pretty wedding images!

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When to Outsource

September 9, 2016

As an entrepreneur, one of the things we constantly talk about is what to outsource and when it would be an appropriate time to do so.  Dylan and I have been discussing how to apply this to our own life and business for a while now.  We want to always better serve our clients AND still have a social life, but the two don’t always go hand in hand.  This last week, we’ve added two things to help us do BOTH!
1) We decided to add a lawn care service!  This one was a total GOD thing!  We had, literally, chatted about hiring a company to mow our yard the week before a neighbor approached us.  Her son is wanting to buy a PlayStation 4, but doesn’t have the money just yet to afford one.  She wanted to know if it would be ok with us if he mowed our yard once a week so he could earn the money.  Um… YES PLEASE!  Dylan and I aren’t the best with keeping up with our yard care, anyway, and we dread having to do it.  Not only does this arrangement allow us to get time back that we would spend mowing the yard (2-3 hours a week), but it blesses the neighborhood kid with a cash flow so he can buy his PlayStation.  To me, this is a win-win!
2) We bought a Roomba!  Yep, the robot vacuum that runs itself… we’re officially those people and are loving it!  With two giant dogs (I need to post a Great Dane photo for y’all, soon!), our house needs to be swept or vacuumed once a day, at minimum.  As you can imagine, that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes, it’s more important for us to spend the half hour every day (or more) doing other things.  We’d much rather walk our dogs or eat dinner with friends than vacuum.  It’s a necessary thing, though, so we decided to outsource something we don’t enjoy doing and let Roomba do the vacuuming for us!
We’ve been debating both of these things, among others, as possible things to outsource, but have always hesitated on it.  One thing my dad taught me when I was learning to drive was that “hesitation kills.”  By that, I want you to think of all the HOURS I could have saved if we had moved on either the Roomba or lawn care before this week.  Lawn care alone would save us 2-3 hours a week!  Assuming that only half the weeks of the year the lawn needs to be mowed, that’s 52 hours, minimum, saved that I could have been spending time bettering client experience OR vacationing with my husband or enjoying cocktails on our porch swing – it’s over an entire week’s worth of work time!  We should have done this way earlier than now!
If you’re an entrepreneur, I want to encourage you to think about outsourcing.  You already do SOME outsourcing and may not even think of it in such a way.  If you don’t grow your own veggies, but buy them instead, you’re already outsourcing!  It’s better for you to pay the farmer, who is great at growing veggies, than for you to try to do it on your own.  There will be times when you shouldn’t outsource and times you should.  If you don’t have the money to outsource some things just yet, you’ll need to wait.  It may be better to spend some valuable time doing things you don’t love than to spend money you don’t have.  However, if you could make MORE money with the time you’ll save by outsourcing (and the cost associated with that particular thing), it may be a good idea to outsource.
Something to keep in mind is that outsourcing should always push you and your business forward.  If the neighborhood kid constantly missed spots or the roomba couldn’t vacuum what we needed and we were required to go back and do it, again, then our resources are better spent elsewhere.  One thing that comes to mind is that earlier in the year, I decide to have someone else print our show hand-outs.  They didn’t look terrible and got our message across.  However, our brides came back to let us know that the care we put into our handouts was what drew them to us – if we put so much love and detail into our handouts, they knew we’d put that much more love and detail into their wedding photos!  When I switched to outsource the handout to a printed piece, I lost the love and detail our brides adored so much.  That outsourcing did not push the business forward, it just saved me a bit of time.  In that case, it wasn’t worth it.  We tried another handout model, but it was so expensive that we couldn’t print it for cheaper than what I could make the original handout for.  It looked GREAT, but I was hesitant to let pieces go, knowing how much each one was.  Needless to say, there is a stack of homemade handouts sitting on my kitchen table waiting for the open house next week.
To recap, if you’re thinking about outsourcing, do it now!  It will save you the most precious resource, time.  If, however, you have a ton of time, but not enough money to pay for something to be outsourced, do it yourself!
 – Mylah Renae


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