woman working from home talking on headset at dining room table
From scheduling (and rescheduling) appointments to handling social media, there are several tasks that small business owners can have completed by alternate sources. — Getty Images/PixelsEffect

The number of self-employed workers in the U.S. has steadily grown in recent years, with as many as 44 million Americans falling into this category in 2019. Many of those self-employed workers run small businesses — a daunting task for a single person. However, many day-to-day tasks that used to cause headaches for business owners can now be outsourced by hiring other self-employed people or using technology.

Here are 10 things your small business can outsource to free up more time.

Appointments

When it comes to scheduling appointments and calls, the back-and-forth can take more time than it’s worth. Thankfully, several apps have been launched in the past few years that can help you streamline and track appointments. These applications, including Calendly and X.AI, can integrate with your calendar and send available time slots to people with whom you’re working. Best of all, it can help reschedule appointments if one party needs to cancel.

Bookkeeping and tax preparation

Most small business owners are not experts in accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparation. While bookkeeping has become significantly easier with software like FreshBooks, Intuit QuickBooks and Xero, it can still take quite a bit of time to do things like tracking finances and reconciling expenses. This is where it may help to outsource your general accounting needs with services such as Upwork and Bookminders.

Copywriting

When it comes to writing copy for your business’ website, blog posts, sales materials or case studies, not every business owner has the time or creative juices to tackle this. However, copywriting remains a popular craft for small businesses to outsource. Online sites such as Contently, Freelancer and Scripted can all help you hire writers that can make your copy pop.

Graphic design

There’s no doubt that graphic design can be an incredibly challenging task for the average business owner. Whether it’s designing a logo, website, mobile app, advertisements, clothing or email templates, freelancers and agencies can be hired to get your designs quickly put together. Websites such as 99designs and Fiverr make it easy to connect with designers of all specialties from all over the world.

The simple act of answering a phone call can be incredibly disruptive when you’re trying to focus.

In-person shopping

While online shopping has drastically reduced how much time business owners need to spend out buying essentials, there are still some situations where in-person shopping is required. Thankfully, providers such as Instacart, Postmates and Shipt can send someone local to a nearby store to buy groceries, electronics, office supplies or just about anything.

IT management

Small business owners, especially those who are running things solo, should seriously consider outsourcing information technology services given how complex some IT needs are. Services such as website and database management, software and hardware support and data analysis are often best left to those with particular skills. Business owners can look in their local markets for IT providers or use sites like Upwork and Guru to find freelancers.

Personal styling

While “figuring out what to wear” might not top the list of pressing tasks for business owners, it’s undoubtedly an essential part of presenting yourself — especially for in-person and online sales meetings. Hiring a personal stylist can help you come up with better outfits and save you time on finding appropriate and affordable clothes to buy. Online services such as Stitch Fix and Nordstrom Trunk Club can provide personalized recommendations and send clothes to you directly in order to reduce how much time you spend on shopping.

Reception

The simple act of answering a phone call can be incredibly disruptive when you’re trying to focus. With this in mind, solo business owners could consider hiring a virtual receptionist to take calls and flag important issues or opportunities. Web services, including My Receptionist and Ruby, can assign virtual receptionists that can answer your calls 24 hours a day to make sure your customers and prospects are best served.

Social media marketing

While social media remains a vital way to connect with current and potential customers, the amount of time needed to create content and engage with online communities can be prohibitively high. Given this, it may be worth hiring a freelance social media manager or agency to write and manage all of your social posts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter. Services such as Upwork and Guru can let you hire social media marketers and managers at hourly rates.

Virtual assistant

Finally, one of the top things every solo business owner should consider is a virtual assistant for outsourcing tasks unrelated to managing your business. A virtual assistant can help you manage your calendar more efficiently and help you coordinate and track your projects with other freelancers. Services such as Assistant Match, Time Etc and Zirtual can connect you with potential virtual assistants.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published January 20, 2021