Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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Outsourcing: What we can learn from Harry Potter

Outsource Definition Closeup Showing SubcontractingThis week is my week to have car stuff done. I’m getting tires rotated on both vehicles and I’m getting the oil changed on one of the vehicles. (That’s three trips to auto service places in three days).

There are certain jobs that I will never do on my own. Some I won’t do because I don’t have the expertise, some because I don’t have the proper knowledge, and some because I lack the proper tools. Some jobs are easy to give to someone else. Many people take their autos into a shop for an oil change. It’s not necessarily a difficult job to do yourself, however there are specific tools needed to remove the the drain plug and other tools needed to remove and replace the filter. You also need to have jacks or stands, and oil and filters handy (and the knowledge of what kind to use for your car). In some areas there are also laws about the disposal of used motor oil. With all that in mind, I (and most of us) will gladly pay someone else to deal with it for me. (I’ve included a DIY guide on oil changes in the “Related Articles” section – just for grins).

Some jobs are difficult to hand off to another person or company. When you’re a business owner, it can be difficult to determine what jobs to pass along to someone else. Once you do determine which tasks you’ll have someone else do, it can be hard to determine who should be doing the work. In this series, I will touch on those issues and make your decisions a little easier.

WHAT TO OUTSOURCE

Determining what to let go of can be hard. Some might say to outsource the jobs that cost the least, and some might say to outsource the jobs that increase your profit. While there is something to be said (always) in business to watch the bottom line. My suggestion would be getting rid of the jobs that you find the least interesting or most frustrating. You don’t only need to think about outsourcing your business, you can also consider outsourcing things in your day to day life. If you love working on your business and you have a dislike for housework, hire a cleaning service. If you’re a graphic artist and have wonderful artistic skills but can’t come up with “4” no matter how you put 2 and 2 together, think about hiring a bookkeeper. If you’re fabulous with numbers but can’t match colors, hire a graphic designer (or an interior designer for your home or office).

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yeah, I’m a fan of Harry Potter), before Harry went into the first challenge, the tip that Alastair Moody (actually Barty Crouch, Jr. but we didn’t know that at the time) gave Harry was to “Play to your strengths.” Moody/Crouch then went on to ask Harry what he was best at. While you might not be best at flying a broomstick, think about what your strengths are. Think about what you’re best at. That is what you should be spending most of your time on. Think about what your weaknesses are. Think about the jobs you like least. Those are the things you should outsource or share with a partner.

Over the next week or two we’ll discuss how to find people and give yourself some freedom from tasks.

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4 Comments

  1. Evie Burke says:

    Love that advice to play to your strengths. I can’t remember where I read it, but it said that the most successful people focus on getting better at what they’re already good at and letting other people do the things they’re not as good at.

    Great advice as always Mary!

  2. […] Outsourcing: What we can learn from Harry Potter (marywuva.com) […]

  3. […] Outsourcing: What we can learn from Harry Potter (marywuva.com) […]

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