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Suffering from Outsophobia? Fear cripples digital SMBs

outsophobia outsourcing scary characters fear cartoon
Hiring and delegating can be traumatic and scary for SMBs.

Article Series💡
Inspired by a post from the on the Facebook Group “The Admin Bar Community”

In one of TAB’s posts, many agency owners said they have trouble growing their businesses as fast as they’d like because they are afraid to outsource.

It seems like a lot of entrepreneurs are finding it tough to let go and truly step into their roles as business owners, the kind they’ve always dreamed of being.

In the next few articles, we’re gonna tackle this fear head-on, discuss ways to manage it, and, yep, you guessed it, we’re going to completely beat it. Sounds good? Let’s get to it!

remote offices connected outsourcing
Outsourcing is a wallet-friendly option for businesses.

Outsophobia is a term recently coined by yours truly, which means “fear of outsourcing or entrusting anyone else with a task you know you can complete on your own”.

This isn’t something new. You might call it micromanaging, say you have trust issues, trauma dealing with freelancers, or even say you’re just a really picky boss. In essence, this fear is standing in the way of your business’s growth.

Did you know a lot of people are dealing with this fear? Yep, and it’s only growing with the boom in online work. 

You’re not the only one hiring freelancers or remote workers. Truth be told, outsourcing is a big hit with many businesses because it’s wallet-friendly.

But, it’s not all smooth sailing. Sometimes, things can get real messy, leading to some serious stress.

How outsophobia sneaks up on you

Lots of our clients at Deer Designer told us they had outsophobia before they came on board. Maybe it’s bugging you too, and you don’t even realize it. Let’s walk through a typical scenario.

So, there you were, all chuffed when you landed your fifth client a few months back. That was a big deal for your fledgling web design business.

You felt super confident after hunting down the perfect freelance designer to help you beat the deadlines. Their work looked great, and you were totally on board with their design style.

outsourcing client and designer talking with gears and laptop
Outsourcing only works well if you have a process in place.

Then came the real test. You handed them your website design brief, and bam! The first draft they churned out was a disaster. So you pointed out all the changes, but they only managed to come up with an equally disappointing second draft.

A lot of back and forth happened, and you found yourself having “the talk”.

And, just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, they told you the next round of edits would cost you extra.

You were so frustrated and sick with a cold, you ended up firing them on the spot. No surprises here, you managed to pull together the design yourself in under two hours and still hit the deadline.

Sick and wrapped in a blanket, you vowed never to outsource again.

The school of hard knocks: Lessons from outsourcing

Growth – not always what it’s cracked up to be

Business people love outsourcing. Why? Because it offers a chance to expand and be more efficient. 

Plus, there’s a bit of an ego boost in having someone on your payroll.

Bringing someone aboard is a surefire sign you’re a real business owner, and your venture can support more than just your family.

But let’s be real: if you waste time on training or if a new hire messes things up with an old client, your business could take a hit.

Trust issues – a biggie

Trust is key when you’re passing over major jobs to external vendors or team members. Toss in language or cultural barriers, and making outsourcing work becomes a bigger challenge.

And when trust is broken, thanks to bad communication, missed targets, or privacy issues, it can really shake up business owners.

outsourcing remote designers connected by laptop
Make outsourcing work for you.

Control freak?

Most people worry about losing control over their businesses when they delegate or hire help. This fear is legit and understandable, especially if you’ve spent years building your business.

To regain control, some of them end up learning new online tools to keep tabs on someone halfway across the world. Plus, they might have to stay up until crazy hours just to explain a task. Pretty exhausting, right?

The worst part? After all that hassle, if the end result still isn’t what you expected, you’re left thinking, “Why didn’t I just do this myself?”

When mistakes cost you big time

Mistakes can mean losing money, missing out on chances, or damaging your reputation. It’s a total deal breaker for small and medium businesses.

If something goes wrong and the person responsible is halfway across the globe and doesn’t feel the pinch, it’s extra tough for entrepreneurs to trust and share responsibilities again.

Check this out. A while ago, I had a poster with a QR code for an event sign-up. Just hours before the event, the darn QR code stopped working.

I tried to reach out to the designer, but it was late at night in their time zone. I had to resort to manual sign-ups, which took way longer and ate up my time, my team’s time, and even the attendees’ time.

There are worse cases that have cost people big time. And the kicker? The person responsible is sound asleep while you’re pulling your hair out.

client near a cliff jumping to other side
Take the leap into delegating and watch your business grow.

Definitely suffering from outsophobia

When a business owner gets hit with outsophobia, they learn some tough lessons. They start doing things differently, setting clearer expectations, thoroughly evaluating outsourcing services, and rebuilding their business stronger than before.

If you’re dealing with outsophobia right now and still running your business, you’ve come a long way. You survived! You’re a smarter boss and a more savvy business owner than before.

Getting back on track

But hey, as word spreads about your killer web design work, more clients will want to partner with you. As your business grows and you have more clients on board, you realize you’ll have to face the outsourcing thing again.

So, here you are, standing at the edge of the cliff, with a bigger business opportunity beckoning.

Ready to take the plunge again?

Maybe the outsourcing nightmare has made you wiser.

Getting help will let you focus on what’s important: growing your business.

So, will you stick to your comfort zone or chase greener pastures?

Find out in our next week’s newsletter, where we’ll explore if you’re indeed ready to try outsourcing again and reveal the sneaky red flags to look out for when hiring a freelance designer.