I’m Not A Web Coder. I’m Not A Marketing Expert. I’m Not A Bookkeeper. And I’m Not Sure I Want To Be…

QUESTION

My business is “flipping” or restoring old furniture (a.k.a. stuff that looks like junk) into beautiful, functional pieces people want to buy for their homes. I sell mostly at flea markets and in a few vintage stores.

I love these projects and wish I could do nothing but shop for great finds, work on them, and then see the looks on the faces of the people who want to buy them. I don’t really want to do bookkeeping. I don’t really want to do marketing. I don’t really want to deal with a website, so I’m mostly using Facebook for that, but many people seem disappointed when I tell them I don’t have a website. (Seriously, though — even the web programs that promise “You don’t need to know a line of code!” aren’t exactly what I’d call easy.)

I know you (and a lot of the business owners you interview) say not to hire other people when you have a young business, but my thinking is – if I hire someone to build a website — I can bring in more money by doing online sales. Hopefully it will pay for itself. Same goes for marketing. And if I hire someone to help with my accounting, I’ll have an expert doing the work I don’t really know how to do, and I’ll save myself so much time that could be spent working on furniture to sell. Right?? Is there something I’m missing?

Thanks,
Account Me Out

ANSWER

Sure! You can hire anyone to do anything you want. But, for this one I would say the real answer is in the numbers.

First, it is always good to have the wish list of your next investments/purchases/hires so that when the time comes, you have the prioritized list that will bring you the most value to your business. Seeking growth to get you more time to do what you love is a great goal for most business owners.

But there is something to be said for knowing all the nooks and crannies of your own business and at least knowing what questions to ask so you know enough to be dangerous. If you farm things out before you’ve ever done them, you might have a real disconnect from critical inner workings of your business. So as much as you may not want to slug through them initially, it will help you knowing the basics of every aspect of your business, as well as what questions to ask those you hire.

And finally, you really need to run the numbers to know how much product you’ll need to sell in order to justify hiring out. For example, if it currently takes you one eight-hour day to do your bookkeeping, how much could you make if you were instead selling product in those eight hours? If the answer is more than the cost of hiring a bookkeeper, then hire the bookkeeper. (Additionally, you might factor in the time a pro may save you in not having to redo some of your own handiwork come tax time.)

But, if the product you could make and sell in your newfound time brings in less money than the cost of the bookkeeper, it might not be wise to utilize your time in that way at this point. Repeatedly figuring out how much extra product you will need to sell in order to justify these hires will help you decide if/when it is time to hire out.

Despite what some may tell you, being a business owner doesn’t mean you can just do what you want. At the end of the day, you are working for your business, not the other way around. So really decide what serves the business best when making these decisions and try not to let your personal wants be the only factor you consider with every business decision that you make.

WHAT THINGS have you hired help for in your business (and what did you decide to suck up and do yourself)? Let us know in the comments section!

And, if you have a question for ASK OMO, don’t be shy! Submit it here, and our business coach or one of our small business experts might answer it in an upcoming article. You can always remain anonymous, though clever sign offs are always appreciated!