back to blog home

operations & Strategy


When Outsourcing Isn’t Getting You Where You Want to Go

Jul 18, 2023

You want to grow your business, so what’s the first step?  You might think that outsourcing is the key to scaling. It’s what most coaches and “online biz guides” say to do. Countless articles, podcasts, and blogs will tell you the key is hiring a VA, working with a marketing agency, or buying more ad space.

All of those things can help your business grow. But they don’t work in a vacuum. In fact, if you’re only focused on growing your business, you’re going to have a bumpy ride when things do start moving. Here’s what I mean.

Outsourcing isn’t always a magical scaling solution

I recently onboarded a new client, and scaling was one of the things they wanted help with. They’d been working with a marketing agency that had helped them create a free challenge to bring in leads.

And the challenge worked well. Leads were pouring in — but conversions weren’t. Essentially, the client’s lead magnet was great, but those leads weren’t biting on my client’s paid offer.

The problem wasn’t that the offer was wrong or the lead magnet was unsuccessful. The problem was there was no infrastructure in the middle. No funnel ecosystem, no content, no nurture sequences, no customer service — there was nothing to encourage the challenge attendees to purchase the offer or nurture people into buying other offers in the future.

That’s why it’s so important to think about what you need to support growth… rather than just growing for the sake of “bigger numbers.”

Build a foundation before focusing on growth

Before you can focus on scaling, you need to make sure the infrastructure is there.

And it can be hard, I’ll be entirely honest. Those parts of your business aren’t the sexy ones — and they’re not what you usually hear about when you Google “how to scale your business.” But they’re crucial aspects to have in place before you start focusing solely on growth.

Of course, “focusing on growth” is a vague phrase. There are so many ways to grow your business. Here are a few of the most common “growth strategies” I’ve heard — and what you need to ask yourself before putting any of them in place in your business.

When you think you just need new leads

If you need more revenue, you need more paying clients or customers, which means you need more leads… right? Sure, but what are you doing with those leads? 

Before you go for “more leads” in general, ask yourself: Do you have a way to convert those leads? Do you have welcome sequences in place? An easy way for them to schedule a discovery call? 

Give those leads a clear path to conversion.

And remember, not all leads are equal. Figure out a way to identify and tag leads based on where they’re coming from. For example, ads often pull in a high number of low-quality leads. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s important to recognize that they don’t have as much potential as high-quality leads. You could remedy this by funneling ad leads into a longer nurture sequence, or by driving hot leads from your Instagram DMs straight to a fit call. 

Really think about how you’ll treat leads all along the customer journey, because that’ll change your efforts from “just getting more leads” into having a strong client roster or steady customer sales.

When you think hiring a VA will get you out of the day-to-day

One thing I’ve heard so much in the online business industry? “Outsource the tasks you hate to a VA.” It’ll supposedly free up your time and you’ll only have to do the work you can do. 

I wish you could see my eyes rolling right now.

Yes, hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to reduce your workload. You can pass off those tedious, time-consuming tasks so you have more time to focus on the big picture of scaling your business. 

But even the best VA can’t make something out of nothing. They need resources to do their job! That means SOPs, KPIs, and a clearly defined role. 

Plus, you need to know what you want to delegate, and you should have a project management system in place to keep track of what you’ve delegated. 

Once you’ve got all that figured out, you need to hire the right VA. That means creating an accurate, attractive job ad and solidifying your hiring process.

And remember, hiring a VA isn’t the right solution for every business. Before you decide to hire, make sure you’re really ready to remove yourself from daily operations. If you’re not, that’s OK — don’t force it just because it’s the “next step to grow your business.”

By really thinking about what support you need, you can also save yourself a lot of drama. I’ve seen so many business owners say they “just need a VA” when they really need a social media manager, a copywriter, an executive assistant, etc. Get clear on the roles and responsibilities so you hire the best person for those needs.

When you think it’s your marketing

Let’s look at marketing next. You have to be better at marketing to grow your business, which is why there are so many courses and guides and coaches out there showing you how to get better at it. 

But before you start spending time and money on a new marketing strategy, look at your offers. Are they what you want to sell? Are they worth marketing to your existing audience (or are they not a good fit)? Do you need to make some optimizations or updates to your offers first?

These are all important questions because you can market to people all day… but if they aren’t the right offers, nobody will buy. 

Then, let’s look at delivery. If you were to get 5 leads right now, would you be able to onboard all those clients? If you’re selling a course, do you have automations in place that make it easy to get those people into the course and rolling through the content? Or would it be a scramble to get everyone served? 

This is where the wheels fall off for so many businesses. You think you have to market your offers, but they’re not quite right for your audience OR you don’t have the infrastructure to deliver them well.

Once your offers are ready to go and you have the supports in place to sell or deliver more, that’s when you can look at marketing. But it’s not like marketing is one thing.

Do you know what kind of marketing you need, i.e. social media marketing, PR/press, email marketing, content marketing, etc.? 

Where is your target audience the most engaged? And what do you need to create to consistently put yourself in their field of view? 

An important note: “Marketing” doesn’t mean you blast a few posts on Instagram one week and then go dark. It means you show up consistently. Want more leads? Well, then you need to make sure you actually have the bandwidth for more content creation. You can always outsource it if you need but don’t expect marketing to be done in fits and spurts. 

When you’re told you need a new website, software, or tool

When was the last time you read something about scaling your business that didn’t include a pitch for a new CRM tool, email marketing platform, website, or SaaS product? Probably never.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in new tools. But don’t just buy something because it’s shiny and new — and definitely don’t do it because someone said it’ll help 10x your revenue or some other wild claim.

Carefully consider the features you need and the available options. Can you find something that aligns with your goals?

And if so, do you have a clear plan for implementing this new tool? Do you know how to migrate your current processes? And then manage and maintain those new tools? Get all those steps in place before you make the switch.

Remember, more isn’t always better

It’s easy to think that all you need is more leads, more revenue, more offers, more projects, more everything. And scaling does require more in many areas. But it only works if you have the infrastructure to support everything you’re adding.

Before you take a big leap — outsourcing your workload or investing in a new tool or expensive marketing strategy, take a beat to really make sure you’re ready to scale.

If you’re not sure what you really need to focus on, my Shiny Object Syndrome Workbook can help. Instead of just buying the next new software or joining that popular program, this workbook will help you really figure out what’s next in your business (to help you grow).

Your other option? Find a strategic partner. A strategic partner can help you pinpoint the projects and roles you should focus on first. They can ensure that you have clear marketing goals in place before you hire an advertising agency. Or help you figure out which tasks you want to outsource before you hire a VA (or anyone else you might need support from). 

When you have the strategy in place first, it’s easier to invest in things that will actually help you reach your goals. Without that infrastructure, scaling tends to fall apart. If you’ve ever tried to outsource and had everything fall back on your shoulders, you know what that looks like.

So before you focus all your efforts on growth, make sure all the infrastructure’s in place. Not sure what that looks like? That’s where a strategic partner comes in. If you’re ready to set the stage for scaling, I’m here to help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

stop throwing spaghetti around

get business operations  & strategy straight to your inbox

yes, please!