Last week was our 4-month old son’s first day of daycare.
(He took the drop-off much better than mom and dad.)
Even though I work from home, we never really questioned that we’d have to have someone else watch him during the day. Otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done!
But it hit me that daycare is one of those outsourced services we hire without a second thought.
(Of course, there was plenty of debate as to which daycare service to join!)
We are expert outsourcers in our personal lives, and I believe it’s because certain services are deeply ingrained and highly specialized to serve a wide population.
In addition to daycare, here are a few more examples of things you probably outsource without thinking too much about it:
Education – unless you homeschool your kids.
Taxes – most people use an accountant service or a software tool to get these done instead of calculating them by hand.
Farming – how much of your food did you grow yourself?
While I love the idea of gardening, I’m horrible at it, as evidenced by the 2 sad tomatoes we got after months of watering. It makes more sense to leave it to the pros.
Dry Cleaning – I’ll admit I don’t even know how dry cleaning works.
Shelter – did you build your own house?
Clothing – did you sew your own clothes?
Health / Dental / Veterinary Care – while you take personal responsibility for our health, you likely seek expert help occasionally.
Cooking – I outsource my cooking at least once a week by eating in restaurants.
So what makes business outsourcing so different and so much harder?
For one, every business is different. The standard operating procedures to grow a tomato or dry clean a shirt don’t vary much customer to customer.
We have challenges letting go of control in our business, but we willingly relinquish it in other areas of our lives.
I mean, I just dropped off my baby with almost a total stranger!
It all comes down to trust. We trust the restaurant isn’t going to poison us, we trust the accountant to get our taxes done right, and I trust that daycare isn’t going to scar my offspring for life.
But trust takes time, and that’s why I believe for business outsourcing, it makes sense to start with some non-mission-critical tasks to ease into the practice of delegating.
Give the trust time to build, work with established companies or service providers, and grow together.
What do you think?
What else do you outsource automatically? Do you think there’s a way to eventually apply that same level of comfort to your virtual assistant delegation?