When do you outsource?

I wrote awhile ago about fansourcing and wanted to follow up on a general question – when do you outsource things important to your career?

We geek types sometimes try and do everything – being technically adept, having multiple skills, and being cutting-edge means we can do a lot.  We also may be afraid to outsource things to other people since, simply, it can be hard to trust someone else.

Unfortunately, we find we have to.  There's only so much we can do.

First, it's important to realize that you're probably outsourcing a lot already.  I don't make my own business cards, I go to an office supply to do it.  I don't have my own webserver, I rent one from a company that maintains it.  For that matter my roommate did our internet router setup, which worked much quicker to get everything customized right.

So, accept you need to outsource things for your career?

  1. When you can't do it.  That's kind of a given.
  2. When someone is better than you and you need that level of quality.  (It may be hard on your ego, but you'll get used to it).
  3. When someone can do it quicker.  Time is money.
  4. When you don't have time.  This is a big one for a lot of people, and usually something you realize only after time gets too tight.
  5. When you're tired of doing something.  Just because you can do it and are good at it doesn't mean you're up for it.

And a few things to outsource career-wise?

  1. Business cards.  Unless you're really artistic and creative, you can probably get a custom design that will wow people.  In addition, for a lot of people standard designs available at many office supply stores may be fine for you.
  2. Website design.  This is becoming more and more vital for people's careers, and a profssional website design can do a lot for you – and save time.  ALso consider sites and services and software that let you quick-build sites.
  3. Website hosting.  Unless you're ready to maintain a server yourself, go commercial.  You won't regret it.
  4. Video production.  If you need to do video resumes, ads, etc. consider professi5onal services unless you're really good.
  5. Resume design.  I'm mixed on this one since I feel constructing a good resume is a skill people should all learn, but sometimes professional services can do absolutely incredible things with resumes – and having a professionally done one may teach you enough to do it better in the future (or modify the existing one).

So keep outsourcing in mind.  It may be a bit of a stretch to hand control to others, but it can save you time and sanity.

– Steven Savage