May 20, 2016
I’m not good at saying no to my steady clients. I fear they will walk away, find someone better, and leave me crying penniless in the dust. Unfortunately, they seem to all manifest projects at the same moment so I find myself juggling about 12 balls in the air at any time. Normally I make do, work at night, etc., but this month, my son decided he simply could not go to aftercare anymore and thus robbed me of about 7 solid work hours per week. The balls in the air were definitely about to fall on the ground. I had overcommitted.
So I did what the rest of the world has already done. I outsourced. I have been reluctant to hire someone because I am a control freak. Years of working alone have convinced me that I can do it better and faster, and really, why should I pay someone to do work I can do myself? I have no issues assembling teams of people that can help me on large, collaborative projects (e.g., web developers, industrial designers), but handing over MY work? Scary. I think it comes down to trust. When you have your own business, you are on the hook for everything, and even a small mistake comes down to being your responsibility.
So there I was panicking about my situation and then, the solution fell in my shopping cart. I was out running an errand at Trader Joe’s, and a graphic designer friend came up to me and told me she was looking for work. “Really?” I said, [tons of hesitation…] “I might have some.” And so it began.
Here’s the reality about being a designer: about 10% of your time is actually spent creatively designing and problem-solving. 90% is copy fitting, futzing, correcting, adjusting, editing, administrative nonsense, writing email, searching for images, etc. Surely some of this 90% could be handed off, right? So I took a few projects where I had already done the bulk of the design and styling, and gave it to this friend to do the production work.
And… magic. It was so amazing. I couldn’t stop gushing to my husband about how great it was to have some help, and he looked at me like I was a small child and said, “Welcome to management.”