How To Start Outsourcing Ethically and Sustainably

Davey and Daphnah from the Eco Helper join us to give their tips on how to start outsourcing tasks in your business in a way that is both sustainable and ethical for everyone involved.

Note from Katie…wait, why the lack of pictures? In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of my web presence, I am only using images at the very top of my posts, as well as where they serve a true purpose, such as headshots or infographics. That’s why you won’t find any purely decorative photos here anymore.

What Is Outsourcing and What Are The Benefits?

Many blossoming and thriving purpose-driven businesses have embraced outsourcing as a successful growth strategy. 

If you’re used to running your business as a one-person show, consider how outsourcing can provide you with valuable resources like time and energy back, fresh eyes on your business, and a new perspective. Entrepreneurs who get caught up trying to do all the things themselves are more prone to overwhelm and burnout. Outsourcing can help prevent this. 

And not only all of that, but you also gain access to specialised skills and knowledge in areas that may not be your strong suit or zone of genius. Leaning into trusting the experts in your field has the powerful ability to uplevel your business. 

Outsourcing is so much more than simply paying someone to accomplish tasks. It’s an investment you make in your business. An exercise in trust. A needle-mover, catalyst for growth, and stress reliever. It’s also a built-in accountability partner. 

What could you accomplish with more time and energy back into your life and business? 

Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be lonely. We can all do business in a smarter, more sustainable, as well as ethical way. Growing your team through outsourcing and delegating is a great way to grow and scale your business. 

Sustainable Outsourcing 

Many entrepreneurs wish they had started outsourcing sooner after they get their first taste but that doesn’t mean they were always ready. It usually comes to mind when there’s a big project on the horizon, your capacity is busting at the seams, or you even want to take a step back to create more space for things like a vacation, growing your family, or your passion projects. 

Delegating takes a lot of trust as well as a bit of preparation on your end. No one can magically come in and fix everything or immediately skyrocket your sales. To create sustainable and successful working relationships you have to be open to new things, release some control, and provide the necessary foundations for your new team members.

Foundations like:

  • Project management & file-sharing tools to stay organized
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs) guarantee tasks are done right
  • Knowing your budget and investment level 
  • A realistic timeline that accounts for both parties’ schedules
  • Your own branding so new team members know who you are and can help communicate that through everything they touch

One of the most important parts of outsourcing though is figuring out exactly what you need support with. There are so many moving pieces in your eco-business and no one expects you to do them all. 

You can break your tasks/projects down into a few categories: 

  • What tasks do you like/don’t like to do? 
  • What tasks do you not know how to do or drain your energy?
  • What tasks can only you do? 
  • What tasks are not getting done?

It’s a good idea to track your time for a week or so to see where it’s actually going.

If your time is eaten up by tasks you hate, how would you feel if that time was instead spent doing something you enjoy? 

If a lot of your time was spent on doing something you don’t know how to do, how would you feel if it was completed faster and better by an expert? 

You can outsource practically anything in your business, but if you love it keep it for yourself.

When you look at the tasks you’ve tracked think about if they’re better for one-off or ongoing support. One-off support is great for those big projects that you might not know how to do or are better off in the hands of an expert like web design or branding. Ongoing support keeps your business running sustainably and is perfect for recurring tasks like social media and email marketing.

Once you’ve decided what tasks would feel amazing to outsource and check off your to-do list, it’s time to start searching for the perfect set of helping hands to help relieve you from the stress of your overwhelming to-do list. 

Ethical outsourcing

In the online business space, it is not uncommon for some “gurus” and coaches to recommend hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer from a “developing” country for a few dollars an hour just because you can. 

As an eco and ethically conscious business owner, you’ve probably heard of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, right?

Goal #8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

Target 8.5 – Full Employment & Decent Work with Equal Pay

“By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.”

You can be a part of the solution, not of the oppression. When outsourcing you pay for the value provided, not the minimum wage of where someone lives. They also have a business to run and a family to feed while providing real value in helping your business thrive. Everyone deserves to be compensated for what they’re worth, no matter where they come from.

Transparency around your budget will always be appreciated and helps contractors provide you with an accurate quote. When a service provider gives you a quote, it’s not a random number. Maybe you can work something out that feels good for both of you in terms of reduced deliverables. But asking for discounts is a good way to get referred away with a big red flag on your back. 

As an entrepreneur who values diversity, think about if the people you’re looking to hire look like you. Will BIPOC or LGBTQ+ contractors feel comfortable working with you? Are your business and content accessible and inclusive?

It’s also important to consider if the person or business you’re looking to hire shares the same values as you. Of course eco-friendly, sustainability, and social justice values are important. You want to think about how they communicate, how they show up in their business, and if they are able to show you proof of what they say they can do. Take a look around their online presence to get a feel for who they are. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, there might be a reason.

Ethical businesses are changing the game when it comes to how business is being done these days. We’re intentional with every aspect of our operations so we shouldn’t expect outsourcing to be any different. It is an absolute game-changer for those that reach out for help. They feel happier in their business and are able to make time for the things that matter most to them like making an impact, saving the planet, and their families. 

If you’d like to start your outsourcing journey, download the Eco Outsourcing Guide to start crossing off tasks from your to-do list or replacing them with ones that light you up!

About the Authors

Davey McConnell and Daphnah Jitschak are the founders of the Eco Helper, virtual assistance for eco and ethically conscious businesses on a mission to use their businesses for good. They support fellow online businesses with their backend admin and content management tasks so they can focus on maximizing their impact for people and the planet. 

When Davey and her wife Daphnah aren’t working to help save the planet, they are traveling around the world as digital nomads chasing the sun. 

You can find and follow them here:

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