How do I know when I should outsource?  I get that question a lot. People think there is gonna be a sign, sort of a legal ‘Bat signal’ that says do it now.  The answer is: now is the perfect time to outsource.

I define outsourcing as ‘asking for help in your law practice’.  Delegating is ‘telling that person specifically how to help you’. That’s not hard but it also isn’t simple to do as a business owner.  You are probably more comfortable outsourcing in your role as a parent or spouse.

Am I ready to outsource? How will I know?

questioning woman
Woman looking up at question marks on a blackboard

These are the most constant questions for any entrepreneur.  They are especially relevant for lawyers who dread making a mistake. We visit these questions again and again over time.  Thankfully, the answer changes over time.

Sometimes I think that being in business is like driving your car into a parking garage. Specifically, I’m thinking of the municipal lot in downtown Boston

A concrete behemoth with a circular ramp at its core, this was my secret garage where with a bit of luck and strategy I regularly scored the cheapest parking.

At each level, you had to stop and decide to turn left and go down or turn right and go up. (Left meant a shorter walk down but more time spent looking for space. Right meant a longer walk down but more empty parking spaces.) I usually opted to go right.

You’ll face similar questions and choices in your law practice. Outsourcing is a right turn strategic move.

It might take you a minute to figure out how to make outsourcing work for you, but when you do, it will be well worth it. You’ll enjoy many opportunities to choose from and no real competitors around to get in the way. Not that I believe in competition. This is no competition when you are on your path and not comparing yourself to others.

You were ready to outsource the minute you decided to start your law practice

There’s no rule that says you have to do everything yourself.  Except for the rule you made up. Anything that is outside of practicing law is a project someone else can do.

If it requires your personality, vision or expertise, it’s all yours. Otherwise, ask someone outside of your practice to help you achieve that.

Here’s where I mention my favorite topic: food.  Do you have a comfort food? Something that when you eat it you feel safe, warm and satisfied?  At the moment, my comfort food is ramen.  I eat it when I want to feel warm and satisfied.

Did you know you also have comfort tasks? Things you do when we want to feel like you are working, want to calm down or be distracted.  My comfort task is research. I find it thrilling and very satisfying to ‘find’ the right answer. Comfort tasks are the first place to start to ask others to help you.

You might be giving me an eye-roll and asking, with what money?

I’m gonna be blunt with you.

That is an excuse. It’s one of the three lies all entrepreneurs tell. There is help available for you no matter what your budget.  With the number of on-demand workplaces online now there is someone waiting to work within your budget and happy to do it. You’ve heard of Upwork, right? Prices start at $35-65 per hour for administrative and other work.  I’ve had great success with it.

Want to use freelance attorneys?  No problem.  Check out the Freelance Firm and LAWCLERK

You’ll know it’s time to bring on teammates into your law practice when:

  • you’re constantly behind & stressed
  • people tell you to get help
  • you’re missing out on the good stuff
  • the question occurs to you

Sometimes you just need to hear it from a neutral resource like me. If that’s you, let me hear what’s going on and give you my thoughts during a free consultation.

If you’re already outsourcing…woo hoo, doing my happy dance.  Tell us what you discovered while doing your first project in the comments so we can all learn.


DLE
DLE

Dina Lynch Eisenberg, JD, is the CEO of OutsourceEasier.com, an outsourcing training/consulting firm for successful lawyers and entrepreneurs based in Oakland, CA.

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