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Blogging Business: Outsource, Delegate + Invest for Fast Growth

When it comes to your blogging business, do you need to spend money to make money? How do you decide what and how to delegate and outsource, and what to do yourself? What kind of external support do you need to make your blog a success and your life easier? Should you invest time and money into your blogging business? I answer all these questions and more in this guide on how to supercharge your blog’s growth by outsourcing and delegating. 

When it comes to your blogging business, do you need to spend money to make money? How do you decide what and how to delegate and outsource, and what to do yourself? What kind of external support do you need to make your blog a success and your life easier? Should you invest time and money into your blogging business? I answer all these questions and more in this guide on how to supercharge your blog's growth by outsourcing and delegating. 

When starting or growing any new business, entrepreneurs always have to answer the age old question: do I have to spend money to make money?

In my opinion, the answer is a wholehearted YES!

The caveat: you MUST have clear goals, take a strategic approach to where and how you spend money and invest in your blogging business, AND how you outsource and delegate the endless tasks that come along with being a blogger, entrepreneur and business owner.

Many people and ‘experts’ out there may disagree and take a more conservative approach to growing a business, and I get that. In fact, I definitely do NOT advocate spending tons of money you don’t have and going into debt.

Yet for me, as someone who was clear that my blog was a business from day one and who wanted to grow as quickly as I could, I felt like there were some smart investments I could make so that I could get where I wanted to go, and quickly.

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At the same time, I’m all about keeping things simple and sustainable, so learning how to outsource and delegate has been one of the biggest areas I’ve focused on these last couple of years to grow in a way that works for me. 

What’s the point of building a business that you can’t keep up with and adds major stress to your life? Having a business should be empowering and allow you create the life you dream about–not be your next slave driver.

If you’ve been struggling to make choices about where to spend money, and how to outsource and delegate the myriad tasks of your business, and where and how much to invest in your blog, then this post is for you.

We’re going to address where you need to spend money to make money, how to decide what to outsource and delegate and what kind of support you need to make your blog a success.

Let’s get started!

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How to Start + Grow Your Blog: Guide to Outsourcing + Delegating: Kate in her office

Blogging Business: What to Outsource + Delegate?

Ultimately, it all comes down to this: what are you good at, and what do you enjoy doing?

That is my critical strategy for deciding what to outsource.

Keep in mind: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I’m sure you’re very competent and skilled at many things, but perhaps you don’t enjoy those tasks, that work isn’t what lights you up and fulfills you in a deep way…if that’s the case, perhaps you shouldn’t be spending your time and energy on those tasks.

If you really want to get to the next level–whether that means having more free time, making more money and/or more of an impact, or all of the above!–then I highly recommend focusing on your areas of joy and genius, and outsourcing the rest, as you’re able to.

In the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, he defines your ‘zone of genius’ as those things where there is no one else that can do exactly what you are doing, in the way you are doing it. It’s where you feel in the ‘flow’, excited and energized, where you utilize not just your skills but the full spectrum of your gifts.

If you can get to a place where you’re living and working in your zone of genius, you’ll not only enjoy your life more, but your business is going to operate better and thrive when you have the right people in the right places.

Click here to download a fillable spreadsheet to help you determine where YOU should spend money, time and energy in YOUR business. This simple formula is the same one I use to decide on outsourcing tasks. 

For me, my zone of genius is in business development. I feel most fulfilled, energized and successful when I’m thinking of new ways of doing things, coming up with new business ideas and marketing strategies and analyzing what’s working and what isn’t.

I also feel in my zone of genius when I’m writing blog posts on topics that I’m truly passionate about, subjects that I feel are important and will really help my readers with a problem they’re struggling with, posts that I feel will really make a deep impact in others’ lives.

What’s not in my zone of genius: social media. photography. mindless admin tasks. bookkeeping. tech-heavy website issues and design.

And so you know what–since I’m not good at those things and I hate doing them, I outsource them all.

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How to Start + Grow Your Blog: Guide to Outsourcing + Delegating: Kate blogging

Blogging Business: Blogging Basics, Setup + Launch

First, let’s talk about getting started with a blogging business. What can and should you outsource in the beginning?

Should You Outsource Website Install + Design? 

As a new blogger or entrepreneur, getting your website set up is obviously the #1 thing you need to do. This is so important, as it’s going to be your ‘home’ for hopefully years to come.

If you have no tech experience, this is undoubtedly going to feel intimidating and overwhelming. It’s tempting to hire someone for this task, but, actually, I’d strongly advise against it in most cases. Why?

  1. Money: To get a high-quality site, it’s going to cost you a lot of money. Even though I believe in spending money where it makes sense, you still have to gauge where to best put your precious resources, and you can’t spend money on everything, especially in the beginning. Hiring a web developer/designer will cost a pretty penny (we’re talking upwards of $2,000-$7,000), and I personally think it’s too much of an upfront cost. Eventually–once you’ve made some money–you can hire someone to make tweaks and upgrades to the functionality and aesthetics of your site, but in the beginning you just need to your skeleton up and running.
  2. Understanding: It’s important for you to understand how your site works, especially as a blogger since you’ll be on the back-end side of your site A LOT. While there’s a big learning curve, in the long run it’s important for you to at least understand the basics of building and operating a site in WordPress. In this post How to Start a Food Blog in 6 Easy Steps, I show you how to actually get your domain name, hosting service and content management system (aka the basics) set up and running. (I used Bluehost when I started out as my hosting company, and then later upgraded to Cloudways once I had more traffic to justify the higher cost per month.)
  3. It’s Easy: Ultimately, one of the main reasons I recommend DIY-ing your blog in the beginning is because it’s so easy. Especially if you go with Bluehost, which gives you your domain name for free, has automatic WordPress install and 24/7 help available. Simply purchase a theme, some plug-ins and make a few simple tweaks and you’re ready to go. In the beginning, it’s more important to focus on creating killer content and keeping your design clean, simple and easy to navigate, than it is to have some fancy logo or complicated design.
  4. Educate Yourself: From there, I HIGHLY recommend Food Blogger Pro and/or The Blog Village, which are cost-effective membership sites that teach you ALL the ins and outs of blogging, from building your site to social media to photography to video to SEO, and so much more. I truly think Food Blogger Pro was one of the best investments I made when starting my blog, as it taught me how to get up and running on my own, for only $29/month. They only open enrollment twice per year, but you can get on the waitlist here. For more details on this, check out this detailed post on Food Blogger Pro: How to Start, Grow and Monetize Your Blog.

Should You Outsource Writing Blog Content?

For most blogs, you’re likely going to want to be the one writing the posts, especially in the beginning. If you’re starting a blog and you don’t like writing, I’m not totally sure why you’re starting a blog, ha!

Creating content is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you’ll do for your blog, so enjoying that process is super important.

Granted, if it’s a food blog you don’t need to be a master wordsmith–being yourself is 10x more powerful when it comes to blogging compared to having an English degree, and a lot of bloggers simply write about their own experiences and day-to-day lives.

There are plenty of exceptions to this. R+R, for example, has some of my personal life splashed in and certainly speaks in my own voice, but the content is more educational, informative and resource-based than personal musings. The blog is not my diary.

Another example would be if you’re creating more of an aggregate media site–for example an online magazine or a website with multiple authors. In this case, it’s possible you’d want to hire freelance writers to create high-quality content for you, or at minimum find some bloggers who would be interested in guest posting in exchange for exposure (though I’ll warn you, you get what you pay for!).

For the majority of small to medium-sized blogs, though, the blogger behind the brand is who people connect with, so sharing your authentic voice is key.

I wasn’t sure if I’d ever outsource my blog writing (especially as a former proud freelancer!), but I’m pleased that my assistant has learned over time how to match my voice and create on-point content for R+R, so she now helps out with a lot of writing.

Then, I simply come through to make edits, add some personal connection points and ensure the entire piece fits in with R+R’s mission. I love this system because it frees me up to focus on other tasks in my zone of genius, and just work less in general. (Yeah, I’m all about the 4-Hour Work Week!). 😉

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Should You Outsource Photography?

I knew photography was going to be a key part of branding for me with a food and healthy lifestyle blog, but I quickly realized that this task was NOT for me. I tried to take the photos myself few times, but honestly didn’t have the patience, skill, or desire or time to learn how to take and edit gorgeous photos.

In fact, taking my own photos made me incredibly anxious and took hours, and I was never pleased with the end result. No skill and no enjoyment? OUTSOURCE IT!

Tasty Food Photography eBook

To help get you started, I recommend Lindsay Ostom’s Tasty Food Photography e-book. She’s the amazing blogger behind the very successful site Pinch of Yum, with an obvious talent for photography. Her e-book is only $29 and will teach you all the basics you need to know about food photography, styling, editing, etc.

I decided to hire my friend, Heidi Geldhauser (a professional photographer in Atlanta whom I’d worked with many times before) to do my photography for me and have never looked back! It’s a perfect arrangement for me and I absolutely love the work she delivers–the quality is way better than anything I could do on my own (totally HER zone of genius), and other than planning and attending our bi-weekly photo shoots, I don’t have to take any time to process and edit photos.

What took me dozens of hours before now just takes me about 8 hours per month. And the finished product is more beautiful than anything I could ever do myself.

This decision is going to be different for everyone and most of you will likely opt to try your hand at photography. In fact, some of you probably want to start a blog because you love photography! If this task is something you enjoy–or think that you might–I totally recommend you give it a try and save yourself the money, especially when first getting started.

Click here to download a fillable spreadsheet to help you determine where YOU should spend money, time and energy in YOUR business. This simple formula is the same one I use to decide on outsourcing tasks. 

How to Start + Grow Your Blog: Guide to Outsourcing + Delegating: Kate Kordsmeier from Root + Revel

Blogging Business: Outsourcing Blogging Maintenance Help

Once you’ve got the basics of your blog designed and set up, next comes the day-to-day tasks of actually operating your site. Here are just some of the things to consider when deciding on where you can and should spend money.

Should You Outsource Website Support? 

For website support, again, you need to ask yourself the question: Does this category lie in my zone of genius?

For me, it’s a HELL NO. I don’t enjoy tech talk, jargon, code–it’s like a foreign language–I’m certainly not skilled or educated on best practices, and I’d really rather not deal with it. Some people, on the other hand, have a background in web development or computer science and love this stuff (or have a willing and competent husband/friend/partner who is happy to help).

I 100% recommend at a minimum getting a tool like Vaultpress, a plug-in that regularly backs up your site automatically and protects again spam. Our sites are vulnerable and can sometimes crash, so just in case, it’s worth the $39/year for the peace of mind and avoiding total devastation.

If the budget allows, I also completely love and recommend Andrew and his team over at The Blog Tutor, who I pay monthly for basic tech support. If an issue comes up, I shoot them an email and they’re so helpful and quick to reply. It’s crazy how much little things come up on a regular basis, and without a trusted tech person on your side, this part of the business can certainly get overwhelming.

The Blog Tutor has also helped me with many tech issues, like securing my website from spam and hackers, boosting site speed, image optimization and SEO, making updates to plug-ins, installing security certifications (SSL and https, for example), switching hosts and servers, and much more!

Having these kinds of worries off of my to-do list has been so liberating and helpful!

Should I Outsource Social Media?

Social media is certainly something you can do on your own, and some bloggers are very attached and committed to their social media platforms, like Instagram or a Facebook group.

I, on the other hand, pretty much despise social media. I try to spend less than 5 minutes/day on it and, truthfully, would rather not be on it at all. But, it feels like a necessity for blogs so, instead, the solution is to outsource.

First, I hired a friend of mine to post for me. This worked for a while, but wasn’t ideal as she wasn’t involved in the rest of the site and so I felt a bit of a disconnect in my workflow, even though she did a good job writing in my voice (I tried working with a firm for caption writing, too, but it didn’t work out because they just didn’t “get me” and I would cringe at some of the things they said).

I also hired an Instagram growth and engagement firm for a while, which I have mixed feelings about. Overall my Instagram growth exploded and I went from 8,000 followers to 55,000 followers in 6 months. This was HUGE for me and I attribute some of R+R’s success to this, because it really helped us get some leverage and authority with brands, in turn boosting our sponsorship income. This is the perfect example of spending money to make money.

On the other hand, my engagement plateaued at a point, and when I stopped using the firm my followers have actually continued to drop, and my reach and engagement have suffered. I actually feel like my IG is still suffering from this, as Instagram only shows my posts to 1-2% of my followers (the people who have chosen to follow me!), and honestly am not sure what to do at this point.

So, I still think it was worth the decision to hire the growth firm since it got me here, but my advice is to just be really careful with who you hire and what their processes are.

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Similarly, I hired out a firm for Pinterest, and at first saw a big jump in traffic but that quickly leveled out. After sticking with it for awhile and nothing changing, I decided to just use the Tailwind automation tool to schedule pins and join tribes.

These days, my assistant does the majority of our social media posting (more on that below). I also use Zapier (free) to automatically post new content to my Facebook page, and the free plugin WP to Twitter to autopost and loop on Twitter.

Should I Outsource Accounting?

Let’s be honest: very few of us got into blogging or online businesses because we love doing our taxes (unless maybe you’re a financial blogger). However, it’s a necessary part of being a business owner, especially as you grow, and you’ve just gotta take care of your cash flow, books and paying Uncle Sam.

This year, I finally decided to hire someone to do my bookkeeping, payroll and taxes, after filing as an S-Corp. It was just too complicated to figure out payroll and stay on top of all of the forms and taxes you have to pay as a corporation (being a sole proprietor was much easier, though not cost-effective after I reached a certain income level), so outsourcing this made the most sense for me.

Before I was an S-Corp, I managed all of my own books (I’m a spreadsheet nerd at heart so this wasn’t difficult for me), but I still hired an accountant to do my annual taxes.

Unless you’re a total tax pro or accounting whiz, I highly recommend you at least find a CPA who can help you file your taxes each year and maximize your deductions, cause let me tell you–self-employment taxes ain’t cheap!

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How to Start + Grow Your Blog: Guide to Outsourcing + Delegating: Home Office

Blogging Business: Investing for the Long Run

Should I hire a Virtual Assistant?

For me, hiring my first virtual assistant (VA) was key. She was actually a friend of mine who was on maternity leave so it was a great fit for awhile. She supported me with various time-consuming tasks like finding and pitching sponsors I was interested in partnering with, negotiating the contracts and then managing those relationships.

For more on how to work with sponsors–including how to directly pitch brands you want to work with–read this detailed post on Sponsored Content: How to Get Paid Working with Brands as a Blogger.

Many bloggers hire out VAs to help them with tasks like social media curating and posting, Pinterest pinning/scheduling, uploading posts to WordPress, creating graphics, managing emails, submitting to food sharing sites, and lots of other admin tasks.

I highly recommend this practice because, guess what? You really can’t do it all, and that’s okay. You shouldn’t have to–running a business is A TON of work and knowing when and where you need help is key to your success.

My current VA–who I actually call my Business Manager, as it sounds more professional to me and she truly does play a much bigger role on my team that just handling admin tasks–has been with me for over a year and does all the tasks above and more. Some of her most important tasks in addition to sponsor management, managing our affiliate programs, writing email copy and supporting me with blog post writing (as mentioned above).

I really think hiring a VA was one of the best things I ever did for my business, as we can get so much more done together, and it allows me to really focus on what I love.

Plus, blogging is solitary, isolating and (I’ll just say it), downright lonely. It’s a lot of time spent alone at your desk and it’s really nice to have someone on your team to bounce ideas off of, brainstorm strategies, get feedback and just chat.

You can start small–maybe hire someone for a few hours a week to help with your most pressing tasks–and as you grow, allow their position to grow with you.

Should I Outsource PR? 

My guess is that most bloggers don’t actively pursue PR and media opportunities, and I think this is a mistake. When I say PR, I’m talking guest posting for big sites, being a guest on podcasts, collaborating with other bloggers, getting link backs to your blog on big publications, etc.

This is another area that’s perfect for a VA, as you likely won’t make time for it yourself, and IMO it adds a layer of professionalism to have someone else pitch your expertise. It can be a little awkward to pitch yourself.

For example, I’ve been a guest on 23 podcasts in the last two years, 19 of which are because my VA pitched me to the show’s host. This provides such great exposure for R+R, as people who listen to you for an entire 45 minutes on a podcast are starting off by really getting to know and trust you, and are likely going to want to visit and follow your blog, social media, and emails, etc.

Should I Outsource Video Production + Editing?

Here’s another area that I know many bloggers are getting trained in, and if you love making, editing and producing videos, then that’s great!

I, on the other hand, do not want to spend my time editing video. It would take me forever and, frankly, I have no skills in that area, nor do I care to learn. To me, this is a no-brainer to outsource! There are so many talented video producers and editors out there that can make this super time-consuming and labor-heavy task so much easier for you.

I’ve tried working with one company who I would simply send the recipe to and they would grocery shop, make the recipe, film, edit and send me back the final video. This was amazing as it meant I didn’t have to lift a finger.

But ultimately, I found this difficult to stay on brand as their style was just really different from mine and I wanted the videos to match the look and feel of our photos more closely.

So now I do a hybrid method–Heidi (my photographer) films the videos with me as the subject during our photo shoots. We then send the footage off to our amazing video editor, who puts it all together, adds music and effects and sends it back to us. It’s the perfect compromise!

That said, I usually only do videos for sponsored posts. Why? I charge extra for this add-on service, therefore ensuring that I’ll have money to pay my video editor, all while still earning more income from that brand partnership than posts without video.

Plus, we all know that videos are great for engagement. It’s really a win-win across the board!

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Click here to download a fillable spreadsheet to help you determine where YOU should spend money, time and energy in YOUR business. This simple formula is the same one I use to decide on outsourcing tasks. 

Should I invest in Advertising? 

I’ve had mixed results getting traffic to my site from ads, but mostly, I feel like it’s a waste of money–even when I’ve outsourced this task to ‘experts’. I’ve worked with Facebook ad experts, Outbrain, a Pinterest ad expert, and am currently testing out Google Ads.

Though I got traffic to my site, the bounce rate was so high and the engagement so low that ultimately, I didn’t feel like it was worth the money since the visitors weren’t converting.

I’ve tried running ads to gain traffic to blog posts, to convert people into email subscribers with free offers and to sell products, like my Green Smoothie eBook. I’ve yet to find a solution that works for me.

But here’s what I do know: I am not an ads expert. I have no idea what I’m doing. And though a couple experts I have hired didn’t work out, I do think if I were to invest in ads in the future, I would outsource it to a pro.

Ads are super complicated and getting your target audience just right is an art. So I recommend testing it out yourself first and if you’re not getting the desired results, try to find a pro who can help you maximize your dollars.

Because ultimately, very few businesses are successful without doing some kind of advertising or marketing. And there are plenty of people who have seen the power of ads and swear by them.

Stay tuned–if I ever find a great solution, I’ll be sure to share here!

Should I invest in blogging Courses + Education?

I love learning and have taken some great online business courses like Marie Forleo’s B-School and Melyssa Griffin’s Blog to Biz Hive. These are expensive trainings, yet I find them an invaluable investment in the success of my business.

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I do think there’s a tendency, though, for many of us to be perpetual course takers and yet rarely actually follow through on what we learn. So, while I encourage you to educate yourself to improve your blogging business, it’s not worth the money if you’re not going actually going to implement what you’ve learned.

This quote from Abu Bakr sums it up: “Without knowledge action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile.”

Should I outsource SEO?

Pretty early on I worked with an SEO expert who did a complete site audit on R+R (I highly recommend Casey Markee from Mediawyse). It was very thorough and I slowly made my way through his advice–there were literally DOZENS of actions I needed to take.

I really think it helped, as my #1 source of traffic is Google. There’s no way I’d get the traffic I do from Google without some good SEO advice!

While you can listen to podcasts, follow SEO blogs and the like for free, I do think it’s worth it to get personalized SEO support for your specific brand.

This year I started working with a new SEO firm to refine our strategy and make further updated recommendations. It’s expensive, there’s no doubt about that.

But again, it comes down to hiring the experts where you lack the skills. I have some basic SEO understanding, but certainly not enough to really make a HUGE impact on my search rankings and traffic.

I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about the particular firm I hired, mostly due to communication issues, but I do recommend that if you have the funds, at least get an audit done on your site and start implementing recommended SEO strategies to maximize your earning potential.

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Should I outsource Blog Branding?

Finally, having a consistent and memorable brand is key to success. I recently worked with a design team to refine some parts of my site and create a new logo for R+R.

Again, this shouldn’t be a priority over creating helpful and valuable content that people truly connect with, but as you grow it is important to place more attention on these types of details that create a cohesive, easy-to-navigate and memorable experience for the reader.

Blogging Business Summary

Whew! I know that was a lot, but I hope it helped give you insight into how to decide where and how to spend your money in order to create a successful business and life you love.

If you want to go further and get personalized support from me, I invite you to join me in my How to Monetize a Blog course. Sign up for updates here as it’s not launched quite yet.

Click here to download a fillable spreadsheet to help you determine where YOU should spend money, time and energy in YOUR business. This simple formula is the same one I use to decide on outsourcing tasks. 

Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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6 comments on “Blogging Business: Outsource, Delegate + Invest for Fast Growth”

  1. so helpful!! thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank for the kinds words above Kate. Truly. Glad the audit has been helpful.

    As always, continue to drop me a note with questions and I wish you the very best now and in the future.

  3. This article is so helpful for me right now because I am at the point of wanting to outsource social media. I do t enjoy social media, I am more of a freelance writer and like the behind the scenes stuff! Thank you for sharing what you are sourcing out. I would love to connect with you in the future.

  4. You’ve answered so many helpful questions here! Appreciate your insight and understanding more about your experience and wisdom. 🙂