The Beauty of Outsourcing

When we first started the Animal Spirits podcast Michael and I assumed we could handle everything ourselves.

So we bought some recording equipment and some mics and hit record.

Little did we know there was so much more to it than that.

Pay attention the next time you hear one of your favorite podcasts. There are no ‘ums’ or ‘ahs’ or dead air time or people stumbling over words. These people are probably fairly well-spoken because they get plenty of practice but they also have wonderful editors who make them sound better than they actually do.

Once we realized we were in over our heads we reached out to Mathew Passy who is a podcast producer who came highly recommended.

Mathew not only edits and produces our podcast for us. He also told us the right equipment to buy. He set up the right platforms so we could upload it to the various podcast players. He helped with the intro (that’s his voice on our intro every week), the music and the production value. He answers questions for us on a regular basis when we have technical difficulties when we don’t know what we’re doing.

He also helped us clarify how the show was going to work before the first episode aired. Michael and I had some ideas about how the show would be structured but Mathew helped us focus on the stuff that made sense and get rid of anything that would be a show-killer. We had some goals in mind but he helped us clarify them.

Outsourcing the production of the podcast is worth every penny and more. We never would have figured it out without some help from Mathew.

Some people remain stuck in the old school mindset of “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

I probably had a little bit of that mentality in me when I was younger. With a family, job and a bunch of things I want to get accomplished, that’s no longer the case.

When done correctly, outsourcing becomes the key to managing your time.

For example, I could shovel my driveway in the winter or mow my own lawn. In fact, I did these tasks when my wife and I bought our first home. Now that I have kids, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour or more of my weekends shoveling or mowing the grass.

So I outsource it.

That’s money well-spent because it frees up time to spend with my kids.

I’ve also realized you can help outsource your decisions in terms of the work you focus your time on. This can be done in the form of people you trust.

I’m an ideas guy. I’ve got all sorts of ideas about testing our various investments, writing projects, research ideas, or things we can do to help our business and clients. With so many moving pieces it can be hard to drill down to the right stuff to focus my time and attention on.

That’s why having someone like my friend/podcast co-host/colleague Michael can be so helpful.

I’m continually running ideas by him and he is brutally honest in his feedback. Since I trust his judgment he acts as an outsourced filter for all of the ideas I’m constantly throwing his way. His input probably saves me a handful of hours each month by helping me understand which ideas are worth pursuing and which ones are a waste of time.

Twitter is another place that acts as a filter.

I’ve basically outsourced my entire consumption of news and daily reading to the people I follow on Twitter. Social media can be an enormous time-suck but following the right people can also save you a ton of time by using them as individual sources of useful information.

For my new book, I chose to go the self-publish. Self-publishing speeds up the process between the time you’re finished writing and the time the book becomes available to readers. It also allows for more control over the process.

But the trade-off for that speed and control means you have to do more of the heavy lifting yourself. When you publish a book on your own all of the editing, formatting, design and marketing is up to you.

Outsourcing to a place like Upwork was extremely helpful in this process. Upwork is a freelancing platform where you can post all kinds of different jobs and have freelancers from all around the globe bid for your business.

The person who designed my book cover was from Ukraine. The person who edited and formatted the ebook version was from India.

I also wanted a drawing for each chapter and found an excellent artist from Uruguay to help with this idea. I gave him a short synopsis of each chapter and he sent me back an illustration that captured what I was looking for.

Here are some of my favorites:

This is for chapter 2 on the power of small wins and snowball effects of compounding:

This one from chapter 7 on balancing risk and reward is probably my favorite:

Chapter 9 covers the investor’s lifecycle and how the concept of risk changes as you age:

Chapter 16 is about treating your savings like a Netflix subscription:

And this blackboard is for chapter 22 on teachers and 403(b) plans:

The beauty of outsourcing when done correctly is that it can help save you time, improve the quality of your work and help you filter out some of the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Further Reading:
How to Write a Book in Your Spare Time

Now here’s what I’ve been reading lately: