What You
Should Never DIY

If you work from home, you probably think you can do it all yourself. But there are some professional services you should consider outsourcing. We'll tell you how and when to hire CPAs, lawyers, graphic designers and more.

Woman stressed with finances

It’s time to admit it. You can’t do it all yourself. But you also can’t afford to outsource every little detail. In order to make your business truly successful, you need to focus on what you do best… and let other experts focus on what they do. So, which services do you need to hire someone else to do and which ones is it OK to do yourself?

Accountants

Quick tip: You might also consider hiring a bookkeeper. They’re cheaper than accountants and can keep your books in accountant-ready order all year long.

Of all the services you could hire, this is one of the most important. IRS laws change constantly and accountants are immersed in this stuff every day, which means they know every single deduction you could possibly take. You can look for resources online, but the information is often outdated, incorrect or simply falls short of giving you all the info you need.

Depending on the size of your business and the complexity of your taxes, an accountant will start at around $250 a year. Find someone who’s got experience in small or home-based businesses. They’ll save you hundreds if not thousands a year and keep you on the IRS’s good side.

Lawyers

There are inexpensive online services that can help you set up an LLC or DBA, but you should likely consult a lawyer about anything more complex than that. Trademarks, copyrights, patents and more can get very complex. Misunderstanding when or how to file a trademark versus a patent or copyright can cost you much more than the price of a lawyer — trademark laws, for example, are quite complex and very timeline-driven. You’ll pop the $500 to $700 for the trademark every time you have to refile because you didn’t prove your point, and could later figure out you were never destined to get it because what you needed to file was a copyright.

Graphic / web designers

When it comes to the visual representation of your business, hacking your way through Publisher isn’t going to cut it. Everything your customer sees affects what they think of your business. People like doing business with locals. They don’t mind doing business with small businesses. They might pause if it looks like you made a flyer with stock art in Word. You’ve clearly got too much time on your hands or don’t have enough revenue (read: business) if you don't have something better designed. Good designers are less expensive than most people think.

Writers

There’s a saying in advertising: content is king. No matter how beautiful your website or brochure is, you’ll get nowhere if it doesn't have compelling and intriguing writing that inspires people to take action. Sound easy? It’s really not. Understanding enough about human buying psychology and balancing that with content that’s truly relevant and customer-focused is a specialty that copywriters spend years honing. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you know your business best, you’re the only person who should write about it.

Virtual assistants

Sometimes, the only thing preventing you from getting everything done in a given day is the time you spend on things like answering irrelevant phone calls or emails, and doing research or other mundane tasks.

A virtual assistant can work as many hours a week as you need them to, so you don’t need to hire a 40-hour-a-week employee (or provide benefits). They can take phone calls and answer emails, even going as far as answering common questions from a script you write. They can coordinate your travel accommodations, do preliminary research on any topic you need in-depth knowledge about and more.

Isn’t it expensive?

It seems like the cost of these types of services would quickly add up. And they do, but if it frees up an extra 10 or more hours a week for you to solicit new business, address concerns only you can address, spend more time with your family or just hit the gym without feeling guilty, isn’t it worth it?

As they say, “you have to spend money to make money.”

What professional services do you think you can't live without?

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Comments

Comments on "Professional services for your stay-at-home business"

Beth March 18, 2013 | 8:03 PM

I definitely agree that you need to shell out money here and there to be successful. If you're busy, a virtual assistant is a MUST. You'd be surprised at how much time it frees up and it allows you to focus on bringing in new business.

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