Can You Outsource Too Much as a Digital CEO?

business strategy Sep 15, 2020

I wanted to dig into an important topic if you are a CEO, an online business owner with a team, or thinking of getting a team - where ideas and content should originate from in online business and how much is the CEO responsible for vs. their team. For you integrators or COOs or those considering moving into that role, there some great information you you too!

Recently, I’ve noticed a funny thing that happens once digital CEO’s begin to grow their teams: they start outsourcing and off-loaded things (which is generally great!). That is of course the point of growing a team, to offload all the tasks that aren’t in your zone of genius and that you don’t enjoy doing, so that you can focus on the $1000 per hour tasks that only you can do as the CEO.

There are four primary things that YOU as the CEO should be focusing your time and energy on and they are as follows:

  1. Being the idea person. You are the one coming up with the big picture strategy and vision. You create the ideas for the things you want to do in the business, such as offers you want to create, people you want to sell those offers to (meaning your target audience), and ways that you want to market those offers. So being the idea person is #1.
  2. Being the face of your brand - that is, if you are a personal brand. Many online businesses, especially when it comes to selling knowledge and digital products like courses, online programs, coaching, etc., are all built around a personal brand and one primary person. And as the face of the brand, it’s you that is the one doing the teaching, doing the coaching, building your audience by getting on Instagram or Facebook or now TikTok, delivering the content, etc. and you can’t fully outsource that. You need to be spending the time being the face of your brand and being visible.
  3. The next thing you should be spending your time on as the CEO is delivering your product. So if you offer courses, it’s actually creating the course content and building the course, or if you offer coaching or education, it’s doing the coaching or educating. Again there are people who have created business models in that they have additional coaches on their teams and that’s great. But more than likely, again if you are building an online business around YOUR knowledge and expertise, you should be spending your time and effort delivering that knowledge and expertise to get people results.
  4. Creating Content. Whether that be the course content or coaching content like we talked about in number 3 or the marketing content you use to build your audience and warm them up. Now that doesn’t mean should be doing every step of creating that content. For example I don’t edit my podcast, I don’t upload to the podcast player, those things aren’t in my zone of genius and are not areas I should be spending my time, but I do come up with the ideas, the topics, the points I want to discuss, and then obviously it’s me recording it.

Those are the big four jobs as the CEO, being the idea person, being the face of your brand, product creation, and delivery whether that be creating offers like courses, digital products, or online programs or doing the actual coaching or teaching or consulting or strategizing, and then finally creating your marketing content to attract your ideal customer or client.

So if you are finding yourself as the CEO primarily focused on those objectives, awesome, you are being the CEO and not the worker bee in your business!

Now back to that funny thing I see happening once CEO’s get to a place in their business where they are scaling, they are building larger teams, they are outsourcing more and more but then they start to take it one step too far. They begin to depend on their team for the ideas, for the content, for the offers, for the strategy, for the teaching. I think this comes from that pervasive messaging in the online business world that it’s your job to build a business where you don’t have to work. Like living that laptop life on a beach or you should have a million dollar business while working only 15 minutes per day or make money when you sleep.

There is a ton of messaging in the online business space (and it’s false messaging) that you should scale so far as to make money without doing anything. And that’s not a thing. First of all if you’re in business for the right reasons, then you’re in business to serve people. Yes we want to make money, but it’s to serve people in a way that we love doing. But serving people requires effort and it requires YOU and it requires you to do work.

This messaging leads to CEO’s thinking it’s ok to pull themselves out of too many things in their business. So suddenly they might starting saying things like “hey can you figure out what this webinar should be about and then map out everything I should say in it?” or “what should our next offer be?” or “what should our content be about this month?”, or “what should I teach in this upcoming workshop?”.

Now before I go any further I want to make an important distinction in the type of business we’re talking about. We are talking about online businesses that are primarily comprised of contractors NOT full time employees. If you have hired someone who’s specific job is to come up with the ideas for offers, then that’s fine, that’s the job you hired them for. Or you have several full time employees who comprise your marketing team and part of their job is to come up with all of the marketing messaging and strategy, great.  But what is not ok is expecting the copyrighter you hired to come with all of the content for your webinar including what to teach. Or asking your VA to create a new course for you to sell.

As the CEO the content should always be YOURS, the ideas should be YOURS and your team is there to help you bring those ideas to life or refine them, but they still need to come from you. You are the what and the why, the COO and team is the how.

To learn more about what this looks like or doesn't look like in your online business, be sure to check out and listen to the full Episode 090 of the Planning for Profit Podcast. 


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