As your online business takes off, you may find yourself thinking, “I’m too busy. I’m stretched too thin. I need to delegate…. But what tasks do I delegate and how?”
Maybe you’ve been putting it off, because the idea of having to recruit, onboard, and train a new person can feel overwhelming. Or maybe you’ve gone as far as to actually hire someone … but they ended up being the wrong person.
So you’ve been putting it off even though you know it’s time.
The good news is, delegating doesn’t have to be this overwhelming, scary, and make-or-break thing. It’s something you can start small with and practice until you get better and better at it.
If you’ve been considering delegating for even a little while, it’s time to start now. Because doing everything yourself is one of the most common obstacles to success.
This means, even if you think you might not be ready to delegate, you most definitely should start thinking about it today.
I’ve had a lot of experience with delegating. I honed my delegation skills both from my corporate job managing dozens—sometimes hundreds—of people, and from running a business since 2009.
Given all that experience, I’m sharing my top advice on when to delegate, what tasks to delegate, and how to delegate effectively….
Delegate Before You Need To
If you arrived here because you’ve been looking for tips on how to delegate better, then you’re probably already overwhelmed and maxed out.
Nevertheless, the first thing I’m going to suggest is to hire before you need to.
The ideal best-case scenario is for you to hire somebody right before you feel the need for them.
That’s because you want to get them on board with how you work and how you delegate—while you have the time to train them.
What often happens is, people wait until they’re totally overloaded and overwhelmed … and then they expect their new assistant to instantly be able to read their mind and know how to run their whole business.
But no matter how good they are, your new assistant isn’t going to know how to do that right away.
And it does take time to bring somebody on board and to train them on your systems.
So don’t wait until you’re full to start getting help. By then, you’ll be too busy to delegate effectively.
This is exactly why you want to hire before you need to.
Now, when I give this advice, the most common reaction I get is …
“But I Can’t Afford to Delegate!”
I know it can be really scary to hire help before your schedule is maxed out because you think, “I don’t have money to hire people when I’m not full.”
Here’s the thing. You can hire people for just a couple of hours a week at the start.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. But you can begin to get those people integrated into your business and workflow.
For example, I hired my first virtual assistant about six months into JennyShih.com, and she just did a couple of hours a week of work for me.
But it started getting me in the groove of delegating and her in the groove of receiving and understanding how the business works so we can create a solid working relationship.
We didn’t go from 0 to 100 hours. We went from 0 to 2 hours a week … and then to 3 … and then to 4 … and then 5 … and so on, a little bit by little bit.
Slowly and surely, I would give her more and more things to work on.
You can start delegating gradually, too.
Which brings us to the next question!Click to TweetHow to delegate effectively … on any budget!
What Tasks to Delegate
Okay, you’ve decided that you’re going to bring in an assistant for just a couple of hours a week or so.
The next question is, how do you decide what to delegate? Especially when you’re first starting out? Or even if you’ve already hit this breaking point of desperately needing somebody in your business?
Here’s what I recommend:
Step 1. List the tasks you perform.
Keep a piece of paper by your desk or computer, and write down everything you do during the day.
For example, your list could look like this:
- answered emails
- responded to comments on Facebook
- posted this on social media
- scheduled my newsletter
- wrote my blog post
… whatever it happens to be, write them all down.
Step 2. Identify the tasks you don’t have to do.
At the end of the week, look at the list and ask yourself, “Which of these things do I not have to do personally?”
You may be a life coach, and it would be kind of hard to delegate the actual coaching of your clients, since that’s actually on you.
But you could delegate, say, posting your blog post to WordPress and then scheduling it in your newsletter service.
Now, you may be thinking, “Oh, but that only takes me 10 minutes to do.”
But remember, 10 minutes here and there quickly add up to a couple of hours per week—hours you could be spending with paying clients instead!
So, you want to start delegating little easy things.
You may need to break down some of the tasks into sub-tasks. This is so you can look at the nitty-gritty details of all the things you do during the week and see which ones you don’t have to do yourself.
Here are some ideas for what to delegate:
- Manage client email communications
- Scheduling your blog and newsletter
- Scheduling your social media posts
- Updating your WordPress plugins and theme
- Responding to transactional emails
- Finding relevant statistics for blog posts
- Discovering content to share in your social media
- Creating images for your blog and social posts
- Editing and uploading your videos
As you can see, there are a lot of things you don’t have to do yourself.
So look at the list of things you do that you yourself don’t have to do. Those are the tasks you want to delegate first.
And gradually, you’re going to find more and more and more things to delegate.
I tell you, it’s so sweet when you have an awesome team that helps make everything happen in your business. My favorite part of running a business is operating with such a high-functioning team.
A Message to Control Freaks
This is for those of you who are a little bit of control freaks:
Give yourself some wiggle room, because you can hire somebody to do stuff a lot more than you think you can.
And practicing little by little is going to help get you on board with delegating and the person you hire on board with receiving.
Most entrepreneurs I know stink at delegating and it’s simply because you’ve never done it before. It doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it.
So this isn’t a criticism.
It’s simply a fact that, if you haven’t done it before, you’re probably going to be terrible—at first.
Just like you’re a terrible copywriter … until you learn how to write copy.
You weren’t that great of a coach … until you practiced learning how to be a coach.
In the same way, you’re not a good delegator until you practice delegating.Click to TweetIf you’re not good at delegating, it’s only because you haven’t done it a lot—yet. You won’t become a good delegator until you practice delegating.
And it’s always easier to practice with little things before you go into big things. Little bit by little bit, you will get better at delegating.
How to Delegate—Effectively
Hopefully, you’re not someone who’s totally maxed out and needs to start hiring help to get out from under the water.
Because here’s the challenge with delegating.
You’re not going to find somebody who can read your mind!
You’re not going to find somebody who’s going to be able to hop on board and immediately know how to serve you and your business.
You’re going to have to take time to train them.
And so, here’s what I suggest: Build that training into your day.
This is what I mean….
Make Training Videos When You’re Doing a Task
When I had my first assistant, one of the first things I trained her on was how to post my blog to WordPress. I would write it and she would upload it, format it, make sure everything was working correctly, and schedule it for publication.
So when I did the task, I switched on the screen recording software on my computer, and I talked through the task.
I pretty much just said, “Okay. I’m going to show you in this video how to upload my blog to WordPress. Here’s where you go to log in. Here is where to find the password. Once you’re logged in, this is what you click and then you click here and then you do this. And here are the things you have to watch out for. And then you do this. And here’s how you test it.”
And she had the whole training video right there. It only took me a couple of minutes more than if I were just to do it myself. I go into more detail about how to train a new assistant here.Click to Download7 Steps to Make It Work Online
Have Your Assistant Do the Task
Then I sent her the video and I said, “Watch this video. Check it out. See how it goes. And then you do the next one.”
And so she did the next one, but I had to go in and check her work.
For the first few times she did it, I would go in and check her work. I would say, “Oh, I forgot to tell you that when we do this thing, you’ve got to do it this way.”
If necessary, I would make addendum videos.
After a couple of weeks, she was really on board with exactly how to do it.
Then we moved on to the next task. And again, I did the same thing. I made a training video when I did the task. I gave the video to her and had her do it a couple of weeks in a row. I then gave her feedback on it.
After a while, she figured out exactly what needed to get done. And she learned the little details that were important to me, like a special line I liked to use, and the fact that if there was an extra space there, I didn’t want it. She learned these details.
The key thing is, when you make these videos, you have to make the video very thoroughly. Be as detailed as possible. Anticipate any questions, points of confusion, or any other hiccups that others may have.
And then let your assistant go and perform the task.
Now, be patient, because they’re not going to get it right on the first try most times. Because you’re probably missing something you didn’t think of because you just do it naturally. And that’s okay. This is part of the training process.
You’re going to have to give them feedback. Don’t say, “You messed up!” Say something more like, “Oh hey, I forgot to tell you, I don’t like an extra space here so here’s how you want to fix it. Awesome.”
Eventually, they will figure out all of it. Eventually, you’ll run through all the scenarios and they will totally be on top of it.
So yes, it’s going to take time to bring in somebody to delegate to, especially if you’re already overloaded.
But if you look at making your training videos for them in the moment that you’re doing a task yourself, it definitely makes it faster.
Go Forth and Delegate
As you can see by now, you can get started delegating, even before you think you need to, and before you think you can afford it.
And training someone else to do the tasks you’ve been performing doesn’t have to be this major, time-consuming project.
Start slowly, build the training into your workday, give feedback, and be patient with both your new assistant and yourself.
And soon, you’ll become a pro at delegating.
What tasks are you excited to get off your plate and delegate?My Personal Recommendation for YouCreate an About Page that makes prospects excited to work with you!
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