The biggest thing we see in business marketing is the lack of delegation; and delegation is a beautiful and wonderful thing, if you have money and the emotional capacity for it. However, what people need to remember is that by delegating too early, you end up restricting your business in a way that may or may not be recoverable. Many businesses are told early on, “oh, that should just be a delegated task;” they hire someone before they have even been able to start paying themselves and they end up negative and resentful.
A very common thing that we hear from people is “I have a Virtual Assistant, but I just don’t have any work for them,” or “I don’t know how to give them work because I don’t even know what needs to be done or could be done, or how it could happen.” I don’t know who to hire for my team,” “I don’t know how to help or receive help, or ask for help.”
What’s the issue here? Is help actually helpful?
So, the thing that we need to talk about today is… are you even ready to have a team to support you? And, how do you prepare yourself to get that team? Saying you need help is one thing, acknowledging that you need help is one thing; being ready to locate and accept help is a whole other thing. It seems like advice skips over that part, the “How can I prepare to be helped?” part, so let’s talk about what you need to think about to see if you are ready to delegate and get support.
Scenario One | The Business Burnout is real
One of the first things that people notice is burnout. There’s too many tasks, too little time, no energy, they’re becoming resentful, and they hate their clients. Now, it could be that you need support. Or it could be that you need to adjust your client, your ideal client and adjust boundaries and expectations. So you need to make sure that what you’re looking at is “I love the people I work with, I love the work that I do, I just don’t have enough time to get it all done.”
The other side of that is, “I don’t like who I work with. I don’t like the tasks that I’m doing. And I don’t have enough time or energy.” If it is the second thing, it is not time to delegate, it is time to think about the things that you are doing, and how they can change to better suit you.
Do you need to implement boundaries? Do you need to give your clients expectations of what they need to do to make your life easier? Do you need to change your whole entire business altogether? Do you need to not be in business? Because that is a valid question that you need to ask, do you even like running a business? Because a lot of people aren’t asking that question.
Scenario Two | Stuck in the middle and unsure where to go
So another thing that people say they need to delegate is, “well, I don’t have to do this thing. This is not something that I have to touch.”
Now, if you have plenty of time, if you’re not burnt out, if you are not feeling like things are out of control, then you’re kind of on the fence. If you are expecting to expand, if you are prepping for more and you have the financial means to delegate, it’s the perfect time to do so because you have time and energy to put towards helping training your team.
If you have time and energy, but the finances aren’t there… then it is not time to delegate. We do not delegate for the sake of delegation. If we have time and energy to do the tasks, it is much more important to find ways to tweak pricing and packages to increase revenue so that you can afford a person without negatively impacting your business.
Scenario Three | No time, no energy AND have the money
Now, if you are in the third option of “there is no time, there is no energy, and there is money.” Then you do need a team, but you need someone to help you blend all of this; because, odds are you probably do not have processes written out, and you are probably without automations as you either grew too quick, or you just kept expanding and doing things… and now you have too much. The only way that you can move forward is by having a plan.
If you were to delegate to a VA, and onboard them while you are too busy with zero energy to help them, or figure out a system, or implement some automation, so that you can gain some relief – that person, if they are not a strategist, an automator, or they are a virtual assistant that needs guidance and needs someone to give them tasks… it will fail. The relationship will not succeed, because that person needs guidance, and you have no capacity to do that. And that’s okay, there are people that help in the interim, it would be good to find an automation specialist or a strategy component that helps you build a framework that helps you build standard operating procedures, checklists and the different things that need to get done.
Preparation is key to making the most of delegation
This is a great segue into preparing for hiring. Some people will need specialists on their team; you could be looking to add a graphic design designer who wants to expand their offerings, and this person is another designer but is also there perhaps to help you button things up – you know, package up portfolios and loose ends. Or perhaps you’re running a social media strategy company who needs copywriters, graphic designers, or just an admin for scheduling – there are different components, and there are different people that do each of those things.
Don’t put the eggs in that one basket…
Are there unicorns out there that can do a lot of this? Yes! But by putting all your eggs in one basket, you risk your business falling apart. I speak to this from experience. If you hire one person that can do all the “things,” and then rely solely on them to get all the “things” done, what happens when they leave or get sick? When shit happens (and it does!) then you are SOL, you cannot meet your deadlines, you cannot get things done. And that is terrifying, shitty, and you do not want that. I promise you. So by spreading out the tasks among multiple people, you are able to better secure the future of your business. You can change how things work. That means that things could be happening simultaneously because you’re not relying on one individual single person.
What are you doing, and how can it be better?
Some big things should be in place to help prepare for expanding, like making sure you understand your timelines. How do you want things done? In what order? What systems do you use? And why do you use those systems? And how do you utilize them? We are adding Workflow templates to the shop that help for both manual and automated tasks. Each will have examples and videos that help show you how to use them.
But this doesn’t need a template, they tend to help people get started, but you don’t need a template, you could just sit down and write out all the tasks you need done. Follow this by writing down all the subtasks, all those little things that make that one task actually done, then you can figure out how you can group those things to help move the process along. How far out do you need things from your clients in order to get things done? If your client gets you something one day, can you do it the next day? Or do you need a buffer to make sure that they get it to you on time so that you’re not blocking time that goes wasted?
From utilizing Canva, how you prefer to tweak your designs, important things about your copy, to making sure people understand your brand standards. All of those things are important.
Automate the things…trust me…
If you use a program like dubsado or HoneyBook and you are implementing automations – or even if you use Zapier and Asana to automate things – what manual tasks have to be done in order for those automated things to work? What automated things have to be done in order for the manual things to work? Do you need a human? Do you need a computer?
One of the things I talk about a lot is Zapier and how we use it to connect all of the different components of our business, help streamline and ease some of the work that we need from our administration staff. I don’t need a human to copy a folder and add it to Google, or add someone to ConvertKit, oreven, add a line to a specific spreadsheet; I can have the computer do that. And so when I look at potentially investing in a system that is automated, or if I should invest in a human, it comes down to the question of if we need a human element? Do we need someone’s personal touch? Do we need somebody to read an email and be like, “Oh God, this person needs an extra hand holding hand,” or do we just need a file to show up in one place and be done. And if we do just need a file to show up in one place, then it’s way more affordable to spend $50 a month on an automated system than it is to spend $50 an hour for a human to take six hours doing that task. That automated system for $50 – the equivalent of one human work hour – can do everything that needs to be done for the whole month… for many different systems and processes, not just one.
What to do If you struggle with delegation?
This is important to prepare for as well, don’t let go of the things that are most important to you. If you are extremely particular about a certain thing, do not delegate that task as one of your first things, delegate the things that you don’t care about and that need to get done, the things you honestly just could care less for. If you are not a numbers person and you do not like accounting, accounting is a great thing to delegate! Perhaps email cleanup (manual or automated through rules) – going through and finding all your spam messages and cleaning them out. Having an admin assistant takes that time off of your plate, and you have delegated a big thing.
For those of you who found “overnight” success…
If you are one of those people whose businesses have boomed and grown and grown, and you are just struggling to keep up, but you have no inquiries; this system for inquiries, onboarding, or scheduling, is the first thing that I would suggest adding automation to whatever you can. Do you have a form that people can fill out and give you all the information you need? Do you have an automated scheduler that works with your calendar? We love dubsado for this, but also Google has it inherently. But there’s also Calendly; although not my favorite, some people love it actually. There are tons of options when it comes to scheduling and it’s something so easy to automate.
Proposals are another thing that people forget they can automate, they think that it needs to be done manually. But this is something that can also be automated with QuickBooks, or dubsado, HoneyBook, 17hats, there’s a lot of tools that can help you automate those proposals, and those payments, and those reminder emails to actually pay the invoice. There’s just so much potential that it can be hard to figure out what to delegate.
You’ve gotta be consistent…and we know the right people…
So, bottom line. If you do not know how you do things in a consistent way, you are not ready to delegate. You are not ready to hire a team. You have to have processes in place. What you are ready for when you are thinking something like, “I want to delegate but I am not ready, because I don’t know…” is hiring a person to help you figure out those things. A person to help you figure out some systems, and to help you make sure that you have automations in place to ease some of the burden in the interim. Those are the places to start.
We are here if you need us. And we do that for people all the time. We have an entire collective of people we can refer you to if you’re looking for someone else; and if you already have your systems in place and you were looking for virtual assistants please reach out, we are connected with several and we’d love to help you connect!