“How do I delegate? By the time I can tell my VA to do something (send my emails for example) I can just write the text and just do it myself. I feel that sometimes I get details done at the last minute so how I can possibly delegate that?” ~survey respondent
Can you relate to this person?
I know that I have felt that exact same way. I hear this repeatedly – it’s just easier (or faster) to do it myself.
Well…you might not like my answer. But let me preface it with I am not judging you or the person who wrote this. This is an honest to goodness feeling – and in most cases the problem can be solved with one easy word.
Told you you probably wouldn’t like the answer.
Several years ago, my boss told me that there were no such things as emergencies. He did not believe in fire fighting. Unless you’re in the business of a medical professional or police or some other type of profession like that, you are not likely to be involved in life or death emergencies. So that means we have time to plan.
Learning to delegate takes practice, persistence and planning. It also requires that you have the right people to delegate to – meaning that they can perform the task as you want it done.
Assuming that the latter is not the problem, let me give you some tips to make this easier for you.
Tip #1: You’ve got to go through it to get out of it. Have you heard that before? Well the same is true when delegating. In the beginning it may appear that you are double-doing the work. Writing the email to give to your VA to send out, even though you could have sent it out yourself. But what you’ve just created, essentially, is a system. If, for example, you send the similar email to different people, now all you have to do is tell your VA to modify and send the email.
Tip #2: Calculate the time you will save when the delegated task is repeated over and over again by someone other than you. We often forget this little tidbit. If you were the person to send the email, and then you do it again, and then again, and then again, you are spending your time on the administrivia parts of your business instead of the profiting part of your business. The time you are spending doing administration is equal to the time that you are not making money in your business.
Tip #3: If you are getting details done at the last minute – all of the time – you can’t build and grow your business. Think about growing a garden. If you wait until the end of the season to plant your tomatoes, you will not get very many tomatoes – if any. If you plant your tomatoes at the beginning of the season, those plants will produce many tomatoes throughout the growing season. Here would be an ideal time to use your VA. Share with them the details that need to be done and get their advice on how they can support you with completing those details.
Tip #4: Have regular phone meetings with your VA / VA team. Use these meetings as a way to strategize and figure out what is needed to get done. You might be surprised by what they are able to help you with if you just communicate with them. I personally don’t believe that communicating by email is the only way to communicate with your VA. Call her up. Get on the phone. Chat it out. If your VA is not willing to do phone calls -that is a sign that you might need a new VA.
Tip #5: Keep a list of the tasks that you do yourself that are routinely done by you at the last minute. This is going to become the list that you delegate to someone else. Are the items on this list routine each week, month? What are the deadlines most often with them? Which ones have to be done before a next task can be started?
Bonus Tip: Make sure that you have the right person doing the right tasks in your business. This will make it easier to delegate. If you required heart surgery, you wouldn’t go to a paramedic for that – you would go to a heart surgeon. Both are health care professionals – both have different specialties. Likewise in your business, support staff may be able to perform a variety of tasks, but make sure that their skill set is matched to the task you need completed. In some cases, it may cost you more per hour, but save you money because the person is able to accomplish the task quicker than someone who doesn’t have the skill set.
My final advice to is to keep working at it. You can not build and grow your business if you are not planning and taking the steps within that plan to get the right support.
In the next 2-weeks, set aside time in your calendar (like a full day) to work on your plan. Use the list that you created in tip #5 to help you map out that plan.
I would be interested in hearing your updates on this assignment. Let me know how you make out.