Let’s face it, us entrepreneurs are classic time abusers.
We were able to start a company, get it up and running, and (hopefully!) turn a profit. And many of us did it pretty much on our own.
So we just keep doing stuff on our own.
But you know what, we waste so much time this way! We get lost in the minutiae of everyday tasks that seem so important while we’re doing them.
Or, if you’re like me, you fall down rabbit-holes when you hear about something new or decide you need something. And then, three hours later, you realize you still have a mountain of work to do.
These time abusers are keeping us from thriving and growing our business to new heights. And it’s taking time away from families, fun, and rest.
What’s even worse is that we make excuses for it.
“I knew when I started my own business that it would take a lot of time.”
Or, “At least the time is for me and my company, not somebody else’s.”
While these things are both true, it also doesn’t have to be that way.
So how do you fix it?
Delegation, delegation, delegation!
It’s all about analyzing what you do with your time and figuring out which things somebody else could be doing.
But it all starts with a list.
- Write out everything you do in a day. I mean, everything!
- Note how long each task takes to complete, and how often you do them.
- Add a dollar amount for how important each one is to the running of your business.
- Use $1, $10, $100, and $1000.
- Be careful about how you value your tasks. If it’s not a direct link to a money source, it shouldn’t have a very high value, even if it’s something necessary to do.
Now that you have it all laid out in front of you, it’s easier to see what you can hire somebody to take off your plate.
Pretty much all of the $1-$10 stuff can be delegated. Some of it could probably even be eliminated or fully automated, such as frequent communication that you can create templates for or quick responses to messages.
So the less important stuff can be handed off to somebody else. What about the expensive stuff?
This may not apply to everybody, but there are lots of things that we try to do for ourselves, but somebody else could probably be doing it better.
Let’s take social media marketing, for example.
For the average person, they can post content, articles, and memes all day and not grow the audience or business they were hoping for.
But if you think this could be a really important thing for the future of your business, should you really spend your time doing it or learning to do it better if you can hire somebody else?
Honestly, no. Not if you have the money to pay a pro to do it.
Not only do they have the time to dedicate to these things, but they have the knowledge and experience to do it in the best ways possible.
Now, this is going to take some trust on your part. You’ll have to trust somebody else holding the reins to parts of your business. And you’ll have to trust them to do it honestly and well.
This is why I’ve mostly gone through remote worker agencies. I’ve used Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, and Freeeup, and a connection that I have to great VAs overseas that you can’t have! (Just kidding, message me if you’re interested.) And it has saved me SO MUCH time and headache!
There are pros and cons to each, so we’ll divide them from the low-end, Upwork and Fiverr, and the high-end, Toptal and Freeeup. I want to be clear though, low-end doesn’t mean bad work, it only refers to cost. These sites are usually very affordable, whereas the high-end can get expensive quickly. More on that in a bit.
The pros for the lower end of the spectrum have basically been covered already. They are affordable, and you can absolutely find great assistants and hard workers there.
But here’s why they are not the best choice if you’re more concerned with time than money. It can take a lot of time to build out what you need to be done and how you do it. And then it can take a lot of time to find the right person.
What I do is I make Loom videos describing my process for the tasks I delegate to VAs. I ask them to take a look at it before I even interview them, that way I can make sure they understand my process and answer any questions they have before I hire them. If they don’t ask a lot of questions or it seems like they didn’t pay much attention, I know they’re not the kind of person that will follow my process. And I keep looking.
Because pretty much anybody can apply for jobs and projects with low-end agencies, it might take a little more time to find the right fit. Some jobs will get dozens and dozens of applicants, so finding the right one can take some patience.
On the high-end, you don’t have to do nearly as much work upfront. Toptal and Freeeup fully vet their applicants, and they only hire the top 1-3%. Not only that, but they also pick the VA for you or give you a small number to choose from.
Most of these people are coming in with experience, knowledge, and their own processes that have been proven to work. As long as you did a good enough job writing a clear job description with expectations and goals, they’ll probably be able to pick the best person for you.
It’s all pretty hands-off. And that’s why it’s more expensive.
For me, paying top dollar to do the smaller, repetitive tasks doesn’t make sense. So I look at the lower end of the scale for work like that. But if I’m needing to revamp my website’s messaging or create a marketing campaign, I’m more than happy to pay for it. I want the best.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s better to pay for results, not time. While this isn’t always possible, such as with website or client support when there may be an ebb and flow of work needed, most repeatable tasks or projects can be planned and paid for per project.
When you’re looking to hire somebody, ask questions to find out how long a project will take, how many hours a week they’ll need to complete tasks, and things like that. This will make budgeting way easier.
For bigger projects, ask how long it will take to reach the ultimate goal, how they track and report smaller milestones, and what they’ll need from you to work on it.
At the end of the day, it’s all about clearing your daily schedule of clutter so that you can focus on the big things. The things that made you want to go out on your own. Delegating the tasks that you don’t have to do or the projects that somebody else could be doing quicker and better will make your life so much easier.
If you’re interested in a deeper dive into all of this, let me know. Hiring your first VA can be intimidating, so we’re working on a guide to make it a little easier.