It likely feels as if there is never enough hours in the day, if you are an entrepreneur. The feeling of packed days, and wearing many hats can get old pretty quickly. This is why delegating tasks is crucial to the life of an entrepreneur.
It can be challenging to master, but delegating tasks will give you the time and headspace you need to handle the business aspects and matters that really need your attention.
Delegation is necessary, but it is also difficult to put into action. It can be hard to trust someone enough to pass off duties to them. However, we do not yet live in a time where you can clone yourself or your star employee.
Therefore, you need some additional hands to help you accomplish what you need to.
This is where a virtual assistant can really come into play. These professionals can help you by taking repetitive or “common” business tasks off your plate. However, before you can utilize their services, you have to understand the true meaning behind delegation.
What Does “Delegate” Mean?
For entrepreneurs, delegation is more of an understanding than a terminology. Delegating tasks is the realization that you cannot do it all. At its core, delegating tasks requires you to be strategic about what you really should be giving your time to.
Should you answer that call, or should a virtual assistant handle the customer while you create a more comprehensive customer experience strategy? These are the types of questions the inquiry of “What does ‘delegate’ mean?” requires you to answer.
Once you understand the meaning behind delegation, then you can begin to craft a strategy for dealing with it. The art of delegating tasks is going to look different for each entrepreneur. Therefore, it requires you to understand the base meaning, but to also put together your own answer of what delegation looks like for you. So, before you prepare a job description or interview a candidate, come back to the question of “What does ‘delegate’ mean?” From there, you can put your needs into a higher perspective.
Understand the Tasks that Only You Can Do
The first step in the delegation process is knowing what only you can handle. Take a moment to sit down and go through all that you do in a workday. Write out everything you do, and everything that needs to be done in your business.
Once you do this, take a step back and count out all the things you prefer to do that only you can do. These tasks are going to be your significant business tasks. These may include speaking with partners, preparing long-term business strategies, pitching your business, closing deals etc. These are the actions where you are the face of your business.
The tasks that only you can do are those that require specific knowledge, and will likely take up much of your mental headspace. Knowing what these tasks are, will help you narrow down that you can pass off to someone else.
Be Prepared to Part with What You “Like” to Do
There may be tasks that you find enjoyment in doing. Maybe you like managing yours social media posts or creating simple graphic designs. You may also enjoy daily and direct interaction with customers. While these activities may provide satisfaction, they can also take you away from things you can only do.
As hard as it may be, these are tasks you need to pass off to virtual assistants. To get to the heart of why this is important go back to the question of, “What does ‘delegate’ mean?” Remember what delegation truly is, and why it is crucial to your success. This mindset will allow you to let go of the tasks you like, to get the peace of mind you need.
Don’t Be Afraid to Delegating Tasks You Think You Shouldn’t
It is easy to forget that daily life can get in the way of your workday. Dentist appointments, family vacations, and grocery shopping cannot fall by the wayside. You need a way to manage these personal aspects of your life, while also handling your professional tasks. Fortunately, a virtual assistant can help you better handle these tasks.
You may feel guilty about asking a virtual assistant to schedule a grocery drop-off, vacation arrangements, or doctor’s appointments. However, these are things that need to get done. Do not get caught up on what you think you “should” do. You have to make way for what you can “only” do. Therefore, remember your guiding question, “What does ‘delegate’ mean?” Think of the answer, and apply the concept to things you think you “should” be handling.
The Majority of What You Do Can Be Delegated
The majority of what you handle on a day-to-day basis can be passed along to a virtual assistant. The challenge comes into play regarding your attachment to these tasks, and your trust in the person you are delegating the tasks to.
You have to become comfortable with managing what you do and working with your virtual assistant to get these projects completed. However, before you start the process of delegation, you have to ensure you have the right talent. The next section will discuss the steps you should take to prepare your tasks for a virtual assistant.
Setting Up Your Tasks for Delegation
Once you decide delegating tasks, prepare them to be quickly passed off to someone else. Here are the steps you should take for each component of the delegation preparation process.
Start with the guiding question of “What does ‘delegate’ mean?” – This question should act as a filter for your delegation process. Go back to the base meaning of delegation and your own. Then, go back through your lists of tasks you decided to keep and make sure you have delegated all you can.
Create simple and actionable directions – Walk through these activities as if you have never done them before, and start to write down the necessary actions needed to accomplish them. This will allow you to see the actions required to complete your tasks. As a result, you can also come up with a training program to go along with them.
Know your desired outcomes – What are the deliverables or outcomes of these actions? Make sure you know what you want to occur after the activity is completed. For example, maybe you want higher customer satisfaction survey results since a virtual assistant has been handling more phone calls since you hired them. Know the improvements and outcomes you want to see.
Create clear expectations – Be clear about what you are looking for regarding each task. Do you want your virtual assistant to be accessible during certain parts of the day? Do you need for virtual assistants to stick to a certain template for newsletters? Know your requirements and be as clear as possible regarding what you expect.
Have a plan for providing feedback – Be accessible to your virtual assistant. Be available for questions, concerns, and inquiries about improvement. The longer your virtual assistant works for you, the easier it will be for them to pick up on what you expect. However, you can make it easier for them to do this by providing feedback on at least a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
Set-up any procedures or software – If you know you will need an asynchronous communication app, collaboration software program, or a time management tool then it is imperative that you set this up before you hire someone. Do not wait until you hire a virtual assistant to try out new software. Look at delegating the tasks and research the tools you will need to work with your virtual assistant effectively. It will help if you get a feel for them ahead of time.
Things to Remember When Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Delegation
When you hire a virtual assistant, there are some points you should remember as you prepare to find the right person.
- Know if you need specialized help – Many times, virtual assistants can handle basic tasks that are relatively easy to hand off. However, if you have more detailed needs, you may want to hire a specialezed virtual assistant. So, look at your tasks to see if your virtual assistant needs more sophisticated knowledge to complete them.
- Ask for recommendations or samples – Always ask for proof of a virtual assistant’s work ethic and performance. This could be in the form of a portfolio or recommendations from a previous employer.
- Have them complete test projects – Understand the most significant tasks that you have to delegate and create test projects around them. While you may not be able to test them on everything, create projects around the three most important tasks. This will allow you to check into their work ethic and critical thinking process.
- Remember “What does ‘delegating tasks’ mean?” – Always go back to your core beliefs about delegation and why it’s important. You need someone to allow you to work on the things you can only do. So, find someone that can stay motivated and can work independently.
Delegating tasks can be a hard concept to be comfortable with. As an entrepreneur, you are familiar with wearing multiple hats on your own. However, success will be easier to come by if you only hold onto tasks that only you can do. Your goal is to be the face of your company and to handle the high-level strategic tasks that come along with it.
Fortunately, virtual assistants can allow you to do this more effectively. At the core of this process, you always have to go back to “What does ‘delegate’ mean?” The definition behind this term will make it easier to let go of what you need to so you can handle the things only you can do.