You’re overworked and drained because you’re spending your time doing the wrong things instead of being in your zone of genius.
We’ve all been there.
To get you back into your zone of genius and create the magic that matters to scale, you need to start outsourcing.
Today, my team member and Online Business Manager, Laura Van Steen, and I will be diving into how you can start outsourcing and delegating like a boss.
We’ll share 3 steps to follow along with several hands-on tips to get started whether you’re looking to hire a VA, full-time employee, or someone to work on a specific project.
- Step 1: Do your homework
- Step 2: Recruit
- Step 3: Start delegating
Step 1: Do your homework
Before you start thinking about who you need to hire, writing out your vacancies, and posting them online, there’s one critical question you need to ask yourself:
What can I automate to prevent any bottlenecks?
A lot of the extra work we often experience is our own mistake because we don’t manage our processes well. We create the bottlenecks ourselves.
Therefore, think to yourself what you’re doing and look at ways to automate that, for instance, your appointment scheduling process. If you haven’t already automated this, I can tell you’re wasting a lot of time sending emails back and forth.
You may think it will take too long to implement, but in reality, it won’t. I use Acuity, but other tools like Calendly will also help you save time.
Maybe you're also interested in this: These Three steps will turn you into a Time Management Guru – the CBA Principle –
Look for a generalist, then a specialist
If you’re not up for implementing automation systems yourself, hire someone who can help you. I did that, too.
When I first started, I thought I needed someone to work on content and design while, in reality, I needed someone to help me with administration and to set up my systems.
Maybe you’re the same? At the moment, you’re shifting from one department to another, from one thing to another, but this isn’t sustainability if you want to scale your business.
You can’t do everything yourself.
You need to look for someone who can help you with all kinds of different things – a generalist.
Hire where it hurts
When you’ve done a bit of internal questioning and have a clear idea of where the bottlenecks are, you’ll know which gap to fill.
I like to say: hire where it hurts.
In other words, you need to find someone with knowledge and experience who can help you solve the issues you’re facing.
Typically, a process like this can be split into 3 phases:
- Invest in maintaining daily operations. For instance, hire one or even more VAs.
- Invest in your zone of genius. Hire someone who can help with the extra overflow, allowing you to work more consistently in your zone of genius.
- Invest in growth. It’s time to start looking at more specialist profiles that can help scale your business.
Track your time and tasks
I know what you’re thinking now: control freak.
But tracking your time and tasks is so valuable. I only started doing it recently, and I must admit, it’s mind-blowing.
Tracking the time on the tasks you’re doing helps you to continuously reevaluate where you’re spending your time. And you need this knowledge to find out if your time is better spent doing something else.
We’ve started using Clockify, and it’s a brilliant solution. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, track what you’re doing during a day. Divide the time you spend in different departments.
For instance, track how much time you’re putting into sales, marketing, administration, and so on.
Step 2: Recruit
Spread the word
All right, you know where you need help and who you’re looking for. The next step is to find these people.
Start by using your own tools and channels, for instance, Facebook Groups, Instagram, LinkedIn, and your network. Don’t make it more complicated than it is. You don’t need recruitment firms and headhunters.
If you’re concerned about reach, don’t be. Look at your network and go over everyone you know one by one and ask for references if needed to find the ones with the skills you need.
Centralize your process
Once you’ve started spreading the word, avoid having people email you at all costs. Your inbox will be flooded, and you won’t be able to keep the application process organized.
Instead, centralize the process through a form tool like Google Forms or Typeform to keep everything in one place.
The word is out, and you’ve already received a bunch of applications. Now is the moment of truth. Is there someone for you among the hopeful candidates?
To avoid spending unnecessary time running through applications, and quickly filter through the most relevant candidates, ask yourself the following:
- Can this person fix where it hurts? Does this person have the skills that you need right now to solve your problems?
- What’s important to you overall in your business? Do you have any golden guidelines that fuel your business? If yes, does this person live up to these guidelines?
- Is the person open to learn? Hire for character and attitude, train for skills.
Test attributes, then skills
When you’ve sorted through the most relevant candidates, you can take one of two routes:
No matter the order you follow, the assignment can reveal a lot about the person you’re potentially going to hire.
Use the assignment to not only test skills but attributes, too. I typically don’t focus on creating a difficult assignment. Instead, I make the process of delivering it challenging to test if candidates can follow a documented process.
Step 3: Start delegating
Document your processes
You’ve found someone to work with, and it’s time to start delegating. If you’ve already documented your processes in the past, this first step is going to be so much easier.
However, if this isn’t the case, make sure that your first hires document all the steps and things you’re doing, so you don’t have to start over for each new team member joining.
In the long run, documenting your processes and tracking the time spent on specific tasks will also help you detect bottlenecks and optimize your ways of working.
Set clear expectations
Clear expectations are essential in relation to communication, work hours, and budget. Similarly, clear expectations are critical at a task level.
Be transparent and clear about how you expect the result to look like when it’s done.
For instance, you ask someone from your team to write up a document for you. He or she delivers it, but the document isn’t ready, in your opinion. You realize there are still links missing, clear headers, page numbers, and other formatting not done right.
Perhaps you forgot to paint it done. In other words, clearly defining that you expected all these other attributes for the document. Remember, what’s clear in your head may not always be clear to someone else.
Communicate in one place
You’re already bombarded with notifications, so you don’t need yet another communication channel disturbing you non-stop.
If you’re anything like me, overcommunication kills your flow. Therefore, stick to one place to communicate with your team.
At the moment, we use Slack for team communication and Voxer if someone needs to get in touch with me. It’s two different systems, but each tool has its own purpose.
You need to check what works for you. In the end, no system is perfect. The only perfect system is the one you can use consistently.
Create action-oriented tasks
If there’s something I hate, it’s to-do lists with random words. Rather than adding a project or a topic, make the task action-oriented.
Instead of writing “Instagram”.
Write “Create three captions for Instagram on the topic of outsourcing and delegating”.
Do you see the difference? The last example is much more action-oriented and specific. If you want to successfully delegate the tasks you used to do yourself, you need to learn to document tasks in such a way that other people can complete them, too.
Create golden guidelines
Map out the guidelines you expect people to follow when working in your business. Such guidelines can be high level but also very practical.
For instance, some of the guidelines I expect my team to follow include:
- Rather a phone call than wrong decision
- Every task is actionable, delegated and due-dated
- Sales over press
- No client calls on specific days
The list continues, but these guidelines should already give you an idea. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, creating such rules for yourself can be very useful to hold yourself accountable.
Never assume people know what you’re thinking or how you feel. If you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.
Avoiding assumptions ties into some of the other tips we’ve already shared about setting clear expectations, creating action-oriented tasks, and golden guidelines.
Maybe you have a preferred way of working or a preferred style you use on Instagram. Unless you’ve specified this to your team, don’t assume they know that.
Implement fixed meetings
Today, almost everyone is working remotely, but nothing really beats being in the same room together, catching up at the coffee machine or during lunch.
To keep your tribe together and nurture a stronger bond, make room for empty conversations and plan in short coffee breaks or Friday beers like any other meeting.
Next to these fixed moments, remember to also implement fixed feedback loops to avoid excessive communication on a day-to-day basis. Set aside time where you can give feedback, coach, and provide training. I like to plan these meetings around topics or projects to keep everyone focused.
Set clear goals
Setting clear goals is key to ensuring your team is moving in the same direction. Goals can include internal and external metrics – anything from reaching 100K Instagram followers to growing your revenue by 20% or hiring five new profiles before the end of the year.
At the same time, remember to explain the reason why you’re aiming to achieve specific goals.
This will provide your team with a sense of purpose, and they’ll know more specifically why they are working on this. Soon they will start taking more initiative and think alongside you.
Hopefully, these three steps and tips for outsourcing have provided you with the input you need to finally start outsourcing and delegating like a boss. Good luck!
Do you want to take the next step already and start recruiting for your business? Download the free Vacancy Template. Here's what you will get:
- Take the guesswork out of your hiring process with ready-made templates.
- Make sure you're using the right elements to clearly define the profile for hire.
- Attract the right candidates the first time around with an irresistible offer.
Have fun! Let me know what you think by tagging me in your Instagram stories @fastforwardamy.
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