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Invest in Your Business by Delegating
When you’re running a small business, sometimes hiring someone to take over even routine tasks seems daunting. A common barrier to delegating or outsourcing can be your own tendency to hoard the work. Whether you harbor the feeling that nobody can do the job as well as you can or that you simply don’t know where to turn for help, asking for help is the first step to reliving the pressure of those multiple hats weighing you down.
Trust others - particularly well vetted and skilled others - to be able to handle some of the roles that you’ve been doing. Acknowledge that there are areas where you don’t excel and let go of those tasks and activities first, handing them over to others who have the right skills.
As much as you want to be a business superhero, no single person can do it all. Some jobs are too technical, some are outside your skillset and others are too time-consuming or without a direct impact on your bottom line.
As the old adage goes, your time is worth money. Delegating and outsourcing tasks could actually save you money in the long run.
At work, if you already have a team, get into the habit of delegating often to free yourself up to focus on the bigger tasks that only you can do. Even if you work alone, you’re not without options for outsourcing work.
The tendency to try to do everything yourself without asking for help means you are taking on unnecessary burdens.
Some common business tasks that you should delegate or outsource include:
Some options for outsourcing include:
1. Freelance marketplaces. Put a job up for bid on sites such as Elance and Odesk. Once workers respond, you can peruse portfolios, view work samples, and review references and ratings. You can also use some of these sites to manage your relationship with the person you’ve hired including communications and payments.
2. Crowdsourcing work sites. Companies such as Fiverr or Mechanical Turk offer a bidding platform for tasks. These sites resemble freelance marketplaces but are usually where you’d go to get smaller or more repetitive tasks handled for micropayments. For example, on Fiverr, five dollars could get you an audio narration clip, a 500-word blog post written or t-shirt design. Or a worker on Mechanical Turk might do database cleanup for a few cents per entry.
3. Task services companies. If you’re looking for help with a specific task, you could use a company with a more narrow focus such as CastingWords for transcription. These companies usually have an established rate sheet so you know the costs upfront.
4. Virtual assistance companies. Companies such as LongerDays and Fancy Hands aggregate and manage virtual workers who can assist you with a variety of tasks, from administrative or secretarial duties to light tech support.
5. Independent virtual assistants. These individuals might specialize in a service area such as just travel arrangements or only calendar management and scheduling while others might offer a wide array of services. Some virtual assistants focus on helping specific types of clients such as home-based business owners or professional speakers. A good virtual assistant can accomplish a great deal of work online and from a distance.
Delegating and outsourcing should not be limited to the workplace. You can delegate at home to reduce the number of tasks on your To Do list. Assign meal planning and preparation a few days a week to your partner or spouse (or if appropriate, your kids). Laundry can be a rotating chore that doesn’t have to fall on you every week. You can also outsource home-related work such as housecleaning, childcare and cooking to a maid service, a nanny or a personal chef service.
Although delegating responsibilities to an outside entity can be emotionally difficult and seem like an unnecessary expense, you're actually buying more than just assistance. You’re buying yourself more time to focus more clearly on your business.