Here’s a common scenario I come across in this business: a busy and overwhelmed solopreneur calls me up and I have the solution. So I hook them up with an awesome virtual assistant (US-based, of course). They love their assistant and can’t wait to offload tons of things to them! So far so good, right?

Here’s where it gets tricky.

The small business owner is so busy that they don’t have time to delegate anything to their virtual assistant. So the VA has zilch to do for them and isn’t moving things forward and the business owner still has too much on their plate. It defeats the entire purpose of getting a virtual assistant in the first place and quite frankly wastes everyone’s time.

Yup, delegating is hard and requires a time investment up front — set clear expectations and timelines, explain procedures, be available for questions and communication, check and review progress.  And if you’re thinking that in many cases it’s faster to do it yourself than teach someone else how you want it done, you’d be right.

But that’s only in the beginning and also short-term thinking.  In the end, you’ll have freed up much more of your time than the initial time you first invested in. The time spent delegating tasks is time well spent.  Think of delegating as the opportunity to grow your business. Long term, it benefits your business and your time.

This delegating issue isn’t just with virtual assistants. Even with in-house employees there’s a time investment. For example, you can hire a cashier with experience to work in your store, but they probably don’t know how to use your specific cash register. You’ll also have to educate them on your policies and procedures. You don’t just hire them and expect them to know what you want them to do.

This concept goes way beyond your own business, too. When you go to a restaurant, you don’t assume the server knows what to bring you. You take the time to tell them you want NY strip steak, medium rare. Do you go to an insurance agent and expect them to guess what kind of insurance you need?  If you want great service you have to let people know how they can help. Unfortunately, this thinking doesn’t always carry over to the business owner/virtual assistant relationship.

Knowing how to do something doesn’t necessarily make you good at it or make excellent use of your time (and money).  Do you steam clean your own carpets or hire a professional? How about clean your own chimney? Teach your kids how to read?  Of course you can do those things and how much time would that take?  And how much fun is that?

A client (the reluctant delegator!) and I were catching up the other day and he confessed that when he puts things into perspective, he finds that his virtual assistant is better suited for doing his social media, blogging and a few other things he used to spend a lot of time doing himself.  And he went on to say it was worth taking the time to delegate those tasks to his VA.  Wasn’t easy at first, but he was glad he did.

And he’s the reason for this blog post. See, it is possible to learn the skill of delegating and to make the best use of a virtual assistant’s time and skills.  My VAs are wired to help; it’s what they do and what jazzes them up.

If you need help delegating, I’m happy to help. But for crying in the soup – stop wasting your valuable time and do it already!

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,