Finding the space and time to identify the most critical things to focus on in your business is the first step in getting the right things done.
As a solopreneur, help can come to you in many forms: from the children’s morning carpool to a personal assistant who can help with errands and organizing. Most of us know we need the help; however, we put off making the decision with excuses such as, “I can’t afford to hire someone”or “I don’t need to have someone else do THAT. It’s so easy—I can handle it”.
Contrary to our limiting beliefs, help comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be an advanced businesswoman or spend a ton of money to deserve an extra hand. These days there are independent contractors and affordable hourly workers that can free up several hours of your time each week if you only allow them to.
Following is how to get the right things done in three steps:
1. Get an idea of your weekly tasks for both your business and your personal life.
Make a general list of projects and tasks you’d like to complete this week. Here’s an example of what this would look like:
- Pick up dry-cleaning
- Purchase file cabinet
- Sell books on Amazon
- Book travel for brother’s wedding
- Drop clothes off at Goodwill
- Clean out pantry
- Purchase son’s birthday gift
- Write newsletter article
- Lunch with potential client
- Make follow-up calls from networking event
- Check status of brochures and business cards at the printer
It is likely you will come up with a mix of personal and work errands and project-related tasks that have to do with your home and your business. Clearly, there will be a few items that only you should do. (In our above example, the client lunch and follow-up calls would best be handled by you, especially if you are just starting out and are building a reputation for yourself.) But most of the items on your list could easily be delegated to someone else so that you can get the right things done.
2. Decide who will do what.
The above exercise should unveil the types of tasks that make up your life and business. You will find that there are housekeeping tasks to keep your home running smoothly, and there are also work-related administrative tasks. You also need to put your managerial hat on, while keeping your money-making, business owner eyes on the “prize” at all times. Yes, it is a lot, and that is why your next step is to start delegating.
Family Members – This may sound like an obvious solution; however, some women don’t like to recruit their family members to help them in their businesses. Some even have a hard time asking for help with family-related concerns. But asking your family to help out with home matters isn’t just appropriate, it can help to make your loved ones feel like contributing members of your tribe and empower them to be proactive in the future.
Examples: Cooking dinner, giving rides, grocery shopping, booking travel, making purchases, post office runs, FedEx runs, etc.
Hourly Assistants – If you are adamant about keeping your errands out of your family life, then consider hiring an assistant on an hourly basis. A personal assistant can take on a wide variety of home and business-related work and you can rely on them to manage your tasks professionally (and without any whining—unlike some reluctant family members! ).
Examples: Personal shopping, booking travel, pet/plant sitting, organizing, rides, etc.
A Virtual Assistant (VA) specializes in traditional administrative tasks and can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping books and managing vendors. Some are more tech savvy and can help with website maintenance, HTML, WordPress, etc. Others are great at proofreadingand writing. So, think about the main tasks you want to delegate and try to explore the various types of VAs available so you can find a great fit for your particular business. VA rates vary significantly, depending on their specialties.
3. Start Small
If you are feeling cautious of how much you want to let go, start small. Do a trial run with a new VA or personal assistant. See how your family members respond to your request for help. Once you can get an idea of how things are working, you can move things around accordingly and you will have time to get the right things done.
And, if you are still uncomfortable with hiring a designated assistant, don’t forget about all the low-maintenance forms of help available to you these days.
A few ideas: Have a housekeeper to come to your house once a week or find a babysitter to watch the children two afternoons a week. Call a travel agent to book your next vacation and explore your options when it comes to a bookkeeper or accountant. They may not be employees in the typical sense of the word; however, these are other forms of help that will save you time and free you to focus on the parts of your life and your business that you are passionate about.
QUESTION: What is ONE task you can delegate this week to free your time and energy? Share below, and let us know how it felt to reach out for help–and receive it.