I’m not going to rip my eyeballs out until I’ve at least attempted to delegate it.
A month ago, I had a “crystallization of discontent.” I needed fewer plates spinning in the air or I was going to snap and join a cult or something. I didn’t know what I needed to delegate, just that it was no longer, in my view, optional.
In the short term, delegating almost anything is harder than doing it yourself. But many solopreneurs rip their hair out after trying to do everything for too long. If your business is your baby—which it damn well ought to be—then you may want certain things done in a way only you can do them. (I need to get over that, but that’s another story.)
There are a lot of steps you typically have to take in order to effectively, systematically delegate day-to-day business activities that rob you of only a few minutes at a time. It might be editing, bookkeeping, managing inventory, running pay per click (PPC) campaigns, scheduling, website maintenance or sales. At any given time, there are at least a couple things I know should be getting done, in an ideal world, that aren’t getting done.
That raises some challenging questions: Hire an intern? … employee(s)? Make greater use of contractors? Plug and chug and continue doing almost everything myself?
My biggest need wasn’t strictly related to my business. I needed to free up time during the essential early- to mid-morning hours when I’m the most creative and productive.
For many months I’ve gotten my two children ready for preschool a couple mornings a week, driven them halfway across town, and gone through a 10 – 12-minute drop-off process. By the time I was actually ready to get my workday started I was often contemplating a stiff drink. (Kids—can’t live with ‘em, can’t ditch ‘em with your chain-smoking neighbors! Sheesh!)
I spend plenty of quality time with my kids on weekends and in the evenings. I love aspects of the afternoon/evening routine, such as wrestling with them and reading to them before bed. That said, I do not consider mornings wrangling a two- and four-year-old quality time. The last couple times I was buckling up my daughter to get her off to school and she gave me that squirrely “I pooped my diaper and didn’t tell you” smile, I found nothing funny about it. In fact, I was pissed. Although it only means a five-minute delay, it comes at a stressful moment when (a) I’d already rather be at work, and (b) I’ve already spent the last 45 minutes on menial household and parenting tasks.
Doing this and trying to make money as a solopreneur without going insane wasn’t sustainable. Because I peak early in the day, an hour of time in the morning is worth two in the afternoon. Many of those hours were being swallowed by microtasks, costing me money and eroding my sanity.
I reached out to Angel Kwiatkowski, founder of Cohere Coworking and one of the most well-networked people I know. She put me in touch with Jeanie Sutter, owner of The Second You, a company in town that assists people by getting errands and busy work off their plates.
We set up a meeting within a couple days and Alicia, our vetted personal assistant, started almost immediately. She shows up three days a week, takes care of a few household tasks like ironing, brushing my daughter’s hair and cleaning the kitchen, and whisks the monsters safely off to school. I cannot believe how pain-free this was. My quality of life and income have improved measurably.
If you have barriers (financial, aspirational or other) to hiring, or contracting out work, a service like The Second You is a great way to delegate things like errands, laundry, or walking the dog on your lunch break. I admire the hell out of those badass “I took night classes, earned a degree and founded a successful company while raising four kids and working full time” entrepreneurs. I’m not that driven.
I’m a nerd who obsesses about language. As the Chief Storytelling Officer (pomp!) at Garvington Creative, I specialize in top-shelf B2B content marketing and copywriting. A graduate of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprises MBA program at CSU, I work with businesses to get their messaging crystal clear so people understand, at a glance, what they do and why it matters. Then I roll up my nerd sleeves and work with them to create content that positions them as trusted resources, ultimately helping them win the kinds of clients they deserve.