Last week we looked at what you could delegate. This week I want to consider who you can delegate to.
-An employee. But what if you are a solopreneur?
-A subcontractor. Lots of people have left employment and are happy providing their services for lots of smaller clients
-An expert. As a technophile I consider myself pretty good on the IT front but it is still often more efficient to use a local IT firm when nothing is immediately obvious (we use PCDial.com) as they come across these problems all the time and usually know exactly where to look straight away. It’s the same reason we encourage our clients to delegate their bookkeeping to us; we’re faster and better than them.
-Automation. We use a lot of software in our business. Whilst it doesn’t replace people it does save our time on the mundane chores. Accountancy Manager handles all our deadline and client reminders, Stripe collects card payments for clients that don’t already pay us by direct debit through Go Cardless. Dext and hubdoc allow clients to submit their bookkeeping to us electronically without having to print out every single invoice. We can usually find software to help clients improve their business efficiency too.
The answer is almost certainly yes.
There are certain things that only you can do in your business but there is probably a lot of admin or other work that can be delegated to somebody ‘cheaper’ than you.
When coaching busy clients I recommend that they keep a timesheet for a couple of weeks. This can be on paper or using one of the free apps such as Toggl.
At the end of the fortnight look at all the work that isn’t profitable.
-If it is for a client should you be charging more or perhaps somebody else can do the work instead?
-If it isn’t customer work then is it the sort of thing that somebody else can do instead (next week I’ll talk about who you might delegate to)
-If it is work that you don’t enjoy then it might make sense to delegate it anyway. This is the main reason we encourage clients to delegate their bookkeeping to us as we can do it faster, and better, and we have people who actually enjoy the work.
When I’m introduced at speaking events it usually includes something about how I run two businesses, write my books and look after two teenagers. It sounds a lot but here’s how I do it and how you can manage more too.
First, I try to limit my work to 25 hours per week to ensure that I have time for me and my teens. If I do something personal during the working day then I may choose to work an evening to compensate or I may accept that these is a quieter business week to make up for the weeks that are busier.
Pre covid I would try to book a holiday once a quarter. I think most of us have fallen into bad habits through lockdowns so do book your time off even if it’s just to pamper yourself at home rather than to go away. Rest is important to keep performing at our best.
I love everything that I do so no single part of it seems too onerous. I do find deadlines can be stressful so it is important for me to stay ahead of those by preparing early.
My life involves quite a bit of juggling so my diary is essential for my sanity. I have a default diary which schedules each morning to focus on a different aspect of my business. I split my main to do list between each of those 5 areas. The afternoons are kept free for meetings. If I have a speaking event that means that I can’t do one of my morning sessions then I move the appointment to another time.
On Fridays I double check my diary for the next week and move items from my to do list into an allocated morning slot. My diary is usually pretty fully booked for two weeks ahead and probably half booked for the two weeks beyond that.
I’ve written elsewhere about the benefits of systemising, automating and delegating but please feel free to share your top tips too.
Lots of triathlon and sports metaphors to come. Triathlons, like running a business, are an endurance event. We’ve seen the Brownlee brothers and others helped across the finish line (there’s another message there about needing support, even in individual sports). Speed alone is no good if you can’t make it to the final goal.
Working long hours just won’t crack it as many folk are finding out after working through stressful lockdowns without a break.
Personally I like my 25 hours working week spread over 5 days. I can feel my brain slowing down throughout the day so better to go and do something nice with family or friends, or a bit of alone time rather than push on through (unless there’s an exceptional deadline).
Whatever hours you choose to work you want every one of them to count and that’s why we focus so much on efficiency on the online courses and couching sessions.
Look for one thing you can do more efficiently this week; perhaps by automating or delegating it or just improving the system.