Last Monday, I was interviewed by my former (and fabulous!) client, Emily Utter, on her amazing Video Summit called The Adventurous Entrepreneur where I spoke about the 4 Keys to Freedom & Prosperity in Your Business. (Free replays of the whole summit are available now through the 31st of July). One of the keys I talked about was Effective Delegation and how it can impact your business. As a result, I have had a ton of comments and questions from clients and followers that all circle around the theme of “what do I keep and what do I delegate?” This inspired me to create a simple Four Quadrant matrix to help you get clear on what you should keep and what you should delegate in your business to create the freedom and prosperity you desire.
Before I dive into “what,” I first want to share “why.” A lot of my clients resist delegation, particularly when they are first starting their businesses and they have more time on their hands. Clearly, as we get busier, it becomes more important to get support. As an example, I calculated that my assistant saves me 15 business weeks a year and I only have to have 3 client calls a month to pay for her services. I have a whole lot more capacity to see clients and focus on the work I love thanks to her. I also can make a whole lot more money and have more free time to do the things that really matter to me (volunteer, go for long walks with my dog, putter in my garden, have tea with friends, read a book every week, and go on trips with my husband, Eric, among other things). One of my secrets, however, is that I hired an assistant when I wasn’t even close to capacity with my client load and I had enough time to do everything on my plate myself. Why? Because when I was doing all that work myself, I spent several hours a day doing things I wasn’t good at and didn’t like. And that made me feel like I had a JOB and I didn’t become an entrepreneur so I could feel like I had a job. It was stealing my energy and making me unhappy. Hmmmmm…can any of you relate? Trust me, if you focus your energy on the things you are good at and you enjoy, you will make a lot more money a few months down the road, and more importantly, you will be a far, far happier human being.
- Tasks You Are Good at and Enjoy – this is what I call your “sweet spot.” These are the things you should always do yourself until you are at or near full capacity. Once you are at full capacity, you may choose to delegate things that fall into this category if it creates greater opportunity in your business and life. As an example, some of my colleagues who are coaches and mentors, hire other coaches to work for them with their clients. This opens up bandwidth and allows them to focus their coaching on their “platinum clients” as well as other pieces of their business they also are good at and enjoy, like training and speaking. I delegate some of my marketing and copywriting even though I feel I am good at it and enjoy it, because it is time intensive and by collaborating with others, I get even better results than when I tackle it on my own. So when looking at what you are good at and what you enjoy, you also want to take into consideration how much bandwidth it takes or if you will get better results if you were to delegate some of these tasks.
- Tasks You Are Not Good At And Enjoy – These are tasks that are in your Learning Zone. These are things you have not mastered yet, but want to master and will help you be more effective in the work that you do. You should spend at least 10% of your time here to make sure you are stretching and expanding yourself and your business. As an example, you may take a course on how to make inspirational images to post on your Facebook Page. (www.illuminatingsouls.com has an awesome one!) or you might experiment with different WordPress Plugins so you can enhance your website or you might decide to start blogging even though you’ve never written in that genre before. These are things that will expand your and your business once you start to master them but you need time and dedication to build the skill. Be careful, however, not to spend too much time here because it could hamper your income potential by clogging up your bandwidth.
- Tasks You Are Not Good At And Don’t Enjoy – These are the very first tasks you should delegate and I recommend you delegate them ASAP, even if you don’t have much income coming in. These are the tasks that can suck the life force out of you and make you wonder why you became an entrepreneur. If you are afraid you cannot afford to spend the money, remember what the cost is to you by not delegating these (in terms of time and energy). These types of tasks will take you a long time because you don’t have the skill, and it will be painful because you don’t enjoy it. Luckily, most people are willing to invest the money in themselves to pay someone else to do these, at least after a little encouragement. Hopefully this blog post is the encouragement you need to start delegating these tasks.
- Tasks You are Good At And Don’t Enjoy – These tasks are the toughest to let go of, especially if you have time but are tight on money. For years, I did my own Quickbooks because it was simple work (2-3 hours a month) and I knew how to do it fairly well. However, I always procrastinated in doing my Quickbooks and I often put it off months at a time, which, in turn, had me out of touch with my expenses and budget. In hindsight, it was crippling my ability to make smart decisions with my business. When I finally decided to hire someone to do this, it was like a weight lifted off of me. To this day, when I go over a Quickbooks issue with my assistant, it is the quickest way to make me grumpy. It is amazing that I ever thought that it was best for me to do these myself. These are the sneakiest tasks on your To Do list because they are usually draining your energy and you don’t even realize it. Be bold and delegate these tasks even if you have the time and even if you are tight on money. That investment in yourself will pay off. I have never seen it not pay off with any of my clients. And like me, they look back and wonder why they ever resisted letting go.
I recommend that you take a piece of paper out and write down all the main tasks that you do in your weekly work life in the various quadrants. Analyze what you see. How much of your time is spent in the upper quadrants? The lower quadrants? Develop a plan to transition the work in the lower quadrants to other people who are good at and enjoy those tasks. If you are short on cash, look at opportunities to trade your services to get those tasks done. You will be much happier, and, ultimately, richer by doing so.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas! Share away!