With apologies to Sheryl Sandberg, before we “ban bossy” it would be really great to ban the exaltation of “busy” for today’s entrepreneurs. Especially for women entrepreneurs who try to embody Superwoman by doing all the things, all the time.
Busy becomes synonymous with successful, hard working and dedicated instead of the dark side symptoms of overworked, exhausted and burnt out.
One of the best ways to reclaim “busy” is to embrace delegation so that the same volume of work gets accomplished in less time with less blood, sweat and tears. Here are my 5 areas where entrepreneurs should begin outsourcing right now:
1. Content distribution
Once you’ve written the article, created the video or designed the infographic hand the content over to your team for distribution. They should be able to manage editing, posting, emails, SEO, social media and any advertising. Not only will this save you lots of time but it also ensures that the content you’re creating reaches a wider audience.
Email threads for scheduling a call are notoriously long and annoying. Time zones, 30 minutes or an hour, what number to call, will it be recorded, Skype ID…there are so many details that it’s easy to suck up more time than the call actually takes. Instead, you can automate by setting up scheduling software that syncs to your calendar and have an assistant manage tasks like follow-up, email reminders and changes.
Be sure to specify exactly what information you need to see before a meeting and you’ll reduce wasted time and improve your efficiency as well.
3. Non-essential email
Speaking of email…do you really need to know every time someone unsubscribes? An order is processed? A comment appears? Identify which emails for you are not urgent or essential and either filter them directly into folders (Gmail makes this easy to “mark as read” and “archive to folder” in one step) or have those emails directed to a team member. Think of customer service inquiries for password resets, software updates, invoices…I’m willing to bet you can reduce the email inflow by 50% or more.
4. Tedious, repetitive tasks
Everyone has a task or 3 that is just so boring and we procrastinate on and despise doing. It might be reconciling receipts, filing, website updates or scheduling social media posts. By outsourcing these tasks your business will not only get done tasks done more regularly but also save you the time and energy you currently spend dreading them.
This is often called living in your “zone of genius” instead of spending time in the zone of stuff that needs to get done. I like to think back to the very first job I ever held – could I still do that job? Sure. Is it the best use of my time? Not anymore.
5. Areas of Weakness
The amazing book Strengths Finder 2.0 makes a persuasive case for focusing on the things you do well instead of attempting to improve your weaknesses.
Being well rounded is overrated. (Click to tweet)
You might never be brilliant at website coding and that’s okay. Hire someone who can code in their sleep. Maybe you don’t have an eye for creating pretty graphics and designing badges. Alright, find someone who loves to play in Photoshop and outsource it!
Because we’re often stubborn entrepreneurs (and proud of it!) it’s easy to be entrenched in thinking “I can do this!” but the question you should be asking is, “Am I the best person to do this in my business?” Start with that mindset and look over these 5 areas and all over your business for tasks, projects and areas of responsibility you can outsource.