Delegation – it can be really tricky to do, but when you have someone in your team who you trust and can pass the work you don’t love to do (who can potentially do it quicker and more efficiently), it means you get your time back. But how on earth do you start the delegation process?
Often, the first part of a conversation with a business owner for me, is that they know they’re overworked, but have no idea on how to delegate tasks to someone. It can feel really overwhelming, confusing, and like you’re handing over your beloved baby to someone new. That’s totally normal – I promise!
With that in mind, here are some ways to help you figure out how to delegate to someone new, such as a Virtual Assistant, PA, or Sales Manager:
What is taking up your time every morning that you don’t enjoy? For most, it starts with the ping of a notification of countless emails! For many business owners, they have signed up to business-based newsletters that can take up time to organise, dealing with diary requests, invoice chasing, dealing with client enquiries, arranging consultations, and the list goes on. Delegating emails however, can be a tough task to delegate which is why I started with it!
Top Tips for Delegating Emails – Your emails are often a space that is incredibly personal, so I completely understand feeling wary at first. Have a discussion with the VA you have chosen to work with and discuss the preferred process from the start – which can change as you feel more comfortable. Here are some things to consider:
- How should the VA organise your inbox – organise folders, decide upon Archiving procedures, and categorising so you can easily see what needs your attention.
- Templates are your best friend! Work together to create templates for regular replies that you receive. If you are unsure on this, ask your VA to take note of the emails they are seeing regularly, and their recommendations on what templates they would advise using.
- Agree on the sign-offs. Start with little steps, and request your VA add their details at the end of each email with your agreed job title/signature for them. For example – for my clients, I sign off above their signature with “Hannah Liversidge, VA to XXXX”, this may be better for you if they say they are your PA, Sales Assistant, Office Manager – whichever sits best for you.
- Organise a separate email account. Start educating your clients to contact your VA on their own account in relation to certain requirements. For example, update your website with this email address for general enquiries, CC the new email address in replies when a client gets in touch with the agreed tasks your VA will handle (such as new product requests, invoicing, diary management etc.) with these small steps, your clients will understand the new process gradually – thus saving you valuable time.
Delegate the Design & Templating Processes
Now, you may have an array of amazing presentations that you are using regularly, or perhaps you need documents updated with new branding. This shouldn’t be a task that you have to focus on if you don’t enjoy it. Connect with a Virtual Assistant who can help organise templates that you can easily insert your content into, better yet, voicenote your presentation/documents to them and they can put the documents together for you, while you get on with other important parts of your business
Tips for delegating design work – We do need a few things when it comes to creating presentations, template documents, and packs, these include:
- Your up to date logo – preferably transparent, but not essential.
- A high resolution image of yourself – perfect for the about sections!
- Your most current professional bio (if you need this updated, delegate it!)
- Your business brand colours – if you used a graphic designer, they will be able to send the hex codes to your VA, otherwise, if you are unsure but do have a logo, ask the VA to pull the colour codes from this.
- Let your VA know the type of designs you like – modern, classic, illustrative – these are all important so the VA can make something you’ll like from the beginning.
How are you learning to delegate in your business? I’d love to hear your tips!
Are you using automation in your business? You can truly transform your business and save time when you use automation tools, but there are important ways to make sure you keep it personal. Here are my top 3 ways to use automation in your business to save you time, while still remaining personal.
1. Use email templates rather than sequences – if you want to have follow up emails from networking events, or meetings, use email templates to save time rather than automated emails, these can be made in outlook, Hubspot, Gmail, and many more. I recommend this because it means you don’t send auto emails to people you’ve already met with, and you can pop little personal notes in there too.
2. Keep space in your social media planners for reactive content. Scheduling social media is fantastic for time management, but save space for reactive content too. This means if a specific event comes up, or a national holiday that you may have forgotten about, or you just want to share the beautiful morning sky from your daily walk that day, you won’t feel you’re over posting to your account. If you really want to ensure every day is handled with your scheduling software, use alternatives such as Stories, and videos to show off a different style of content within your account.
3. Use automation tools! Tools like Zapier, Automate.io, and IFTTT.com can integrate systems amazingly, such as woo commerce and Google sheets, Eventbrite and Mailchimp tags. But, check your system first before using these tools to see if you can integrate directly. For example, hubspot integrates with Facebook leads for FREE, which means any time someone fills in your lead form, it automatically will go into your Hubspot contacts, whereas on Zapier this is pro-feature! You can also integrate Eventbrite with Facebook to share your events directly for bookings; Mailchimp and Eventbrite also have integration too, so attendees can automatically go into your contacts lists.
Bonus Tip – check out the systems you are using, take some time to really delve into the integrations on offer within your packages. You may be surprised on the amount of automation available to you, that you haven’t utilised yet because you just didn’t know they existed.
If you want some support in knowing which systems to use, or just to talk out your ideas with someone, please get in touch and we can arrange a Power Hour session together!
My introvert story so far…
On Wednesday, after 4 hours of back to back video calls (which were all amazing I must add) I sat in the sofa and Mischka looked at me, put her paw on my hand, and she understood my exhaustion. Now, I love that this situation has allowed us all to have so many more conversations, interactions, and utilise technologies that bring many of us together. However, as a self-confessed introvert, it can be incredibly draining having calls each day taking up 2 to 3 hours in total.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my usual working life is often an introvert’s dream! I have probably 1 or 2 20 minute calls on a Monday where clients are checking up on projects and sharing new ideas, and I carry out sales calls for one of my other clients which, on a busy day, 2 people answer, so this amount of calls, particularly on video, got a bit overwhelming last week.
My top tips for introverts doing conference calls
- Don’t ever do the calls back to back. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a real break between calls. If your break is following up with an email, completing a design task, getting a cup of tea or coffee, or simply standing up and doing jumping jacks, I recommend you do it. No one is going to loose their business because you asked to do a call 20 minutes later than they asked.
- Plan your day as much as you can. If you’re having a similar experience as me, many of your clients are picking up the phone to just call you. That’s great, that shows they trust you and want to speak with you. However, if you have loads of other planned calls, let them know how long you have (with a break time for before the next call) so they know there’s a limit on the time you can speak for. You can perhaps let clients know your availability for calls, which could be an excellent solution to this. It’s then a first come first answered situation.
- Check in with yourself. How are you doing? Is today an exhausting day or have you the energy to give to more calls coming your way? If you’re getting to the peak of your giving levels, let clients know you’re now in head down work and can’t answer calls for an hour. They won’t loose their minds, they get it and probably will be grateful you’re prioritising work.
- Embrace the 40 minute limit! I was getting frustrated by the Zoom limit on calls, but it’s actually a fantastic way to prevent over talking. It keeps everyone on the call limited to important conversations, and can keep me alert and invested. Embrace that limit, I find any more than an hour and I start to falter.
Whatever you feel like right now, it’s OK. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our clients and loved ones. However you re-energise, whether it be playing a game, reading a book, listening to the birds in your garden, or cuddling your dog – give yourself a chance to recharge your battery so you can go out and charge other’s.
Good luck fellow introverts, you got this.
Neither of us has ever been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions; we’ve both watched friends and business associates boldly declare the long list of things they’re going to give up doing or start doing, proudly updating us almost hourly on their progress for the whole month of January, only to fall into a pit of sudden silence on the subject by February. To be honest, it’s hardly surprising to us that setting yourself up to get motivated about change, when it’s cold most of the time and dark for most of the day, is a plan that tends to fail more often than succeed.
Think, for a moment, about springtime. The first signs of new and renewed life are making their way above ground. Birds are greeting you with the rising sun each day, and you’re wearing fewer layers as the temperatures stay above “thermals required”. Everything about the spring is positive and fills us with hope. What better time could there be to start refuelling your business with some new ideas, new dreams, new targets, or new goals?
Spring can help you to think about the type of changes you may want to implement, in a way that means they are more likely to be long-term and produce results. Here are a few tips to help get you started on your springtime goal-setting journey:
- One thing at a time. Have you noticed how spring chooses not to reveal all she has to offer in one burst of glory? She teases us with snowdrops, adds some crocus, and perhaps some Primulas, but keeps you holding on for what seems like an age before she brings out that glorious burst of yellow from the daffodils, or the mesmerising carpet of blue-haze from bluebells? This is good practice, and if you work on the same principal of one step at a time, you’ll achieve the bigger goals, and make permanent change for the better.
- If something worked well last year, bring it back. When you’re setting goals it’s easy to forget to keep doing the things that are going really well. Don’t forget to include these on your list.
- Anticipate the odd cold snap. Just because spring has arrived, does not guarantee sunshine every day, and the early bloomers will usually survive a frost. When you’re making changes to the way you work, or adding a goal that requires constant action, it can be easy to lose momentum when things don’t go the way you’d expected. Put some plans in place early on, for what you’ll do if things don’t go according to plan.
- Show-off a little; not bold and brash like summer, but subtly and with real appreciation for the world around you. When we tell people around us about the goals we’re working towards, it bring a level of accountability that helps to motivate us to continue. Make sure you tell people about your progress and share your successes. Everyone could do with some good news.
We find the biggest positive impact of spring is the ability to get outside more often, without getting soaked or frozen. The impact even the smallest amount of fresh air has on our mood is noticeable and often, as we have the luxury of living in the beautiful Welsh countryside, we pop out into the woodland during the day to top up on the benefits that spring brings.
How does the changing weather impact your focus? Have you found yourself more motivated to get some goals set since the spring started to break through?
Hannah and Dinah
As a business owner, you may have been recommended to create a Facebook page. You go into it with all guns blazing, and then business tasks get in the way, and you may not feel quite as inspired as you were at the beginning.
As a customer, coming to a page which hasn’t been updated for a few months feels like the business may no longer be trading, or that it is sporadic. This is not what you want to make people feel! So, if you are feeling uninspired, or just unsure of what to post, we wanted to create some ideas for you, that may be a little “out of the box”.
- Create images with quotes which inspire or motivate you (we highly recommend Canva). Pictures say a thousand words, and ones with quotes in them say even more. You can then share why this quote is one you feel inspired by, and why you chose to share it. Bonus idea – share a question to ask for others to share their favourite quotes in their comments – this will build engagement and may give you some new quotes to use in future posts!
- Share your week ahead. This is a really easy way to showcase what you do in your business, without sharing a sales post. Consider sharing events you are attending, people you are working with, or tasks you are carrying out in preparation for services you provide. This is an excellent idea for those of us who provide services and find it difficult to showcase how we help others.
- Share a testimonial or case study. These work really well in images as well, so you can input some recent kind words from a client in an image, and then share in the post how you helped the person who shared those thoughts.
- Recommend other businesses. This can be an excellent way to build relationships with your collaborative partners. You can share why you use them, how they help your clients, or simply just to boost a contact’s business page. Remember to link to their page by @ mentioning them.
- Share blogs and videos from others. This can be of blogs you have read recently, videos you recommend watching, or ones that are in relation to the services you provide. TEDtalks are excellent for coaches, for example!
As a bonus idea, you can use your Facebook page to share your personal and business life – images and posts that show what you are getting up to tend to get the highest reach and engagement, and you can do these direct from your mobile device, so you can instantly share an image of you walking the dog, or getting a coffee from your local coffee shop before a meeting with a client.
We hope you have found these ideas a boost to help you get started in creating posts for your business page on Facebook, we’d love to hear some ways you are using your Facebook page in the comments below, and if you have any questions at all, do share them too!
I know, you are a business owner and you believe it’s so much more darn easy to do all of the tasks yourself.
I’ve been there too, I’ve sat in your shoes, when there are clients mounting up, and you would love to say yes to them, but a niggling monkey on your shoulder is telling you you may just not have the time to help. As a business owner, you may even believe you have to do all of the tasks yourself, as it feels like you’re meant to take on all of them to showcase that you’re even more awesome as an entrepreneur. (more…)