what-disneys-frozen-can-teach-you-about-delegating

It’s the film every little girl is obsessed with. Every time I log into Facebook my feed has at least 10 updates about how somebody is watching it, their little girl has an Elsa dress, or wants an Elsa dress but everywhere is sold out! It’s nothing short of a phenomenon!

So what’s the 1 thing Frozen can teach you about delegating?

It’s quite simple really –

LET IT GO!

Before I lose you all to an impromptu karaoke break – I’ll explain.

Some of the biggest mistakes most people make around delegating and working with a Virtual Assistant are:

Micro-managing every task they delegate.

This all relates back to a resistance to let go of control. Don’t get me wrong, you absolutely SHOULD have control over the work you delegate but virtually ‘hovering’ over your VA, making sure they do every little step and do it exactly like you is nuts! Hiring a Virtual Assistant is supposed to SAVE you time not take up more of it in ‘babysitting’!

Don’t forget your VA is an entrepreneur just like you. Just as you are, they are an expert in their field. They know all the tips and tricks to the nuts and bolts of running a business (aka admin, the techy stuff etc!) so chances are they could help you streamline your business, save you money AND time!

Duplicating work by continuing to do the work they delegated!

Just as crazy, but even more time consuming, is duplicating work. Let me tell you, I’m not joking that some people have delegated tasks to a Virtual Assistant only to then continue to do it themselves.

Again this comes down to needing control but also quite often as business owners we can busy ourselves with the less important tasks when we feel overwhelmed by more important projects. We feel a need to be ‘busy’ doing anything to feel like we have accomplished something (usually when you’re procrastinating over something else!).

It doesn’t matter if the task in question has no particular importance compared with something else you could be doing, but the fact you’ve filled your time somehow makes you feel better!

Obviously this creates a number of issues.  First off, you’re wasting your money (obviously) – I mean why hire somebody to do a job when you’ll only do it yourself anyway? Seems crazy right? Then there’s the issue of wasting time. Not only yours (as you’re now spending time doing the task AND time delegating it) but wasting your VA’s time too.

But that’s not even the biggest problem you can create. Duplicating work actually takes up more time in correcting and in the long run will cost you even more in both time and money.

Let’s say you delegate reposting your old content to social media to your Virtual Assistant. Your VA comes up with a schedule and plans out the content to share for say, the next month. Now a few days down the line you decide you can’t resist ‘dipping in’ and posting links to old blog posts completely off schedule and those particular posts have already been posted or are the exact same ones that are next in line to go out. That’s not a great impression on your Social Media profiles!

Your VA will then have to go into the schedule, remove the duplications and replace them with something else – complete waste of time right?

So I can guess what you’re wondering now – how can you avoid the mistakes and learn to ‘let it go’? Here are my top tips for delegating like a pro and channelling your inner Elsa 😉

Delegate in slow mo

Most people delegate to their VA without much thought and simply fire an email away with a very vague description of what they need completing. For example like this:

Hi Joe

Can you please create me a landing page for my product.

Thanks, John

There’s literally no direction here whatsoever and it will open up a whole host of emailing back and forth, which takes time when it could have been dealt with in one go. Take a little more time when you’re delegating and it will save you more time in collaboration back and forth.

Be specific about what you want completing.

In the example above a better way to put it would be:

Hi Joe

Could you please create a landing page for the xxxx product. Here’s some examples of some I’ve seen that I think would work great. I will need a section for xx, a section for testimonials, a sign up box and buttons to appear periodically down the page. I will forward the copy through for you to fill in.

Thanks, John

I touched on this in the example above, but if you can’t explain what you want in words, use pictures! If you don’t already know how, learn how to take a screenshot on your computer and use them to help communicate your vision.

Be specific about your needs and expectations.

Don’t just say get it done whenever you can. If you have a specific time frame in mind – say it! If you’re expecting a certain result from the work – say it!

This last part is probably the most important one – wherever you know what resources your VA will need – give it to them or point them in the right direction. If you know that creating your landing page will require your VA to access your Mailchimp account – send them the password securely. If you know they could get the copy or testimonials from a page on your site – reference it in your request. If you know you want something done but you have no idea how to make it happen, tell your VA this, they will know of many resources and can get straight to work sorting things out for you.

Centralise Communication

There is no bigger time waster than email. Especially when you’re frantically digging through trying to find one specific email to/from your Virtual Assistant.

I have personally eliminated this frustration for my clients by providing them their own private client area. All discussion and collaboration around their work takes place in a dedicated thread. Whenever I have an update on a project or have completed a task for them, I update the thread. This then sends them an automatic email to notify them of the update.

Now before you jump the gun on the email notifications this is just for convenience. Once they’ve read the update they simply delete the email. All the communication is permanently stored in their private client area under organised categories. It really does work wonders for being able to quickly update yourself at any given time without digging through masses of emails.

Try implementing a similar system yourself and watch your organisation soar!

Release the guilt

A huge barrier with delegating is feeling guilty. You feel like you should be handling EVERYTHING in your business (which is crazy, there are only so many hours in a day!) and that it’s a waste of money to pay somebody to do something that you are able to do or figure out yourself.

I’m a big believer in spending your time in what’s called your ‘zone of genius’. If the task in question is something you are talented at, you love doing and it brings you happiness – knock yourself out and keep doing it! But if the task makes you feel frustrated, bored, helpless or stressed – delegate it and spend your time doing more joyful things! Trust me there will be somebody out there in this big wide world who gets a kick out of the the very things that drive you to insanity!

I know for me, I absolutely hate bookkeeping – it drives me nuts and takes me absolutely hours. I finally gave myself permission to offload this to somebody who loves spending their day playing with numbers. For a long time I’ve felt guilty that I’m not disciplined enough to do the task well enough but you know what? Accounting simply isn’t my zone of genius so I’m not going to beat myself up anymore! Just that little action of telling myself it’s ok to ‘let it go’ and I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders!

Then the final thing you need to do –

LET IT GO

– if your Virtual Assistant has questions, they’ll ask you for clarification. Don’t waste your time checking in with them 4 or 5 times per day to see how it’s going or what they’re doing – make an agreement with your VA when you’d like them to check in with their progress and get yourself busy with the business boosting tasks you say you’ve never got time to do! 😉

I hope you enjoyed this article and it’s given you some strategies to help ‘Let It Go’ – which strategy has helped you the most? Leave a comment below and let me know! If you have any other strategies that helped you please share them!

  • Great article Nikki! I have taken lots from it that I needed to hear at the moment. Thanks you. M.

    • Virtually Angels

      Thanks so much Moira – glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
      Nikki

  • Wonderful article – thank you. I can’t wait for the day I can hire a VA in my business. I’m sure it will be soon! I used to manage people in my corporate job and would say the most important tip is to be specific in your expectations – have clear goals (with timelines). Then trust the person to get it done. Most people HATE to be micro managed!

    • Virtually Angels

      Thanks Sally – I completely agree with you – the more specific you can be in the outcome the more chance of success you have! 🙂
      Nikki