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This is part 3 in a 4-part series outlining a framework for keeping your 1-Person business simple and manageable.
The framework is simple:
Running a 1-person business doesn’t mean we don’t rely on others to get things done. The difference is that you’ll be outsourcing some of your work rather than hiring full-time employees.
Delegation is difficult for business owners who are used to doing everything themselves. It took me years (and starting my own business) to get comfortable with delegating. Now, I’m ruthless about getting things off my plate I don’t want to do or am not good at.
Remember, the goal is to free yourself up as much as possible to do what you enjoy, what you are good at, and the most high-value work for your business.
What you delegate will depend on the stage of your business. In the beginning you’ll do a lot of things you don’t want to, but over time you can start to move them off your plate. To figure out the list of activities to delegate, start with a few simple questions:
This section could be a book all on its own. I’ll distill it down to two simple but powerful ideas.
If you’re getting started, you may not be able to afford to delegate as much as you’d like. But the sooner you delegate, the sooner you can focus your time on more valuable and profitable efforts.
The time to delegate is as soon as you’ve documented the process and are able to pay someone else to take it over. Don’t waste time trying to make yourself like something you hate or trying to get better at things you’re not good at.
When it comes to areas of specialty like the law or accounting, bake it [them] into your budget right out of the gate. Those are things you can’t afford to get wrong.
I’m always a fan of tapping my network for referrals. You’ll never get a more honest opinion of someone’s work than from a referral. No one wants to be responsible for referring someone who isn’t good.
The network you tap can be in-person or virtual. I’ve found some great people to work with on Twitter (my social network of choice). I would also ask people in other groups I’m a part of like the Unemployable Community or the Trends Community for recommendations.
Note: Both of those communities require membership, but you get the idea.
Regardless of the source, don’t be afraid to do a little research once you find someone. You want the person you hire to be good at what they do, but also a good fit for your personality and culture, even if that’s a “culture of one.” Both aspects are important, especially to a 1-person business.
For specialists (like the attorneys or accountants), don’t try to go the cheap route. Hire someone you can afford, but going cheap ends up costing more in the long run and creates a lot of headache.
Here’s my list of recommended responsibilities to delegate:
Another great resource are businesses that specialize in providing outsourced services.
There are a ton of VA services so search around and ask for recommendations to find the one that best fits your needs.
A good example is a past client of mine Don’t Panic Management. They have a variety of talented people that can bring any number of skill sets to the table including executive assistants, marketers, and content producers.
Services like Fiverr and 99designs are also suitable for some basic tasks like having a presentation deck designed. You can also find someone to create a pre-designed template deck (or two!) that you can use for future presentations.
If you’re looking for higher-end design and don’t have network recommendations, take a look at portfolios on Dribbble to find someone whose style suits your needs.
If you’re looking for coders, let’s talk. I’m not for hire, but depending on your needs, I can point you in the right direction.
While I was putting this newsletter together, Codie Sanchez tweeted a great thread on delegation as well. Her way of thinking on this topic is similar to mine, but she has a framework she uses for decision-making that you might find helpful: