“As entrepreneurs, time is our most valuable commodity. Money will come and go, but once you’ve invested your time into something, that time is gone forever. It stands to reason that if there are any actions we can take as business owners to free up more time in our daily routines, we should take them.” - Chris Ducker
Isn’t that the truth? The more time I put into Elle & Company and growing this business, the more I understand the value of time.
These past few months I put in 15-hour days, 6-7 days a week and I still wasn’t conquering every to-do on my list, so I knew I had two choices: to cut back or to delegate. I chose both.
At first the notion of giving up control and outsourcing Elle & Company tasks seemed frightening. Because, as many of you know, your business is almost like a child; it’s hard to entrust it to anyone else.
But once I loosened my grip, I realized that delegating tasks gives me more of the one thing I can never get back: my time.
Not only that, but delegating tasks frees me up from doing the things that could be done by others (social media scheduling, legal work, bookkeeping) so that I’m able to do the things that only I can do to bring in an income (design work, content creation, etc.).
I’ve found that the more I delegate, the more tasks I want to delegate. I’ve been brainstorming and adding more to my growing list of delegated items each day so that I can get back to my most important to-do’s. And today I’m sharing that list with you.
I have a feeling many of you can relate to the too-many-tasks-and-not-enough-time conundrum. I hope this list helps you find at least one task that you could be handing off to an employee, virtual assistant, or another business in order to win back a little more time in your busy schedule.
1 | Social media scheduling
Social media is an excellent way to grow and connect with your audience but it can be time consuming, especially if you’re posting to multiple accounts several times each day.
I recently shared a post on the benefits of scheduling social media, and one of the advantages is being able to pass the task to someone else. When you use a site like Buffer to organize your posts and set times for them to publish throughout the day, you can train someone to not only round up articles, quotes, and content, but to set it all up for you.
Not only will it give you more time each day to spend on other tasks, it will save you from distractions if you’re prone to getting sucked into social media.
And if you can pass the task onto a wordsmith who can carry out the tone of your brand and market your business well, that’s even better.
2 | Brand design
Is DIYing your brand taking up too much of your time and energy? Pass it off to a professional.
While hiring a designer may be more expensive than designing a brand on your own, the investment will be well worth it in the long run. Working with a designer will help you cut down on the to-do’s on your list and help you create a visual identity that attracts your ideal clients and customers and gives them a positive first impression.
3 | Legal tasks
Setting up an LLC, creating contracts, writing privacy policies, and updating terms and conditions are foreign tasks for many new business owners. Instead of spending countless hours looking up how to do all of these tasks on your own, hire a lawyer.
I know this may seem scary at first, especially for your bank account, but it could be even more costly for you in the long run.
Save yourself the time, stress, and anxiety and reach out to someone who knows what they’re doing. It won’t take them long to set up the basic legal documents you need in your business and it’s good to have an attorney-client relationship set up in the off-chance that you need to protect yourself in the future.
4 | Accounting and taxes
Like #3, this item is usually dreaded by most creative business owners.
So instead of spending the time trying to figure it out on your own (and worrying about whether or not you’re doing it right), reach out to an accountant. They’ll not only fill you in on how much you should be setting aside and when you should be filing, but they’ll take care of it for you.
5 | Bookkeeping
On a similar note, keeping up with expenses and earnings in order to hand everything over to your accountant during tax season can be a little time consuming, too.
Instead, delegate bookkeeping to a trusted individual who’s great in Excel. Forward every invoice and hand over every receipt to them so they can keep track of every penny that goes into and out of your business.
6 | Research
Do you have upcoming blog posts, newsletters, e-courses, or products you’re working on? Cut back on the time it takes to track down statistics, facts, and quotes by having an intern or virtual assistant compile some research for you.
If you’re writing an ebook based on the content from old blog posts, delegate the task of hunting down the posts and compiling the information.
Maybe you share helpful articles and posts on social media throughout the day to build trust with your audience. Give someone else the job of hunting them down.
Many tasks can fall under this “research” category, so think through ways that this might apply to your business and save you time in the long-run.
7 | Ghost writing
A ghostwriter is someone whose job is to write posts for you under your name. It may sound strange (and a little inauthentic), but it’s common practice for many businesses.
Ghostwriters are usually given the content and information that needs to be included upfront, but they help flesh out those ideas in blog posts, books, website content, etc.
Do blog posts and newsletters take up too much of your time? Maybe you don’t feel competent writing articles for your blog or copy for your website and your time could be better spent on another task. Either way, consider hiring the help of a ghostwriter.
8 | Blog post setup
Writing may be the most time consuming task in the blogging process, but the time it takes setting up blog posts can also add up throughout the week.
Give someone else the task of setting up your posts, creating blog graphics, keeping up with tags, categories, and custom URLs, and scheduling posts.
9 | Newsletter setup
While I love Mailchimp, it can take a good amount of time to set up and format a newsletter or mass email. Instead of spending an hour of your time adding the content and formatting your email, hand the task off to someone who can easily do it for you.
10 | Editing
After looking at a blog post or course material for hours on end, it’s easy for small mistakes to sneak by. We can all use an extra set of eyes on website copy, blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, ebooks, course material, and collateral items, especially when time is scarce and there are other important items on your agenda.
Consider delegating the task of editing to someone else. Have them check for errors in spelling and grammar and provide feedback on what could be changed or taken out.
11 | Shop management
There are all kinds of tasks that can be handed off when you run a shop, from packaging and shipping orders to keeping up with inventory and everything in between (so I’m tucking them all into one category). Delegate the easy-to-learn tasks to other people so you can be creating more inventory, working on marketing materials, and focusing on building your audience to generate more sales.
12 | Emails
Oh, emails. If you dread opening your inbox and can’t quite seem to get through all of your messages in under an hour or two each day, you might consider passing this task off to a virtual assistant or employee.
Sort through your inbox, respond to the most important emails, and forward the ones that don’t require your attention to someone else. You could also set up your contact form so that inquiries go to your virtual assistant first to be sorted before they’re forwarded to you.
13 | Scheduling and time management
Do you struggle with scheduling your day and keeping up with tasks? Recruit the help of someone who can sit down with you, listen to all that you have on your plate, and help you sort through it. Have them keep track of your schedule, book appointments and schedule meetings.
This is also helpful for accountability, which is harder to come by when you’re your own boss. It’s an even greater motivation to get things done when you know someone else is looking at your schedule and counting on you to meet deadlines.
14 | Invoicing clients
Do you invoice clients at different times throughout the scope of their project? Instead of keeping up with the dates and sending reminders on top of everything else you already have on your plate, pass off the task to someone else.
Using a system like 17Hats can be helpful for keeping up with invoices, especially if you’re hoping to delegate this task to someone else on your team.
15 | Marketing
As I mentioned earlier, your time is best spent doing the things that showcase your strengths and bring in an income for your business.
If coming up with marketing strategies for your business isn’t your cup of tea, bring someone on board who can take the task off your hands. Similar to branding, accounting, and legal work, this task can be more expensive than others on this list, but it can save time, stress, and frustration in the long run. Not to mention the benefits that will come from working with a marketer who has experience and knows what they’re doing.
16 | Website design and maintenance
Is the design of your site a thorn in your side? Maybe your site is already designed but requires regular maintenance and updates. Instead of stressing about it, outsource it! One less task for you to worry about and one more thing to pass off to a professional.
Is there a part of your production process that could be outsourced? Maybe it’s the creation of a product, like printing, binding, manufacturing. If you’re trying to do it all on your own, it might be time to partner with another company and outsource those tasks.
If you’re a designer, consider recruiting the help of other designers to assist you. If you’re a photographer, bring on a second shooter or hire someone to edit your photos for you. If you’re a wedding planner, bring someone on to assist you with day-of tasks.
This may look a little different for you depending on the scope of your business and your process, but if there’s any detail in the production of your process that can be outsourced, consider delegating it to someone else.
18 | Errands
Are there any errands involved in the day-to-day operations of your business that could be run by someone else? Picking up items from the printer, buying office supplies, purchasing props for photos…
Whatever it might be, it probably takes up a good chunk of your time that could be spent elsewhere. Delegate the task and have someone else run the errands for you.
19 | Dinner
I know what you’re thinking - dinner isn’t a business task. But hear me out.
When you’re working long hours and time is scarce, the last thing you want to do is worry about meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. Thankfully there are some clever, healthy resources that can help you save time.
Sites like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron offer subscription services where you choose from their weekly recipes, all of which take around 30 minutes to prepare. Then they conveniently ship the the fresh ingredients and the recipes right to your front door each week.
It’s a little more costly than if you bought the ingredients from the grocery store, but the convenience might be well worth it. Again, one less thing you can take off your plate (no pun intended).
20 | Housekeeping
I remember overhearing another business woman discuss outsourcing this task last year and it stuck with me. She said that in the 3 hours it would take her to deep clean her house from top to bottom, she could make $450 from consultations. Not only would that amount more than cover the cost of hiring someone to clean her house, but it’s money that she wouldn’t have been able to make had she been spending the time cleaning her house.
Even though this item might not be categorized as a business task, it’s an item that can be delegated to free up your time so you can be focusing on the things that fuel your business.
Are there any business tasks I may have overlooked that could be delegated? I would love to hear about them (and I’m sure others reading this would love to read about them, too).