Outsourcing/Delegation in 10 Minutes a Day

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on September 23, 2010 in: Delegation for Success, Tips in 10

Delegation! Delegation! Delegation!

The trick to success is to know when to micro-manage, when to macro-manage, and when to delegate. There are only 24 hours in any given day and you have to sleep, eat, have family time, catch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy… and somewhere in there you need to work.

Take your personal life, for example.

  • Do you mow your lawn? Or do you pay a neighborhood kid or landscaping service to do it for you?
  • Do you clean your house or do you have a cleaning person that helps out or does the work for you?
  • Do you always watch your children? Or do you have a babysitter, nanny, family member, or daycare provider who watches them for you sometimes?

All of those things are delegation. Now let’s look at why you delegate.

  1. If you have someone else mow your lawn, it could be for various reasons like: Paying $10 to the neighborhood boy is cheaper than spending an hour out there mowing you lawn when you earn $100 per hour. Or maybe it’s a “quality of life” issue because you only have 2 days a week with the family and it’s worth more to you to spend time with them than on yard work.
  2. If you have someone else clean your house, it could be for the same reasons that you have help mowing the lawn.
  3. When you have someone watch your children, it could be so that you can go out and enjoy some personal time, or so you can work and earn money, or so you can complete errands or attend meetings, or it could be for any other number of reasons.

So, why is your business life any different? If you pay someone to watch your children while you earn an income, why not pay someone to do things IN your business so you can earn more of an income?

I recently interviewed an entrepreneur, a business coach like myself, who did not outsource anything. I asked him how he spends his time and he broke it down for me in an email as follows:

  • I work 10 hours per day: 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
    • 1 hour in the morning for email.
    • 1 hour in the morning for blog posting and social bookmarking as well as Twitter, Facebook, etc.
    • I have two 45 minute sessions with clients in the morning.
    • Then I take a 30 minute-to-an-hour lunch break.
    • 1 hour more of email.
    • 1 hour of bill paying, bookkeeping, and mail sorting.
    • I have another 45 minute session in the afternoon.
    • About an hour of following up with sales leads or prospects via email and telephone.
    • Then about an hour doing miscellaneous things, such as booking flights, finding conferences, looking for speaking engagements, working on my website/blog, and thinking up ideas for products and services.
    • One last email check before I leave — about 30 minutes or so — and the I close the office door for the day.

Wow! In summary he does the following daily:

  • 2.5 hours of email handling.1 hour of social media/blogging.
  • 2.25 hours of billable coaching sessions.
  • 1 hour of bill paying/bookkeeping/mail sorting.
  • .5 hour lunch break.
  • 1 hour of sales lead handling.
  • 1 hour of miscellaneous tasks.

Sure enough, that totals up to 9.25 hours in a day (plus the missing 45 minutes extra time spent on lunch or bathroom breaks!).So only 22.5% of his time is billable… AND he works 10 hours a day!I asked him how much he charges and he said it depends on the service: He makes anywhere from $90 to $170 per session.

If we take a “middle ground” average then he makes about $130 per session. By selling only 3 sessions a day, he makes $1,950.00 a week. While that is not bad, let’s be honest: That is a $101K/year salary; and while perfectly respectable, you don’t want to be working 50 hours a week for the rest of your life (and take a hit if you work less).

Let’s assume he outsources or delegates utilizing the “Three Strikes, You’re Out” test.

Question 1: Is it something that you don’t personally have to do, that someone else can do or be trained to do for you?
Question 2: Does the alternate person that could do it for you have an hourly wage less than your billable wage?
Question 3: Could you use that spare time on revenue generating activities or to increase your quality of life?

To take this “Three Strikes You’re Out” test, look at a task and ask yourself those three questions.

If the answer is “Yes” to all three then “You’re OUT”.

That’s right, YOU ARE OUT… outsource it!

If the answer is “Yes” to two questions, it should be considered.

If the answer is “Yes” to only one, it can be delegated as a last resort.

Let’s apply this to the tasks of the coach I spoke about earlier:

2.5 hours of email handling:

“Can someone else do it?” This is iffy. I am sure he could have a gatekeeper to handle some, while some he would end up having to handle himself. But let’s say a gatekeeper could cut the time spent in half, so the answer to question 1 is “yes”. (Strike 1). “Is the alternate person that could do it cheaper?” YES! (Strike 2). “Could he use the spare time to generate more revenue?” Certainly! (Strike 3). So, it is out… Outsourced!

Social Media/blogging: This is a “yes” to all 3! It’s outta here!

Billable coaching sessions: “No”. He has to do those.

Bill paying/bookkeeping/mail sorting: This is a “yes” to all 3!

Lunch break: No.

Sales lead handling: This one is iffy, but let’s say for safety it is a “no” (because nobody knows your business like you know your business).

Miscellaneous tasks: Again an entrepreneur always has some things he or she has to do, so let’s assume this is a no to all three.

So what we have now is the following:

  • Half of the email an assistant can handle.
  • Social Media is something else the assistant can handle.
  • Bookkeeping/Bill Paying. The assistant can handle that, too.

What he has just done has decreased 3.25 hours of his day in exchange for maybe $75 or so (averaging $20 – $25 per hour for an assistant).

He could take on 3 more sessions a day for an increase in revenue! Or he could only work 7 hours a day! Or he could spend those extra 3 hours multiplying his income stream by creating products, goods, books, etc.

So… my message to you: Delegate/outsource in 10 minutes a day by using the “Three Strikes, You’re Out” Test.

Heather Recommends:

I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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