Q4 can be overwhelming. How can you effectively manage your business during the busiest time of year?
For many of us, Q4 is a big deal—it’s the final stretch where we have the opportunity to reach year-end revenue goals and you may have a product that sells more during the holidays, making the stakes even higher.
Regardless of your product or service type, we can all agree that time becomes very tight during Q4, especially if you have kids. With school plays, curriculum night, Thanksgiving break, holiday recitals, holiday planning and more… this is crunch time!
You’re allowed to need assistance
This is a great time to try out working with a virtual assistant—someone that can help you get through the long to-do lists. This reminds me of one of the Million Dollar Women mantras: To Go Big Don’t Go Solo. Many women find delegating and outsourcing challenging, and not just because of parting with the cash. But if you are doing things in your business that someone who is paid $15-$25 per hour could be doing, then you are not putting yourself to your best and highest use. Consider conducting an audit of exactly how you spend each day — if you find you are spending a lot of time on things where you aren’t the only one who can do them, it’s time to start delegating (bookkeeping? social media? travel plans, anyone?).
To get started, you can refer to my Delegate Your Way to the Top spreadsheet. It can help you take inventory of how you spend your time, and look for which tasks are sucking up most of your day. As a rule of thumb if you aren’t spending at least 90 minutes a day on the activities that will grown your business (sales, networking, creating content or products) then you probably need to shift some things off your plate.
Consider a VA
When I taught my Million Dollar Women Masterclass (online business school), I gave the women in my class what I called “the VA Challenge” and insisted each of them get a virtual assistant for two weeks. Even if you feel like you don’t have things to outsource, if you’re paying a VA, you will find things to delegate.
A lot of women struggled with this. Even if they wanted to delegate that old fear of “it won’t be done right” or “it will take less time if I do it myself” kept popping up.
Rachel Cargle is founder of The Aide De Camp Collective—a virtual assistance agency that works with scores of women entrepreneurs who are scaling up. I asked her to share with me the most common hesitations she sees among her clients and the most popular tasks for VAs to handle for entrepreneurs.
Rachel Cargle, Founder/CEO of ADC Collective
On the reluctance to flex the delegation muscle:
Rachel noticed that after launching their companies or brand, women entrepreneurs often get into a routine of getting things done themselves, no matter how inefficient that may become.
“When we start out small we have the time, space, and energy to wear all the hats. But women have a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that it’s time to take a deep breath, take pride in what we have built, and now bring in the support needed to make it grow even bigger!” says Rachel.
On the power of delegation to enhance business:
One of the key takeaways in Million Dollar Women is the importance of delegating so that you can invest in the personal and professional development that will help you take your business big. Rachel wholeheartedly agrees:
“I always say that delegation clears the static in a business owner’s head so that they can put their focus and energy into the aspects of the business they love—the parts that inspired them to build a business in the first place. Whether that means spending more time connecting meaningfully to clientele, putting more hours into creating dynamic products, or placing focus on the business side of business that will really push your growth.”
On fears associated with having a virtual assistant:
“A lot of the clientele that come to us seeking assistance express a fear of losing control of the work they are doing. In being an entrepreneur, it is understood that these women are passionate and protective over their creations. They simply don’t have trust that an assistant, or anyone else they are delegating to, can efficiently care for the matters as they would.
“The other fear is rooted in not being sure if they are capable of properly managing the help they are bringing on. It can be scary to be the one in control of another’s work. Luckily, all of our VA’s and those of other reputable agencies are professionals in their own right and work with you to foster a relationship of efficiency and positive work flow.”
Virtual assistants are able to complete myriad tasks. A VA can be enlisted to oversee non-value-added administrative work that is often part of the day to day routine. Rachel adds that VAs are able to “take on the small but mighty tasks that must be done to keep things afloat, but that also can easily be handed off to a capable and efficient team member who will do them with care.”
Popular tasks for VAs to undertake include:
- Calendar scheduling
- Travel plans
- Social media
It’s okay to take baby steps
Not every aspect of your business has to be delegated all at once. But just like I did with my Masterclass, I encourage you to take the VA Challenge—or to take whichever first baby steps of the delegation process that you are comfortable with. Soon you’ll be a toddler and then a 100 meter dash sprinter (or to mix metaphors, become a Delegation Ninja!).
Why not start today?
P.S. There is much to learn from other women founders like Rachel. Join 150 high growth women entrepreneurs for two days of networking and learning at the Million Dollar Women Summit in March 2017 in New York City. Check it out here!