Are You Trying to Do It All Yourself? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bernadette Doyle   
Thursday, 26 June 2008 00:00
Bernadette Doyle
Bernadette Doyle

A few years ago, I met one of the best known 'sales experts' in the UK. He had authored several books, and provided motivational training for blue-chip companies in a career spanning decades. If you've worked in the sales world for any time, you have almost certainly heard of him. Now in the 'golden years' of his career, he could sit back and let the opportunities come to him, couldn't he? Actually no. 'We never kept a database, Bernadette' he privately confessed to me.

So at great expense he had to hire and manage a sales team to set appointments for him. If he had cultivated a list over the years, he would have had prospective clients knocking on his door.

It's said that the most effective person is not necessarily theone who does the most, but the one who gets the most done.

Knowing the difference between the two means the difference between being stressed and busy and never feeling like there are enough hours in the day and a sense of ever increasing accomplishment, as you marvel at just how much you can achieve when you get out of your own way.

It seems to me that most business owners fall into 'Do-It-Yourself-It is' - even when we understand the importance of working ON the business versus IN the business. Several years ago, having done my time employing people (and feeling that I was working for them rather than they were working for me!), I made the decision to create a 'lifestyle business', one that I could operate with a laptop from anywhere in the world, without the overheads of office space or employees.

The mistake I made at first was that I thought no employees meant no help at all! It's an easy mistake to make. If you don't have a lot of cash when starting out, it may seem easier to do it yourself rather than hire help. And sometimes you may be reluctant to hand over tasks that you think nobody else can do as well as you!

But then I learned about 'virtual assistants' - the essential ingredient for everyone who wants to create a 'lifestyle' business. Because a VA only charges you for the hours he or she actually works, rates may be more than you'd pay an administrative employee (usually £20-30 per hour), and of course you don't have the added expenses of employee benefits, office space, and equipment.

Today I have several different assistants dotted around the world ready to leap in and help me with specific parts of my business as and when I need them. I honestly don't know how I managed for so long without them.

So this week I'd to share with you tips for assembling your own 'dream team':

1. Decide what can only be done by you and what can be handed over.

You have unique skills and parts of your business that only you can and should take care of. The more you are able to focus on those things, the stronger and faster your business will grow.

2. Understand the value of investing in help.

As wise man once said to me, if you want to make hundreds per hour, why get bogged down in penny-paying jobs? Are there things like updating webpages, book-keeping, handling routine emails that could be better handled by someone else? Trying to avoid paying someone to do these things for you by doing them yourself is false economy, as these task will sap your energy and create mental clutter. Getting these things off your 'to do' list is liberating!

3. Find the right people.

Somewhere in the world there is someone who knows how to do the jobs you want to get off your 'to-do' list, and not just that, they even enjoy doing them! My favourite places to find 'virtual assistants that you can hire by the hour are and You can find people to work on an as-needed basis from their own homes or offices, saving you the cost and hassle of hiring an office assistant.

4. Know the difference between delegating and abdicating.

Sometimes it such a relief to find someone to take care of the things that you've been dreading, that you just hope that someone else will fix or take care of things for you. That's abdicating. When you delegate you retain responsibility for the outcome. You will be most tempted to 'abdicate' those parts of your business that you don't understand or enjoy. Make sure you both have a clear understanding of the desired end result, and that the person you are hiring knows how to do accomplish what you want them to do. Ask for references and proof that they have the skills they say they do

5. Learn to let go!

For many business owners, the hardest part is trusting another person to care as much as we do, or do it as well as (we think) we can. Want to know the truth? When you assemble your 'dream team' of virtual assistants you will be surprised, amazed and delighted at how much better things go when you stop interfering!

The bottom line is outsourcing will free up your time immensely, allowing you to focus on the stuff that matters: developing your business, creating new ideas and income streams, and servicing your larger clients. You'll think much bigger and will have much more creative energy. I guarantee it!

So what can you outsource, starting today?

The first place to start is with those things that give you that 'sinking feeling' when you think about them. Keep track of tasks and activities for one week, and then go through and highlight the jobs that could be handed over. Make a plan for hiring the right helpers, and feel your energy soar!

©2007 Bernadette Doyle

Bernadette Doyle publishes her weekly Client Magnets newsletter for trainers, coaches, consultants, complementary therapists and solo professionals. If you want to get clients calling you instead of you calling them, then get your free tips now at

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2008 17:59