Really Want to Grow Your Business? You’re Going to Have to Replace Yourself

EF Staff Updated on February 29, 2020

virtual assistants

In 1807, French writer Charles Guillaume-Etienne penned the phrase:

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

It should also be pointed out that in 1807 people were taking arsenic to cure chronic headaches…

Despite Etienne’s remark becoming one of the most popular idioms in the English language, it isn’t necessarily true, nor is it healthy to retain this type of mentality — especially if you’re trying to run a business.

It doesn’t matter what stage your business is at, it’s never too early or too late to learn the art of delegating. The concept is simple: To maximize your income potential, learn to delegate effectively.

Delegating is a skill that doesn’t come naturally for the majority of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs want to be involved in every aspect of their business — like a parent and their baby. If that baby sniffles during the night, the parent is there with a syringe, thermometer, and the doctor’s phone number in record time.

Leaving the baby with a babysitter for the first time is a terrifying prospect for any new parent. You are entrusting your baby in the care of someone else and this is scary — even if you have done an extensive background check and required a urine sample.

4 Different Types of Virtual Assistants

Delegating is an art form that takes practice — lots and lots of practice. Before you master the art of delegating, it’s important to know the variety of support that is available to you.

General VA

How much time do you think you spend checking and sorting email during your average work week?

Chances are, it’s more than you think it is. In a study released by McKinsey Global Institute, people spend nearly 30 percent of their time at work checking their inbox. Just imagine what you could accomplish with 30 percent more time!

How many times do you wish for more hours in the day? By hiring a general VA to prioritize customer service requests, manage your calendar, and other non-income producing activity, you will free yourself up 13-15 more hours a week!

Content Writer

Perhaps you have a website with no content or content that — let’s say lacks — substance.

You need some solid articles and blog posts to catch an audience’s attention and most importantly, keep their attention. You want them coming back for more. Instead of typing up some mediocre, worthless articles, why not provide something of value? Hire a content writer that will provide you with quality content. Think of the articles as long-term investment assets. Five years from now you could still have revenue coming in from a quality article that continues to attract an audience.

Content writers create content relevant to your business. Many content writers also know a good deal about SEO. They know how to build a solid platform of content that your target market will find valuable as well as maximizing your SEO rankings.

Graphic Designer

On average, people will judge your website in under 3 seconds. You want to look professional, attractive, and compelling. You want high-definition, professional-looking photographs. You want a unique logo design. You want opt-ins to have the perfect balance between being unpretentious and noticeable.

Graphic designers can help you really nail down the image you want your brand to convey. By knowing your site’s target demographic and business goals, they can customize graphics to appeal to that specific market.

Video Editor

If you’re using video in your business, it needs to be polished and professional.

A good video editor can turn ho-hum footage into an Academy Award-winning cinematic masterpiece. Maybe that’s a little bit of a stretch, but your video will undoubtedly be a hell of a lot better than if you were to throw something together over your lunch hour while scarfing down Chipotle.

Google believes websites that provide video are of greater value to their audience and ranks them higher in the search results. Video is also great for showcasing your brand’s personality. People love to feel a connection and video enables this virtual face-to-face connection to take place.

Video editors are masters at removing superfluous footage and adding voiceovers or eye-catching special effects. Put down the camera, Steven Spielberg. Let a professional take over.

Now that you know the various types of support that are out there for you, you might be wondering how to let go of the reins and send your little baby off into someone else’s care.

The Art of Delegating

Let’s take a look at the advantages of replacing yourself in your business (by effectively delegating!) and what it could achieve for your business goals.

If you’re reading this you might find yourself in one of these five situations:

Situation #1:

After all that blood, sweat, and tears, business has finally made its way into the black — it’s headed in an upward trajectory at an impressive 300 mph. Your baby has finally taken off and there is no way you are taking your hands off the wheel! Turning your attention away from the front of the plane for just a millisecond could have catastrophic consequences.

Advantage: If your business keeps growing at breakneck speed, you need to let someone take the wheel for a few minutes while you take a break. You will be less likely to suffer burnout and develop an antagonistic attitude towards your baby by stepping away.

Execution: Develop a clear flight plan (a good set of standard operating procedures [SOP]) and pass it off to the commercial airline pilot with 25+ years under his belt sitting directly behind you. Start with letting him take the wheel with processes and projects that are non-urgent until you can trust that he knows what he is doing. Once you develop that trust, don’t micromanage. Step away and go focus on something else that could use your attention.

Situation #2:

Business is stagnant. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not great either. You know the potential is there but you keep procrastinating on activities that could propel your business forward. Things like attending networking events, managing your social media accounts, discovering untapped markets, or product innovation are not getting done.

Advantage: Getting an extra 10-15 hours a week would allow you to get out and attend networking functions, start investigating other opportunities, and concentrate on core business matters.

Execution: Start handing off small tasks such as managing social media accounts and then as trust builds, increase the VA’s responsibilities. If things continue to progress and you find yourself wishing you had hired a VA earlier, you could start building a team of VAs to free up even more of your time and make even more money.

Situation #3:

You are doing your due diligence before starting a business. You’re interested in maximizing your income potential, and you recognize you have weaknesses and are open to the idea of obtaining outside help to eliminate those weaknesses.

Advantage: You’ll be able to use trial and error when it comes to figuring out what works and what doesn’t when you bring your first support team member on board. This will cut down on the time you’ll have to spend training later on if you decide to bring on additional support.

Execution: Since this is your first VA, you recognize that the experience is an opportunity for you to learn as well. When you bring your first VA onboard, make it clear that you want feedback on the training you provide, the clarity of your directions, and the fairness of your compensation package.

Situation #4:

You have a thriving business and are not new to the business world. You enjoy passive businesses that provide consistent revenue streams. You are always on the lookout to learn new ways of monetizing your website and increasing traffic. We’ve previously referred to you as “Portfolio Paul”. If there’s a way to free up more of your time—without sacrificing your business ROI, and potentially even growing your business—you want to know about it.

Advantage: You understand what having support could do for your business. Extra support would free up your time to pursue other projects without having to make any sacrifices.The question you have is, what kind of support person do you need? Do you need a general VA, graphic artist, or something else?

Execution: Make a list of tasks and projects you want to eliminate from your workload. What categories do they fall under? You might want a VA to manage your calendar and make travel arrangements or someone to make a killer logo for a new start-up. If there are a wide variety of tasks that fall under different categories, you could potentially find one VA with a skillset to match or you could hire a team of VAs and make one VA the team leader in charge of the delegating.

Situation #5:

Lifestyle Larry” works to be able to live how he wants: enjoying the freedom and flexibility that running an online business allows. He sticks with long-term, low-risk investments, and appreciates consistency and stability. He has a formula that he’s been using for the last few years that has proven effective. So, why fix something if it isn’t broken?

Advantage: Learning to effectively delegate and then using those skills will produce tangible results. Step out of your comfort zone and know that it could always be better. Apple founder Steve Jobs famously said: “Innovation distinguishes between a follower and a leader.” Make the decision to be better, become a leader, and you will. Get ahead in your industry, be bigger and better, by leveraging your time with the skillset of a VA.

Execution: Skeptical of what a VA can really do, start small. Find a qualified VA to create quality content for your site. Keep an eye on the site analytics and see what happens. If the change is positive, start looking into other areas that are good but could be better. With a VA you can kick back, relax, and enjoy more of what you love to do. Travel? Mandarin language lessons?

You became a business owner so that you could live a certain lifestyle, why not enjoy more of that lifestyle?

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Work Smarter, Not Harder

In order to have a successful partnership and make the most out of your relationship with your VA, you need to figure out what tasks you do in a day that you don’t need to do. How much time and attention is being taken away from tasks that are a higher priority?

List everything you do in a typical workday.

Now carefully look over the list and circle or highlight all the tasks that don’t specifically need you. Your goal should now be to get all of those items handed over to your VA or support team.

Providing proper training is crucial to the success of the partnership. It doesn’t matter if you decide to train via a YouTube training video, Skype call, or with step-by-step instructions on a Word document: The training must be clear and concise.

You also need to make sure you set deadlines and offer feedback. How are they doing? What could they be doing better? Is there anything they’re having trouble understanding?

The great thing about training via a video recording is that you will then have a training video to use if you decide to hire more team members in the future.

Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of having to oversee and manage multiple team members. There are VAs that have perfected the art of managing dozens of people spread across the globe.

A VA with managerial skills can keep track of everyone’s day-to-day activities and monitor project progress by using sites such as Trello and Slack. You can request to be given daily or weekly progress reports, or none at all. It’s all up to you on how much of a role you want to play. You’re not a babysitter. You’re an entrepreneur who is out to create an empire!

Go From Crazy Control Freak to Cool as a Cucumber in 5 Easy Steps

If you want to continue to grow your business, you need to learn to delegate effectively.

Yes, it will initially take more of your time to develop and train, but, after the first hire is off and running, it will get easier. To recap, here is a super simple checklist we’ve put together to get you going on your delegation journey:

  1. Find and write down the excess tasks that you don’t need to personally be involved with.
  2. Set up a training document (or Skype call, video recording,etc.) for a few of the easiest tasks on the list.
  3. What categories do the excess tasks fall under? Find a VA with the experience and skillset the tasks require. Depending on the tasks, more than one VA might be necessary. Websites to look for VAs include: Upwork, Freelancer, 99designs, Fiverr, Toptal, or Guru. Give the candidates a sample task/project before hiring.
  4. Build trust. Start small and slowly add responsibilities. If your VA is corresponding with clients, in the beginning it wouldn’t hurt to be cc’ed in on all messages just to make sure the VA’s voice is a positive reflection of your business image.
  5. You’ve built trust. Take a step back and don’t micromanage. Go focus on things to make your business grow—or be entertained and learn how to grow your business even more by listening to a podcast we did not too long ago on how to crush your competition. It’s good stuff.

Soon enough, you will feel the weight come off your shoulders. Ultimately, your business and bank statements will thank you.

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  • Gail North says:

    Great read! Another solution to find a great VA is to hire through a VA company. The rates will be more expensive than the freelancer platforms but then you get the benefits of finding someone already vetted and trained….so if you are short on time, and can’t be bothered with the hassle of trying to figure it all out on your own – it’s a great option! Search for the words “VA companies” online – and you will get a whole list to check out, or go to – which has a list of the top rated VA companies with objective customer reviews. I found it really helpful. Good luck with the search!!

  • Ferzy says:

    I am glad to see more and more articles on this topic. For all the information out there about how to grow your online business and tutorials on what to do, not many people focus on building a team and delegating, and i think there is a lot of interest in this area.

    • Gail North says:

      Agreed! Delegating is key to business growth and the right VA can REALLY help! I speak from experience!

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