Welcome to Practical Magic! A productivity and intentional living newsletter with quick, actionable tips that automate, delegate, or speed up your work.
Read time: 4 minutes
Don’t hate me when I say this…but I think most people overcomplicate delegating 🙊
I’ve loved delegating ever since I was a wee lass (anyone else rewatching Outlander?) in my early 20s.
Give me a person to hand off work to?! Um, yes please!
But I didn’t start that way. I was lucky to have a boss that completely changed how I thought about delegating…with a single sentence.
There I was – a first-time manager – with a small team that I adored.
I wanted to help them. I wanted to up-level them. I wanted to be the best boss they’ve ever had!
So naturally, any time they needed help, I found solutions for them. Any time they got stuck, I took it over to unblock them.
And slowly, they learned…that Alex will solve this for me 😂
My boss observed this with a smile on her face and years of experience under her belt.
Finally, as I piled more and more onto my plate, she decided to grace me with the wisdom that I think about to this day:
“What are you doing?!?” She said, literally chuckling, as I complained about my workload. “If one of them can do it even 70% as good as you, STOP doing it.”
I’m sure many of you have heard similar advice – thinking yes, yes, of course. But then we find ourselves with a pile of business and personal tasks that we never handed off.
Whether you’re constrained financially or by the inner control freak within you (no judgement!), I’ve got you.
Here’s your checklist to prep, plan, and pull the trigger on hiring short-term help so you can focus on what:
- makes you money 🤑
- brings you joy 🤩
- gives you more free space 🧘♀️
I see a lot of people get hung up about what to delegate. Keep it simple. Anything that can be written down as a checklist or recorded in a video can be delegated.
My favorite hack – so that I always know what to hand off – is to create a running repository. I keep track of tasks that are:
2) important but not urgent (i.e. “someday”),
3) and things I don’t like doing.
Use this as your starting point.
Hiring a virtual assistant for the day is low risk and low commitment. Use this as your testing ground to understand what’s possible. (Remember: 70%! Someone who’s brand new to you might not get it perfect the first time.)
How to Structure It
Now that you have a bulk list of tasks, group similar tasks together (this will help the VA work quicker) and identify what’s actually a priority.
A great time to book a virtual assistant is at the end of the month or the quarter. (You can do this on an ongoing basis too!)
The price range on virtual assistants varies widely. Many VAs will charge a premium price for one day of work because it’s 1) a faster turnaround, and 2) not guaranteed recurring revenue. However, you can easily find someone for $200 – $500.
The key is to think about what your time is worth and how much time it will save you.
(But please – do not undercut or undervalue a virtual assistant’s price. Pay what they ask for, on-time, every time!)
Build Your SOPs
You have to give your VA something to work with. This does not have to be a super detailed document. (In fact, one of your tasks might be having the VA create SOPs for you.)
Here are two easy ways to create an SOP in minutes:
- Record a video of you doing the task. Loom is a great software for this as it also provides a transcript of what you say. You can use this to create a supplemental checklist or outline key points you don’t want them to miss.
- Use ScribeHow to create SOPs using AI. It creates a written checklist with screenshot images as you do the task.
Done! Let’s go…
There are so many resources to find a great assistant. Don’t over-complicate this part by getting stuck down a rabbit hole! Below I provide a few options based on what’s priority for you:
If you have a smaller budget:
- Use a platform to find an assistant with great reviews. Marketplaces like Upwork and Fivver are good resources if you have some time to sort through applicants and want to find international talent at hourly rates (also typically lower rates). Choose a freelancer that has good reviews on their profile for security reasons.
If you quality is your highest priority:
- Get a referral. Chances are you know someone who uses an assistant! Many VAs will offer VIP days (even if they don’t advertise it) so you can ask them for a quote.
If you don’t have the time to look for help:
- Use a company or agency. Best if you don’t have a referral or time to sort through a marketplace. I’ve heard good things about Zirtual or FancyHands.
Hiring short-term assistance can be a great way to unblock you on busy months, test out what long-term help could look like, or even get more hours back in your week for not working (i.e. the elusive leisurely time).
You’ll never know what this can unlock until you try!
Always in your corner,
Systems Strategist & Fractional COO
If you implement any of these tips or learn something interesting, I’d love to hear from you! Just reply to this email or connect with me on social.
Want to free up 10+ hours of your week? Here are a few ways I can help:
- Book a 1:1 strategy call with Alex and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence in your systems.
- Book an Operations Strategy Day. Part consulting, part implementation. I make magic happen in your operations with a full day’s sprint! Walk away with more hours in your week.
- Monthly Strategy & Support: Let’s make the magic happen – monthly! As your virtual COO, I’ll manage your key initiatives and back-end operations (i.e. launches, systems & processes, business ops). (Currently at capacity. Join the waitlist here.)