Most days I feel that satisfying sense of accomplishment that comes from being on top of my game and being able to manage ‘it all’. Then there are those days where I start to tackle the day, and I can feel time slipping through my hands. I’ll look at the clock and think ‘How is it already noon?’ and then I’ll check the time again and think ‘How have two hours passed already?!’ and this usually continues for the rest of my work day. In reflection, it’s the feeling like I’m running behind that makes those days increasingly stressful and less successful than they ultimately could have been. It’s more often on the days where I’m dealing with unexpected issues that can arise from managing property flips, or client concerns that need to be addressed immediately. As a business owner, I do what I can to proactively plan for the unexpected, but there’s only so much you can do to prepare for days that are playing out as far away from the plan as possible.
Delegating tasks and duties seems like the obvious answer. Just pass all those necessities that grow your business like client support, social media management and accounting tasks to someone else and free yourself up, right? That’s generally the go-to advice that new entrepreneurs receive from mentors, other business owners and pretty much anyone when voicing their ‘early days of business’ frustrations. It’s great advice, don’t get me wrong, and it’s inevitable that you’ll be at a point in your business where you’ll find it necessary to hire an assistant or hire employees to handle the volume from your growth. But getting from day 1 and having virtually no budget to being at a point where your profits can cover the expense of additional help takes some time. It may only be a few months, but those can be some challenging days while you juggle it all solo.
The hardest part of being a new entrepreneur is having to do a little bit of everything. Bridging the gap between doing it all and having the ability to delegate isn’t as impossible as it seems. It can be achieved in many ways that are inexpensive, if not free. I’ve always found that my days run smoother and I’m more capable of accomplishing the most out of my day if I work from a planner. It’s most effective when I fill out the day’s planner the evening before and spend a few minutes accessing the current day’s planner to see what action items were not completed and carry over to the next day. This is how I determine what action items and income-producing activities I’m successful at and what my areas of improvement are. I think it’s important to analyze this for a few minutes each day and here’s why. When I delegate a task to anyone else, regardless of what the task is or whether the help is free or paid, I always make sure the goal/project is being handled by someone who is up to the task. In other words, they handle whatever it is in a way that I would have, or better. I’m not only concerned for the importance of my brand and making sure that their work is representing my ideals, but I want to be able to learn from them so that I can grow and operate better every day.
My first assistant came in the form of a virtual assistant, and that was a complete game changer for me. I had someone handling calls from ads, answering emails, and conducting property searches for myself and my clients. This saved me 3 hours a day initially, and even more time after that. I was able to shift my day from administrative duties to money making activities, like listing appointments and showings, and the momentum created snowballed from there.
Collaboration with other real estate agents was the key to keeping my sanity in the beginning when trying to manage all the showings I had. I consider collaborating with other professionals a form of delegating because I’m able to share responsibilities and accomplish a bigger task than I would have alone. Over the years, I have found collaboration with others is always a good idea when their business aligns with mine. Collaborating keeps me accountable, motivated to accomplish more and learning something new consistently, which always increases my earning power. As work became steadier and my income grew, it was easier and easier to delegate and find help to run my business effectively. Now, so many processes are automated, such as email services and apps that assist entrepreneurs with social media planning. Creative delegating goes beyond receiving assistance with work tasks and carries over into my family life. I can spend at least 2 hours or more each night preparing dinner and cleaning up afterward. I decided that for 4 nights a week, eating a take-out meal, or pre-prepped dinners that I had made on Sundays were an appropriate substitute and an incredible time saver. Delegating dinner prep is a huge win for my business in the evening hours, especially when I’m behind on completing action items from the work day. Delegating household and family chores is the best way to shift your time at any point that you need more focus on your business, but it’s a delicate balance. Balancing work and home life is the key to deciding when I need to delegate and how often. It will continue to be a process that is a learning curve and essential to successful growth.