You know what I would do if I had a time machine in business?
Kick young Tommy's ass and ask him to get organized. Why? Back in the days, I would sort out my emails and arrange my meetings. And, I got more and more frustrated at myself for letting great business opportunities -- even tens of thousands of dollars -- fall through the cracks.
And over time, I saw the brutal reality: I need to stop doing all the nitty gritty stuff like setting up an appointment.
Instead, I need to start going out there. So, I hired an assistant.
While she took care of the details that were still important, I focused my energy on the critical parts of the business. As my productivity skyrocketed, so did revenue growth.
Here's what I learned: at the end of the day, as entrepreneurs, we want to spend time on the business. And that better be on things that can create the most value.
In other words, focus ruthlessly on the 20 percent of your work that will create 80 percent of your results.
Sure, a great assistant is going to cost you at least a few hundred dollars or more each month. But, you don't need to spend that much: A virtual assistant can cost you anywhere from $100-1000 per month, depending on how much you want to outsource to them. A virtual assistant is just like a personal assistant, except the fact that they most probably work in a different location than you.
Just imagine if you could focus on what you're best at. What would that mean for your business?
If you'd like to give it a shot, here are four steps that will help you get started:
1. Create a list of things you'd like to delegate.
Imagine what your perfect workday would look like. Then compare it to what your actual workday currently looks like. Chances are, it's going to be significantly different -- but that's where your assistant comes in.
Make a list of items you want to delegate to your assistant. Make sure you flesh out this list properly before moving on to the next step, because this will help you define what kind of skillsets your assistant will need.
2. Screen extensively before hiring.
Take your time to find the right person. While interviewing potential assistants, I typically bombard them with questions to see how they respond.
Pay attention to both the speed and quality of their responses (how clear they communicate, how strong the logic of their arguments is, and so on). You can also test out different scenarios with them to see how they approach each one of them.
3. Give your assistant detailed instructions.
Essentially, tell them the what, why, who, when, where, and how. The more detailed and specific you are when delegating work to your assistant, the more likely they'll be able to perform to your specific requirements.
I've found that it's helpful to create a document where you explain exactly how to do the task. Also, let your assistant know the objective behind the task for better context.
4. Create a system to monitor your assistant's work.
Last but not least, to keep things running smoothly, create a system that will allow you to have a bird eye's view of your assistant's tasks. Here's what works for me: I get my assistant to fill in two columns ("What I've done last week" and "What I'm doing this week") on a shared document on a weekly basis. I use Trello as well, but the key is to keep it simple, so that you don't get any communication mixed up.
Now, if you're still hesitating about whether you want to hire an assistant, consider this: Great businesses run on great decisions. And to come up with great decisions, you need time.
Make time for the most important things in your business, and watch things grow!