As a home-based entrepreneur, help can come to you in many forms, from the kid’s morning carpool to a personal assistant who can help with errands and organizing. Most of us know we need the help, but we put off making the decision with all types of excuses, like “I can’t afford to hire someone!” or “I don’t need to have someone else do THAT. It’s so easy—I can handle it!”
Contrary to our limiting beliefs, HELP comes in all shapes and sizes. And, you don’t have to be an advanced business owner, or spend a ton of money to deserve an extra hand. These days there are independent contractors and affordable hourly workers that can free up HOURS of your time each week… if you just let them.
Here’s how to get started…
1. Get an idea of your weekly to-dos for your business and your personal life.
Make a general list of projects and tasks you’d like to get done this week. Here’s an example of what this would look like:
Pick up dry-cleaning
Buy file cabinet
Sell books on Amazon
Book travel for sister’s wedding
Drop clothes off at Goodwill
Clean out pantry
Buy daughter’s birthday present
Write ezine article
Lunch with potential client
Make follow-up calls from networking event
Check status of brochures and business cards at the printer
It’s likely you’ll come up with a mix of personal and work errands and project-related tasks that have to do with your home and your business. Clearly, there will be a few items that you and only you should do. (In our above example, the client lunch and follow-up calls, would best be done by you, especially if you’re just starting out and are building a reputation for yourself.)
But, most of the items on your list could easily be delegated to someone else.
2. Decide WHO’S going to do WHAT.
The above exercise should unveil the TYPES of tasks that make up your life and business. You’ll find that there are housekeeping tasks to keep your home running smoothly, and there are also work-related administrative tasks. You also need to put on your managerial hat on, while keeping your money-making, business owner eyes on the “prize” at all times. Yes, it’s a lot, and that’s why your next step is to start delegating.
Family Members – This may sound like an obvious solution, but some women don’t like to recruit their family members to help them in their businesses—and some even have a hard time asking for help with family-related concerns. But asking your family to help out with home matters isn’t just appropriate, it can help to make your loved ones feel like contributing members of your “tribe”, and empower them to be proactive in the future.
Examples: Cooking dinner, giving rides, grocery shopping, booking travel, making purchases, post-office, FedEx runs, etc.
Hourly Assistants – If you’re adamant about keeping your errands out of your family life, then consider hiring an assistant on an hourly basis. A personal assistant can take on a wide variety of home and business-related work—and you can rely on them to manage your tasks professionally (and without any whining—unlike some reluctant family members!)
Examples: Personal shopping, booking travel, pet/plant sitting, organizing, rides, etc.
A Virtual Assistant (VA) specializes in traditional administrative tasks, and can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping books and managing vendors. Some are more tech savvy and can help with website maintenance, HTML, WordPress, etc. Others are great at proofing and writing. So, think about the main tasks you want to delegate and try to explore the various types of VA out there, so you can find a great fit for your particular business. VA rates range from $15 an hour to $100, depending on their specialties.
3. Start Small
If you’re feeling cautious of how much you want to let go, start small. Do a trial run with a new VA, or personal assistant, and see how your family members respond to you asking for help. Once you can get an idea of how things are working, you can move things around accordingly.
And, if you’re still uncomfortable with hiring a designated assistant, don’t forget about all the low-maintenance forms of help available to you these days. A few ideas: Have a cleaning lady to come to your house once a week, or find a babysitter to watch the kids two afternoons a week. Call a travel agent to book your next vacation, and explore your options when it comes to a bookkeeper or accountant. They may not be “hires” in the typical sense of the word, but these are other forms of help that will save you time, and free you to focus on the parts of your life and your business that you’re passionate about!© Copyright 2011 Ali Brown