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types of delegationWhen you’re looking at your list of potential tasks to delegate or outsource, you’ll find that the items fall into one of two categories:

1. Stuff you know how to do, but your time would be better spent elsewhere.

2. Stuff you don’t know how to do, but needs to get done.

A few weeks ago I told you about my current virtual assistant “stack”. Nearly everything on that list fell into the first category: stuff I know how to do and very easily could do myself.

Years ago, I really struggled with this type of delegation. Why pay someone to do work I could do myself? 

And of course that question leads to the classic time arbitrage discussion of getting work done for a lower hourly rate so you can focus your time on higher value activities.

You already understand that argument, so I won’t dwell on it here.

Still, it’s a challenge (at least for me) and it might be helpful to categorize some of your tasks in this way.

The second type of delegation is MUCH harder.

If you don’t know how to do the work you’re asking your virtual assistant to do, how will you explain it to them?

How will you know if they’re qualified?

How will you know if they’re doing it right?

This is where I’ve run into trouble, especially when trying to outsource large-scale technical projects. Sure, I drew up the project specs as best I could, but could I really tell if my contractor knew the best way to deliver the work?

(I feel the same way when I take my car to the shop. “Sir, we inspected the vehicle and found your front drive shaft power steering discombobulator is worn out. I recommend replacing it immediately.”)

OK, if you say so.

There are a couple ways around this.

The first is to get a second or third or fourth opinion. If you approach each VA or contractor or outsourcing company with the same goal or desired outcome, you can compare their proposed solutions apples to apples.

The ones who take the time to understand your problem and desired destination are probably the ones that will be best to work with long-term.

The other method is to learn the process yourself first. For example, if I want to delegate my social media marketing, I can take the time to learn the strategies and tactics, and develop the processes and the documentation around them.

Then I’m in a much better position to train a VA to take over those tasks, and can probably find someone more affordable than if I was hiring for the “strategy” portion as well.

The tradeoffs are time and money. The first method is faster but more expensive, while the second is slower but cheaper.

But there aren’t any shortcuts, at least that I’m aware of.

Your Turn

Do your delegation efforts focus on the tasks you know how to do but shouldn’t be doing, or the tasks you don’t know how to do? Or both?

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