Three tips for dealing with your fear of delegation

Here at Time Saving Heroes we’re used to working with business owners who don’t necessarily have a lot of experience in managing other people.  Some have never been employed by anyone else, and others have not had managerial positions.

That tends to mean that whilst they are brilliant at what they do, they’re not used to delegating tasks to others.  I’m not saying that makes them control freaks, but …

Hey, we’ve all been there.  If you want something doing right, and all that. The problem with releasing control, even a little bit, is the risk that a task won’t get done right, or as well as you might have done it.

However, the real problem comes when you let that stop you from passing on things you don’t need to do.  If you keep hold of everything within your business, there is a very real risk that you’ll burn out – and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

Control isn’t about keeping hold of everything yourself, it’s about managing risk and delegating what you can, to the best person, whenever you can.

If you want an extra pair of hands, or some support as and when you need it, but are worried how you’re going to manage it, our top three tips might help.

# 1 – Figure out where to focus

No matter how amazing you are, there’s only so many hours in a day. You might be happy working 10, 12, or even 18 of them but that can only last for so long, and in our experience there’s a good chance some things still won’t get done.

As a business owner you need to work out where your time can best be spent.  Yes, invoicing is important but do you have to do it?  Could someone take that over, or even automate the process to save time, so you can focus your attention on the things only you can do?

Such things could be strategic thinking, building relationships, sales, new product development and so on.  You can’t outsource those things so easily, but you can let go of the time consuming admin.

We have seen so many business owners who don’t have time to work on their business, and take it to the next level because they’re so busy working in it on day to day operations.

# 2 – What are you scared of?

Our Time Saving Heroes pride themselves on being honest and open, and we always encourage are clients to be the same. Therefore, if you feel uncomfortable about working with someone else (even though you know it makes sense to), we want you to talk about those fears.

Vague feelings of discomfort are quite disempowering and will invariably mean you don’t go anywhere.  If we can help you clarify what it is that’s bothering you, we can actually help you to address that issue and move on.

For example, we’ve had clients say before that they worry the work won’t get done, or it won’t get done as well as they would do it themselves. Some even worry that they’re inconveniencing us when they pick up the phone to ask for a task to be done, or they come across as being bossy.

The flip side of course is asking how they feel when they hold on to everything themselves, then the conversation starts to change.

I’m stressed, frustrated, sleep deprived, anxious, out of control and standing still.

# 3 – Minimise the risk

It’s all very well us saying we’re amazing, we could even point you in the direction of our reviews and client testimonials, but that doesn’t help you that much if you’re genuinely anxious about taking that first step.

That’s why we want to work with you from the outset to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. We’ll look at your fears and then figure out ways to put checks in place to make you feel comfortable.

Taking the above example of work not getting done, we agreed with one client to use a task management system which they could use to assign and track tasks sent to their Time Saving Hero. They could set deadlines, and monitor progress remotely and therefore still felt they had control of the situation, without having to be completely involved. Within a few weeks that fear was gone because they realised everything was completed as agreed.

 

It is scary, and yes it can feel a little time consuming in the beginning as you get used to working with someone else, but the truth is, whilst you can do anything you most certainly can’t do everything.

If you’re ready to have a chat about how a Virtual Assistant can help save you time and money, pick up the phone and call us on 0161 883 2024. We’re happy to help, and have a chat about what you might need to delegate.

 

 

Three types of people you should avoid on LinkedIn

So far this week I have done one-to-one LinkedIn Orientation with five people. OK, so that’s just a fancy way of saying I spent two hours going over the basics with five separate people who signed up, created a profile and promptly lost their password. One of them hadn’t been back on since uploading their profile photo, and that was ten years ago.

This is probably my favourite part of the “training” I do with people – taking someone who admits they know nothing, or have preconceived ideas about what LinkedIn is, and getting them to embrace it. Admittedly it’s baby steps, going from “member” to “daily interactor” doesn’t happen overnight, but you get my point.

One thing that often comes up, certainly with people who have had their accounts for a while is connections. Often I hear things like “who is this person? I don’t know them” or “why do strangers keep asking me to connect?” Equally typical is the query “why add me and then never communicate?”

The simple truth is LinkedIn is full of people who aren’t using it properly, and unfortunately when you aren’t confident in what you’re doing, you can find yourself looking to these people as the “experts”.

Here’s my list of three types of LinkedIn users you should probably try to avoid if you want to attain LinkedIn zen.

#1 The Door to Door Salesperson

We have all received an invitation to connect with someone we don’t know, only to receive a generic sales pitch via InMail the second you accept them.

If you have accepted someone who does this, do yourself a favour now, and remove them as a contact. They are not interested in two-way dialogue and relationship building. They just want to knock on your door and sell you something, then they will move on.

Equally, if you are this person please, on behalf of everyone else on LinkedIn, I beg you to STOP! Here’s why.

 

# 2 The Social Police

Every so often I see comments, on other people’s posts, about the validity and appropriateness of what they’re sharing.

“This is LinkedIn, not Facebook”

“This sort of thing doesn’t belong here”

“LinkedIn is a professional network – be PROFESSIONAL”

You get my point.

The sort of posts that get these comments are either family or pet photos, memes, or jokes to name a few. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I see these things I do invariably roll my eyes because, in all honesty, LinkedIn is not the place for them. However, I refrain from commenting on such posts because I am not the police of social interactions.

What annoys me more than inappropriate posts are the comments from the self-appointed social police. Their opinion of what is or isn’t appropriate on LinkedIn is just that – their opinion. There is no handbook that says “Thou shalt not post a meme of a cat wearing a watermelon as a helmet”. There is no LinkedIn code of conduct in that sense. I am a firm believer that if you don’t like it, you just don’t interact with it; or maybe, you can remove the offender as a connection. Believe it or not, you do have those options.

Personally I recommend avoiding the social interaction police at all costs. It takes a certain type of person to comment publicly on someone else’s post in a manner that comes across as nothing short of rude, and in some cases bullying. Who, if they genuinely wanted to educate and help their fellow connections, would rather hit out, instead of send a private InMail along the lines of “Hi Bob, funny meme earlier; however, LinkedIn really isn’t the sort of place for that sort of thing. You’d probably get more interaction if you …”

But hey, that’s just my opinion.

# 3 The Ego

We have all seen them, the LinkedIn users who have a headline along the lines of “MOST VIEWED LINKEDIN USER” or “The Midas of sales: Everything I touch turns to sold!”

No, really, I’ve seen the latter. I’m still cringing now.

There is a really fine line between confidence, and an overwhelming smugness, and the people who go too far are really difficult to build relationships with on LinkedIn. Which is why I always avoid them.

It’s such a shame really as you can guarantee in a genuine networking environment they wouldn’t stand up and say “I am awesome, I am great, I am perfect”. Well, some might, but very few. In the real world they may exude confidence, but they are probably capable of having a two-way conversation.

Online they are just narcissistic and are predominantly interested in either the sale (see point 1) or collecting numbers. Don’t be one of their numbers.

 

 

These are just the people I will always avoid, you may agree – you may not. However, the key here is that you do have a choice who you interact with online, as you do anywhere else. Don’t feel you have to accept everyone, and don’t feel once you have accepted that you can’t back out again. Keep the connections you want so you can customise your own LinkedIn experience.

A picture is actually worth 84.1 words

We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Or at least we all thought we knew that. The reality is it seems, according to extensive research, it’s more likely to equate to 84.1 words. But that’s a bit of a mouthful, and why mess with a good thing?

The truth is, regardless of the precise numbers, pictures help convey information quickly and easily.  Facts and figures are easier to digest if you have a nice little picture to get a point across, instead of having to wade through copious amounts of text.

This is where the infographic really comes in to its own.  If you want to get across the main features and benefits of a particular product or service you could write a 500 word blog or you could produce an infographic.

If we’re going to be picky, we’d suggest you did both, and probably combine the too – tap in to every type of audience member.  But then, we would, wouldn’t we?

Whilst there is no doubt that infographics are cool, and a fantastic tool to add to your marketing mix, the problem is they can be time consuming to produce.  Even if you have the necessary design skills, or are prepared to pay to outsource the job to someone else, you still need to do the research to provide the relevant content.

This is where a Time Saving Hero comes in.

We will work with you to:

  • Identify your audience to ascertain who searches for the information you want to provide, establish what emotions you want to evoke in them and what you want them to do with the infographic once they’ve viewed it
  • We’ll help with relevant keyword research and then start to pull information, stats, figures and data from reputable sources

 

You can then transfer the content over to your design team, or we can liaise with them on your behalf.

It’s also worth noting that we can actually produce the design in-house ourselves, saving the need to involve anyone else if you prefer.

Give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk to find out more.

 

I don’t care how big it is, what can you do with it?

Yesterday we wrote a piece about the importance of actually making contact with your contacts.  Today, we thought it might be worth thinking about whether size matters when it comes to your network.

When we first speak to people about their social media, many of them are concerned with the number of people following them on their various channels. We’ve had clients embarrassed by their lowly 100 fans, and envious of a competitor boasting over 1,000.

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again – when it comes to social media, size does not matter.

The same is true when it comes to things like LinkedIn and your other networking activities.

You will no doubt have noticed that when you get over 500 connections, LinkedIn stops specifying precisely how many you have.  As a result 500 becomes this wonderful number many aim for, because to have that 500+ next to their name makes them look impressive.

If you know that many people, you must be really well connected.

Apart from that’s not the case.

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m conducting a little experiment with LinkedIn at the moment, and part of that means I’m just accepting invites from anyone.

A quick scroll through my last 20 connections (added over the last five days) and I find:

  • 1 person I’ve met once at a networking event
  • 2 people I’ve heard of, have mutual connections with, but have never had a conversation with
  • 13 complete randoms that haven’t even taken the time to start any communication beyond sending a request
  • 4 people I actually know (two of whom are previous clients)

I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual about that, many of us if we take the time to look through our network will find numerous names we don’t recognise, and faces we can’t place.

That’s not a network.  That’s a directory. And it’s pretty useless.

The whole point of LinkedIn is to connect with people you know and trust.  Countless times I’ve asked a genuine connection for an introduction to someone else on their list, only for them to reply “I’ve no idea who they are”.  Great.

Well, plus side they just add people so at least I can introduce myself, but it’s still quite frustrating.

There’s whole swathes of the LinkedIn community that are out there collecting names and numbers, and then, for some inexplicable reason, doing absolutely bugger all with them!

Not only that, but the bigger the network, the harder it is to do anything meaningful with.  When you have over 500 contacts how do you begin to manage that?  How do you code people so you can immediately pin point your history, interactions, commonalities, their potential as a customer, supplier or collaborator?

You have no idea who most of them are – so explain again why size matters?

Everything is better when we stop and take the time to actually connect. I’m not saying for one second you have to delete everyone you can’t sell to (how egocentric is that?), but at least identify who these people are you’re now sharing your cyber space with.

The virtual world will be a better place for it.

 

 

 

It’s not who you know, but how well you know them

No matter what sized business you run, what you sell, or how long you’ve been operational, one of the most important things you have access to is your database of names.  It might only have 10 contacts in it, or it might have thousands, it doesn’t really matter.  It’s yours and it can make a huge impact on your future success.

I’m a huge fan of networking, whether it’s face to face or via social media platforms but one thing I notice more and more is the amount of people who do it, but don’t do it very well.  Yes, they’re great at reaching out and chatting to new faces, but there’s no follow up afterwards.  What’s the point of taking a business card if all you’re going to do is drop it in the bin, or worst still the “I’ll deal with that later” drawer?

No matter how much fun you had at a networking event, it boils down to nothing if you’ve wasted that time.  And trust me, coming away with a new contact you’re never going to actually get in contact with is a waste of time.

I know I’ve talked in the past about how hiring a Time Saving Hero can help you organise your new contacts after a large networking event or conference; however, we’re also handy on a day to day basis.

Think about LinkedIn.  The average user has between 0 and 300 contacts, whilst 15% have 301-499 and 27% have 500-999.  Assuming you’re average you’re going to have in the region of 300 people you’re connected to.

How many of those do you talk to on a regular basis?

How many of those do you never talk to?

More importantly, of those 300 how many of them do you not know at all?  They’re random requests you accepted way-back-when, and have consequently completely forgotten about.

If you even have one unknown, that’s too many.

Someone you don’t know is completely pointless to you.  There’s no relationship, no opportunity to interact; unless you force the issue.

And you can force the issue – you can log on and send a simple InMail.  Apart from you don’t have the time.

So that unknown remains unknowable. They could be your next biggest client, but for whatever reason (and I’m sure it’s a really good reason) you’re not reaching out to them.

That’s where a VA can come in.

One of the services we provide is a LinkedIn connexions cleanse (but we’re working on calling it something a bit flashier).

Essentially we will:

  • Download all your contacts and ask you to tell us those people you genuinely know, and those who randomly added you and you’ve never spoken to
  • We will then InMail the “unknowns” on your account, as you, to reach out to them, and encourage them to have a conversation
  • Any responses you receive – you deal with so as to ensure they are having a discussion with you, and not us
  • If no response is received within a set period of time (we never advise longer than 2 weeks), we will remove the individual as a connection

For years I’ve been wanting to do a case study on the benefits of this service, but the difficulty is those who use it are often too busy to keep a genuine record of the impact this approach has had on them and their business.  When I ask “how many people have you heard back from and what was the outcome?” the answer is usually “a few, and there’s stuff going on in the background”.

It’s never anything tangible.

So, I’m going to do a case study on my own profile.

Since January I have been accepting every request that’s come my way (something that is insanely alien to me), and over the next few weeks I’m going to reach out to all my new contacts who I don’t know and see what happens.

Why snooping on snoopers can improve your networking

A fair few weeks back I wrote a piece on LinkedIn Premium, and the advantages the paid for version had over the free one.  To be honest I focussed solely on the LinkedIn Learning feature, which I think does give you a bit more bang for your buck.  However, there’s a lot more you can do with Premium which makes it worthwhile.

Most of us are aware of the ability to see who has viewed your profile as it’s available as an option on free accounts. However, you can only go back and see the last five person, which means if more than five people view your profile in a day … well, you can do the math.

With a Premium account this isn’t an issue as you can see everyone who has viewed your profile (and a lot more information besides).

Now, you might be wondering what the big deal is.  After all, these people took the time to come across your page, had a snoop, and then disappeared in to the distance without saying howdy.

It’s true, but then how many times have you looked at a profile and just not bothered to make contact?  Why is that?  Perhaps you didn’t know how to make an introduction. Maybe you wanted to be connected by a mutual contact? Maybe you got distracted.

There’s a whole host of reasons (besides lack of interest) as to why someone might view a profile and then not reach out.  If there’s a genuine reason that took them away, but the interest remains, wouldn’t it make sense for you to try to initiate contact instead?

I will usually send a message to people who have viewed my profile to see if I can help with anything. Personally, I customise mine rather than sending a generic text, but that’s a personal call.

In my experience this is a great way to make new contacts, and to extend your network; however, again it all comes down to how you work your contact lists and actually network with the people you are now connected with.  Don’t allow LinkedIn to become the graveyard where potentials go to die.

 

It’s not about the cost, it’s value for money that matters

Last week I had a meeting with a potential client (John), who had been referred to me by a business coach I’ve worked with previously who is helping him to grow and streamline his business.

John runs a pest control business that, although still relatively young (under two years) is doing very well.  The problem is that now the phone has started to ring, and the enquiries are coming in he’s realised he doesn’t have enough time to do everything himself.

The reality is he can’t spend all day out on jobs, then go out on quotes, follow up on enquiries, answer phone calls and then send invoices.  Not if he actually wants to spend any time at home with his wife and their three month old son.

We got chatting and talked through the issues he was experiencing, and he agreed he definitely needed an extra pair of hands to help things run more smoothly.

Then we got to the really fun bit – costs.

I like to think I keep things really simple when it comes to our fees: £25 per hour for our Virtual Assistance service.

However, John immediately baulked at the idea of paying “so much” for another person’s time.  In fact, his exact response was “I could just hire an admin assistant and pay them £7.50 per hour, it would be so much cheaper.”

Now, I know John thinks he’s saying “you’re so expensive”, but what I’m actually hearing is “I’m looking at this the wrong way.”

I practically rub my hands with glee as I roll my sleeves up for this challenge.

Although John actually only needs a few hours of practical admin assistance per day, he wants someone to be around during office hours to answer his phone and handle queries.  As such, he would have to employ a full time member of staff.

The biggest problem here is that he currently operates out of the back of his van.  An admin assistance, regardless of what you paid them, wouldn’t be able to do that.  As a result he’d need to locate office space and pay a deposit to secure it.

He’d then need furniture and equipment to put in to that office space.  Having an employee on site would also mean he’d need employer liability insurance. He’s confessed he has no experience of hiring staff, and wouldn’t know the first thing when it came to establishing whether someone was experienced enough or not. His preference therefore would be to use a recruitment firm to handle all of that for him.

Taking all of that in to account, his nice cost-effective admin assistant has cost him in the region of £4,286 before they’ve even set foot in the building!

It costs nothing to get Time Saving Heroes on board. No equipment, no space, no insurance. Nothing.

That’s a considerable saving right there.

Now let’s look at the monthly costs.

By the time you factor in salary, office rent, professional fees (such as auto enrolment, payroll and HR support), NI and pension contributions our employee is likely to cost in the region of £1,776.74pm.

Alternatively, John could hire a Time Saving Hero for a maximum of 2 hours a day (as that is what he think he needs in the way of real admin support) at a cost of £1,000pm.

He could then sign up to our call handling service at £55pm to ensure his calls are answered between 8.30am and 5pm.

All of a sudden paying £17.50 more per hour has saved him £721.71 per month.

When I put it like that, he saw things differently.

We started working together this morning.