If the thought of letting go of the reins makes you feel uneasy, this is the guide for you.
“I couldn’t—I’m too much of a control freak”
“They won’t be able to do it the way I do it”
“I’ll end up doing the work anyway”
These are just some of the answers you might hear in your head if you’re met with the age-old question, “to outsource, or not to outsource?” (not that I’m biased, but the correct answer is almost always ‘yes, you should outsource’)
A study by The Harvard Business Review showed that CEOs work, on average, around 62.5 hours a week. That’s either just under nine hours every day with no breaks, or a four-day work-week of grueling 15-hour shifts. Well, that’s it would look like, without outsourcing.
We don’t need any official studies to see that most of us feel burnt-out from time-to-time, that we wish we could get some sleep, maybe say “no” a bit more and above all, get a better grasp of work/life balance—which all sounds great. However, at times, the work of a CEO is unavoidable and you feel that the business relies on you to put in the graft to keep it floating. There are so many tasks in a day to manage a business, from the tiny to the humungous, and when you try to do it all, that’s when time runs away from you. Plus, it can just be really bloody overwhelming. This when you need to outsource.
Yes, I know, you like to be in control of things, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some things you can do to get over your outsourcing fear…
Categorise your tasks
What are the tasks that can only be completed with your expertise? Now, what are the tasks that could be completed by someone else, but require your input? Those tasks in the latter are what can be outsourced. Sometimes it also helps to split tasks into ‘big’ and ‘small’ or ‘enjoy doing’ and ‘would rather not if I could get away with it’.
Park the ego
One of the best ways to get over fear is to be truly honest with ourselves. Is it that “no-one will be able to do it the way you can” or that someone with experience could do it with an initial briefing? The best way to do this is to take yourself out of the situation—what advice would you give a friend? Either that or sit down with your ‘hard truths’ friend and they’ll likely bulldoze the ego in no time.
Do your research
We live in the information age and with the click of a button, you can have millions of case studies and opinions on outsourcing at your fingertips. To get you started, we’ve pulled together a list of 7 reads that will change how you think about outsourcing for business
Speak to ex-control freaks
Personal anecdotes make us feel more at ease, especially when someone’s experience is similar to ours. Find your fellow CEOs who now have mastered the art of outsourcing (but maybe struggled with it at the beginning.) If you don’t know anyone off the top of your head, perhaps cast a net on LinkedIn and grab a coffee with some of those who respond.
Work with professionals
Trust is a huge part of outsourcing, and the virtual assistant world sometimes gets a bad rep. The solution is to work with real professionals—all of our ibLE experts are highly skilled, dedicated personal assistants with years of experience and unique specialisms. This means you can rely on them to do an exceptional job, no matter the task. Being a great virtual assistant takes all the skills required to be a great PA, the only difference is that they’re not on the desk next to you.
If you’re outsourcing to someone—even if they are a professional—it’s like hiring for a role. If you have any burning questions on their previous experience, skills or approach to feel more comfortable about outsourcing, you are allowed to seek answers.
If outsourcing is a fear of yours, the thought of hiring an assistant full-time must be terrifying. That’s where our ibLE experts come in. The whole point of ibLE is that it’s designed around flexibility—you can ‘hire’ one of our virtual assistants in 5-minute blocks and only pay for the time you need, without the worry of recruitment. It’s a great way to dip your toe into outsourcing.
Give detailed briefs
Virtual Assistants love detail. When you’re outsourcing, the more information you can give, the better chance an assistant will have at completing the task in the way that you would complete it yourself (if that’s what you’d like.) Not only that, clearly communicate with your VA on how you like to…well, communicate. If you are a bit of a control freak at heart, things like daily check-ins could work wonders for both you and your assistant.
Give detailed feedback
Just like any new job, it takes a few days to adjust—but don’t let that put you off. When you give detailed feedback, you speed up that process ten-fold and your virtual assistant will adapt around your likes and dislikes. It takes a little bit of time investment at the very beginning, but it’s more than worth it.
Most importantly, don’t give yourself too hard a time for being a control freak. Most businesses start out with just one person doing everything (most likely you, the CEO) and that can be a challenging habit to shake. With baby steps and a slight change in perception, you can start to free up your time to do more of what makes your business reach its full potential.