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What it Takes to Automate Before You Delegate

What it Takes to Automate Before You Delegate

Delegation is the great multiplier, allowing you to accomplish more than you ever could on your own. Building a team makes this possible, but that's not the first step you should take to start getting more done.<

Ask yourself,

“What is it you do that forms your greatest contribution to this world?” That answer—if you know it—is your ‘maximum added value'.

One of my main objectives this year is to get crystal clear on my maximum added value and hone in on those tasks which relate specifically to that.

Right now, that means more writing, coaching, and building a team.

I’m in the process of hiring a Virtual Assistant for my business. Many entrepreneurs do this when they start to feel stretched, in order to offload the more tedious tasks. My friend Andy Traub calls it “magic—like buying more time.

I'm a huge fan of magic (and more time), so I'm on board and ready to make the hire.

The more I can clear distractions off my plate, the more I can focus on my maximum added value—but doesn't the same rule apply to virtual assistants, as well?

Death by Email

When you're running an online business, email is your lifeblood. Social media attention is nice, but email is where the action truly happens.

The larger your business grows, the more email you're going to receive—plain and simple.

Email is one of the first tasks Virtual Assistants usually take over, to keep busy entrepreneurs from dealing with email overload. They start handling client relations, frequent inquiries, and scheduling.

It works pretty well, but is it the best use of a Virtual Assistant's time?

I make it a point to have lunch with other entrepreneurs at least a couple times every month. Here's the abbreviated version of how email-scheduling often goes down:

  1. Me: I'd love to have lunch! When can we meet?
  2. Entrepreneur: Let's do it! I've copied my assistant, they'll take it from here.
  3. VA: Are you available next week?
  4. Me: Yes, how about Monday?
  5. VA: Monday has passed by now, will next Friday work?
  6. Me: Sure, at 11:30am in Franklin. Will Mexican do?
  7. VA: How about Pancho's Place or Oscar's Taco Shop?
  8. Me: Oscar's it is!
  9. VA: Great, what's your phone number?
  10. Me: Here it is…

At best, scheduling takes three or four emails to work out. I've had email exchanges last two months before all the details were confirmed.

Scheduling, like many other tasks today, has fallen victim to a common ailment—death by email.

The Automated Alternative

Amidst the progress of the digital age, we will continue to see innovative solutions to problems we never noticed before.

Scheduling appointments, for example, is no more than an exchange of information that both parties need:

  • Mutual availability,
  • Purpose of meeting,
  • Contact information, and
  • A location to meet.

In this case, I wasn't satisfied with the Virtual Assistant solution. I found a tool I could use to automate this process instead. Check it out:

Calendly lets you create meeting types and control your availability, presenting custom questions as you need.

When someone schedules an appointment, they're presented with options based on your set availability that block out any conflicting events on your personal calendar.

Once the meeting is confirmed, that appointment—and information—gets added to your Google Calendar account.

So far, the service is flawless. I use Calendly to schedule My Strategic Business Advisor Services sessions in addition to coaching meetings and lunch.

The basic service is free, but I upgraded to premium so I can include links to video call instructions or payment (when relevant) at the end.

This tool represents just one example of a task I could delegate that's better off when it's automated. This isn't true for all tasks—some jobs require a human, personal touch—but it is for many.

Question: What could you automate—instead of delegating—in your business today?