business growth

Learning to Delegate

I’m good at giving orders. I can organize, order, and instruct quite well. As long as the person I’m giving orders to once had their diaper changed by me…

It has been interesting learning to do that with business (give the orders, not change the diapers). Because it isn’t just the ability to give orders, I also have to correct people when they get it wrong, and instruct them in how to get it right. I also have to “compartmentalize” the work that needs to be done – that is, break off logical sections to delegate.

I actually think that it is the last part that has been the hardest. Partly because of my perceptions of other people, and partly because you really have to think about which tasks can be handed off to someone else without creating more work in the process. And because with Kevin, at least, he has been learning. So I have to keep readjusting the categorizations of tasks that I can hand him. Business is not the same two days in a row!

Lately, we have taken on some subcontractors – an SEO assistant, a design assistant, a template coder, and most recently a writing assistant. It was difficult to even determine at first which specialties I needed, and which ones COULD be outsourced in an efficient manner. It almost happens in “oh duh” moments. In the middle of wondering how I’ll fit something in, or how I’ll approach it, I suddenly realize that someone else could do it. Or I realize that a set of tasks that I previously did not have much of, I now have enough of to outsource. Last week I realized that someone whom I had hired for one purpose could actually do another job as well – what a great thing it was to hand that off and have it come back done exactly to my expectations.

I have to keep reassessing my own position. I’ve moved from being responsible for doing everything, to just being responsible for everything. There is a difference. I sort of like a lot of it – I mean, I can send specs to someone, and have the results appear 24 hours or so later, and I can just take that and use it. The invoice gets sent to Kevin (in his role as office manager), and everything is done without the least fuss from me. I don’t have to figure out the books anymore, I don’t have to sit there with a brain freeze when I hit a mind block in the design process, and I don’t have to sort through CSS trying to find the one contrary bit that is making the whole thing go wacky. But I can do some of the really fun stuff that I’m not ready to let go yet, like the header that I got to hand paint using the Wacom. Gotta love that!

Our business is evolving. Thankfully, so am I. I just hope that my rate of learning keeps up with the growth rate of the business!

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