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One of the most difficult challenges that I faced in order to scale was letting go. As a business owner, this might sound a tad counter-intuitive, but hear me out: I needed to learn how to let go of tasks.

At first, I had moments when I felt like I could execute a task better and faster than the person that I was about to delegate it to. I had the illusion that by doing everything myself, I’ll get to where I want to be sooner.

That idea couldn’t be more wrong (and restrictive).


How I Started Delegating

My personal journey to smart delegation started when a client asked me to complete tasks that I didn’t know a lot about. I hired people who knew how to execute the task and trained them on the parts of the job that are equally important (i.e., life hacks, organizational skills, philosophy on getting things done).

Six months later, here we are: I have a team composed of people who love (and are well-compensated for) the work that they do. Having a team of talented, independent individuals has helped me reach a level of freedom that I have never even thought possible.

Another unexpected side effect of letting go: I realized how fulfilling it is to help my team grow in their chosen fields, and achieve their own goals. I can safely say that it’s probably one of the most meaningful endeavours I have ever undertaken.

How did I do it?


First Step: Understand Your Business

When I say understand, I mean thoroughly: you should have a detailed list of all the tasks involved in your business. Freelancers, for example, take care of their own marketing, sales, and accounting, on top of the actual services that they provide. Ask yourself the following questions when examining your own business:

  • How much time do you spend doing taking care of peripheral tasks (i.e., tasks that have nothing to do with the actual services/products that you provide)?
  • How important are these tasks to the business? Can these tasks be done away with completely, simplified, or combined with another task?
  • Which tasks do you genuinely enjoy? Which tasks are better off being done by someone who actually finds joy in them?

These are factors that will help you decide which tasks to delegate. This exercise will help you understand your role in your business, and through that, help you figure out the few, integral tasks that you should hold on to. Remember: the goal is to be free enough to work on the things that really matter.

This is the most important step; it is a prerequisite to all the steps that follow.


Second Step: Hire the Best People

After you’ve accounted for all of the tasks involved in keeping your business afloat, now it’s time to look for people. There are two factors that you need to consider when looking for team members:

  • How will their particular skill set be of value to your business?
  • How will your business be of value to their personal needs and goals?

For example, if you’re looking for someone to jumpstart your company’s branding and marketing efforts, it’s important to not only look at a candidate’s portfolio but also at the capacity for growth that the position could possibly offer them.

If you gradually entrust more and more projects to them, will they see it as a valuable skill that they learned while working with you (which is a confidence booster), or as a laundry list of tasks that they never signed up for?

This requires communication. It’s surprising how many entrepreneurs/business owners do not even talk to their team. To understand what they value, you need to get to know them a bit, maybe even mentor them for a period of time.


Third Step: Be Okay With Letting Go

This is the tricky part: you have to be okay with letting go. If you’re a perfectionist, this step might be especially difficult. Remember, the goal is for your team to eventually function on their own, under minimal supervision.

They won’t be able to do that if you’re constantly checking and re-checking their work. Even if you teach someone everything that you know, they will always find their unique, particular way of executing tasks. If you’ve chosen the right people and took the time to train them well, that is a good thing.

Another important thing: never underestimate the power of respect, understanding, and acknowledgment. To paraphrase a Maya Angelou quote, your team members might eventually forget the nitty-gritty of any given situation, but they will never forget how they felt while interacting with you. Did they feel respected? Trusted? Valued? Or do they feel disposable and faceless?

If you’re thinking of delegating and scaling, you are in a privileged position to inspire and uplift people. Make sure you do so!

Hopefully, this quick rundown on delegation has provided you with the right mindset when it comes to scaling. In business, like in life, the path to growth only becomes clear once we’ve let go of the non-essentials.

Which tasks have you opted to delegate? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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