As business owners and moms, we are constantly being pulled in many different directions all day long. It’s a constant battle to balance the time to answer emails, schedule meetings with clients, and make important business decisions while also needing to prepare meals, help kids with their homework, and spend as much quality time together with the family as we can.
It seems as though there will never be enough time in the day to get everything done. But don’t let that get you down. Instead, come up with a solution that works for you to give yourself back some of that precious family or ‘me’ time you deserve by trading it in for some hours you would usually devote to your business.
When I started my Amazon business, there were quite a few different things I found myself doing over and over again. My rule for this is:
If you find yourself doing something more than once, it’s time to create a system for it and hand it off to someone else to get done.
Granted there are some areas where this doesn’t apply, like attending board meetings, writing content for your site, meeting face to face with clients, etc. but I think you understand what I’m getting at here.
Ask yourself, “am I the one who NEEDS to be doing this for my business?” Remember the 80/20 rule in that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. As small business owners, it can sometimes be difficult to make the decision to outsource things we are comfortable doing. But if you want your business to grow and you want to have more free time on your hands to spend with your kids (or yourself), you need to learn to delegate where ever you can.
For a while, I managed multiple e-commerce stores on different platforms selling all of the same products. My inventory was stored in an out of state warehouse so I needed to keep track of the daily numbers I made available in each e-commerce store so as to not run out and run the risk of having to cancel orders. This terrible circumstance leads to disgruntled customers, followed by bad reviews, and so on and so forth. In order to do this, I set up a custom inventory spreadsheet where I made it easy to simply record the numbers from each store every day and it then spit out the amount of inventory I used while also projecting the amount I’d need for the future, broken down by each store (fun stuff, I know).
So I found myself logging in to each of these 5 stores every morning and inputting the numbers to the spreadsheet I’d created because I had built the system to manage the e-commerce inventory. Only after I did this data entry was I able to see the numbers I needed to analyze so I could determine my inventory purchasing decisions.
At first it wasn’t so bad, because I got to see the daily sales every day from each separate store. I was excited to go to each site, log in, and have the revenue numbers pop up on the screen right before my eyes. Who doesn’t love seeing those dollar signs first thing in the morning? Especially in the beginning stages of your business it can be exhilarating to see the results. But the more time I spent doing this task over and over and over again, the more I dreaded it and it became less exciting every day. After a while, I just wanted that time back and instead be able see the end results instead of doing ALL the work myself.
I spent about 20 minutes doing this every morning, which doesn’t seem like much time. But added up that’s over 2 hours every week (including the weekends since sales happen every day) I was spending on this mundane task that I didn’t NEED to be doing myself.
So I took that 2 hours of time back by creating a few instructional videos for my virtual assistant, uploaded them to Google drive, and gave her access to my inventory spreadsheet. She did have a few questions that first week which ultimately helped improve both the inventory spreadsheet and the process itself.
Thus I created 2 additional hours for myself every week. That’s 8-10 hours every month. Over 100 hours per year. That’s more than 2.5 weeks of full time work. And I had no problem filling up that time with other things to do, like taking my daughter to open gym at the rec center or reaching out to strategic partners to help improve different aspects of my business.
Now it’s your turn. Think about something you do on a regular basis for your business. What is something you find yourself doing over and over again that you can teach someone else to do?
Do I need to keep doing this task or can someone else do it?
Do I have a system in place that I can hand over and know the job will get done correctly?
You should constantly set up systems within your business to help it run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. But what about after that system is set up? Why do YOU need to keep on getting that particular task done?
The answer is simply – you don’t.
Once the task is set up the way you want it, in the most easy and efficient way you can, pass it along to someone else. I know that training people is a big pain point for most of us and initially it takes away from your own time because you’re teaching someone how to do the task. But if you’ve documented the steps in detail, you can simply hand over your training material to someone else and expect them to get the job done correctly. Another huge benefit of documenting the training is that if an employee leaves or your virtual assistant doesn’t work out, you can simply pass the training materials on to the next person without you having to take the time to retrain someone on how to get the job done.
Keep in mind that there will always be ways to improve your system and bring someone else in to do the work for you. But pretty quickly you will be able to find out:
- if the person you brought on is competent by whether or not they get the job done correctly
- if you did a thorough job of creating your systems and training materials
- if there is any room for improvement that your new employee can add to process
Some good examples of what to outsource include:
- any form of data entry
- inventory reporting
- bookkeeping and financial reporting
- anything that involves filling in spreadsheets
- formatting and uploading blog posts to your site
- sending out emails and newsletters to your email list
- scheduling meetings
- getting podcasts uploaded, transcribed, and on your site
- any you simply just DON’T LIKE TO DO
There are some many valuable opportunities where you can find tasks to outsource in your business.
To take it one step further now, ask yourself: what on this list can I automate instead of outsource? Then you can save yourself both time and money – two of the most important aspects in your business.
Knowing when and what to outsource is something every business mom needs to be aware of to not only maximize her time, but to maximize her profits and overall goals as well.
Let’s review –
Step 1: Find one task you do daily or weekly that takes you 1 hour or less to complete
Step 2: Create a foolproof, step by step system that anyone can follow to get the job done
Step 3: Hand it over to a virtual assistant or employee
Step 4: Track progress and performance over the next week or so and make any changes needed to improve the system
Step 5: Rinse and repeat with your next task to get off your plate
Now go find something in your business where you can save yourself that 2 hours every week and get another two and half weeks of work hours back. That’s an additional 4 FULL days of your life!