Entrepreneurship comes with an overwhelming number of tasks. Far more than any one person can reasonable handle, let alone master.
And yet we place a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to become the ultimate ‘Boss’ who’s a master content marketer, genius social media expert, savvy SEO specialist, inspired website developer, and more, all while somehow finding the time to create, follow up on leads, nurture our relationships, network like crazy, and nail the whole ‘life’ thing – you know, the partner, the kids, the hobbies, the friends…
I’ve fallen down this rabbit hole myself on more than one occasion, and it’s the biggest reason that drives my own clients to seek my help.
At some point every entrepreneur realises that they can’t do it all.
Not because they’re incapable, but because time is finite, nobody is good at everything, and your business is better served if you have experts attending to critical elements – people who have dedicated themselves to genuinely mastering those skills, who can produce the results you need to grow a successful business.
The fine art of delegation is a skill every entrepreneur struggles with, but all business owners need to learn if they want to push their business past a certain level. With the best will in the world, there is only so much you can do yourself, and certain things that you can only do so well.
Your business is going to reach a point at which it plateaus because further growth requires more than you’re able to personally give. And this isn’t a failure on your part, not at all. Time is finite, that’s all there is to it.
Delegating certain tasks is critical to achieving greater efficiency in your business, effectively managing all those myriad tasks, and allowing your business to flourish, because it gives you the time and space needed to bring your A game to the things you are doing yourself.
Why Delegation Is Key To Growing A Successful Business
You will often hear in entrepreneurial circles that ‘delegation is the key to success’ – I am by no means the first person to say it! But it’s frequently assumed that we intrinsically understand the logic behind this.
Anyone who has worked in a managerial position or as the leader of a team will likely be able to grasp the ‘why’ of delegation reasonably easily: when you have a big project or undertaking there is a massive amount to do and dividing those tasks between multiple people not only ensures everything gets done, it allows you to assign tasks to the people most capable of completing them.
If you’ve never had to work like this, it can be trickier to wrap your head around, especially when you’re first starting out in business.
There are a few reasons for this but it essentially boils down to the fact that the majority of startups, by necessity, have to minimise costs as much as possible, and we are frequently seduced by the rather romanticised notion of the ‘solopreneur’.
Doing everything yourself means you’re not paying other people – you’re saving money.
Doing everything yourself is also a badge of honour: it’s your business, you built it from scratch, all by yourself, there’s nothing that can’t be learned, what you can dream you can do, etc…
While minimising your expenditure is good business sense, and the inspirational vision of pulling yourself up by your proverbial bootstraps is great motivation when you’re first starting out, and have no choice but do everything yourself, there comes a point when it stops being helpful and starts to hinder you.
When do you reach that point?
When the amount of money you can earn in any given hour by working in your zone of genius exceeds the amount you would need to pay someone else to complete some of the stuff on your To Do list.
What Is A ‘Zone Of Genius’?
As your business grows and your abilities and reach (not to mention skills) increase, you’ll be in a position to increase your prices (something my money mentor, Laura Elkaslassy, will tell you needs doing on a regular basis). This will naturally lead you to a point where you are spending time doing things you could outsource for far less than the amount you would earn if you spent that time on the aspects of your business only you can do; your Zone of Genius.
But what exactly is a Zone of Genius?
The concept of a ‘zone of genius’ has been around for a while, but it was Gay Hendricks’ book, The Big Leap, that propelled it to fame. Succinctly put, finding your zone of genius is a basic human compulsion, a natural drive to feel fulfilled in your life and work, and connected in some way to a greater purpose.
To feel valued and valuable.
Every individual’s zone of genius is different, as unique as their personality, and everyone has one. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it allows you to tap directly into your zone of genius and leverage your own unique gifts to earn a living. Working in your zone of genius is what makes your business successful, partly because it’s a built-in Unique Selling Point (USP), and partly because you are exceptionally good at it.
If you’re still a little fuzzy on the zone of genius concept, look at it this way. We all have varying degrees of skill and competence in a broad range of areas, both personally and professionally. Nobody is good or bad at everything, and we are all better or worse at certain things. We can group every aspect of life into four quadrants, or ‘zones’: zone of genius, zone of excellence, zone of competence, and zone of incompetence.
Zone of Genius
There aren’t many things that genuinely fall within your zone of genius, but the things that do light you up. Doing these things leaves you feeling energised, excited, and entirely accomplished. This is stuff you could happily do all day, every day, bounding out of bed in the morning eager to start work because you love it so much.
It’s absorbing, engaging, and time kind of stands still when you’re working – no dragging days, no watching the clock. You’re not just using skills when you do this stuff, you’re indulging your passions and practicing your gifts – nobody does this like you do!
Zone of Excellence
Here’s the crucial aspect of identifying your zone of genius – compare it to your zone of excellence. Because you will find that you’re good at a lot of things, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs collect skills like they’re Fabergé eggs.
With so much to do when you first start your business and nobody else to do it, you have no choice but learn. You figure it out, you get things done, and along the way you get good at doing a lot of different things.
But here’s the crucial difference – your zone of excellence is a collection of thing you’re good at, while your zone of genius are the very few things that you’re not only exceptionally good at, but so good the results you achieve or the method you use cannot be replicated by anyone else.
Your zone of excellence is stuff you’re good at, maybe even better at than a lot of other people, but there are still plenty of others out there capable of doing it much better than you.
Zone of Competence
This is where we start to venture into the realm of things you’re not brilliant at. As the name suggests you can competently do things in this area, but you’re not great at them. You’re about average, maybe even a little below average, and there are plenty of people out there who can do these things better than you.
Zone of Incompetence
There is no shame in admitting incompetence in certain areas. Nobody can be good at everything, there simply isn’t enough time to learn every skill, and just as you will have a naturally affinity and flare for certain things you will have weak areas in which you are an unmitigated disaster no matter how hard you try.
Everybody can do these things better than you, your brain either isn’t wired for them, or is capable of doing them but not without making you seriously frustrated, stressed, or annoyed.
Connecting Your Zone Of Genius To Delegating For Business Success
If your wondering what all of this has to do with delegation and business, it’s actually very simple. Your business will become more successful the more time and focus you devote to your zone of genius – that one particular thing you do better than anyone else, the unique selling point that brings people to your business, that convinced prospects to become clients.
You are the only person who can do the things that fall within your zone of genius, because not only can nobody else do them as well as you can, nobody else can do them in quite the way you do.
These are the skills that allow you to increase your prices and charge a premium for your time.
Delegating Saves Money While Increasing Revenue And Earning Potential
Just for a moment, let’s define business success as a purely monetary figure. When we do this, it’s easy to see how delegating works. If you spend all your working hours doing highly specialised tasks that are billed at a premium rate, your income will be a lot higher than if you spent some of those hours doing tasks that only netted a basic rate, or didn’t generate any income at all.
It’s just maths.
The more time you spend in your zone of genius, the more revenue you will generate.
But time, as we have established, is finite, and there are a lot of things that happen in a business on a day-to-day basis – tasks that are essential to keeping things running, attracting new clients, and serving the clients you already have.
These are things that need to get done, but are not within your zone of genius. Spending your time doing these things will decrease your revenue and earning potential.
So while delegating these tasks may feel like spending money – and in a literal sense it is, because you will need to pay people for their time – overall you are still earning more than you would by doing everything yourself.
Why? Because what you get paid for your highly skilled zone of genius is almost certainly going to be higher than the amount you will pay to delegate tasks outside your zone of genius.
The more specialised your zone of genius is, the truer this becomes.
For example, a receptionist might be hired for a range of roles but the most you would expect to pay them would be $20-$80 per hour. A highly specialised business coach, on the other hand, might charge anything from $200 to $2,000 per hour, potentially even more.
If you spend $80 outsourcing something and in that time earn $100, you are still $20 better off overall.
Delegating Is Good For Your Health And Your Business Growth
Let’s go beyond the purely monetary definition of success for a moment and consider the deeper meaning of your zone of genius.
At its core, your zone of genius is the kind of work that lights you up inside, makes you feel happy, valued, and purposeful. It’s the stuff you would gladly spend all day, every day doing.
There are a lot of things in business that people really hate doing, and it varies from person to person. I, for example, dislike reconciling accounts every month – now I love numbers but for me, reconciling is a time and energy sucking task that I’d rather not deal with. For a lot of people it’s taxes, or marketing of any kind, tasks that are completely unavoidable if you want to build a successful business but really make you feel awful.
Compare the feeling of spending your time doing the thing you love doing best, to spending it anxious, frustrated, and even angry while trying to do something you hate.
The net benefit of devoting your time to your zone of genius is far higher than the monetary rewards you receive – it’s actually better for your mental and physical well-being, because it drastically reduces the amount of stress you’re placing on yourself.
The healthier you are, the stronger your business will grow, because you are the life force driving your business growth.
Add to this the fact that your level of competency at everything outside your zone of genius will vary from ‘good at it’ to ‘totally suck at it’ and you have another great reason to delegate things that fall outside that golden zone. Quite simply, other people will do the job better than you can, because the job in question is their zone of genius.
By delegating tasks that fall outside your zone of genius to people who count them within their own magical zone of awesome, you’re ensuring the success of your business in three crucial ways:
- Increasing your revenue and earning potential.
- Decreasing your stress and anxiety over tasks you find unpleasant or difficult, thus boosting your energy and health, which in turn allows you business to grow stronger.
- Ensuring every task essential to your business not only gets done, but gets done by a person who is capable of doing an exceptional job.
10 Things To Delegate For Success
Now we’re clear on exactly how delegating can lead to success in your business, you’re probably wondering exactly what you should delegate. Here are the top 10 business tasks that you will frequently find fall outside your zone of genius:
#1 General Admin
Hands down the biggest chunk of activities in your business that absolutely have to get done but are nowhere close to your zone of genius will be general admin tasks. From invoicing to bookkeeping, filing, and even managing correspondence, so much goes into a business and a lot of it requires excellent organisational skills and efficiency, but no specialised skills.
These tasks are tedious and irritating, and almost always far better handled by a VA, who tend to thrive when given the chance to make order from chaos!
This is the BIG ONE for most entrepreneurs. In modern marketing it’s pretty much impossible to run a successful business without a website. If you’re an exclusively digital marketer it’s not even an option – you need a great website.
A powerful website is without a doubt the strongest asset you can create in your business, a 24/7 sales team that doesn’t need to sleep, eat, get sick or go on holidays.
For most people, web development is not only outside their zone of genius, but also outside their zone of excellence. When you’re first starting out it’s absolutely possible to build a simple but solid DIY website, but at some point your business needs are probably going to extend beyond your web development abilities. At that point you may want to hire a professional to design and build an all-singing-all-dancing website for you.
A huge part of web development is SEO. This is also a hugely beneficial aspect of marketing for every entrepreneur, but it can be tricky to get it right.
While there’s a lot you can do to optimise your blog posts for SEO, if you want to make SEO the backbone of your strategy for driving traffic to your website it’s a good idea to hire a pro to assess your needs, craft an SEO strategy carefully designed for your business requirements, and then implement and tweak that plan to help you achieve your goals.
Any aspect of marketing has levels – there is a basic level that gets the job done, and a higher level that is capable of propelling your business into the stratosphere and triggering real growth.
Content marketing is the perfect example of this because the basic level – blogging – is something that’s relatively simple to do, and even do well. The point at which it gets complicated is when you start leveraging your content for more complex goals than simply driving traffic, like positioning yourself as a thought leader, and encouraging subscriptions and sales. That requires a detailed understanding of the mechanics of content marketing, the creation of far more content than simple blog posts (such as content upgrades, lead magnets, videos, webinars and more), and a deep understanding of how to tailor all of it to the specific people you want to work with.
That’s an awful lot of bespoke knowledge that is well outside most people’s zone of genius, and hiring someone to handle your content marketing may be the only way to uplevel your content game from a simple traffic-driving strategy to a full blown marketing machine.
Like content marketing, your social media marketing works on two levels – the basic stuff that can be done by anyone willing to learn, and the highly targeted and refined approach that allows you to fully leverage a social media platform so that it not only drives traffic, but attracts a dedicated tribe who happily subscribe to your list, buy your stuff, tell their friends how awesome you are, and keep buying more of your stuff.
Social media is also something that a lot of entrepreneurs find stressful and frustrating, and happily delegate to a professional digital marketer so that they don’t just stay present, but the are leading their audience on a journey and converting them into customers or raving fans along the way.
#6 Email Marketing
Sending out your weekly newsletter is a tedious and often thankless task that falls under general admin needs.
Outsourcing newsletters is often a no-brainer for people as soon as their business can support it, but email marketing goes much deeper than this. From emails that deliver your opt-ins, to the nurture sequences that builds your relationship with new leads, and the sales emails that will support your launches, delegating your email marketing is a great way to ensure you successfully hit your income goals.
Every other item on this list has one thing in common: the need for copy!
Whether it’s your website, emails, blogs, or advertising campaigns, there are very few aspects to your business that don’t require some form of copy. Even packaging and correspondence requires writing. There’s a lot you can do to learn how to write compelling content for your business, and blog posts that convert, but like anything else it’s a skill that takes a lot of time to master.
If you lack a natural writing talent, or really don’t like writing, it’s always going to be a thankless task best left for someone else to handle.
#8 Paid Advertising Campaigns
If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of a Facebook ad campaign that went nowhere, or paid off a big bill to Google AdWords that didn’t generate a single sale, you’ll already know there are serious limits to how effective you can make your own campaigns.
Even if you’re fully capable of generating great results, it’s still time consuming to plan and execute a campaign, split test, monitor, and tweak it to make sure it’s constantly delivering the best possible results.
#9 Brand Development
Developing a strong, coherent brand is a huge part of establishing your presence online and growing your business, and while there are loads of aspects of branding you can put in place yourself, effective brand development is a very niche aspect of marketing. You may find you reach a certain level with your brand and stall.
Hiring a brand expert is a great way to uplevel your brand and kick your whole business up a gear.
Sometimes we’re just too close to our businesses to see them clearly – the whole wood for the trees conundrum. Consulting a professional business strategist can lend you the outside perspective and bird’s eye view needed to make key decisions, find a new direction, and solve problems that have been driving you mad, as well as some you haven’t even noticed yet.
Start Delegating For Success…
If you’re ready to start delegating and reach a new level of success in your business book a strategy session and we can talk through your zone of genius, your digital marketing strategy, and how best to position you and your business as a market leader in your niche…