Building for virtual freedom is a task best done in small stages, carefully thought-out, sequenced and pieced together.
Your first step is to begin identifying exactly which tasks you want freedom from—and the types of workers you’ll need to handle those tasks. This is why at my speaking engagements, in podcast interviews, and even in traditional press appearances on the subject of virtual staffing, I always include my 3 Lists to Freedom exercise. It’s incredibly eye-opening, and it gives everyone a customized list of activities to work from as we move along.
Before you start putting together your three lists, let’s consider all of the activities you’ll need to incorporate. First, take a moment to think about all of the activities your business needs just to maintain itself—these are the day-to-day tasks such as customer service. Next, consider all of the activities needed to grow your business; this might include content creation, for example. Then, go through and highlight the items that you enjoy doing personally. Now you’re ready to create your 3 Lists to Freedom!
1. Tasks You Don’t Like Doing
This is any task that makes you cringe or procrastinate. Anything can be on this list—except for selling. Selling needs to be one of your top priorities because it’s the lifeblood of any business, and no one should know your product or service better than you.
Do you routinely reply to customer service e-mails, perhaps answering the most basic of inquiries? Are you still laying out and formatting your own blog posts? Does this stuff drive you nuts? Put those types of things on this list.
Australian-based James Schramko is one of the most popular Internet marketers operating online today. He is incredibly successful. James started working with virtual assistants to simply handle work that he didn’t want to do himself anymore. The result is SuperfastBusiness.com, an extremely systemized online offering with well over fifty (yes, you read that correctly) VAs running his business for him around the clock.
2. Tasks You Don’t Know How to Do
Be honest with yourself. Don’t let superhero syndrome kick in here. I remember trying to design and develop my first blog on my own using a premium theme. It took me eight hours of work, and I still wasn’t happy with it. Why? Because I’m not a bloody web developer, that’s why!
Sit back and genuinely think hard about this one. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Are there tasks you’re currently doing that could be completed faster by someone else?
- Are there projects you’re handling that could be wrapped up in a better, more professional way?
- Are you trying to cut costs by dabbling far outside your areas of expertise?
Business coach and podcaster Jaime Tardy hired VAs to manage the web development and online marketing side of her business, EventualMillionaire.com. Why? Because she simply didn’t know how to do it herself and admitted the fact, instead of trying to teach herself.
3. Tasks You Feel You Shouldn’t Be Doing
This is the list I want you to give the most thought to. It’s usually a huge eye-opener for business owners because it gets their internal wheels turning about how they’re currently running their businesses. More importantly, this list helps you see how you want to be running your business in the future. Some questions to ponder:
- Which tasks should you simply never touch—meaning you could eliminate them from your schedule entirely, making way for more important tasks?
- Which low-level tasks could be easily given to a virtual assistant as part-time work?
- Which tasks are you handling that could be taken over by a professional who knows exactly what he or she is doing? These are tasks where the potential harm outweighs the cost savings of doing them yourself.
- Which tasks are stopping you from really focusing on the strategic growth of your business?
Mediapreneur David Siteman Garland was bogged down handling every tiny detail in his online media business, TheRiseToTheTop.com. Realizing that he needed more time to focus on the most important things, such as building relationships and further monetizing his blog and online brand, he turned to virtual help. He gained countless hours back into his schedule and today has one of the most popular online TV shows for entrepreneurs.
Here’s an example of how your lists might look, as you start out with the exercise. Note: This is standard stuff and generic to entrepreneurs everywhere in today’s business world. Your lists should be focused on you and your specific needs as a business owner.
You now have a foundation of tasks that are easily delegated that will continue to grow over time, as they do for most entrepreneurs today—not only that, but through the 3 Lists to Freedom exercise you’ve deepened your understanding of yourself and the types of tasks you need to delegate.
This is essential to your success. With that in mind, let’s discuss how to find and hire the people who are going to help revolutionize the way you run and grow your business going forward.