EP 002: Hire a VA to Work in Your Business So You Can Work on It

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Jay Baer is a world-renowned speaker and marketing expert known for his panache and gregariousness, so it should come as no surprise that he went about finding his VA in a unique way: He tweeted about it.

It was still the early days of Twitter, and Jay tossed his request into the wind to see what would happen.

It was a young Jess Tyson (then Jess Ostroff) who answered the call, and the rest is history. Jay’s tweet set Jess off down the path to eventually found Don’t Panic Management, and Jay has been a client and proponent of working with VAs ever since.

What sparked Jay to fire off that fateful tweet? He had sold a previous company and founded Convince & Convert, which he was running out of his bedroom. The business was growing quickly, and Jay was feeling overwhelmed when he picked up a copy of The E-Myth Revisited.

In the book, author Michael E. Gerber draws an important distinction between working in your business and working on it. He says great entrepreneurs put systems in place so that they can do the latter and their team can do the former.

This message resonated deeply with Jay, who was an experienced enough entrepreneur to know that he wasn’t good at everything. But the book changed the way he thought about delegation and ownership of work.

As someone with self-proclaimed “control-freak tendencies,” Jay admits he’s had to make a conscious effort to let go of control over the years.

His formula is to reflect at the end of each year on where you spent your time. Once you’ve done an assessment, think about how to give away 15 percent of it. If you give away 15 percent of the superfluous stuff year after year, eventually you’ll be left doing only the things you’re uniquely qualified to do.

He does acknowledge that for many who are hiring a VA for the first time, the leap to delegation is extra hard. Most of these entrepreneurs have been flying solo for a while, and the idea of delegating and giving feedback to another person is daunting. Manager skills are different than implementor skills, he says, and part of hiring an assistant is learning how to manage people. It takes time, but with the right VA, you both grow trust and communication skills together!

Jay leaves listeners who are thinking about hiring a VA with this thought: “Every time you add someone [to your team], you’re a fool if you’re not scared. But you’ll also realize almost instantly how foolish you were to wait as long as you did. I have never, ever regretted adding capacity. Ever.”

Key Takeaways

  • Delegation is hard, especially if you’re used to working alone. You need to make a conscious plan to relinquish more and more control over time.
  • There’s a difference between working in your business and working on it. Hiring a VA allows you to focus on the high-level things, like growth and strategy, that you are uniquely qualified to do.
  • What you choose to delegate is up to you. Jay maintains control of his calendaring, which might be the first thing you would want to hand off! It’s up to you to decide how and when to delegate.

Top Quotes

“You have to look for opportunities to give more [work]. If you say ‘I’ll just naturally know when it’s time to turn over more things,’ you’ll always find a reason to not do that.” – @jaybaer shares delegation techniques. Click To Tweet “The differentiation between your work and somebody else doing that work is always less than you think. Most of the time, it’s indistinguishable to anybody but you and maybe your mom.” – @jaybaer on why you should delegate. Click To Tweet “A lot of people who hire virtual assistants have been one-person bands, and so that muscle of feedback and collaboration atrophies.” – @jaybaer on the challenges of learning to manage people. Click To Tweet

Resources From This Episode

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