Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.
Whether you are a small business owner juggling a myriad of professional and personal pursuits, or a busy professional working extensive hours who is pushed for time on a daily basis, perhaps it’s time you streamlined your life. It’s time to delegate.
Outsourcing is no new concept. We have outsourced jobs, errands, tasks and chores. We have no desire or capacity to do ourselves for centuries. What this article aims to do is eliminate the pitfalls, increase efficiency and solidify and strengthen the mutually-beneficial bond you have with your lifestyle manager, personal concierge or personal/virtual assistant. These practical guidelines will ensure you get what you want, when you want it, without the drama.
Communication is essential, especially if you’re working with someone for the first time. Don’t cut corners at the beginning– the better the brief, the better the results.
1. Turnaround time
Every lifestyle manager, PA/VA will have a different turnaround time depending on the specifics of the project, their workload, the number of clients they work for and many other factors. To make sure that your project will be delivered on time, communicate your deadline from the FIRST conversation – this will save you not only time and money, but spare you the hassle and headaches later. Ask yourself how much time you realistically think the project will take and communicate this clearly. If you are working on a tight deadline, you need to say so!
2. Method of communication – Call/Text/Email/Carrier Pigeon
As already established, communication is key to successful delegating. Don’t just expect your lifestyle manager or PA to know what you’re thinking – communicate your objectives loud and clear. Make sure people can get in touch with you if they have any questions or encounter an obstacle. Let them know your preferred method of communication – be it phone calls (specify day and time and put it in your calendar), texts (during/after core hours), via Skype/Google Hangouts or the old-fashioned email. Never assume.
3. Vital information needed to complete the task
Very often we see clients who forget to, or cannot supply us, with the most essential information – details such as logins, credit card details, passwords, membership information, dietary requirements and frequent flyer details. Make sure you discuss what your lifestyle manager/PA/VA will need and provide them with the necessary tools at the beginning to finish the task in time. Provide clear instructions as well as any specific information you believe might be useful or relevant. If they have to fish for vital pieces of information instead of focusing on getting the job done, it’ll probably take longer than anticipated and the results will be far from satisfactory.
4. Reporting back – progress & finished product
Establish how your PA/VA will get in touch with you to report back on their progress. Are they going to send regular progress reports, do you want to be kept in the loop on a day-to-day basis or should they contact you only when the job is done? How would they send the finished project over – should they use Email, Dropbox or Google Drive? Establish these things before you start outsourcing or delegating tasks; it’ll save you time and will ensure that your people can get onto the task right away, instead of wasting time figuring out the answers on their own.