How To Delegate Work For Overwhelmed, Overworked, Exhausted, Stressed-Out Entrepreneurs

By Kimberley Borgens

In nature, the bee is the perfect example of giving and receiving. It receives pollen from the plants, bringing it back to the hive to make honey. And that honey is their gift to us.

This cycle of giving and receiving is their legacy. Think about it: for such tiny things with short lifespans, they leave a significant impact! How do they do it? They’ve figured out how to delegate work.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and exhausted as an entrepreneur? How is this affecting your role as a mom or wife with too much on her plate? Women are givers by nature, but we tend to think we have to do everything ourselves, never thinking that asking for help is an option. For the sake of your personal sanity and the future of your business, if you are going to be a giver, you must learn to be a receiver.

Delegating is one of the greatest tools anyone can use to make more money and expand their business. Just because you can claim the title of “business owner” doesn’t mean you are meant to do everything. The same principle applies to parenting, marriage, and all areas of life. There are things we can release control of, allowing other people to support us. With that relief and renewed mental clarity, you can feel good about what you’re doing in life and your business.

Recognizing the need to trust someone with a part of your life is not easy, but most entrepreneurs go through a process I like to call an Evolution of Delegation. As you recognize your need for support, you learn to stop making excuses and take action!

Where are you in the Evolution of Delegation? 

Have you identified your need yet? 

Do you have some hurdles to jump over? 

Or are you ready to learn how to delegate? 

As you read through the process here, see what resonates with you. It could be telling you that it’s time to stop giving all of the time and be willing to receive.

Becoming Aware Of Your Need For Support

Like many of you, I also grew my business while simultaneously raising a family. But, as my time and energy resources were stretched thin, I knew I needed help. So, one way I found it was by looking for someone to help me with weekly meal prep. In doing so, I tasked out the job for two hours a week, saving me five hours a week of work. 

Ignoring the signs that we need help

It may sound obvious, but the first step in the Evolution of Delegation is recognizing that you need help. Starting here is so important because many of us ignore the signs when they first appear.

Do you find yourself:

  • Overly tired or exhausted every day
  • Stretched thin personally and/or professionally
  • Lashing out at people you care about
  • Hiding away or avoiding work because it feels too overwhelming
  • Making excuses instead of taking responsibility

Acknowledging your need is the first step

It’s not easy to admit that you need help, even if the only person you are admitting it to is yourself. At this point, you may not know what kind of help you need yet, or be ready to ask for it. And that’s ok! But becoming aware of the problem will get you pointed toward a solution. 

As a great giver in this world, you have to learn to be a great receiver, too. By assuming responsibility for everything in your life, you never give yourself a chance to refuel. Tasking out my weekly meal prep allowed me to get a little more rest, time with my husband, and recharge so I could put energy back into my business.

It’s time to fill your cup

Once you start delegating tasks in your life, you will fill yourself back up so you can give attention where it is needed in your life, too.

After you’ve acknowledged the need, let’s talk about the next big stage of the Evolution of Delegation: Excuses! We all have them! Check out some common reasons women give to see if they sound familiar. I’ll teach you how to overcome them one by one!

Adopting A Scarcity Mindset

When talking with other entrepreneurs, the most popular excuse I hear is: “I don’t have the money.”

That may be true, but only in a scarcity mindset. With a bit of creativity, you can shift where you spend your money to let someone else share the load.

Where is your money going?

I want to challenge you to reconsider your budget. If you really pay attention to where your money is going, you may find that there are ways to save money! Are you spending $5 every morning on coffee? Think of how much you could save by making it at home! 

Before you believe this excuse as truth, I want you to:

  • Pull up your bank account and credit card statements for an entire month
  • Write down any spending that is not ESSENTIAL for daily living
  • Add this up. This amount is a snapshot of your potential delegation budget!

A little goes a long way

Finding small pockets of unnecessary spending in your personal life and your business quickly adds up to big savings that you can put into hiring someone to get a job done for you!

Consider this: If you wanted the latest iPhone, a new tablet, or a designer purse, what would you do? Would you commit to using your resources to reward yourself with that item? I’m challenging your thinking today to show you that you can put that same energy into delegation.

Tapping into that same abundance mindset will allow you to care for yourself and help you better focus on where you should best spend your energy in business and your personal life.

Afraid To Let Go Of Control

Are you someone who has trouble letting go? It’s easy to stay stuck in the mindset that no one will do the job as well as you. The thing is, you may be right. You just might be the best person for the job. But that doesn’t mean you are the only person for the job.

Believe someone else CAN do the job

For most of the tasks we perform, we can teach someone else to do just as well. But if you aren’t willing to teach someone how to do a job, then what you are actually looking for is your clone. And no one is your clone.

The world is full of talented people with so much to offer. Even if you are the best person for a task today, it doesn’t mean there’s not someone special waiting for you. You can teach this person to do a job up to your standards or even better. All they need is the coaching, training and experience you can offer them.

Recognize the gifts in others

During my journey in building a multi-million dollar business, I’ve delegated tasks to many people. Each time I think to myself, “I’ll teach them how to do this the way I would.” I can’t tell you the number of times they ended up doing it better and more efficiently than I could have dreamed of. Why? Because the task was their gift!

It might be hard to relinquish that control at first, but once you learn how to delegate work, it opens up a whole new world! You’ll see that allowing other people to bless you with their gifts blesses you in the long run. By challenging the “No one is as good as me” thinking, you will get more accomplished, which will lead to making more money.

Finding The Help You Need

As natural givers, our first inclination as women is not usually to ask for help. So, even if you have the financial means, taking that leap can feel pretty scary! And what’s worse… you may experience judgment.

Honoring your needs

Here’s a true story…

When looking for someone to do meal prep, I posted my request on social media. Soon after I made my post, I received a call from my mom. Not understanding why I wanted someone to come in just to cut up meat and vegetables for me, she accused me of being lazy. So, we had a conversation about that.

I explained that I had been building a business for over 30 years and running a multi-million dollar corporation. With the number of responsibilities on my plate, including volunteer work and networking, I decided I needed specific tasks taken off of my hands.

Delegating a piece of your life isn’t lazy; it’s healthy! You may need to hire someone to help at home or in your business. At that time, I needed help with food prep.

Reaching out to find support

After you’ve identified what you need help with, knowing how to ask for help can be difficult. Where do you start? That’s what I’m here for; to point you in the right direction of taking that first step.

Some of the best places to start are:

  • Social media
  • Asking family and friends
  • Job boards
  • Networking websites

Social media is always a great place to find help. Someone will know someone with the talents you are looking for. The challenge of social media is that you may face criticism, as I did with my mom. If that’s the case, don’t give up! Just say “thank you” for your input, as you recognize they are not the right person for you. Your person is out there!

When I found my “right person,” I was approached by a health coach interested in making extra money while her daughter was in school. After a year, my next person turned out to be my next-door neighbor, who wanted to make some extra cash as she prepared for her upcoming wedding. 

These women saved me five hours a week as they shared that burden. All I had to do was come home each day and cook a meal in 30 minutes or less because they did their part for me. And because of my needs, I was able to help them achieve their goals at the same time.

So don’t be afraid to take that first step and ask for help. The arrangement will bless both of you!

Setting clear expectations of your needs

As women, we are in so many relationships. These relationships come from people who work for us, our spouses, kids, and our families. And each relationship has its own set of both spoken and unspoken expectations.

Let nothing go unspoken

How often in any of these relationships have you thought, “They should have known what I meant.” But it turns out that they simply interpreted what you said differently than you intended.

I know my husband and I have worked on this for 29 years in our marriage! During our “honeymoon phase,” I expected him to know my unspoken expectations. But when he failed to meet them, I’m like, “Babe, why didn’t you do [that]?” He didn’t know what I wanted from him!

Just because I gave him a honey-do list doesn’t mean he knew I wanted it done now. I expected that he would do it when I asked, but he anticipated completing the list when he got around to it. We were working on different timetables. 

Learn to be specific in your requests

I learned how important it was to be clear in what I was asking at home and in business. Even though you have an idea of what something should be like, it doesn’t mean everyone understands it.

Not being specific is the fastest way to get let down. Don’t get me wrong, being let down will happen; it’s a part of life. But when we don’t communicate our expectations, this leads to us feeling like we have to hand hold, babysit, or worse, do everything ourselves.

Since the honeymoon phase, I’ve learned that when I come to my husband, I need to tell him, “These are the things I need support with. When can you complete it?” This way, we can discuss the expectation and come up with an agreement. We create clarity.

Get clarification of understanding

This same communication technique can also be applied to your employees. The less they have to interpret, the better! Any complex task will be much more successful by simply asking someone to repeat the instructions you gave them back to you. If it seems they misunderstood something, provide clarification, so they are set up for success.

Taking these steps might seem time-consuming, but imagine how much time you would feel was wasted having to get a derailed project back on track. And you won’t find this a necessary step forever–just in the beginning stages as you get to know each other.

The Importance Of Training

When it comes to the thought of managing someone, I’ve heard countless women say, “I’m tired of babysitting people.”

To that, my response is: why are you taking on the mom role?

Understanding your role as an employer

Let’s talk about what this means. You may be a fantastic mom and caregiver, but that’s not the person you need to be for a person you’ve hired to do a job. Of course, there is a transitionary phase at the beginning where you will have to train, provide direction, and set clear expectations. But delegation should come with an understanding of how to delegate work with some level of independence.

Anytime I hired someone new, I would first set the expectation that they would do a job my way to start. As the relationship evolves, I’m open to suggestions and new ideas to enhance productivity. Doing this kept me from slipping into the role of “babysitter.”

Training vs. babysitting

It’s essential to make the distinction between training and babysitting. Training is necessary for someone to work independently. Babysitting is handholding. You will set your employee up for success if you have given clear expectations and created accountability. Without these tools, it’s no wonder you feel like a babysitter!

To put your employees on a path to work independently, you should:

  • Set clear expectations
  • Create a system of accountability
  • Have a call to action
  • Answer questions as needed

For example, if I needed notes typed up, I made sure I included a day and time deadline (Friday at 12:00 PM). I would also ask my staff member to email me to let me know when it is complete. I set the expectation for the assignment and created a system of accountability.

Setting your people up for success

Using deadlines and offering all the information and tools they need to get the job done, your employees will feel empowered to work efficiently and effectively. You will be free to take your mothering hat off without the burden of feeling like a babysitter.

When delegating, be willing to teach someone what it takes to support you where you need it most. Doing these things will make you less likely to be let down because of a lack of good communication.

My Challenge To Teach You How To Delegate Work

In this Evolution of Delegation, it’s time to stop making excuses and start taking care of what needs to be done. 

Do you know why bee colonies are so efficient? Because everything they do is in service of the queen. She is the lifeblood of the hive, and the rest of the bees work to keep it running.

You are the Queen Bee of your business and your life! By designing a system that serves you, both can thrive and leave a legacy.

Create a list of things you can delegate

Now is the time to move past the excuses and learn to get those tasks off your plate! The best way to start is by getting creative. Come up with a list of everything you could assign to someone else. Remember, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to!

I’m not asking you to up-end your entire life, but to start simple. As you begin your journey into delegation, go through the process of finding opportunities for creating space for less burden:

  1. Write a detailed list of everything you do in a week. I like to have women write a list for both home and business.
  2. Now, go through each list and consider which things can be done only by you and which can be done by someone else. The answer may surprise you!
  3. Circle any items you’ve decided you can hire someone else to do or ask your household members to support you with.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! I share with you “50 Tasks You Can Delegate” in my ebook, Taking the Solo Out of Solopreneur. Through the act of delegation, you can finally claim your role as CEO and start working on your business instead of working in your business!

Take action by asking for help

Now that you have that list, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and ask for help. Start with something simple that you can be clear and specific about. What does support look like for you?

Remember, as you search for your person, you will hear some “nos,” and that’s ok! That means that wasn’t the right person for you right now. Just keep the faith that your person is coming.

Keep in mind that everyone is busy managing their own lives as you are searching for the right person for a job. Whether hiring an employee or a contractor, sometimes people want to say yes, but you may encounter a waiting period. In this case, adjust your expectations, or keep asking until the right person says yes at the right time.

Start at home

If you’re new to delegating, the most logical place to start is at home. (That’s why I had you make two lists!) Never forget that you wear multiple hats, and easing your burden in any role will create a ripple effect.

So, take that “at home” list and see how you can get your kids and spouse involved. Is there anything you can hire out? Some of my clients have had help with:

  • Housecleaning
  • Food prep
  • Laundry services
  • Yard work
  • Childcare 

Remember, getting help with everyday tasks is a healthy way to take care of yourself. Not only that, but without dividing your focus between work and home responsibilities, you will free yourself up to do the things that make you more money in business.

So, think about it, what’s the one thing that would lift a huge weight off of your shoulders if someone else were doing it for you? For me, something as simple as food prep allowed me to spend only 30 minutes a day cooking meals. Find your thing and see how it positively impacts your life!

Connect With Me

Growing into your role as Queen Bee is an exciting time for you! I’m thrilled to be a part of your journey. 

Join me on my Be A Legacy Facebook page, where I share wisdom for entrepreneurs stepping into their greatness, just like you!

I invite you to share with me anything you have delegated and the impact it has had on your life and your business. You’ve heard my stories; now I want yours so I can celebrate with you!

Are you not yet ready to take that first step to ask for help? Let me know on the Facebook page what is holding you back! Together, we will work out the kinks. I want to help you take the sting out of your business.

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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