Read time: 4 mins
When I was running our commercial cleaning company I was always stressed.
Sometimes I felt like I was drowning.
I couldn't come up for air because there were so many things within the business that needed my attention.
From what I hear from the industry today, many of you are experiencing the same thing.
You're running around putting out fires, reacting to things that go wrong or need your attention rather than planning your day around the activities that will help grow the company.
So I'm about to share with you a decision that completely changed the way I managed my time, and eliminated so many of the worries.
It's literally saved me hundreds of hours.
Not to mention sleepless nights.
Unfortunately you're not going to like it.
You're going to say, "Oh, that may have worked for you, but it won't work for me."
Or "My business is different, we're doing this this way because we have to."
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but you're not special. This can work for you, just like it worked for me.
first, Let me back up a bit..
In 2014, my cleaning company was growing very quickly and (what seemed like overnight) things started to get out of hand.
I went from being the guy who was on top of everything — in charge of every cleaner, client account, and complaint — to the guy who was “too busy” to take calls and follow up.
Then, one day a client called and cancelled their contract — I was shocked and embarrassed.
They had never complained in the past, so I thought the contract was going well.
After reviewing the account, it became quite clear: I had not inspected the site in over two months.
I assumed everything was okay because there hadn't been any complaints. In the past (when I had more time,) I didn’t make those assumptions or let things slide —and I didn’t lose contracts.
Delegation (your new favorite word)
Suddenly, I was forced to learn about the art of delegation.
To be honest, I was not comfortable or excited to take on this new challenge.
My business partner, Matt, suggested that I get a virtual assistant (VA) to help me plan and organize my day. He said a VA could work between 2–8 hours a week and would really help take all the small things off my plate.
I told Matt two things:
1) I don’t know what a “virtual assistant” is.
2) I need far more help than a few hours a week from someone in another state!
But trust is huge in our company, so (eventually) I trusted Matt and hired a VA from a company online (a quick Google search will give you many options.)
Her name is Tera, and she's been with our company for the past 4 years.
Tera helped me with all the little things (and there were a lot) that slowed me down during the day.
For example, I was at a janitorial conference where I met someone from ProTeam and we wanted to set up a meeting.
I simply took a picture of his business card, sent it to Tera and asked her to find a time that worked for a 20 minute call. It took me only 20–30 seconds, while Tera spent 10–15 minutes balancing schedules for the call to take place.
How much time are you wasting on “busy work”?
Stop and think about all the little tasks that eat up time in your day. How often do you spend 5–15 minutes on a task that someone else could do for you?
Worse, how many times do you just ignore those tasks until something happens that forces you to react?
Now, you may already have an admin who takes care of these tasks, but are you using them effectively? It's tough to think about, but maybe you are not that great at delegation and could improve.
Not convinced? Here is an article with a list of 25 things that a VA can help you with.
enjoy a new feeling...Relief.
The best part about working with a VA is that it has really opened up each day for me to focus on the things that I wanted to do and that I am good at : closing new contracts and keeping our clients happy.
My VA brought me back on track and there was a massive decrease in stress… I had finally won back my nights and weekends!
I'd love to hear what sorts of tasks you would delegate to a VA — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Brown, Co-Founder & CEO of Swept