Throughout my 20s, I was laser-focused on building my business. This meant all my resources were poured into my venture. There was one thing I wasn’t willing to sacrifice though, and that’s the quality of food I’d eat. It never occurred to me that maybe getting a virtual personal assistant will change the course of my life.
You hear it all the time - stories of entrepreneurs living off dollar pizza and ramen for years on end just so they could get their business off the ground. I was never one of those people. I valued my health way too much. Plus, I believed that the better I felt, the more I’d get done.
The irony is that I missed one important point - that our health goes beyond just our body. We have to mind our mental health too.
While I was willing to pay extra for food, I wasn’t as willing to splurge on other things. I’d do just about anything to keep that extra penny. I’d wait for hours until a taxi would pass by because I refused to pay higher Uber rates. Paying for cleaning and laundry services was beyond me, and don’t even think of making me pay for a virtual personal assistant. I chose to do everything on my own.
I thought I was making the best choices. I even took pride in my prudent lifestyle. But then it all caught up with me. For a few months, things got out of control. My dirty laundry piled up, I’d run out of groceries, and my home was in complete chaos. I almost had a psychological breakdown! Just the thought of doing something as simple as taking out the trash gave me an anxiety attack.
I knew I had to make a change. It simply wasn’t working anymore.
The Key to Leadership Success
In the world of business, people are often told about how delegation is an important key to leadership success. According to Harvard Business Review, delegation benefits all the players in a business - the managers, the subordinates, and the organization as a whole. All the same, research showed that almost half of the participating companies were seeing a lack of delegation skills in their employees. Several leaders hold on to their instinctive tendency to protect work, which then fuels a constant state of overextension.
I am a solopreneur offering women’s wear via an e-commerce store. I own a dropshipping business, which allows me to run a solo operation.
To give you a quick background on the kind of business that I run -- dropshipping is a type of business model where the retailer sells products without the need to have goods in stock or to work on logistics. Customer orders and shipment details are simply transferred to either another retailer, a wholesaler, or a manufacturer who then takes charge of shipping the products directly to the customer. With the logistics covered, all that I (the retailer) have to do is market and sell the products. I maintain an online store and advertise my products on social media channels. I also respond to customer inquiries and concerns.
At a glance, you’d think my business would not benefit from delegation. I thought the same, but boy, was I wrong.
It took a life crisis that bordered on a psychological breakdown for me to finally make a real CEO move - I started delegating certain aspects of my daily life! Because it meant spending money on something I would normally skimp on, that took a lot of courage and willpower on my part. But boy oh boy, did it change my life!
The Most Important Resource
It all started with realizing what my most valuable resource is. And no, it’s not money. It’s definitely not the few pennies I save from suffering through daily indignities. My most important resource is time! Ironically, the more I acknowledge this fact, the more money I end up saving.
Case in point, I started allocating the hours I spent waiting for a taxi to other more productive and income-generating activities. Because the marketing I do actually amounts to more sales, my time is pretty valuable. It was simply foolish to sacrifice hours of my precious time for a few dollars of savings on a taxi ride.
Now more focused on saving time rather than a few dollars, I’ve started to delegate many of my daily tasks. This boss move eventually propelled my business to new heights of success -- and earned me more profits! I now also have resources to do more of the things that I love, like traveling and volunteering. Success, after all, is about living a fuller and more meaningful life.
Here are some of the tasks I’ve started to delegate:
I have completely delegated my laundry to a service that includes pickup and drop-off. It’s a far cry from the days when my laundry would pile up to the point where I’d have to devote a day just for the task. This used to bring me such anxiety; I still shudder from the thought of it. Now, I even have a virtual personal assistant contacting the laundry service for me. I just breathe better now.
2) Food Preparation
It’s funny how I’d care about my health so much I’d only eat healthy food but then get too caught up in my daily tasks causing me to go for hours on end without food. Well, this foolishness ended a while back. Thanks again to this lovely thing they call delegation. All it took was a few clicks on an app. I am now signed up with a food preparation and delivery program that makes sure I eat right and on time. My virtual personal assistant did a great job finding a vegan delivery program that makes sure I get the proper amount of calories and that I actually enjoy my food.
3) Household Cleaning
I have OCD, and I’m a bit of a germophobe, so I spend way too much time cleaning my home. If this task were to bring in profits, I’d be much richer for it. Hiring a cleaner is probably one of the most cost-effective things I’ve ever had to do. I also feel happier and more relaxed in my home now, I just can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.
4) Business Operations
I didn’t realize it, but the thought that my business is a one-man show unnecessarily restricted its growth. Now that I have a virtual personal assistant taking care of the smaller tasks like responding to customer queries and complaints, I’ve just had more headspace and time to focus on the big picture. This resulted in a more put-together and successful marketing strategy. I’ve even branched out to other product lines! The returns are unreal.
Delegation has become a crucial ingredient not only for my business success but for my sanity as well. I’d prescribe it to anyone.