Delegating (or, I need more clients!)

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say “I know I need to delegate some of this stuff, but I can’t afford to do it right now. I need more clients first.” – I would be a very rich woman.

Look, I get it. Cash flow is tight. Every cent is going back into the business. Credit is so tight you are even putting in your own money to keep going from time to time. Taking on an extra expense makes no sense.

But let’s really look at it. You are working your heart out in your business. You spend your days networking, working with clients, developing relationships, getting your job done.

And you are spending your nights and weekends doing your bookkeeping, keeping your papers filed, sending out invoices, typing cards into the database, creating your newsletter, sending thank you notes, making phone calls, and on and on and on.

And if you are not spending your nights and weekends that way, you are worrying about all that stuff needing to get done, and feeling guilty and overwhelmed, and thinking you are a hopeless case because you are so far behind on that.

If you remember to have lunch it is only because you scheduled a lunch meeting. You have given up on having a full night’s sleep. And you can barely remember what a day off feels like – it has been so long.

And you are convinced everyone else is doing it better.

You are already working at or over capacity. And yet, you think that “if only I could get some more clients – then I would be able to get some help.”

When, exactly, are you going to work with those new clients? You have no time!

You think you need to increase your capacity for serving your clients before you increase your structures. But, you have no additional capacity. And you will have no additional capacity until you revise your structures!

One hour of work by a good virtual assistant, or bookkeeper, or intern will usually give you back 5 hours of your own time. (Both the time it takes to get the task done and done well, plus the time you spend worrying about it.)

I remember when I hired my first part time assistant. I was really worried about being able to afford her. I initially committed to 10 hours per month of her time, and I put that amount of money aside. My deal with myself was if I didn’t generate at least enough work to cover her time, I would not continue.

I don’t know about you, but paying someone $25, $50, even $100 an hour (for an expert) in order to have 5 to 10 more hours in my day or week is well worth the effort. Every single time I have expanded my underlying structures my business has increased exponentially!

Right now, for every dollar I pay a virtual assistant or other team member, I am making back about 20 times that in increased business. So now, when I really want to increase my capacity for new business I look at what else can I delegate?

Works every single time.

(c) Terry Monaghan 2010


  1. Lisa Manyon says:

    Hi Terry,

    Quite timely with my need to expand the team. You are appreciated!!!

    I adore all of my team members that make my life easier and as I type, my housekeeper is putting a sparkle and shine on my home. YUMMY.

    Now to expand that team and enjoy more productivity and peace.

    Write on!~


  2. Terry,
    You can’t grow past the one man show or the mom and pop if you don’t build a team. Great words of wisdom.
    Dr. Robert Fenell

  3. Sue Painter says:

    You spoke so well about what is exactly true – not delegating has a HUGE opportunity cost. I’m convinced that it is an artful form of hiding out. Great article.
    Sue Painter

  4. Yes, yes, yes! We need to do a campaign like “Got Milk?” except it’s “Got Help?” – Carmen 🙂

    • ofyl says:

      Carmen, maybe we should create a support group for control freaks and recovering control freaks? Between us we can pretty much take care of them… ;p

  5. Grace Heer says:

    Isnt’ it liberating? Just last month I hired my first VA– and I AM sleeping better!! 🙂
    I’m going to look at where else I can delegate… hmmmmmm.
    All best to you, Terry

  6. Simple math and SO TRUE!! I farm a LOT out and it is STILL good to be reminded to think — what am I doing that I could get someone else to do for me at a rate MUCH lower than what I bring in! THANKS! XO, Katherine
    Life Blossoming Systems

  7. Great advice! Besides my VA being much better at technology than I am, I just hired a social media marketing person that I think will be awesome. I can be freed up to work on my book, launch my institute, create more product, and meet with clients. Yahooo!

  8. when you look at things from the bigger perspective it makes so much sense!

  9. You are right Terry! You said during our last Mastermind session that this article would be something of interest to me.I’m definitely the person you describe in the first half of your article! But I know that is changing, I do deligate at least to a VA and I can’t wait until I can deligate more! That time is on it’s way.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. I can so relate to this – I used to spend my Sundays in tears trying to do my bookeeping when really it wasn’t my forte. In comes my virtual book keeper and voila I have Sundays to spare and no more tears – all for $150 a month – bargain I say!!
    Heidi Alexandra Pollard

  11. Anita says:

    What a great reminder to look at what our time is really worth? I’ve done the numbers and it is astounding (thanks to Ali). As I learn to outsource and give up more and more it really frees me to be my creative self and I always FEEL better.

    Thanks for the reminder Terry!


  12. Ellen Martin says:

    Hi Terry,

    Great article! So many small business owners and entrepreneurs have this problem. I worked with an attorney who was billing his time at $250 per hour. Even after pointing out that paying someone $20 per hour to do the administrative tasks he was doing, he was still resistant to spending the money. Very frustrating to say the least. Eventually, he agreed to try it and now wishes he had done it years ago.

    It is so worth the money to get a good assistant or to outsource tasks that are eating up your time and keeping you from getting the rest you need.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Ellen Martin

  13. Terry –
    Awesome advice! I couldn’t agree more that delegation is critical to growing your business. I have an awesome little team in place and I couldn’t do what I do without them. It takes a village! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!

  14. Phil Dyer says:

    This is such a HUGE pet peeve of mine…I have one client that I love to death that it has been such a struggle to get this across to. Much as Ellen points out, they look at the outlay of $10 or $15 or $20 dollars an hour as an expense instead of an investment to allow them to do more $300+ hour work.

    Having said that, I struggled with this myself for years…taking pride in the fact that I was a solo-preneur who did everything on his own. What an idiot! My single biggest regret is business was that I waited so long to outsource.

    Now I have a team of 2-4 (depending on which of my two business it is) that support me in some capacity and I am getting ready to add another team member.

    Thanks for a great article and for pushing my buttons ;-)!


  15. Mitch Tublin says:

    The first thing I did from the MPC Program last year was to hire in my team. We have grown together and I know without their help I would not have been able to get nearly as much accomplished. Thanks for your post,