The duty of delegation: 3 tips on letting go so you can focus on the big picture
Running a business

The duty of delegation: 3 tips on letting go so you can focus on the big picture

As a business owner, there's only one of you — and it feels like there are a million things to do.

The mistake many founders and small business owners make is holding on to every tiny task for far too long, without delegating or outsourcing. When you're ready to grow your business — or run it without running yourself ragged — it's time to find ways to scale that work for you. 

Christen Nino De Guzman is an influencer and the founder of Clara for Creators, a platform that aims to establish pay equity for content creators. In this episode of Mind the Business: Small Business Success Stories, Nino De Guzman shares her tips for scaling intentionally and efficiently. Listen to the full episode below.

Find people and tools that complement your skillset

It's tempting to do it all yourself, but letting go of that urge is among the first steps to scaling. 

"When I started my entrepreneurial journey and became a founder, I was trying to just do everything myself, even things I didn't understand how to do," Nino De Guzman said. "What I realized is, I can outsource — pay someone to help me — and it will save me like eight hours of my week."

Nino De Guzman felt the weight melt off her shoulders after she hired an intern to handle her social media content creation and posting. 

"It was so valuable to bring him onto our team, and it really took so much of that pressure of me constantly being 'on' off of my plate," she said.

Virtual assistants, bookkeepers, and marketing managers are common contractors to outsource to. Finding someone you can trust and who understands your customer base is an important piece to outsourcing. Podcast co-host Jannese Torres got lucky, she said, when she was able to hire her sister as a social media and marketing manager. 

"She is the organization to my chaos, and we just complement each other so well," Torres said. "She helps me look good while I am out here splattering paint on the walls."

Community can help you fill your needs, whether it's finding the right person for a task or discovering the shortcuts, like software or programs you didn't even know about. 

"It's been incredibly important to have community and network with other founders, because everyone is in the same boat and they're really willing to help," Nino De Guzman said. "There's so many different apps that help streamline very tedious processes that you might have."

Resources such as a contract template repository, a simple design program, and comprehensive accounting software have changed the way that operates. For example, she used to pay contractors through mobile payment platforms until she found business software that gave her peace of mind.

"I started with Venmo and Zelle, and it just didn't feel right," Nino De Guzman said. "I quickly realized, look, as a business owner, you really do have to keep track of everything for tax breaks, and there are repercussions if you don't keep track of things. So discovering QuickBooks was super helpful because it really allowed me to sleep at night."

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Assess what level of help is right for you

Hiring employees, contractors, or vendors and finding software and tools for automating business processes are only two of the options available to help businesses grow. There are dozens of possibilities to help entrepreneurs scale, once they're open to letting go of all the minutiae. 

Generally speaking, outsourcing work does add an expense to the budget. But every option comes with a different price tag, commitment level, and opportunity cost. For example, many digital influencers are excited to hire a management company or agent to handle their business, Nino De Guzman said. But hiring an agent might come with steep financial or contractual obligations, while at the same time, the creator's true need was actually for a much simpler task.

"There's a big difference, as a creator, if you just can't manage your inbox and you're having trouble responding to emails," Nino De Guzman said. "In that case, you might just need an intern or an assistant — you might not need a management company. There are so many different ways to approach [it]."

Maybe hiring an assistant is beyond your current need, but making time to set up inbox rules to filter and sort messages would work. Maybe integrating customer relationship manager (CRM) software would better fit your budget while meeting your needs. It's up to you to assess exactly what your needs are and decide how to meet them.

Manage your time and energy

Scaling isn't only about optimizing external resources. It's also important to mind your own energy levels to create a schedule that works for your business, your customers, and you.

Nino De Guzman broke out of the 9-5 mold to create her own daily routine: 

  • Before 11 a.m.: Meetings
  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Personal tasks
  • Starting at 5 p.m.: Hands-on, creative work

"I'm awake at night. I feel more creative, and I feel like, for me, that's been really, really, helpful for my mental health and for work-life balance," Nino De Guzman said. "I'm able to see my family. I'm able to exercise and do fun things, go to Trader Joe's when it's not super crowded, and also able to maintain and feel good about me running my business."

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The biggest thing that has really helped me prioritize my time and be more efficient in my day-to-day is outsourcing.

Nino De Guzman's routine isn't a template for success for all business owners; it's the schedule that works for her. Devising a schedule that works with her commitments and energy levels is her way of creating a sustainable lifestyle as an entrepreneur and unlocking business growth. Nino De Guzman's tip?

"The biggest thing that has really helped me prioritize my time and be more efficient in my day-to-day is outsourcing."

About the Mind the Business podcast

New business? No problem. Mind the Business: Small Business Success Stories, from the team at Intuit QuickBooks, is the source for tools and resources for small business owners as they face new hills to climb. Hosts Jannese Torres (Yo Quiero Dinero podcast) and Austin Hankwitz (Rate of Return podcast) connect with entrepreneurs across industries as they start and grow their businesses. From securing funding to building a team, they'll uncover what it takes to power success.

If you're looking for tools to manage your business and bookkeeping, the team of experts at Intuit QuickBooks can get you started with free guided set-up.

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