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The Process of Delegating as a Small Business Owner

February 23, 2023

“Who should I be delegating to?” 

“What should I delegate first?” 

“How do I know if I’m ready to find someone to delegate to?”

These are just a few of the questions we ask ourselves when we feel like it might be time to ask for help. It’s a scary next step to think about, especially if we’re making the decision from a place of overwhelm. 

Delegating as a Small Business Owner


As small business owners, we’re used to rolling up our sleeves and putting in the long hours. We dive in and get done what needs to be done. After all, our business is often built from our own vision, passion, and dreams. No one can do it as well as we can & if we’re being honest…it’s way easier to just do it ourselves than it is to s l o w  d o w n  long enough to find someone and get them up to speed to do it the way we do it. #guilty🙋🏻‍♀️

…news flash, friends…I was wrong. And if you were shaking your head in agreement, you’re wrong too {it happens to the best of us every once in a blue moon}.


My personal experience has taught me that trying to do all the things, all the time, is the quickest way to get burned out {and lose my mind in the process}. When a business is driven by the owner’s motivation, burnout can lead to important things slipping through the cracks and progress stalling. 

A simple solution is to delegate. But for many entrepreneurs letting go and delegating tasks is scary. David Foster Wallace once said, “Everything I’ve ever let go of had claw marks all over it.” 

Me too, David. Me too. 


However, embracing the process of delegating has felt like a breath of fresh air ~ after I loosened my grip a little. It doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it could be the most effective thing you do for your business. 

Let’s look at the basics of the delegating process.


Why Delegate? 

When it comes to making business decisions, and as cliche as it sounds, I believe starting with the “why” is super important! If we can’t put a good “why” behind what we’re doing, then it probably isn’t the right course of action. 

So, why delegate?

Simply put: one person cannot carry the load of all that goes into keeping a small business thriving. It wears you down mentally, emotionally, and physically which can ultimately hurt your bottom line. If you’re like me, you started your business from a personal passion. I want you to keep that passion alive! In order to do that, it’s time to let go of some things. 


What Do I Delegate?

Now…what exactly do you let go of? This is a big one. Small business owners used to doing everything themselves come up with a TON of excuses for why they can’t delegate a task. And I’ll admit–there are certain tasks {even daily ones} you need your hand in. 

But not all of them. It’s time to separate the two. 

Here’s what I recommend:

1. Make a list of your daily responsibilities. This can be in a project management system, on a spreadsheet, or good ol’ fashion pen + paper. Either way, you want to list out every regular task you do. It might include things like responding to customer questions, posting to social media, following up with vendor partners, etc. When I did this, I was shocked by how much I was doing every day {and some days ‘NOT doing’ because of that whole overwhelm and ‘not knowing where to start’ dilemma}. This exercise really highlighted for me that yes, I have a problem.

BONUS TIP: Since organization is the name of my game, I found it extra helpful to group my tasks by functions ~ marketing, sales, finances, etc. I always start with the basic brain dump, which means pencil to paper until I can’t think of anything else. Then I categorize the tasks + to do’s and put them in ClickUp {my project management tool} so I can see them all neatly laid out and even print them if I want. Yes, I still love a good printed list! 


2. Determine what only you can do. This requires some rigorous honesty on your part. Because your gut reaction might be, “well only I can do EVERYTHING on this list.” But friend, I’m here to tell you that’s probably not the case. Take a good hard look at the list and what you actually need to be a part of.

BONUS TIP: Use a ranking system! Rank each task on a scale of one to five, with “1” meaning anyone could do it and “5” being only you can do it. My general recommendation is that anything ranked one, two, or three can {and should} be delegated.


Who Do I Delegate To? 

You got your list of tasks you’re ready to let go of ~ yay! The big question now is…who. 

When it comes to bringing another person into your business, whether as a contractor or an employee, it’s important to ensure they are the right fit. I recommend using your list of tasks to guide you through the process. Consider questions such as:

  • What skills and strengths are required to complete those tasks? 
  • Does this person need to be tech savvy? 
  • Do they need to have previous knowledge of a program or your industry?
  • If they don’t have the experience/knowledge, am I willing to train them and if so, what time commitment will I need to plan for to get them up to speed?


Delegating daily tasks is a big step, and you want to be selective about the person you are handing things off to. You want to be able to set them {and ultimately your business} up for success! 


How to Delegate 

You’re prepared. You know why you need to delegate. You know what you need to delegate. Maybe you even know who you’re going to delegate to. 

But how do you get started?


This is where I’m going to encourage you to take one more step back and look at the big picture of your business operations. Too often, I see small business owners believe the “how” of delegation is simply bringing on a Virtual Assistant. 

In reality, the “how” starts before you hire anyone. 

Prior to asking someone to take over a task you normally do, you need to make sure you’ve examined your processes and any systems + clearly documented the step-by-step “how” to complete the task. 

Friend, trust me when I say, “Give clear instructions, and you’ll get clear results.”

Document everything ~ knowledge, workflows, expectations, etc. ~ in an easy to access location. These documents become your Standard Operating Procedures {aka SOP’s - more on those next month!}.

Use checklists, screen record videos as you go through the task yourself, take screenshots, create a password document for anything they may need access to, include voice memos {where are all my other verbal processors at?}. Not only does this allow someone to work more effectively, it saves you both time and stress in the onboarding phase.


I promise, anything you can do NOW to start documenting how you run the different areas of your business will pay off huge when it comes time to onboard your first/next team member!   

It can be as simple as utilizing Google Drive, or there are many awesome project management systems on the market {as I mentioned before, personal fan of ClickUp over here!}. Don’t over complicate it ~ find what works for you + get to delegating! 


Ready to get your systems + processes in shape for delegation? Be sure to follow A Dreamer + A Doer on Instagram for all the tips and tricks you need.  

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