How to Delegate Work Even When You’re Scared

Hand drawing Delegate concept with marker on transparent wipe board isolated on white.

Learning how to delegate tasks as a manager, especially when you’re afraid it could backfire can be tough. One of the greatest challenges is knowing when to override your fears and delegate anyway and when to refrain.

In her secretlivesofleaders.com article entitled Why Am I So Afraid to Delegate, Kishshana Palmer shares the following reminder:

“Delegation is NOT for dummies. But you are a dummy if you don’t delegate.”

Managers commonly struggle with releasing responsibility to their employees at some point in their careers. And when this happens, all sorts of fears crop up keeping you from multiplying your best work through delegation.

Most businesses are equipped with capable enough staff. But you can’t bring their positive and creative energy to the forefront if you hold the reigns too tightly.

It could be you’re new to delegating, struggling to find the proper balance or you recently had a bad experience when you ‘passed the baton’. Regardless of the reason for your delegating fears, here are some ways to delegate even when you’re scared.

Remember the Results of Not Delegating Are Even Scarier

What’s the question that paralyzes most managers when struggling to delegate? “What could happen if I delegate work to an employee?” Managers get fixated on that question when they should be asking, “What could happen if I don’t.”

It’s human nature for your mind to jump to the worst-case scenario. But effective delegation skills require you to envision the productivity you’ll lose by not fully involving your most valuable resource (your employees).

Sure, mistakes can and will happen if you delegate. But the productivity of your company, the job satisfaction of your employees, your professional reputation and job security could be at stake if you don’t delegate.

If you stop and think about it, not delegating is far riskier. For that reason, learning how to delegate effectively can’t be overstated.

Keep Things More Important Than Work in Mind

One of the saddest things about the failure to delegate is how it affects aspects of your life that are more important than your work.

These include your physical, mental and spiritual wellness. This also includes time with your family.

If you fail to delegate tasks, you’ll miss out on life itself. The decline of your health or family certainly isn’t worth holding too tightly to the helm.

You’ll work longer hours with higher stress levels if you don’t share your workload. The good news is you can better protect what’s most important to you in life through delegation.

Whenever you feel scared to delegate, remember it’s not worth the fear considering all you’ll miss out on if you don’t.

Planning Ahead Will Make You Less Fearful

I know what you’re saying. “If I just had more time, I’d plan ahead better for my projects.” Ironically, the main reason you don’t have time is that you’re not delegating enough.

Often, the reason you’re scared to hand off a project has nothing to do with the competence of your employees. Rather, your failure to adequately plan for the project’s success is what makes you most fearful.

Start delegating more regularly and you’ll have time to adequately plan for those projects. The result will be much greater peace of mind for you and your employees.

How to Delegate: Consider Going Outside of Your Company

Another reason for apprehension to share responsibility despite the benefits of delegation could be because of:

  • Overworked employees
  • Inadequate employee staffing
  • Inadequate managerial staffing
  • A lack of specific skills
  • Employees who are still in training
  • You have a lot of short-term work (like with a product launch)

All of these fears and more can be calmed through delegating tasks to a virtual assistant company. Whether you need a virtual assistant, virtual team or online business manager (virtual manager), you can find an on-demand expert when you need one.

Smart to Finish can assist you with a wide selection of tasks that may be too specialized for your employees. And the great news is you don’t have to wait weeks or months for an employee to be properly trained.

Would you like to see how we can help your business grow today? You can reach out to us for a free 30-minute consultation. We look forward to meeting you!

Delegating Tasks is Good—Doing it Badly Isn’t

Has delegating tasks in a way that actually works been a struggle lately? If so, you’re dealing with a pretty common problem.

In her businessnewsdaily.com article entitled 3 Elements of Delegation Every Manager Should Know, Marissa Sanfilippo shares the following reminder:

“As a leader, you can’t possibly do everything on your own. Instead, learn to lean on your team and trust them to get the job done. As a result, you’ll see that your company can accomplish a lot more without bogging you down.”

Sounds easy enough, right? It’s human nature for some to figure, “How hard can it be? I just assign tasks to my employees and then move on.”

This overly simplistic approach to delegating has been the bane of many a naïve manager though. Learning how to delegate isn’t nearly as easy as some make it out to be. Still, solid delegation skills are in reach for those who persevere.

Delegating mistakes can lead to even more work than before if you don’t learn to avoid them. They can also hurt your company’s reputation if you fail to deliver your best efforts.

What do you do if you’re struggling to implement effective delegation and it’s costing you big? Here are some examples of common delegating mistakes and how to steer clear of them.

Micromanaging

As a manager, it’s easy to micromanage your staff without realizing you’re doing it. And the problem is that pretty much no one enjoys being micromanaged. Worse yet, if you have competent staff, it slows down the project and keeps you from getting other pressing tasks done.

The feeling of empowerment is an important aspect of your employees doing their best work. For that reason, delegate the outcome rather than the process it takes to get there. If you have a competent and creative team, they’ll take care of the how. The main thing you need to communicate is what needs to get done.

Of course, this needs to be balanced out if some training is necessary. Just be sure to call it what it is–training, not delegated work.

Failing to Provide Any Direction During the Project

Now that we’ve discussed the dangers of micromanaging, we should also mention the hazards of laissez-faire leadership taken too far. Providing no insight into a project part way through could lead to a disappointing and inferior outcome.

If that happens, you’ll be all the more tempted to micromanage the project the next time around. Often, you can provide regular feedback without feeling too suffocating to your staff.

Are you starting to lean too much towards micromanaging the project? Keep lines of communication open with your employees and tell them your goal to provide just enough info to create success without hampering the project by hovering over it too much.

Once your staff realizes you’re in their corner, they’ll help you find that balance. Another positive side benefit is they’ll respect you a lot more for your transparency and approachability.

Not Allowing Room for Mistakes

A seasoned virtual manager or on-site manager knows you can’t prevent all mistakes from happening. And the most skilled managers know that to an extent it’s okay. Setbacks or failures are an important aspect of staff having the courage to learn new skills.

Imagine a parent wanting their toddler to walk perfectly but never letting them stumble or fall along the way to their goal. Trying to prevent failure in that child would only lead to greater failure in the long run.

The same holds true in the workplace. A good in-person supervisor or manager online should keep their staff from making any glaring errors while realizing mistakes will happen.

Also, be sure to stay communicative with your staff so they feel safe about coming to you if something doesn’t go as planned.

Thinking Delegating Tasks Should Only Happen In-House

Another common delegating mistake is thinking the only way to get a task or project done is through your everyday hourly staff. Today, more than ever, that’s not always the best route to go.

Sometimes you need skills now that your staff doesn’t possess. It’s also possible your staff is too overloaded to have extra items added to their to-do list.

That’s where hiring a virtual assistant, virtual team or online business manager can give you the on-demand skills you need today. Smart to Finish can provide all of these needs for your business.

There’s no reason to fret over lost productivity. You can get in touch with us to find out the benefits of delegation. Feel free to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us and start realizing your full potential.

Exciting Announcement: We’re Simplero Certified!

Exciting Announcement: We’re Simplero Certified!

We have been utilizing Simplero for some time now, and can attest to its ability to bring ease
and profitability to our clients. By packaging multiple systems into one source, Simplero
provides a software program that delivers all the Sales and Marketing functions an information-
based business needs. At Smart To Finish, we’ve assisted several of our clients to integrate this
service into their business – and we are delighted to announce that we are now officially
Simplero Certified!

What exactly is Simplero?
We think Simplero sums themselves up best when they say “Simplero gives you everything you
need and nothing you don’t”.

Some key features include:

  • Comprehensive email marketing
  • Tools for creating and selling infoproducts (PDF e-books, webinars, audio, video)
  • Built-in member sites
  • Fully customizable website (includes shop, blog, etc.)
  • Create landing pages, invoicing, affiliate programs, and more

Trying to decide if Simplero is right for you? Let’s talk! As certified Simplero consultants, we can
help you determine the best options for your business!

A Quick Guide to Facebook Ad Types and Formats

A Quick Guide to Facebook Ad Types and Formats

When stepping into the Facebook Ads arena to help promote your business, it can be overwhelming to learn that there are ten categories of Facebook ads. Yes, TEN! And on top of that, there are different ad formats to choose from. So which category and format is the best for your needs? It depends.

Here is a quick rundown of each ad type and what their objectives are:

Facebook Ad Types

  • App installs: Promote downloads and installations of your desktop or mobile app
  • Brand awareness: Help get your brand noticed by a new audience
  • Conversions: Get people to perform specific actions on your website, such as purchase a product or subscribe to your email list.
  • Engagement: Drive people to your page or a post on your page to increase the number of likes, comments, shares, video views, or photo views. Also used for event promotion.
  • Lead generation: Get people to sign up for your email list and add them to your sales funnel.
  • Reach: Get your ad noticed by as many people as possible.
  • Product sales catalog: Show people ads for products that they are most likely to purchase.
  • Store visits: Get people to visit your brick and mortar store.
  • Traffic: Drive traffic to a website.
  • Video views: Get your video out in front of as many people as possible to promote brand awareness.

And within those objectives, there are six Facebook ad formats to choose from:

Photo Ads

This is just what it sounds like. Just know that images can have no more than 20% of it be text if you want it to be seen by as many people as possible. Use this Facebook ad image tool to see if your image meets the requirements.

  • Campaign types: All except video views
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1200 x 628 pixels

Video Ads

Video is where it’s at when it comes to engagement on Facebook. Here are the specs to keep in mind when making your video (but for the most impact, the shorter the video, the better):

  • Campaign types: All
  • Facebook ad image sizes (thumbnail): Minimum width 600 pixels; match length to video aspect ratio
  • Facebook ad dimensions: Video aspect ratio of 16:9 (full landscape) or 1:1 (square) for all objectives; other aspect ratios available for specific campaign types
  • Maximum video length: 120 minutes

Slideshow Video Ads

Don’t have the time or ability to make a video? Why not create one from still images (up to 10). Just add captions, and voila! You have a video ad with very little effort.

  • Campaign types: All except post engagement and product catalog sales
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1280 x 720 pixels

Carousel Ads

While this may seem similar to a slideshow video ad, it’s not. You can display up to 10 photos OR videos in your ad, but they will be presented in one post that displays the images separately.

  • Campaign types: All except post engagement and product catalog sales
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Maximum video length: 2 minutes combined

Collection Ads

This is a mobile-only ad that shows off multiple products or features.

  • Campaign types: Conversions, traffic
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1200 x 628 pixels

Canvas Ads

One of Facebook’s newer formats, it’s almost like a sales page incorporating text, up to 20 photos, and video.

  • Campaign types: Brand awareness, conversions, engagement
  • Facebook ad size: Full screen
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 66 x 882 pixels (header); 1080 x 1920 pixels (full-screen image)

Still confused about Facebook ads? Why not contact us at Smart to Finish. We will work with you on determining which ad category best suits your needs and get your Facebook ad campaign underway.

5 Tips for Effective Email Management Using Infusionsoft the Right Way

5 Tips for Effective Email Management Using Infusionsoft the Right Way

Using a CRM to manage your email list is common practice in 2017, and Infusionsoft makes it easy to do.  But, are you really managing your email list the right way?

Yes, it’s great to have a big list, but it’s even better to have an active and responsive email list.  After all, the goal is to turn those leads into buyers. And, you can’t do that if your list isn’t opening and engaging with your emails.  Here are our top 5 tips for effective email management:

1. Organic Growth & Permission

Infusionsoft requires a permission-based email marketing strategy. CAN-SPAM laws actually prohibit you from sending emails to just anyone. You must have permission to send emails to your recipients. Permission is obtained from sign up forms on your website. It’s best practice to offer something of value in exchange for someone providing you with their name and email.

Once you obtain the email address, be sure to deliver the content they requested, and let the recipient know how often to expect emails from you.  It’s also a great idea to add a checkbox to your opt-in forms asking people to check that they understand the content they will receive.

2. Confirmation

Email confirmation or “double opt-in” helps protect you from malicious bots, fake email addresses, and mistyped email addresses. All of these can negatively impact your sender reputation and prevent emails from being delivered to the inbox.

3. Segment

Don’t send every email to everyone on your list. Collect information on your contacts so you know exactly what they will be interested in. Then, tag them with their interest and only send them information that will be valuable to them.

4. Whitelist

On your thank you page or in the first email you send, ask your subscribers to add your email address to the their address book or safe sender list.

5. List Hygiene

Keep your list healthy by sending frequent communications and always providing an easy way for subscribers to opt-out of your marketing. It’s helpful to set up a regular schedule for sending emails so your recipients will come to expect when they’ll receive your messages. You also need to periodically cleanup your email list to ensure all addresses are current, active and deliverable. To keep your list clean, you’ll want to identify all engaged contacts and tag them. Engaged contacts are those that have recently:

  • Opted in via an Infusionsoft hosted web form
  • Opened an email
  • Clicked a link within an email
  • Purchased a product or service
  • Been on a recurring subscription

Once you have identified and tagged all contacts meeting at least one of the criterion above, opt-out all unengaged contacts. Please note: The general rule of thumb is to search engaged contacts within the past 120 days (four months). 

Infusionsoft even allows you to automate this step. You can easily do this by importing one of the FREE list management campaigns from the Infusionsoft Marketplace like Clean Your Contact List, Hard Bouncy Recovery and/or the Track Email Engagement campaign. Even better, one of the new updates coming to all Infusionsoft apps in August allows you to set a threshold on when your contacts are no longer considered engaged with your list.  You can read more about this update here.

These are just some of the ways to keep your Infusionsoft list clean and ensure your emails are delivered to the right contacts at the right time. For more tips for effective email management and ensuring you are compliant with CAN-SPAM laws, contact the Smart to Finish Team for support.  We’ll be glad to implement these and other best practices so you can focus on creating new and valuable content and generating even more revenue for your business.