A version of this article originally appeared on Cyber PR.
You'll never achieve the success you want it if you try to do it all alone and try to take on things that stop you dead in your tracks or waste your precious time. I cannot stress this enough: You must learn to delegate, and get the stuff that stresses you out off of your plate.
Two issues apply to you right now if you're reading this:
1. You can’t afford to pay someone to help you
2. You don’t want to give up control (so you continue to do it all yourself)
Right? Here's how to remedy that with delegation.
1. Figure out what to delegate
The first step in your journey is to figure out what you want to get off of your plate. Is your Facebook page hogging too much time? Do you need help with logistics, PR, or marketing? Do you just need someone to help you file papers and organize your home office?
2. Write a job description of each task
You want to really think this through – pretend you're posting this as a job description for the perfect assistant and include every nuance about what's needed. You'll be posting this, so this is a necessary step.
3. Write a "how to" guide for each task
I urge you to take the time to do this before you get anyone started! Take a few hours to write a guide on each task explaining it exactly the way you do it. This is called systematizing, and it'll be critical for your success in achieving your goals around delegating. Imagine that the person you're writing these guides for has never done any of the tasks you're about to assign. Type them out in a step-by-step format.
This is crucial to your delegating success, because when people are left to their own devices, they may not perform in the way you want and expect them to, and this will lead to defeating the purpose.
Ready to get started? Follow these tips.
Start with small tasks (one to two hours at most, and check work often)
Start with small tasks that can be achieved in an hour or two to see if your new intern/assistant/VA handles it well. You want to create a system of checks and balances and make sure to check work often to correct what may get off the rails. This will ensure that the tasks get done right the first time and get done well!
Hold them accountable
Inspect and comment on their completed actions and be honest with your feedback. If you don't inspect the work, it can easily get off course. If your assistant is working for college credit, make sure he or she provides you with a time-tracking spreadsheet or an hourly list of all he or she completes.
Create Google Docs that you can share with your team that can be updates as things shift and use Asana to assign and track all tasks (we love it here at Cyber PR).
Go get help
Here are some solutions to consider. I broke it up starting with free solutions that won’t cost you more than your time to options that you'll pay for:
Your local college or university
Get students to help you while they earn credit for school on Entertainmentcareers.net. Websites like this will let you post as an employer for free. Post as a record label (that’s what you are), and ask for help with PR and marketing. Offer college credit only. You'll be amazed at how many young people who need to get credit for school are turning to these sites to find interesting internships.
Also there are a few places on campus to try:
- The career services department
- The internship office
- Music school or music business school
- Communications/mass comm. department
Look for classes on PR, marketing, and online strategy. I suggest that you connect directly with the professors and leave a courteous message asking them if they require internships and if they have any students who like music and may be interested in working for your record label.
There's always a class that's studying marketing and PR where students need to come up with "marketing plans" and "publicity plans." Ask the professor to have the class come up with one for you as an artist instead of a hypothetical business. You'll be amazed at what a team of young people who aren't jaded by the music business may come up with. Tell the professor that you'd be happy to come to the class so that the students can present their ideas to you. This extra time might just change their lives by showing them what it’s like to work with a "real" artist, and yours, as they might come up with something brilliant that you never would have thought of on your own.
Photography and film schools
Students studying photography might just be delighted to take photos of an artist or band – they complete an assignment, and you get new images to use. This also works for film students.
Students learning about audio production may also need to record. Research which audio schools are in your area and call them up!
Tap into your superfans
Ask your mailing list if anyone on it can give you a few hours a month assistance in exchange for free tickets, T-shirts, beers at the gig, or even an hourly fee.
Do an email signup at gigs
You can also create a column on your email signup list that you pass around at gigs asking, "Would you like to be in our virtual street team?" If they signees say yes, you now have a funnel of potential assistants.
Add an email signup on your site
Add a signup box to your website using a free widget from NoiseTrade to capture your fans who may want to help you. Their amazing tools help you give away a full-length album, EP, live-concert recording, acoustic set, or single in exchange for for fan email addresses and postal codes for every download.
In some cases, you do get what you pay for, so you may want to spend some money. This doesn't have to break the bank at all; here are some of my favorite places to go for paid help!
Elance and Task Rabbit
Both of these fabulous sites list service providers of all types and bid against each other (eBay style) to work for you! There are tons of categories, and you'll find almost anything you need – graphic designers, copy editors, office assistants, writers, virtual assistants, etc. You can set the price you want to pay. The best part is they both have escrow, so if the provider doesn't deliver a satisfactory job, you won't release your money until they do! Pro tip: look at each person’s reviews and only use providers that get fabulous reviews and high ratings from users to avoid disappointment.
Hire a younger family member
They may know how to work the internet much better than you. Again, don’t set them off to figure it out on their own – read above.
I know that this may seem like a lot of steps to get some help, but think of all the extra hours you can get back if you do this right the first time.
A few fabulous articles and a podcast to help motivate you:
- 5 Creative Steps to Simplify Your Life: By my dear friend Michael Shoup who writes this from an artist's perspective. Pay attention to the part where he talks about the time vs. money ratio.
- How to Work Well With Your Virtual Assistant: Dorie is a new friend of mine, and she has a superhuman way of managing her own productivity. She has many articles on Forbes about working with a VA. This is a great one to start with.
- The Creative Warrior Podcast with Jeffery Shaw Rory Vaden, "How to Multiply Time": This is a must-listen-to podcast to give you a new way of thinking about time management – which will help you get to delegating much faster. Vaden says something perfect, which I want to leave you with as it ties in perfectly with why delegation is crucial. "Creative people will have a massive advantage when it comes to productivity because significance more naturally aligns with the natural strengths of a creative person."
Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for 18 years and runs Cyber PR, a dynamic social media and content strategy company based in New York City. Her agency places clients on blogs and podcasts, establishes their online brands, and coaches them to create authentic relationships. She has spoken in 12 countries and is the author of four books on social media for artists, two of of which have hit number one on Amazon.