A Personal Work System That Works … Without You?
STORY INLINE POST
I had several great talks with Rogelio while we traveled the highways of the northwest of the country during a commercial tour in the hot September of 2017. Rogelio’s job is to commercialize medical equipment. I accompanied him to design the commercial process where pure leasing was his tool of sale.
Rogelio explained to me in detail his daily operations and what it was like to run his company, which was founded years ago. A recurring concern was that “each sale takes up too much time and effort.”
I held back my answer for hours to soften it and swell it with prudence until I managed to tell him, "Stop being an a--hole and delegate everything that does not require your cunning and intelligence, which is: a lot!"
The look on his face suggested a more profound explanation to my unwise comment.
“I think it is disrespectful to your person, family and associates that, having all your talent and ability, you continue doing the most basic things in your company ... trading among them. Do you know how much it affects the growth of your business by making yourself its highest paid bottleneck?” I elaborated.
"It's just ... it's very complicated to quote the service and equipment we sell," he hurried to answer.
“Rogelio, your job really is to innovate, provide strategy and build systems to give your associates a company in which to develop in and, at the same time, create patrimony for yourself. Quoting each machine you sell should not be something that takes up your time, come on man." Our talk went on for hours and the main focus was on how to systematize his business process (one of my addictions and obsessions is to systematize everything in my life).
My answer today would have been simpler: "If your business process cannot be carried out by an Octhopus, your company will not be able to grow."
An Octhopus? I'll explain shortly.
Four years ago, my work days lasted 10 to 14 hours. I could only think about managing people, achieving sales, coordinating appointments and integrating indicators, among other things. This lifestyle fomented my hair loss, accelerated the appearance of wrinkles and increased my insomnia.
At that time, I read about Tim Ferris' “delegate your life” concept in his book, The 4our-Hour Work Week and David Allen's Getting Things Done (both amazing by the way!) but I thought it would not apply to Mexico or to me. Having virtual assistants, delegating practically everything in my personal and professional life and hiring people in India to advance my tasks while I sleep seemed impossible.
It took me six years to put into practice the possibility of delegating my life but now I am finally doing it.
Frida and Gisel have been my virtual assistants for two years and have taught me to work this way. One lives in Guanajuato and the other in Michoacan. They are dedicated moms and extraordinary professionals. I don't know them in person. Both work remotely from their respective homes thanks to the infrastructure and the technical support of Octhopus as a company that supports them.
Frida was my first assistant. She started helping me by searching for flights, capturing contacts and researching potential clients. All of this happened without the cost of recruiting, equipping, or managing another employee. Gradually, I learned to delegate more valuable activities.
The biggest challenge of having a virtual assistant is to systematize what — seems — to be impossible to systematize: MYSELF. I have learned that no matter how much of a genius I think I am (my ego speaking), my day to day easily tends to fill up with activities that I can — and should — delegate.
How would you eat an elephant? Bit by bit.
To design a system, I take a moment to become aware of the whole situation and be able to break the elephant into little doable pieces: define decision criteria, set up clear and segmented steps, design a tool and allocate time to train my assistant to execute it. I write down all of this to communicate it well and make coherent a process that normally operates in the ambiguity of my mind.
Today Gisel, my second Octhopus has administrative control of one of my companies (with a bank token), is in charge of purchasing flights and hotels (with my company's credit card), monitors the billing of providers and services, performs the complete management of all my business processes (CRM, research of potentials, follow-up calls, calculation and capture of KPIs) among other activities that normally distract my attention from the high-impact activities that actually require my time.
It is a lack of respect to your person, family, associates and clients that you waste a single minute of your life doing activities that you know you should delegate.
A phrase that I commonly hear from other owners and managers for NOT delegating their work is: "I take more time to explain how to do things than to do them myself. I just can’t be bothered." And I say: Yes, it is true but it is a criteria with no vision.
An activity that takes you five minutes to do may require 40 minutes to systematize. Is it worth doing? Realize that after the eighth time you request it, your return on time investment will begin. Furthermore, this will free you from having to do this little piece of your daily chores.
Drop by drop, the jug is filled up.
Aside from owning my businesses, I try to be a very competent salesperson within them. Since I consider myself an intensive networker, it is common for me to generate more than 10 profiled opportunities per week. How do I ensure that each quote is delivered in less than 30 minutes and has a correct follow-up? I want to exemplify one of the processes that Gisel works on: the commercial management of the lease of machinery or vehicles.
The WhatsApp request for Gisel is, "Please send a quote to Juan Fernández from DHL for $5 million pesos for a fleet of vehicles." PERIOD. My direct intervention ended here.
Gisel will do the entire process from here: quoting, following up by phone and email and getting the prospect ready to close the sale. All this is documented in my process library and my CRM. This process was done entirely by me five years ago. With 10n concurrent prospects, my work days were completely saturated and at the end resulted in nothing.
To compare how much a virtual assistant costs you versus a traditional one, add to the salary of the latter the costs of equipment, recruitment, administrative management, social security, internet, electricity, technical and legal support. I already did the math and it is easy to determine which alternative has more budgetary efficiency.
Additionally, every time Gisel goes on vacation, is ill or is temporarily incapacitated to work, Frida takes action and fills in for her. Between both of them, they sort out the work and run all the errands.
The lifestyle that I have designed for me implies that any activity that is not in the “high impact” or “important” sphere must be delegated. There's no more.
Do you have everything ready to delegate your life, or do you allow your life (clients, associates, suppliers) to delegate you? That is called "delegating upward" and I see that it is a common practice among business owners. I propose that we start your process today.
Feel free to write to me if you have any questions about how to delegate your life. I am honored to help you.