Break your overwhelm down and make a plan!

break it downI don’t usually post personal prose but lately I have been reflecting on why I do what I do and what real benefit it has for my clients. I try to use what knowledge I glean to develop and improve the products and services I provide, and to make my own business stronger.

I’d like to share with you the story of one of my clients that really exemplified what it is I do and the kind of clients I work best with:

On my first consulting session with the client in question one of the key things was going to be identifying what tasks needed to be outsourced. When we then looked at what she’s currently doing, not what she wanted to do in her business, we were able to segment these goals into into a 12 month action plan.

Surprisingly, what I found at the end of this process was rather than elation at the idea of some planning and structure within the business, it actually cemented the feeling of overwhelm for my client.

Why? Well, she could now clearly see what she wanted to do with the business, but couldn’t fathom how she was going to achieve it and who was going to help her!

I realised after chatting with her (and it only took a 10 minute chat) that by mapping out the business goals, I had illustrated the magnitude of the task ahead. They key thing I was able to tell her at this stage in the hope the overwhelm would dissipate was: ‘Look, you know what, there’s a lot of stuff here but we don’t have to do it all at once. Break it down into smaller pieces. Let’s focus on them individually and then look at how that can be spread out to 12 months rather than 3 months. We don’t have to do it all at once.‘

Once she realised what individual tasks could be outsourced and the kind of assistance she could receive over the long term, the pressure lifted, the overwhelm vanished and the motivation returned! I then proceeded to recruit the right VA for her, a great virtual assistant who’s going to be able to help with all these things.

‘Kristy I feel like I build it up to be such a big thing and then when I talk to you, it’s not such a big thing’

Even after this, the meetings, the planning and the realisations that would take her business to the next level, there was still the biggest part of the outsourcing process to come!

There was still the all-important Handover.

We had gone through the procedure of identifying business tasks and goals and breaking them down into smaller, manageable pieces. I’d sourced a great VA, who was motivated and ready to come on board – so what could trip them up now?

Communication is so key when dealing with an offshore virtual assistant – you cannot expect to send a few emails each week and have complex tasks performed on demand. It just doesn’t work like that. I often find that clients will get a great business plan together, be united with a great VA and then really fail to get off the starting block when it actually comes time to let go. What I advised this client in particular was to not overload the VA with a huge amount of information. Don’t give them the 12 month forecast in the first week. To begin with, lay the foundations: get your VA to setup your Gmail, Google docs, Google calendar and migrate and share so everything is collaborative. That is a great first step.

The second for her was social media and setting up some project management tools.

The third step was to start to implement the fantastic outsourcing plan that we have devised together with the tasks, projects and goals set up over the next 12 months.

Those projects are all broken down into 5 small tasks or 5 big tasks. Your VA can then begin the project management side of things and start inputting those into the project management database. That way, those projects are all in there and then it’s just a matter of collaborating every week to say ‘what are we going to work on next and who needs to be responsible.’

So what you’re doing is shifting the action plan conceived at the very beginning of the client relationship – straight into a wonderful project management system. This way you are able to keep track of your projects and keep your workers accountable.

These are the first steps towards a successful outsourcing partnership, helping you build and develop your business.

So after talking to this client, setting her mind at ease and breaking things down into smaller chunks, what I realised is that you can achieve anything…it doesn’t need to be overwhelming, you just need the right tools and advice, some support, and the right mindset to pull yourself out of that overwhelm and get both yourself AND your business on track.

What you need to do is create enough space in your mind to pull away from the overwhelm so that you can focus clearly on the tasks you’re trying to achieve.

If any of this story makes sense to you and you want to learn how to outsource effectively for your business, get in touch!

Feel free to like and share this article.

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