Working as VA, there's always a common thread when being introduced to a new client, and that's hearing the fear in their voice. They've come to a place where they realise they need to delegate, they simply cannot manage on their own, but the fear of letting go, of allowing someone else a molecule of control, is strangling their grasp on reality, holding them back, and in turn, preventing their business from moving forward.
We go into self-employment for freedom, right? The freedom to choose our own hours, our own pay and our own leave, but the reality is, if you're not careful, you will find yourself working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no annual leave because there's nobody but you to pick up the slack and for all that extra work and stress, the pay isn't even worth it. In the early days, all new business owners have to put in the hours and make the sacrifices, but that should only ever be a temporary situation. If this sounds like you, if you're just starting out, ask yourself how long you intend for this to last for, before it's time to take a step in the next direction.
Perhaps your goal is to get to a certain income level, before you take someone on, perhaps it's realising you can't do it all alone, whichever comes first, you have to be able to recognise you've hit that milestone, and it's time to delegate. Your business is like a baby you've nurtured and given birth to, letting go is terrifying, but if you don't let go, what was the point in ever being in business in the first place? Come on, you didn't intend to work 24 hours a day with limited annual leave forever did you? You can forget about telling yourself you will get to it soon, you just need a little longer...you won't. Trust me, you will be stuck in this place forever.
I ran my own business for ten years and believe me, I fell into the same trap. I worked my ass off all day and night, seven days a week and believed that only I could do it. Some of that was down to delegating to the wrong people early on, and having bad experiences that put me off, but the reality is I shouldn't have delegated to those people in the first place, mainly because they were family and that is often a big mistake. In reality, you should probably choose to keep family out of it right from the beginning and dive straight in with learning to trust someone you don't know with the right credentials.
I was even working the night before my C-section knowing that there was every chance my baby might not make it (long story) and even worked all through his 3 month stay in intensive care and after he finally returned home. I learned my lesson though. Eventually I did delegate, massively. I started with an employed van driver and then outsourced to 10 different people. It was the best thing I ever did. Not only did I see profits go up, I got to take more time off, have longer holidays but most importantly, I could see the path ahead more clearly. That was the biggest thing delegation did for me, it allowed me to see exactly where I was going.
Fear will only make you stand still, it will only hinder your successes and stifle your dreams. You have to put your trust into people and accept that there may be hiccups along the way, but that shouldn't put you off. Take the time to train someone, be the kind of boss a team will want to show up for every day, lean on the right support and you should find that delegating isn't as scary as you think.