Learn To Delegate Tasks
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Learn To Delegate Tasks
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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i just call it a discovery task list and what we do is we take inventory of everything that you do for a week and then we figure out okay is this something that you can delete like what happens if we just don't do it how much of an effect does it really have on the business as far as roi right versus people's perceived value then the second thing we ask is okay can i delegate this and the question that we must ask ourselves for each one of those is if i knew i was going to be hit with a mack truck tomorrow what would i do today to transfer that knowledge so that my business wouldn't fall apart and that that is the most important question because it starts the brain you you've asked the brain a different question and it will give you a different answer it will come up with creative ways of how you're able to actually delegate a task that you thought was not possible before [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we've got another great guest on the podcast michelle thompson and to give you a quick introduction to michelle so she went to college and graduated in counseling um deciding but decided that wasn't for her and wasn't what she wanted to do and so uh did go and work at a boot camp i think for a couple years for juveniles if i remember right and decided that you know didn't like the system so went back to school got an mba um and and did that for a period time and then worked for a construction company looking you know projects or imagining projects with engineers and one of them i think you mentioned was helping clean up the atom bomb which sounds interesting and and then had uh i think a stroke and couldn't do that anymore but out of that kind of figured out how to learn to delegate in both in personal life as well as a business arena and from that kind of start of the the business that you're at today and you're running so but that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast michelle hey dude thank you so much for having me i really appreciate it it is so much fun to be here with you absolutely appreciate you coming on so i gave a quick run through of a a much higher level of your journey but maybe take us back a bit back in time to when you're in college and kind of deciding what you did and also didn't want to do yeah yeah sure so um i really wanted to be able to help people and so the easiest way that i knew that to do that was you know to go be a counselor and spend my life helping people and unfortunately when i got through college and got my first job it actually was uh at a boot camp for juvenile delinquents and um i became very disillusioned not with the juvenile delinquents they they were supposed to be butt heads that's why they were there right um but i became very disillusioned with the system uh they weren't necessarily um focused on rehabilitation but rather it was almost like a churning cycle where they ended up just making a whole lot of money off of it and not necessarily helping and so that was challenging for me and so um i ended up going through burnout because i just wanted to take all the kids home and um uh so after a about a year and a half i left there and um then eventually went back to school uh got money let me ask one quick question so because you know that's something that people you know often will hit in the career and that is you'll hit burnout and you'll say okay i'm just tired of doing this it's not doesn't excite me it doesn't get me up in the morning it's not what i want to do for the rest of my life type of a thing so you know as you're kind of you know because you've already gone to college you've got a degree and you know that takes a while time and effort money and expense and you also got an employment so how did you say okay you know while i've got this as an undergraduate degree and i've done this and i've got a job this isn't for me and i'm going to go back and do something different how did you kind of make that just or final decision or pull that trigger yeah interestingly enough um you don't make a lot of money as a counselor and so i actually went back to the job that i used to work myself through college i worked at lenscrafters as an optician and i already had my license as an optician for working for them for four years through college so i was actually able to go work for them and make more money there than i did working um as a counselor and so that part wasn't so hard for me because it i was easy to you know it was easy to to fill the paycheck uh the hard part was okay i i know i don't want to do retail hours for the rest of my life what do i want to do and it was actually a couple of years of trying to to figure out what that was and believe it or not it was actually somebody who came uh and bought glasses from me um they were a repeat customer and so we kind of got got to know them and he gave me a book called rich dead poor dad by robert kiyosaki yeah the one everybody knows right but at that point i had no clue i mean we we didn't even talk about finances in my family like i had no clue um and uh that was kind of like a wow and um so i read that book and then i said okay what should i read next and he's like we'll read the four hour work week by timothy ferris and it went okay so i did that and i went oh my word okay this is what i need to do um and so that's when i started going back to school to get my mba and so i um i actually dual majored in entrepreneurship and finance because i knew i wanted to do that but i had no idea how to do it um and so that was kind of the road that that led to that so now so you go back and say okay at least kind of figured out not it's a great book and it's been a while since i've read it but you know when i read that it gives you a lot of good ideas okay maybe counseling isn't for me a bit disillusioned a bit burned out and want to try something new and so mba you know kind of going into the business and getting an understanding there and kind of and going back and revisiting different skill sets so you go back and get it in the mba and do that you know go back and get that degree you're coming out kind of now as you're looking to kind of shift into a different career how did you land on what i think it was kind of project management for engineers yeah so i worked for the project controls department um for a large construction company and honestly it was um my aunt worked for the company and she had been telling me for probably like five years michelle you need to come work for us michelle you need to come work for us and i was like no i do not need to come work for you um but finally i was like okay all right i'll i'll listen i and i went and interviewed and i was like okay this is actually this is fun i could do this so now you so you get a job and you know good kudos to your hand give you you know give you the push in either direction you need and give you an up or you know kind of point in that direction for that opportunity and do that for a period of time and it sounds like and not wouldn't putting words in your mouth but you enjoyed it it was a good job and it was going well up until you had the stroke is that about right yeah yeah so i i loved my job um and i still i still had like a little side hustle because i i had that entrepreneurial bug um but uh it was the perfect job i got i mean all our co-workers we all got along together we had a lot of fun um so it really was you know a great job i had found you know i don't want to say my niche because i still had the little side hustle but i was i was happy there it wasn't like oh my gosh i have to get out of this job so no and and i i've been in both jobs and i love what i do now and it's you know it's not one of those hallways monday you know it's always oh it's monday i got to catch up with about a million emails that i miss over the weekend but it's a fun and enjoyable job so you did that and now you're saying okay things are going well enjoying the job and then the stroke comes along and i think it made it so it was difficult to continue on with the job as you were doing it is that right oh yeah um so my job at this company was to keep us under budget and on schedule and so when you're working with billions of dollars one of the things that's really important is math um and when i had the stroke it was literally like somebody had just taken a racer and just erased out of my brain how to do math i literally went from mba and finance to second grade education overnight and i mean it was gone and so um needless to say i was no longer qualified to do that job so that was um you know i i at the po at that time um we really thought that i was coming back we thought that i was gonna you know just you know take six weeks go get better and and come back um well at that time we we didn't realize it was a permanent condition so so now so now you go through that and that's got to be hard first of all and devastating and you know just feel bad or you know my uh or feel bad for you and and and but you know it you still have to figure out how to move on what you're going to do and so as you're kind of going through all of that you know hey first of all i had to switch careers for undergraduate to graduate finally got the mba doing what i love and now i'm not able to do that and i you know that's kind of gives a good vigil and representation of hey basically just wiped it out of my mind i couldn't remember how to do it anymore and so how did you then say okay i wanted to still do something i wanted to you know need to earn an income be successful and do all that how did you even start to tackle that or you know did you take some time off did you take a break did you do pondering did you move on to the next thing or kind of what was that transition like for you yeah so um i literally couldn't do anything for about three years um and so there was there was three years of rehab and physical therapy and occupational therapy um and those are some really dark times um not fun don't want to go back there but the silver lining on the very dark cloud is that uh they taught me one of the one of the problems that i have is i can no longer remember things in a sequence the way that it's been explained to me is uh think of new york city and there's a whole bunch of red lights right and there's all these taxi cabs going all over the place right and the only way that there's any sense of order is because there are red lights yellow lights and green lights right when i had the stroke it attacked my brain stem and it actually attacked my ability to have red lights and yellow lights so everything is a green light so everything is constantly crashing into each other and so i i forget it all the time so it's not uncommon for me to um forget to take my medicine in the morning or leave a stove on or leave the keys in the door so i had to set up systems to be able to keep track of all that just to be able to function and i live in a very controlled environment now and what happened was we got so good they taught me the occupational therapist taught me how to outsource my everyday tasks to software and to other people so well that that was when the the mba started kicking in and i was like man if we can do this with michelle don't forget to brush your teeth why can't we do this with everything else in business right because the whole world works on systems right and if it's just a system and we break down the system then we can duplicate it and that's actually how the idea was born for awesome outsourcing and i told you i had a little side hustle and one of the things that i was doing was i had a blog with affiliate links in it right and so i was providing value teaching people how to outsource and then using those affiliate links well when the stroke happened i i couldn't write anymore still to this day can't write and well i shouldn't say can't i can it takes a very very long time so we'll put it that way um so what ended up happening was i ended up writing uh hiring a writer and i just hit record and talked to him and explained to him how i would write a blog post how would i do the research how would i do the seo keyword research how would i find a picture for the post what tags would i put in there to make sure that google's nice and happy all those all those fun things so literally from start to finish i just talked him through every single piece and by the time i was done i just took all those videos and i just made like a little outline step by step okay go do this okay go do this okay go do this and it worked really well and um we had some friends of mine who were kind of keeping an eye on it and they're like michelle you're you're kicking out like three times the amount of blog posts that you did before a stroke how is that happening i said well it's because i'm not doing it and they're like what do you mean i said i hired somebody to do it and they're like well how did they how did you get him to write like you write i said well i recorded videos and showed them step by step and they're like holy crap can you teach me how to do that and i was like sure let's try it and uh and so we did long story short um worked out really well and we ended up um creating a course showing people how to do exactly what i i taught these people how to do and the feedback was you know michelle this is amazing we're really glad that you can outsource but we don't want to do it can you just do it for us and at first it was like absolutely not because i didn't want to be responsible but after much um not so gentle prying from people uh i did actually um open up an agency side and so now um we have the two sides so we have the education side now we have the agency side where you can actually just hire us uh to get you a personal assistant and complete your tasks now one question i'll have to ask is because if you you know kind of you described your cars are crashing in you only have green light you know sometimes it's hard to remember what to do and you build in some of those systems so you know how do you run the business or do you manage it you delegate and you know kind of how do you as a business because at least from my perspective and i run a business and there's a lot of things and balls to juggle things to remember things to get done things to delegate things you can't delegate and all these things are you're trying to juggle and then i imagine that that's even more difficult when you compound that with you know the the effects of the stroke and kind of now how you do all that so how do you manage your way through on the business side to be able to keep everything moving keep it going and and and have that as a success yeah that's a great question and what we had to do was honestly we had to eliminate me from the equation because i'm physically not capable of doing it so we have a project manager and then i also have a personal assistant and so my personal assistant keeps track of my to-do's and they're like hey michelle did you do this um hey michelle what about this uh but actually what what really typically happens is i'll say okay tanette can you um you know devin needs a headshot can you email that over to him and so i'll just send her an email and it and it gets done so you're right um [Music] i had to set up the the processes one by one so that i wouldn't be the barrier to the business's growth and so what we did was we just eliminated me my business coach sat down and one of the things that i have to do is um once a quarter i have to not touch the business for two weeks and what the reason for that is we see what breaks and then we know what what to go fix next and uh and so it's been been working out really well and it's what's interesting is even a lot of what you described as you know one of the i listened to a lot of podcasts reading a lot of books and i can't remember which one i picked it up with but there's you know there's things that float around the business community of hey if you're really sitting in the business to succeed you need to be able to take a month vacation off where you don't have to touch anything and it runs by itself so to speak and so it's almost a little bit reminiscent of hey taking a couple weeks off seeing what breaks and then fixing it such so you don't have to be the hands-on you don't have to run it and into something or you can run by itself such that it's still a business it provides that income and you're you're still giving that direction or some of that insider coordination but of the business in and of itself can run without you type of thing and setting it up so that's interesting how that that overlaps and how that you know how that plays out well now that kind of brings us to where you're at today now kind of looking at you know the next six to 12 months where do you see things headed where do you see things continuing to go from here yeah so um we are doing something crazy um so we already have the um the agency side set up but we had people ask us you know hey can you personally hire a virtual assistant for me and um just train them already so it's almost like a like a business in a box and um we actually are beta testing that right now so we have a a couple that are going through the beta testers and we specifically picked online business coaches because what i had to do is i had to create a system where i could train that personal assistant to be able to tackle the light bookkeeping that they need the social media posting the calendar management the um appointment scheduling uh the email management uh the online files um onboarding a client so we had to to be able to systematize each each one of those pieces and create some general training and then from there we have like a one month onboarding session where you work with my project manager and we take that personal assistant and we take the general concepts and then we turn it into because everybody has like little nuances in their own business right and so we're able to to take that and customize it for your specific business so at the end of 30 days you have a fully trained va who knows the nuances of your business and they're they're your employee versus having to be in the agency um indefinitely and so it's a it's a larger cost up front but then in the long run um it ends up being quite financially advantageous for you and and i think that's you know i like the idea it's an interesting concept because i think to your point a lot of times you're saying oh yeah i could hire a virtual assistant or an administrative assistant or whatever you want to call them and you know they can help to offload a lot but now i have to take the time to teach them all the systems and everything i'm doing and i don't already have enough time and how do i find the time to do all that and so i think you know taking that ability to have somebody else train them offload that get them up to speed and help to offset that is a as a cool direction to be headed well as we as we start to wrap up the podcast i always have two questions i ask at the end of each podcast we'll joe go ahead and jump to those now the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it not having a contract in place when i first started i just was nice and just believed somebody that they were going to be good and and what what happened was the content that he had created for me um he thought that he owned the rights to it and i didn't have a contract in place that said that i owned the rights to it and so he actually sued me and it cost me five grand no and that that is a one where i caution people hey especially it's even if it's an employee it's one thing and you have a bit more protection but especially if you get an independent contractors then laws are generally more favorable to them in the sense that if you don't set up you don't have that contract in place they can sometimes have a legitimate claim that while you can use the use the informa you know what they created for you they are the ultimate owners and they can reuse it or sell it anything else and it's one of those things that if you don't know it can definitely come back to bite you so i get a lot of people have that same mistake or they think hey i'm paying him for it i hired him for it they're doing it for me i should own this and yet if you're not careful it can certainly to catch you so definitely makes sense so now we'll jump to the second question which is if you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah the question that people always ask is what do i get rid of first and how do i even know if i can get rid of it and so to answer that question i actually created a cool tool that i'll be happy to give to you guys um and basically it's i just call it a discovery task list and what we do is we take inventory of everything that you do for a week and then we figure out okay is this something that you can delete like what happens if we just don't do it how much of an effect does it really have on the business as far as roi right versus people's perceived value then the second thing we ask is okay can i delegate this and the question that we must ask ourselves for each one of those is if i knew i was going to be hit with a mack truck tomorrow what would i do today to transfer that knowledge so that my business wouldn't fall apart and that that is the most important question because it starts the brain you you've asked the brain a different question and it will give you a different answer it will come up with creative ways of how you're able to actually delegate a task that you thought was not possible before um and so then the other that's left is what are the things that i have to do personally myself and then what we do is we take each one of those and we rip it apart and say do you have to do 100 of that or can you just do the on-camera part and then everything else in the background can be done by somebody else uh and so i have just the spreadsheet and then there's three little five minute videos that kind of shift your thinking and that has been um tremendously helpful for a lot of people that have come across it and it's free so please feel free to use it awesome well i definitely think sounds like a great tool and you know that's one of the harder things is you know you should delegate but what do you delegate how do you delegate it how much do you delegate is always one especially if you're starting for small business you know how you start to tackle that is always something that's a big concern and it's always a difficult uh road to cross so definitely is a great piece of advice and appreciate the the the free tool well as in and this is a reminder before we wrap up we do have the bonus question that will hit on a little bit of intellectual property after we wrap up with the the normal episode um so if you want to stay tuned and hear a little bit about more about intellectual property certainly bill feel free to catch up on that question and listen for after the podcast episode but as we wrap up the normal episode if people want to reach out to they want to be a client they want to be a customer they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out or find out more yeah so uh you can email me it's michelle m-i-c-h-e-l-l-e at awesomeoutsourcing.com so all one word awesomeoutsourcing.com and then if you want that tool it's just awesomeoutsourcing.com task hyphen discovery hyphen tool i know i'm very creative [Laughter] awesome well i definitely encourage everybody to both check out the tool and check out michelle as well reach out to her if she can be of help as you're learning to delegate or anything else with your business definitely a great resource well as we wrap up the the podcast again thank you for coming on now for those of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell we'd love to share it feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the podcast two more things as a listener one in your podcast player make sure to click subscribe to know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so new people can find out about the podcast as well last but not least you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else with your business feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat so with that we as we wrapped up the the normal episode this is always one of my favorite parts is it to talk a little about a little intellectual property and also to turn the table a bit whereas before i get always asked the questions and you get answer them now switch and you get asked your top question i get answers so with that turn it over to you what's your top intellectual property question i think it would be you know people you know you put your stuff out in the world and you know that somebody's gonna rip it off anyway it doesn't matter how do you protect yourself and how much of it is actually worth paying attention to yeah and there's a couple questions in the in there so kudos a compound question sorry no you're good so the ques i would say the first question is kind of if i were to reiterate it is you know kind of what is work what is worthwhile to protect or how do you protect it is a worthwhile prediction kind of how do you get into that enforcement or should you go into enforcement so you know let's say you have whether it's a patent or a trademark or copyright you got something that's great the question is first you know if you get that or assuming you can get it can you protect it or how do you enforce it and so they you know that a lot of times i always step back and say well first should you be enforcing it in the sense that yes you can but there are options you can everything from reach out to them and you know to let them know that they're infringing your intellectual property please stop and that can be a phone call but you want to go that way you can go a cease and desist letter or you can follow a lawsuit and you can go or take them to court or you know and a few other strategies and tactics but the question is should you should you be spending your time and your efforts to enforce it because and how do you decide what strategy to take and a lot of where i would go is to step back and say you know is this something that's impactful to your business meaning are they is it worthwhile as an investment in your time do you have an roi to go out and enforce it and if as an example if they're ripping off your brand you know they're very close to your brand and all of a sudden they have um you know they're competing with you they're taking away clients it's having an impact on your business okay well then there probably is it worthwhile to go get them to stop because they are now directly impacting your business same thing if you have you know a great product and all of a sudden they they knock it off and reverse engineer and then they sell a similar product out there or now you're saying okay it's impeding our ability to grow where it's impeding our ability to get new clients or something to where it's being impactful your business then you look and say okay what is what is then you say what is that impact is it okay a thousand dollars a year probably not worth it if it's ten thousand dollars a year well it's starting to get there if it's a hundred thousand dollars here absolutely you know million dollars a year absolutely and so and then you start this away and say okay what is this worth and then you say what are my options and you say okay cease and desist letter you can get if you had an attorney do it it's fairly inexpensive if you reach out to them and give them a call then your time is not much now if you get into a lawsuit then it's going to be much more expensive in the sense that you know then it's going to be on trademark lawsuits you're at least in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands patent lawsuit you're usually over a million if you go the whole way and don't settle and so you say okay which option it fits with which is that return on investment if i can only if they're only damaging me or decreasing the business by 10 000 going and spending 100 000 on a court case probably doesn't make sense calling to them or maybe a cease and desist letter probably does make sense so i'd start to weigh that out but as far as you know whether you should go about getting it is protect what's important to your business and then or get get protection for what's important in your business and then look at where is it where are you going to get the investment either because of dip in sales or because of other impacts on your business and then figure out what strategy lines up with what that impact is on your business does that make sense yeah that's hugely helpful just the the dollar amounts of you know which one to use for which situation is amazingly helpful so well awesome was it was fun to talk a little about the intellectual property it was a great question with that we'll go ahead and wrap up the podcast again if you ever have any questions if you have any questions michelle or any of the listeners ever have any more questions on intellectual property go to strategymeeting.com and we can chat more about it otherwise appreciate you coming on the podcast michelle it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last