Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Are you a control freak about your business, holding on to every single task to make sure it gets done your way?

No person will make a great business who wants to do it all herself. Andrew Carnegie Click To Tweet

Have YOU become the bottleneck in your business?

If your lack of delegation skills has you struggling and overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

The inability to effectively delegate keeps many up-and-coming business owners frazzled and staying small. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Delegation is an art that can, and must, be learned if you want your business and sanity to grow.

Watch today’s video for five simple steps to start delegating like a pro – especially if you’re a control freak.

In the comments below, tell me this:

What are your tips for effective delegation? Any do’s and don’ts from the field?

Leave as much detail as you can because learning to delegate can be really challenging when you’re first starting out.

Let’s get some great crowdsourced “delegation wisdom” going here.

As always, thanks for watching and sharing the goods.

P.S.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as there’s a very special edition of MarieTV coming up :)!

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  1. Was just talking to a friend/client of mine about the “4-Hour Work Week” yesterday.

    We loves us some DELEGATION!

    Thanks for this video–I’ll be sharing this with her today! 🙂

    • marie

      awesome – thanks Krista!

  2. Looking forward to see the comments on this one – I am standing right at the crossroads where there is just too much to do by myself. In a few months, I will most probably outsource a few tasks (for example accounting) to stay sane and grow my business!

    • Accounting is a great one to delegate because there are “rules” that can easily be learned by someone else. It’s a lot different than, say, the details of how you like to format your newsletter that may not be just like how others would do it. (Not to say that it’s not good to delegate your newsletter–that’s also a great thing to delegate.)

      I think you’ll find that once you start delegating a few things and start to trust other people with your business, it gets much easier!

  3. When not sure what to delegate and what to do yourself, it helps to make a list of all the things only you should be doing that match your skill set, passion and your revenue generating activities.
    Then list all the things that need to be done but aren’t your skill set, passion etc and see which of those you can outsource. Letting go of the things that you don’t enjoy first is easier for recovering control freaks when learning to delegate!!!

    • marie

      Awesome Ali – thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. When I hired a VA it was a big learning curve. I was happy to congratulate her and thank her for helping me with projects, but when it came to asking her to do things differently I found that a challenge.

    However, she was happy to get guidance, because she wanted to do a great job too. So communicating clearly is something worth practicing.

    Making a suite of Screenflow videos showing how to do tasks such as sending newsletter, uploading blog posts etc proved to be a great resource and I’ll be able to pass them on to future assistants too. Thanks for the top tips Marie!

    • marie

      You’re so welcome Nicola.

  5. I’m loving this video!

    Delegation is awesome… but the problem is it has been hard to find adequate assistance. These tips are awesome – and I plan on working with interns again. If I can create a stipend… then awesome.

    The repeatable system idea — thanks! I’m using Ace Project Software to help with this.

  6. I’m a big fan of checklists – I am a control freak but I realise I can’t do everything.

    I make checklists so anyone can do it once I’ve walked them through it. There is no such thing as bad employees if there is no training or support to make them get it right. The checklists also help me remember the smaller details so when I am busy thinking about something else I have the list to refer to!

    I also ask the person to sign off the checklist in the beginning to make sure everything has been done!

    At the end of the day I only delegate the stuff that is taking me away from my core competencies!

  7. I struggle with this daily. But I just love my Virtual Assistant, she is such a blessing in my life! The idea of a repeatable system anyone can follow to run my biz is a great one, I need to make more progress on this.
    Thanks Marie xxx

  8. Sorry, not ips or dos and don’ts. I would love to bee able to delegate the following (at least):
    My day job 😀

    But I don’t have any money to put towards this, so I guess it’ll have ot wait. For the time being, I’ll have to do it all myself. Something which will make the growing of my businees slower. I’m looking forward to reading the tips for other people here.

  9. Love this video Marie! My tip for delegation would be to give ample time for the virtual assistant to finish the tasks you have delegated. If you delegate a lot of tasks, ask how your VA’s workload is at that time so you can decide on a deadline. I would also suggest discussing on a weekly basis, and ask your VA if she has encountered any difficulties during the week and what tasks she enjoys doing. I have clients who ask me, “Do you enjoy doing the work?” and this really helps.

  10. Morning Marie
    Love this video. I am not yet at the point where my business is so big that I desperately need a VA but am already thinking about when that time will arrive (this year.) It’s so important to streamline systems for more success, whether it’s delegating, accounting, social marketing ie uploading videos etc. It’s great to hear what you and other successful women entrepreneurs are using to manage everything.

    As always, thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Hi Marie! I’m a recovering control freak… Had to learn to let go when I found myself running 7 restaurants. Way too much going on to even attempt to control it all! I think the 3 most important things are learning to trust the people you’ve hired, communicating clear expectations and giving open and honest feedback. If everyone understands the expectations and they’re given the tools to do their best many challenges can be avoided. And if someone doesn’t work out at least it’s not a surprise to them. There’s nothing worse than seeing an employee let go who has no idea what they did wrong… It’s a lost opportunity! That’s my 2 cents!

  12. Ask your VA to give you a list of her skills and some ideas on what things she love to do most. And then from your own task list, look for some task that best suits her. This way you can best use her time.

  13. Ruth

    Great video Marie and you are right, delegation is Essential to grow your business. The thing that i had to keep telling myself in order to let things go in the beginning was this, “my assistant wont be doing as well as me or as quickly at first, but delegating tasks is freeing me up to do the bigger more important things.” the more i delegated and gave feedback, the better my assistants got at the job. We now have a fleet of peeps! We use basecamp too. Loves it!

  14. Jessica Kupferman

    AWESOME idea to make training videos. Never thought of that! I often dread hiring someone new because of the time it takes to train them….by the time they’re ready I could have done the task 6 times! I know I can’t do it all myself so this is where I get stuck. Thank you for the great idea of videos! That makes my life so much easier.

    • I’ve been doing it for my new assistant and it helps SOOO much because explaining just with words leaves so much room for misinterpretation. I’m also finding it’s quicker than trying to write instructions effectively.

    • Oh yeah, video training rocks! This is what I do and recommend all my clients to do as well. Works like a charm. Its so much quicker and there less room for errors or misunderstandings especially if language is a bit of a barrier 😉

  15. This is so helpful as I am planning the success of 2012, thanks for the tips and encouragement to hand it over and walk myself off the gang plank!

  16. Cyndi

    What a GREAT topic!!! I once worked for a company that hired me to manage the start up of their office, and at the same time hired a project manager who had been self employed for the past 10 years to … well… manage their projects. The project manager insisted on doing everything himself including MY job, even to the point of re-arranging stationary cupboards which I had set up the day before. As a result my own self esteem dwindled rapidly and after constant battles to try and organise some boundries with him I ended up quitting! I heard a few years later that the company still couldn’t work out why they were going through so many office managers! The bonus for me was that I got to “see” first hand why delegation is so important in business! Marie, your advice here is SPOT ON the mark!

  17. Ooh, this is a biggie for me. Delegating.

    It’s been SO hard to do, but being an entrepreneur and a mom, it’s impossible to do all the things that I need to do daily.

    So, one tip that I had was to use my sphere of influence to borrow their admin delegation lists.

    I borrowed a couple of lists and got an idea of what my entrepreneur friends were delegating already. It made it easier for me to see what would be less scary for me to give up since I knew others I respected were already doing so.

    I started with small tasks at first, then built on to more high-priority tasks as I felt comfortable with my VA.

    I think a big piece of advice would also be that your first VA probably won’t be ‘it.’ In my own experience and with others I know, there was a learning curve in what to look for and expect from a VA, so a few were used to find the right fit.

    If you find a gem right off the bat, celebrate it and be grateful. If not, don’t be shy about getting a new one!

  18. Great video Marie! I think the hardest thing as an entrepreneur can sometimes be finding the time to work in your business and not on it. I really want to be able to give my support staff more training but I have so little time! Your video has motivated me to try my best to provide my contractor with more training support (especially through video) and delegate a whole lot more.

    Btw does anyone have recommendations for sites that are good for finding VA’s? I use Odesk but am open to looking at other sites.

    • Hi Victoria,
      There are several ways to find great VA’s. I found mine through a personal connection but you could also try AssistU.


  19. Wow: this could not come at a better time. Ask and you shall receive? Exactly what I needed to know right this morning. Am about to delegate to my assistant manager something I have been holding on to for a very long time: scheduling of employees hours. Holy time consuming!

    Today is the day that I let it go!

  20. Helpful video. Thanks! I work with 6-8 outsourced and lovely editors, and then 4-5 trusted free-lance crew on most of my projects. I then simply invoice their fees when billing my clients. My challenge with a feast or famine income (some clients take 60 days to pay) is finding the funds to pay a VA week to week. Do you save up enough cash for a month’s work and then dive in….or do you factor in a portion of their fee into every invoice? It is always amazing to me the small things that I don’t know!

  21. Liz

    As always Marie, your wisdom is spot on!! Thank you for the specific recommendations, especially mentioning Basecamp, I have been challenged to organize a project I am working on and I think this will really help. I appreciate how you shared your own experience of hiring and training, I know what holds me back sometimes is not taking the time to really think through why bringing someone on to help truly benefits me and frees up my energy vs. creates more work for me. You continue to open my eyes and mind to the possibilities for my business, you are the best!


  22. I’ve found that the easiest things to delegate are things that are already under control, versus a new project that needs to be figured out. When you’re just starting to delegate I recommend delegating the under control repeatable tasks first. Once you’ve cultivated an employee that gets the big picture and knows how you think, you can start delegating new projects to them and have them create new systems and processes for you.

  23. I think one of the reasons new entrepreneurs have a hard time delegating is that they’re very protective of their business so when you couple this with not knowing what to delegate and feeling like you don’t want to pay someone for what you can do you get into a control freak trap.
    It took me a year before I hired a VA but as soon as I did my business started to take off. I always loved this advice: work on your business in creation mode and action mode and let someone who is competent and that you trust work on the administrative tasks of your business.

  24. Boom! There you done gone did it again. I’ve come to expect nothing but the best from you Marie, and you never disappoint.

    One trick I have employed to feed my control freak ways is to practice being the best “boss” ever. Chelsea, my Senior Graphic Designer, started as an unpaid intern (college requirement) and 5 years later is my treasured collaborator. Throughout the years–without the benefit of your brilliant five steps–I have fumbled but also succeeded, because underneath it all I was dedicated to making sure she felt challenged creatively, nourished intellectually and considered personally. One critical way this was cultivated was by my checking in with her about what she wanted out of her days. And hearing her and adapting as necessary.

    Just like in our Design studio practice, discovering with our clients their strategic needs and desired feelings, working with Chelsea from that same place has fed my desire to be in control, as well as tap into my arsenal of problem-solving tricks, to deliver what she needed to succeed–for me and for her!

    That’s how I let my (control) freak flag fly, and allow for delegation with abandon. Thanks again, and especially, for this week’s video.

  25. I think hiring the right people is the number one delegation tip! When you’re a control freak, it can be easy to find someone who’s willing to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. But that’s not the kind of person who is going to facilitate continued growth in your business.

    Find someone who is eager to learn, self-motivated, and a match for your core values. Train them on the necessary tasks, of course, but also give them assignments that play to their strengths and allow them to grow into the role you’re working on defining.

    My “VA” is so much more than an assistant. She’s a business manager and an excellent sounding board for my crazy ideas. She pushes me when needed and pulls me back in too. I owe her an awful lot of credit for the growth of my business this year!

    • How did you find her? How did you know you wanted to hire her?

  26. Amazing Marie!

    Those are wonderful tips!

    Thank you for all you do.


  27. Great Video Marie (as usual) – as an Administrative Specialist I usually explain to my potential clients that the 1st thing to realize is that – it is much better to work in collaboration with me (the admin specialist aka VA) instead of trying to delegate tasks. During the first week of working together I get them to write down everything they do during the day and an approximate amount of time it takes to do each tasks and I produce a report which dictates which are tasks that they should keep and the ones they should delegate (compliments of the Administrative Consultants Association) Once you work in collaboration your Admin Specialist will do accross the board administrative work as opposed to one off tasks – We start small with maybe email/calendar management and as they get more comfortable I just keep taking things off their plate!

    One more thing I like to point out is that a Virtual Assistant doesn’t do *everything* but a good one can get things done!

    When looking for help take your time and do the research – remember that you you get what you pay for and your Administrative Specialist/Virtual Assistant is (should be) an Administrative expert.

  28. When it came to step #2 I chose one or two tasks that I absolutely hated doing but were very important for marketing my fitness business. I was very nervous at first but once I made the decision I never looked back.

    Thank you for the awesome videos Marie! :-))

    All the best,

  29. Great tips, Marie! Something to add is to start out with small tasks. Being somewhat of a control freak myself, it’s easier to let go of the reigns when I’ve built a strong relationship with my outsourced help and know through smaller projects that they will do a great job for me on bigger ones. Thanks again, Marie!

    • Oh, I forgot to add one of the best FREE screen capture for both Mac and PC. Jing through Techsmith. Really great tool for showing your outsourcer what you want exactly 🙂

      • Wanted to let you know that I clicked your link and signed up for your website because you put what you “do” in your name in this comment. So glad I found you. Looking forward to module 1.

  30. YES! I love this.

    I’m a firm believer than everything can be outsourced except for ideas.

    My assistant does almost EVERYTHING for me in one of my businesses – write copy (I trained her), answer all emails, goes through courses for me and gives me notes, launches my random business ideas to see if they are viable, calls people, project manages my outsourcers…

    I used to have a company with 120 outsourcers (UGH) and managed 300 people… so all my people management makes me realize that others are way more competent than my ego might have originally thought. 🙂

    • And even ideas can be outsourced to be made better… or you could take other peoples’ ideas that rock.

      So I change my mind… EVERYTHING can be outsourced.

  31. Thanks, Marie! A great source I use for this area is Much in keeping with the Tim Ferriss 4hww. I listen to their podcast with a pen and paper to follow up with the resources and ideas they list. Check out their online forum for “classic” questions.

    Been using to outsource as well. I’ll be glad to chat with anyone who wants to tackle that Wild West!

  32. Martin Wilbanks

    Delegation is indeed necessary to growing your business. All the point you make in the video are important and right on.

    I think a point you hit on but perhaps too lightly is one of accountability. Accountability is dependent upon having those clearly defined expectations along with a training package. Expectations have to measurable in a way that allows the owner to monitor activities but not set such that it is a micromanagement tool.

    Having a way to reviewing measurable activities makes it easier for the control freak manager to be comfortable with the process of delegation.

    I recommend setting up a regularly scheduled review meetings to go over what is going on – like a activity report that has in it the opportunity to highlight current and emerging problems, action plan to control current/emerging problems as well as reporting on those carefully defined measurable activities.

    Properly creating accountability in terms of measurable results is key for the owner to see they still have control without having to do it all themselves.

  33. my biggest learning from hiring my own support staff has been to “set your staff up for success”. Give them clear guidelines of what needs to be done to meet your expectations so that they can hit your targets. When things don’t go as you had hoped. Speak up and address the issue right away. It can be tough to have those conversations but if you avoid them they just compile, tearing at the fabric of your relationship and eventually bringing your relationship to a point beyond repair. Address the issues before you get to that point.

  34. wouldn’t consider myself a control freak per se… but I am getting to the point where I KNOW I need help and need to delegate so this Q&A couldn’t have come at a better time! Excited about this new chapter for me & my business…

  35. My favorite tips for delegation if your a control freak is…
    Give your new assistant one thing at a time and train them until it’s done just like you want it.

    I recommend Marie’s tip of training with videos. You can read about it here:

    Here’s how I choose what to delegate. Another blog post(!):

    My blog post tomorrow is about how to give feedback to your team, so check it out if you’re nervous about giving feedback when someone doesn’t do it exactly like you want.

  36. Marie, as Virtual Assistant/Online Business Manager, I appreciate this video SO MUCH. The clients that get the most from working with me are the ones who have taken the time to be clear about what and how they want things done. When they are clear on their expectations and deadlines, I am too, and we both enjoy the process of working together a lot more. For those of you are are considering working with a VA and are “feeling the fear,” remember that many of us have chosen to do this work because we get totally jazzed up by watching YOUR businesses flourish!

    • very reassuring Suzanne – I’m totally jazzed! 🙂

  37. We’ve been using to manage scheduling.

    I’ve also had my assistant create training manuals as she has done the tasks herself. So at first, I walked her through the process over the phone and she did it and wrote down what she did. It was brilliant.

  38. Great Video Marie!
    The biggest mistake I have made when delegating is assuming someone understands what I mean, and then not following up. At first I was nervous about seeming to controlling. Now I have learned the balance between following up & to much hand holding!

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next week!

  39. Great info…as usually!

    Here’s my checklist for successful delegation thought it may be helpful for others:

    1. Centralize communication
    2. Treat them like children – meaning, don’t assume they already know what you’re going to say, give them simple and explicit details.
    3. Summarize the desired outcome
    4. Be graphic – a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
    5. Ask for confirmation – Ask them to write a one- or two-paragraph summary of the project or task.
    6. The 20 percent rule – Ask for feedback once they’ve completed 20% of the task of project (obviously this is meant for bigger tasks or projects)
    7. Make a sandwich – Think about the construction of a sandwich: there are two soft pieces of bread on either side of whatever the filling happens to be. When providing feedback try to begin with a few compliments, then provide constructive criticism, and then finally end with a few more compliments.
    8. Rinse and repeat – get/give feedback multiple times if needed.
    9. Give a final exam – Once the final project or task is delivered to you, provide feedback.
    10. Reward them!

    Trust me, it’s scary when you first delegate or outsource a task/project – but if you don’t start delegating you will never be free to grow and expand.

  40. This is a great topic! As a virtual assistant with a growing team, I have worked through some of the same concerns and learned some hard lessons along the way.
    Communication is essential and a good project management system helps with that. I’ve written a few posts about this on my own blog:

    My biggest tip is to communicate often – and don’t let this slide! Even when you begin feeling comfortable and your systems are set up, you still need regular communication and checking to be sure you are both still sharing the same vision and goals.

  41. Hi Marie

    Love the part about putting it all in videos. For a start it shows forward planning and it allows for quick reference.

    The downside is of course the time it takes to learn screenflow.



  42. Marta

    Great video Marie!
    For the time being I will bookmark the video so I can find it easily when I need to start delegating more in a PRO way. I’m sure it can come helpful in the future the!

    But right now what I do delegate is the tours I cannot do when I’m already booked: I have colleagues that I trust and I know they can give a tour on my behalf if I need them. They don’t work for me full-time, as in Barcelona all tourguide are freelances, but I do use their services often. And being able to delegate the tours allows me to increase my business even when I am not giving the tour myself!

    Thank you, Marie!


  43. the deadline tip is the best one for me… sometimes I want someone to just know what I want done and when I want it done by (as it’s never fast enough… right? 🙂

    The more I write down specific tasks and put the exact time I want it done by… it allows me to set expectations for myself and those I’m delegating to.

    Thanks for the reminders here Marie 🙂

  44. I struggled with this for a long time, and finally took the leap and hired an assistant in the summer. I am IN LOVE with her. (okay, not in that way 😉 Having her take on the administrative tasks like scheduling, liaising with clients, managing initial intake forms, posting blogs and sending out my newsletter has been a lifesaver for me.

    We started out with her copying me on all of her correspondence, and have now moved away from that so she only copies me on the critical pieces. She is a lifesaver and I have so much more time to work on the things in the business that are truly me: writing, seeing clients, brainstorming new products. I’m now on the hunt for a bookkeeper to take off another layer of tasks that I’m really not good at.

    If you’re on the edge and think you might want to give it a try: DO IT! Start small with just a couple of basic things and go from there. You’ll be amazed at how much it helps your business.

    Thanks for such great videos, Marie! I’m a huge fan! xxoo

  45. Hi Marie,
    Great video, I too use Basecamp and LOVE IT for project collaborations, especially as an event planner its a great tool to use with client and vendors.

    I have a tip for delegating to new assistants. I first find out what are their strengths and weaknesses- I have a questionnaire that they fill out. I find that most people want to do a good job. I start off by having my VA work on projects that I know they will be strong at so they gain confidence in working with me and the business. As we connect and gain an understanding of how to work together, I integrate projects that fall in their weakness section because people want to be challenged and want to grow. And this way I am prepared for having to spend more time training them and to expect that there will be a learning curve aka mistakes along the way- but I can be prepared for that and manage that…

    I also ask my VA if they see anything missing in my business processes and then if I see that is missing as well, I have them take that on as their project. It makes them feel like a partner and also encourages them to look for what’s missing from their point of view which can be really valuable when you are a smaller business. I love my VA and I will often send her thank you emails, thank you cards and “virtual high five” messages. Acknowledgement can go a long way!


  46. Christine T


    Where does one find a good virtual assistant, or go to become one? I’ve unfortunately run into some scammy sites that look good initially and end up turning up junk. Would love some suggestions for reliable resources.

    Thanks! Love your vlogs.

    • I love Elance for either hiring or working as a VA.

      • Christine T

        thank you!

  47. heidi

    Check out the Administrative Consultants Association online directory:

    • Christine T


  48. Marie,

    Thank you so much for this! As an entrepreneur AND VA, it speaks to me from both perspectives. I agree with Suzanne… The most successful partnerships come from clear, concise expectations and communication. One of the most satisfying aspects of my business is “problem-solving”. When an entrepreneur presents an efficiency/organizational challenge, and we work it out together – that’s the good stuff! 🙂

    Melissa Black

  49. These are FANTASTIC tips Marie! I know when I first brought in some help there was definitely that period where they did things differently or made some mistakes. But training someone else to handle things for you is totally worth it!

  50. I love your videos, Marie (and you should know that James Wedmore makes frequent references to how awesome they are in his classes!) and this one is spot on for me. I didn’t think I was a control freak, but I must be — because now that my copywriting and consulting business for entrepreneurs is thriving and I HAVE the money to hire someone (my old excuse) I’m still dragging my heels. Soon I’ll be dragging more than that if I don’t get help, so as usual I’ll bite the bullet when absolutely necessary (which is yesterday).

    I am SO motivated, not only by your great advice (the video training idea is genius) but also by all the comments here from recovering control freaks who took the plunge and saw the light. I see that could be me — and not only for delegating stuff I sholuld NOT be doing, but doing the things I **should** be doing but am not (isn’t throwing receipts in a box the same as bookeeping?)

    The best advice you gave — for me– is to expect some mistakes at first. In my house growing up, even little mistakes were a federal case. So I guess I’ve been so afraid of messing up I have been holding myself back.

    Maybe I’ll blog about adventures in outsourcing while I do it — that way any mistakes will seem like “a teachable moment” and part of the plan.
    Thanks!! Keep the comments coming, folks, you’ve almost convinced me 🙂

  51. Wow great thread. This is right up my alley. I have been outsourcing and hiring VA’s for years now and it is not as easy as it sounds. You guys can get some great information by downloading my free ebook at
    Looking forward to reading more comments. Thanks.
    Jason Ohrum

  52. I love your videos Marie and share them often, so thank you!

    In relation to outsourcing I think choosing the things you don’t really want to do is a great first step. Also things that may not be your strong point, and you put off as long as possible.

    Trying to do something yourself that you don’t enjoy and aren’t particularly good at is a real waste of your valuable time. Things like accounting, bookeeping and websites are good examples.

    Also things that are at the edge of your expertise. For instance I have a few clients who are social media managers who use me for the more techy stuff (Website issues SEO etc) allowing them to offer more services to their client then they would be able to otherwise.

    One thing that I learned in a seminar that has always stuck is: If you work out what your hourly rate is (or what you want it to be) and then anything that earns LESS than that is something to look at outsourcing.

    Having said all that, the control freak in me still has trouble letting go. Funnily email is one of the hardest ones, teaching a VA discernment has been put in the too hard basket so far…

    My emails fall into 3 catergories:
    1.client emails
    2. Spam,
    3. subscriptions form various sources, which is often not useful (spammy and salesy) but sometimes is very important.
    Does anyone have any advice on how to teach the discernment of the third group?



    • I manage email by creating folders and rules in my email program. The folders are named by client, and the rules move emails into those folders based on the sender.

      I can pretty much ignore my main inbox, since it contains only emails from non-clients or non-family or non-friends.

      The biggest tip I can offer, or rather pass on, is from Tim Ferriss’ book the 4 Hour Work Week: answer email only at 11:30 and 4:30, and let clients know that’s when you’ll be checking it, and if something is more important, they should text or call.

      • Good idea Sherm – How do you make sure new client inquiries don’t get lost in that main inbox?

        • So many people think they have one email address, and that’s it, can’t have any more, or it’s difficult to track. Not so fast, my friend.

          I have different emails set up for different purposes. I have a specific email that gets published on my website for contact, and of course a rule and folder those emails get directed to. My website has a contact form that forwards emails to that specific acct., so the potential client almost never sees that email address.

          I can pretty much guarantee that any emails in my general inbox are not from clients or potential clients that way.

          I initiate contact with a prospect with my main business email address, and since people tend to hit the ‘reply’ button, that becomes the primary contact email.

          As a web designer/developer/marketer I receive hundreds of emails daily from the dozens of client websites I host/monitor. This system helps weed out the spam (or at least direct it into a separate folder). When a prospect becomes a client, I create a new email ‘[email protected]’ and use that for setting up hosting accounts, social media accounts, analytics, advertising, etc., and that all gets driven into the client’s subfolders within my email.

          I also have a separate email to subscribe to email newsletters, etc. I monitor my primary emails from my smart phone, so my phone’s inbox doesn’t get filled with junk.

          Note: I used to do this in Outlook when I was a PC user, and it frequently caused problems (anyone remember the old 2GB file size limit?). Since I moved back to Mac, I have had no issues at all. I can even get my gmail, yahoo, att, and hotmail accounts coming into my inbox (and filtered into the proper folder).

          This is a huge labrynth to manage, but it really helps me get email under control.

          • Brilliant! I think I may just outsource someone setting that up for me. 🙂 I have it partway there, but not close enough.

  53. As per your usual Marie, this is a fantastic video which validates my recent decision to hire a VA. She and I are going to start working together the first week of December and we already have a great action plan in place.

    I’m also blessed to have 2 awesome interns, but the beginning was super tough because I wanted them to get inside my head and just know what I wanted. Once I saw the error of my ways I created a training schedule and now we’re swimming along quite nicely. Delegating all the time consuming ‘little’ tasks has really freed me up to work on creating awesome content for my peeps. 2012 is going to be a kick ass year because I’ve given up some control to grow!

    Thanks again for the wonderful wisdom! xoxoxo


  54. Katie Mazzocco

    I must begin by saying that I love love love your videos! As a young, hot business woman forging out into the world with atmosphere-shattering aspirations it is sometimes difficult for me to feel comfortable being myself. I’ve worried if I’m as positive, spunky and smiley as I naturally am that older people in biz will look down on me, but I worry no more! Seeing you with your enthusiasm leading your RHH life I no longer feel alone. 🙂

    Now as for this video, it is fabulous advice! As a professional organizer I often tell my clients that delegating tasks and creating systems are key to being highly productive and growing any sort of business (or freeing up time for other things you love). I love your idea about creating video training instead of just written. By watching the video your new hire would also see the way you conduct yourself and the way you describe things. This could help them internalize the brand even more.

  55. Hi Marie! Great tips there. As a virtual assistant, I am going to add something. When you are first training your assistant, make sure that you’re available for questions especially for the first month. I’ve worked with clients who tell me to do something and then I’m left with a task that isn’t clear. Example, schedule this or that on my Twitter, FB, etc and then there are no login details provided. Then I email back asking for clarifications and it takes them days to answer.

    So when you’re first working with a VA, make sure you answer all emails from the VA.

    Another tip: keep a spreadsheet of all passwords and usernames your VA might need to complete the tasks. I do this for all my clients and they’re all in once place 🙂

  56. Great, great, great, Marie!

    I am at the point where, maybe even in the beginning of the next year, I will need a VA.

    Do you have a place/site/person you would recommend that I go, when I will be able to hire one?

    Thanks so much!

    • Lyayne – here’s a link from The Mogul Mom which includes places to find a virtual assistant. Good luck. I’m hiring one too in the next month. Cheers, Tracy

      • Hi, Tracy!
        Thanks, but no link was attached in the message..
        Could you please email it?

          • Thank you so much, Tracy!
            I will soon need one 🙂

          • I would also like to add another directory to consider when searching for your ideal VA: IVAA (International Virtual Assistants Association):

            Also, in the post from themogulmom it lists the VA Chamber of Commerce; however, since that post was written the name has changed. It’s now the ACA (Administrative Consultants Association) and the link to the directory is:

            I would like to ask to be included in everyone’s search for an Administrative Consultant (a.k.a. VA). I launched my business in 2011 after spending nearly 25 years as an Executive Assistant supporting top management in public and private companies. I also hold a Bachelor’s Degree and am a Certified Administrative Professional. Visit my website ( to learn more and schedule a FREE consultation. I look forward to talking with you!

            Happy New Year!

  57. Marie,

    This video rocked (as usual)… it just really simplified the delegation process for a control freak like me. Thanks so much! I especially love that you put the bleepers in at the end. It shows your true transparency which is so admirable. 🙂 xo

  58. Great tips, as usual Marie. Love the practical plan you laid out..thank you!

  59. Thanks for another great video!

    I think my best tip for great delegation is to give clear, concise instructions in a you, me, now agree format. I also make sure I give great feeback and give praise to empower and recognise those I work with, and stay on hand to answer questions and bouy confidence.

  60. Suzanne Swint

    Have you tried for project management ? It’s pretty smooth. Cheers! xS

  61. Thanks for this AWESOME video Maria! I have my own VA business and starting to hire my own VA’s to help as I grow. These tips are fabulous!

    I have also learned that a great working relationship works best if your personalities work well together. So, interviewing via phone and/or Skype is essential.

  62. In reference to getting feedback, I love Eben’s suggestion for having someone tell you daily in a meeting that takes no longer than 15 minutes, what they got done, and what are the challenges they’re running into.

    You mentioned deadlines. They’re kick ass. But if you set the deadline of this meeting up, along with the deadline of when the project is to be completed, I think this will contribute massively to the trains running on time because your person won’t feel lost if they’ve got a problem and you’ll be giving them your full attention, at a time that’s most convenient for you.

    BTW, love what you’re doing with your hair in this vid! Hot, hot, hot! 🙂

  63. Mary

    Great info, concise to the point and always power packed with good information.
    Being a good “control freak”, delegating has always been difficult for me.

  64. Where’s your shirt from?

  65. I am slowly learning the art of delegation.
    Thanks for the tips.

  66. Whaaattttt?!? You mean solopreneurs don’t do all their own shizzle? OK – there’s hope for me yet. Thanks for these awesome tips!

  67. Thanks for this video! I was aware of a lot of this, but you made it short & sweet. The CC tip should have been a no-brainer to me. Writing down a list, too! I was writing down lists, but not of everything that I do, so that kept my wheels turning. Great video/post. 🙂

  68. Oh my hat.

    Thank you.

    I’ve been struggling with this for the last 4 years. Assistants come and gone and no end in sight. One simple tip that will solve my particular problem – recording a screenflow!
    Why did I not think of this sooner???? Especially as my problem is usually my words not being read properly or at times not written clear enough, a little video can go a long way to sort that out.

    Now I have renewed hope that I get this all under control, my inbound marketing agency is growing at such a rate I can’t keep up, I MUST figure this out now no matter what.
    So thanks again. Was reposted at the perfect time for me – thx universe 😉

    • Hi Bettina from Africa,

      I just read your comment and can relate to needing good assistants to grow your business. Congratulations on having such a high demand in your marketing agaency that there is a big need for you to focus on this now. If you don’t mind I’d like to share a fabulous resource with you that is tried and true. I know an amazing woman, Kelly Azevedo of, who has a free download on her website titled “5 Days to Finding Fabulous Help in Your Online Business”. It is a fabulous tool to determining how to find good help in your business. Kelly is adept at crafting systems in businesses to help take the overwhelming aspect out of the business and building a team. I hope this resource is helpful for you.

      Keep thriving!

      Happily & truly,

  69. Delegating some tasks would be a lifesaver. It’s quite a juggle getting everything done along with household stuff and caring for my kids. What do you do when you simply aren’t yet making enough money to hire a VA?

  70. I have used with great success at getting my projects going quickly, since their assistants are certified and adept at a variety of tasks. I would highly recommend using them as a valuable resource for getting your delegation needs accomplished.

  71. This is so great Marie! Thank you for sharing, I’m totally new to delegating but I definitely agree with all your points on the subject! Getting to work now!

  72. José Luis

    Im in love

  73. Robert Dorris

    Do the most productive thing possible with every given moment. Do surround yourself with experts in their fields. Do take their advice for their experience will be greater than yours. Don’t think you have to do it all. Utilize the talents and abilities of the individuals who work for you or volunteers who are willing to help. Just my opinion for those who want to be successful in life.

  74. Great advice! As a VA, I constantly see people struggle with delegation. Thanks for putting that out there!

  75. oliver

    I have no tips for delegating…this video was all news to me..

  76. It’s great to see a vid on delegation. It doesn’t come naturally to many but really is a must for any busy person – even stay at home Mums!
    I’ve found that a little assertiveness training can be helpful to some reluctant delegators.
    Also, a great tool to use is the job description you write when looking to hire a new staff member. If you’ve been thorough and specific in writing a job description it can be handy to refer to later to remind you of tasks or areas of responsibility that you had planned to delegate. Knowing that their employee agreed to the job description can help a reluctant delegator follow through on setting them those tasks.

  77. Thank you SO freakin’ much for recommending this video during the @Shopify #BuildaBizQA on Twitter last week. This is just what I need to hear to help me know how to use my new VA effectively (and in a way that will really support me and my biz). Much love to you for your biz-smart success tips! Appreciate all you do.

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Awesome, Ashley! Thanks so much for tuning in and connecting through the Shopify QA, and we’re so glad this episode was helpful.

      Cheers to growing your biz to new heights with your new VA! 🙂

  78. It really does a bit of time to get to know your VA especially if it’s also your first time to hire one. It is a learning process and both parties learn from each other and eventually be able to assess if it’s a right fit as far as virtual employee- employer is concerned. A VA can only do so much and the expectations must be made clear to the VA from get go. Otherwise, it will create a cloud of confusion and disappointment to both parties.

  79. I recently hired an awesome VA. I mapped out each process on big post it notes, worked out which parts were mine and which were hers. I created screen recordings as I did some of the tasks to use for training and these have really helped (just used QuickTime bc it’s on my mac, nothing fancy!). Now I am trying to automate as much as possible. That’s actually more challenging than delegating!!

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