Why Home Based Professionals Don’t Delegate

A lot of us home based professionals have had the luxury, in previous lives, of having staff to whom we can delegate some activities, thus making us more efficient. And even as solo, home based operators we have the ability effectively to delegate, for example by using one of the many virtual assistant services available globally.

And we’ve read the E-Myth and we know the theory about delegating, working on the business not in the business.

So why don’t we do it? Why do we wear, as a badge of perhaps perverted pride, the burden of being our own executive assistant, our own bookkeeper, our own researcher, our own sales force? And then get frustrated that you can’t get good staff these days .

Reasons will no doubt vary. Here are five off the top of my head:

  • No one does it as well as I do (there’s that ole E-Myth again)
  • It will take too long to brief someone
  • My client expects to deal with me directly
  • The deadline is too tight – this is a weekender and a late nighter
  • I have to share the profit (Update: added after Kathie pointed out I had only listed four

I have a hunch that there is a coach or two out there who could unpack this and show me very clearly how, with some strategic planning and more discipline I could unpack each of those “reasons” and find a solution.

I could probably do it myself. (I typed that before I realised how ironic it is – it deserves to stay.)

And anyway the voice on my shoulder says: But where will I find the time to do all that?


My solopreneuring colleague Shirley George Frazier prompted these thoughts this morning with her – as always – down to earth comments in the blog post Delegation Isn’t Always Possible.

When it’s time to work on a project, many times it’s easier and more advantageous for us to get it done on our own rather than spend time looking for someone to train. The project’s size makes a difference, too. If we believe it’s a manageable task, we’ll do it ourselves because timing plays a huge part in completing the work and getting paid.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Alright, here is a VA responding to your 5 points.

    1. No one does it as well as I do. True – many of us do it better, depending on what “it” is. If it is in the realm of the VA’s expertise, he or she may well have a leg up on you.

    2. It will take too long to brief someone. Start slow. Write down what you need, make it very clear what end-result you are looking for, and email it off to your VA. Once he/she completes the first task to your satisfaction, you will feel much more comfortable adding a second.

    3. My clients expect to deal with me directly. Only because they always have to date. They will quickly get used to your teammate.

    4. The deadline is too tight. I have helped many a client out a jam. In fact, occasionally working nights and weekends makes me feel like I can then take some compensating time during the week. It’s actually a treat.

    5. I have to share the profit. If you are using your VA effectively, your profit will go up as you can spend more time doing what it is that you are an expert at.

    I’ve seen it work beautifully, and I believe it is the wave of the future!

  2. Actually, I’d like to “think”……..

    But I wouldn’t be asking a VA to spellcheck my blog comments, so that would not be a solution. 🙂

  3. Jason

    You are so right about Shirley’s suggestion. And I’d like to thing there’s a VA who has read this, made some notes, switched on the camera on their computer and is in the midst of making a short video to upload on YouTube – Why You Need a Virtual Assistant Right Now! And I’m sure they’ll send a gift to Shirley’s favourite charity when the cheques roll in. But if the VA doesn’t know how to do the video, what should they do?

  4. Shirley,

    You just gave any VA reading this a million dollar idea! If a VA made looked at those 5 objections above and demonstrated (e.g. showed in a video) how to overcome them would earn my trust a lot quicker. I’m contending with this same issue right now. I have way more to do than I have time. I’ve taken the first step….admitted that I need help.


  5. Des, your post made me smile as I read it.

    The decision to do it all ourselves versus hire a virtual assistant or other reputable service continues to be a long-term dilemma for independent professionals.

    What I’d love to see, read, or watch by video, is a case study of how an independent professional went from working alone to working with a VA.

    1. What type of projects were transferred to the VA?

    2. How did the professional find a VA that understood his requirements?

    3. What methods were used to get projects, files, etc., to the VA? Were files sent electronically, by mail, etc.?

    A case study would bring many of us closer to working with VAs. I agree that the first step is difficult, but if VAs don’t offer this type of insight, independent professionals will continue to dance alone.


  6. Well caught, Kathie! I had written four down and obviously lost concentration when I was typing them in!

  7. That was four, not five. You DO need a virtual assistant and I know a heap of them! Many people are able to delegate to them just fine – it’s that first step that’s the hardest!