I don't have time for marketing at the moment.
That’s something I often hear from financial advisers and mortgage brokers, especially when you’re busy - for example, when the tax-year end is approaching or when the property market is buoyant and people are queuing up to get mortgages.
I’ve written before about why the times when you’re busy are actually the best times to focus on your marketing.
But I know it can still be a struggle finding the time to do it.
In fact, time management is often one of the first things I end up working on with a new 1-2-1 coaching client - because I have to help them create space in their week to do all the new marketing initiatives that we’ve come up with.
Often I’ll get the client to keep a detailed diary for one to two weeks of how they are spending their time - broken down into 15 minute chunks.
Then we assess what they’ve been doing and identify which of the tasks could have been done by someone else other than them.
This can be a real eye-opener.
With one client, Brian, we found that over half of what he was doing each week could have been done by someone else.
Brian was spending way too much time doing admin tasks instead of doing the things that he enjoyed doing and that only he could do - like meeting with clients and doing the actual advising.
So I suggested to Brian that he get a VA.
To my surprise, Brian didn’t know what a VA was. It’s a virtual assistant.
Admin support for financial services
Once I explained what a VA is and how they work, Brian had a lightbulb moment.
He’d assumed the only way to get admin support was to employ a full- or part-time member of staff. And he’d been nervous about that because of the cost, the commitment, and the potential HR issues.
But now he realised he could bypass all those potential problems by outsourcing tasks to a VA instead.
The next problem was where to find one.
Fortunately, I was able to help Brian with that too.
Virtual assistants for financial advisers
The first thing I said he needed to realise was that not all his tasks had to be done by the same VA.
My advice was to classify tasks according to whether they required specialist financial services knowledge and whether they required communication with clients.
Any admin jobs that needed some knowledge of mortgages, investments, etc could be given to a specialist VA with a background in financial services (you’ll find some on LinkedIn if you do a search, or drop me a line if you’d like an introduction to someone).
Things like chasing up clients and updating them on applications could be done by a UK-based generalist VA. You could find one through recommendations, or you could post your requirements on Upwork.
And tasks that don’t need to be done during office hours could be done at a lower cost by a VA outside the UK.
Brian now has a VA who used to be a mortgage administrator doing some of his product sourcing and keying applications for him.
And he’s got a team of VAs in the Philippines who format reports, create stunning graphics for his social media posts, update his website, and edit videos for his new YouTube channel (all while he sleeps)
And best of all, he’s now got more time each week to do the things he enjoys doing and the things which will help his business grow.
He even fitted in a trip to the cinema with his wife and kids during half-term.
Delegation tips for IFAs
However, Brian didn’t get to this happy position just by finding some virtual assistants to help him.
When he first took them on, he faced another challenge. He needed to make sure he made as much use of them as possible.
And that meant I had to teach him how to delegate.
Delegation is something that many of the mortgage brokers and IFAs I coach struggle with initially.
Sometimes it’s because they don’t know which tasks to delegate.
Sometimes it’s because they think it will take too long to explain to someone else how to do a task that they can do fairly quickly themselves.
And sometimes it’s because they don’t think anyone else can do the task as well as they can do it themselves.
So here are three delegation tips for you - one to overcome each of the above challenges.
I don't know which tasks to delegate
The simple solution here is to do what I got Brian to do when we were first figuring out where all his time was going.
Keep a detailed diary/timesheet for the next two weeks where you record how you spend your time - broken down into 15 minute chunks.
Then go through and highlight each task in green if it is something that only you can do (e.g. meeting with a client) and highlight it in red if it is something someone else could do.
Be really honest as you do this and you’ll probably find a lot more red than green at the end.
The red tasks are the ones to delegate.
Teaching someone else to do this will take a long while
Ok. You may be right. But remember this…
Even if it will take you two hours to teach your VA to do a task that you could have done yourself in 30 minutes…
This will be the last time you ever have to do that task!
So invest a bit more time today to teach your VA and you’ll have more free time every day or week from now on.
Another tip - instead of trying to write down every step of the process so as you can hand it over to your VA, just record a video of you doing the task yourself instead.
There’s a great free tool called Loom that you can use for this.
No-one can do this task as well as I can
I bet they can.
And even if they can’t - is it a task that has to be done 100% perfectly?
Or is it one that just needs to be done well?
If “good” is good enough, then delegate it.
I hope these quick tips have given you some food for thought and shown you that you could actually delegate more things than you think.
Because, once you do that, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy your job more. Plus you’ll have more free time to do non-work things.
And remember - unlike money, time is the one thing we can never get back or make more of once it’s gone.
All we can do is make better use of the time we do have.
So if that’s something you’d like some help with, drop me an email or click here to book a call with me.