How To Tell When You’re Ready To Start Delegating

Curious if you’re at a point in your practice where you can afford to delegate? Matthew Jarvis, CFP®, shares delegation benchmarks for advisors.

5.5 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

Delegation runs on a spectrum between being a trigger word and a superpower.

Some of us hate delegating, as many advisors insist they must physically handle every aspect of paperwork to deliver value. Other advisors delegate everything possible—including purchasing toothpaste for their families. Most advisors are somewhere in the middle.

No matter where you land on the delegation spectrum, you’ll find that you can only grow so much by doing it all yourself. Eventually, you’ll run out of hours in the day to do everything you should be doing to build a successful practice unless you learn to delegate.

If you’re new to the industry or earned your CFP® years ago, there are tasks in your practice that you need to let go of so you can focus all of your energy on those mission-critical tasks that move the needle, and drive revenue: prospecting, client meetings, training, delivering massive value, and strategic planning.

Everything else needs to go.

But how can you tell when you’re ready to start delegating and which tasks must go first? Let’s take a look.

When to delegate: The Entry-Level Advisor

    There needs to be some clarification about when you should start delegating. Ideally, you should hire a part-time virtual assistant as soon as possible. However, you must bring in enough revenue to provide for your family and pay your new hire.

    If you are an advisor bringing in less than $80,000 in annual revenue, you’re not making enough to delegate yet. And if you spend money, it needs to be on prospecting and marketing.

    You need to roll up your sleeves and do the grunt work until you’ve built your bankroll up enough that you can afford to delegate. You should be delegating to yourself through strategic time-blocking.

    Start your morning focused solely on completing your prospecting reps for the day, followed by client service. You need to buckle down in the afternoon and do your administrative work.

    You haven’t earned your delegations, but you’ll get there if you keep working hard, discipline your time, and time-block like a maniac.

    What to delegate: The Solopreneur

    Solo advisors making between $80,000 and $100,000 have earned their delegations and should start by hiring a part-time virtual assistant. You can scale your practice and hire more full-time employees as your income increases.

    How can you tell when you’re ready or what should be delegated?

    For advisors producing between $100,000 and a million dollars in annual revenue, here’s a metric you can use to determine tasks worth delegating:

    1. Determine how much your ideal client (a real one you have today) is worth.
    2. Figure out how much time you spend working with that client. For advisors producing between $100,000 and a million dollars in annual revenue, here’s a metric you can use to determine tasks worth delegating:

    Crunch these numbers to discover your hourly rate, which is your new delegation threshold.

    Write this value on a post-it note in your office to remind you that any task worth less than your hourly rate needs to be delegated.

    You need to get these tasks off your plate to be hyper-focused on the highest value of your time.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that these tasks are beneath you or aren’t worth doing. It just means that these tasks aren’t the best use of your time and would be better handled by someone else.

    Let’s be honest; most of these things are projects that you probably don’t enjoy doing or could be completed more proficiently by someone with a different skill set than you.

    Note: Advisors with multi-million dollar production must delegate any task worth less than $1,000/hour.

    Eliminate, Automate, and Delegate

    No matter where you are in your career path, you need to identify tasks and processes that you can eliminate, automate, or delegate to free up your running to-do list, ensuring that you’re focused on revenue-driving endeavors.

    First, you want to remove anything interrupting your deep focus, such as your email and phone calls. Eliminate all notifications on your phone and computer. We all get hundreds of emails daily—you don’t need to be pinged every time a new one lands in your inbox.

    Create filters for your email inbox so that emails from only a few people land there. The rest can be filtered by addons such as Sanebox into a team review folder. For advisors who have team members, you can delegate further filtering to a team member. Your team member can highlight emails needing immediate attention and remove the junk.

    No advisor should be answering their own phone. Not only does personally answering your phone set a bad precedence for clients, but it’s also a constant interruption. All incoming calls need to be handled by a team member.

    Advisors still manually handling their scheduling need to move to an automated system like Calendly or Acuity. These services allow clients to schedule meetings during predetermined time slots for a reasonable fee.

    No Takebacks

    Once you’ve delegated a task, that task is no longer yours—no takebacks! That doesn’t mean you can’t review it and offer guidance to your team members. You just need to ensure tasks aren’t working their way back onto your to-do list.

    You become the “easy button” when you retake tasks from team members. If you’re constantly reclaiming projects because your team isn’t doing it right, you’re denying them the opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes.

    Instead, you must determine if you have a people problem or a process problem. Maybe you don’t have a person with the right skill set for the job, or perhaps (and more likely) your process for completing the task is broken. Take time to work with your team members to identify and correct flaws in the process instead of taking back delegations.

    Be patient and stick to your processes. New delegations take time to refine as your leadership skills improve and your team members learn your expectations. Sure, you could do the task faster, but the whole point of a delegation is to free up your time for the projects that matter most.

    Action Items

    Find three to seven tasks this week that you can eliminate, automate or delegate. These tasks be things from your practice or in your personal life. These things could be email, filing, compliance, review tasks in your firm, or tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, and household maintenance.

    Whatever you choose, get these things off your plate and replace that time with more productive tasks like prospecting.

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