The One Thing You Should Never Delegate

“Delegate,” they said.

“It’ll be easy,” they said.

“Just try Fiverr,” they said.

So you did. (And you spent more than a fiver.) And you ended up having to go back and do the work yourself, which meant you were out the money and the time it took to find someone, pass a task to them, review all the ways the task didn’t serve you, and ultimately put it back on your To Do list.

Four hour work week? More like four hour cry.

You’ve heard the popular wisdom to delegate anything and everything you possibly can, especially things that aren’t in your zone of genius. And this makes sense. Your weaknesses will never become your strengths, so why waste time on tasks in your blind spot when there’s someone out there who can do them for you?

Yet, not all delegation is created equal, as you inevitably discover when you try to unload your entire list on the lowest bidder and it ends up being an expensive form of procrastination.

In this episode of Awkward Marketing, I share my philosophy on delegating and outsourcing and, with it, my golden rule for knowing when to delegate and when to keep a task on your desk.

A few years ago, I got sucked into delegating too much, too soon. I was so excited by the idea of growing my team and graduating to a more “grown-up” business model,  I went from a one-woman shop to a ten-person agency in just a few months. But, because I didn’t follow my yet-to-be-written golden rule, each new hire imploded task by task by task.

By the end of my delegation spree, I was out thousands of dollars and my To Do list was overflowing with all the things I had to redo myself. It only took me a few months to expand my team tenfold (which made me feel like a rockstar in the moment) but it took years — literally — to dig myself out of the hole my spree ended up creating.

Looking back, I consider the money I spent to hire myself for tasks I had already delegated an investment in learning the hard way. You gotta spend money to make money, right?!

This experience taught me that there are two types of delegable tasks.

And because I love ya, I’m sharing them with you in this episode of Awkward Marketing. Anything that doesn’t fall into these two buckets needs to stay on your list — or you’ll regret it later.

Plus, I share the one key task that you should never delegate until you’ve mastered it yourself, even if it’s far far away from your zone of genius.

Rachael Kay Albers

Rachael Kay Albers is a creative director, business comedian, and brand strategist gone wild. She writes and performs about branding, pop culture, tech, and identity. When she’s not muckraking about marketing, Rachael runs RKA ink, a reinvention studio and branding agency for businesses that burn the rulebook. She's also on Instagram a lot.