Episode 39: Emily Morgan on The Power of Delegation

business Nov 02, 2021
Emily Morgan Know the Power of Delegation

Emily Morgan knows all about delegation! As a mom (and mompreneur), one of the hardest thing we can do is learn to let go. It's true with our kids and it's true with our businesses. But it's one of the most powerful skills we can learn.

Connect with Emily on Facebook, Instagram, or her website.

Find all the resources she mentioned at DelegateSolutions.com/ThisMomKnows

Emily's favorite system is time blocking

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 39

Jennifer Uren
Well you all know how much I love systems! And that's what we're all about here. So I'm especially excited for today's conversation with our guest, Emily Morgan. She's a mompreneur, who will inspire you. Her business, Delegate Solutions, was born out of her desire to create meaningful professional work from home so she could be available to raise her young son. A decade plus later and she is a busy mom to him plus three King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and many Silkie Hens. Emily, her family, and Delegate are a flexwork success story. And in the rest of her free time, Emily can be found serving locally on her Township's Economic Development Board, out on the trails riding her bike, meditating, reading, or practicing her hobbyist interior design skills around her home. Welcome, Emily.

Emily Morgan
Yay. Thank you, Jenn. So happy to be here with you.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, well, that told us a lot about you. But why don't you fill in a little bit more that wasn't covered? Like maybe where you grew up? And what was the spark of the idea that got you thinking "I could build a business from home"?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, I mean, my story started. I, I - It's interesting, because delegation, for me has been a really 360 experience. So when I first started my career, in the early days, before I was a mom, I was working as an Executive Assistant Project Manager, that type of work in Philadelphia, which is where I'm from. I grew up in Southern New Jersey, and I'm the oldest of three girls. And when when I got pregnant with my son, I was kind of like, you know, I was raised by a stay at home mom. And so I had this idea, like, okay, like, I want to be a working mom, and I want to contribute professionally. But I don't necessarily want to do it in the traditional way. And in those moments, this was 15. This was a, yeah, 15 years ago, probably right around this time, 15 years ago, is when I kind of learned that I could take administrative work and do it remotely from home. I was not exposed to entrepreneurship. I didn't, I didn't go to business school, I was raised by two teachers, and I have an English degree from Penn.

Jennifer Uren
So there you go.

Emily Morgan
Right!? And, you know, as as my pregnancy went along, and I was kind of like trying to rethink what life was going to look like, I realized, like, you know, I could start a business doing admin work, and then I could do it on my own terms and do it from home. So after he was born, and after a lot of research, I opened Delegate Solutions. And at that point, it was really just me serving as the assistant to the different clients I supported. And in the early days, it feels like a lifetime ago. Again, I was not like super entrepreneurial when I started. And it was all about me and my ability to be flexible. And I, a lot of my old bosses came in as clients. So that was one of the ways that I started.

Jennifer Uren
Well, that's great. Well, today, we're going to talk about the thing that you know, which is the power of delegation. But let's maybe start and go back into what is it that we're talking about, because like when I hear delegate, I hear assign to someone else, which really makes it feel like it comes from a position of authority. Am I on the right track? Or is delegation really more than that?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, so my content and thought leadership on delegation is probably no type of conversation you've ever had on delegate. So when I think of delegate, the words that come to mind to me, are elevate yourself. And it's all about you, right? And so, I believe that as visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, moms, whatever, the world needs us elevated, and they need us elevated so that we can make an impactful contribution that we were here to make. And the only way to do that is to free up time and space in our life to actually do those things. So let's start there.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yes. And that's important. That's one of the things we talk about here is that you can be your best as both mom and entrepreneur, but it you have to use your time right to do that.

Emily Morgan
Yeah. And, you know, I believe that delegation is an energy management system. So it's a tool that we can use to regulate how we're feeling. It allows us to conserve and protect energy again, to really do the the impact work. And as, as somebody that eats, sleeps, and breathes delegation, I can tell you that a lot of the times the reasons we don't delegate have absolutely nothing to do with we're not good delegators, the person we delegated to to do a good job - it's so much to do with our own mindset around, being able to let go, and all the reasons we can't let go.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, and what's the biggest reason people are afraid to let go?

Emily Morgan
So for entrepreneurs, and this is like a little bit of a deep response, but I want I believe in, I just finished my book, writing on this topic, so

Jennifer Uren
Oh good!

Emily Morgan
I have a lot to say on it. Yeah, um, you know, the first part of my book is all about mindset with delegation. And a lot of the reasons why entrepreneurs in particular, really struggle with this - and nobody take offense to this - but is really because we don't have a clear vision of what we want to spend our time on. Like, we've gotten so used to being so busy all the time, and feeling really accomplished through that, and validated that it's a little scary to think about, well, if I give X, Y or Z to someone else, what am I going to do? That, to me is like, the most important thing, when you when you really want to start working on delegation is being really clear. What am I here to do? What do I want to spend my time on? And when we can nail on that we can start to pull things off you in a different way.

Jennifer Uren
Got it. Okay. Well, I think that kind of gets at my next question, which was going to be you know, I have a professional organizing background. So I talked with language around that of, you know, purging, purging, our time purging or space, and deciding what we're going to keep and what we're going to get rid of, and getting rid of something could be stopping it all together, or it can be handing it off to someone else. But how do you have that clear vision? How do you figure out exactly what it is that you want to keep and what you're willing to let someone else take?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, I mean, that's really a deep work. There's some resources I can share. I've been part of the Strategic Coach program for many years now. And there's this concept in Strategic Coach, which is unique ability. And there's a book on it, like you can do exercises, but it's a lot about getting back in touch with yourself. Quickly, it's why we started our business, like, what is the vision and mission of our business? What do we feel like we can bring the most impact to? And sometimes it's just our thoughts, and being able to see that as valuable instead of seeing how busy we are as valuable.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. So tell us what exactly do you do then with Delegate Solutions? What is it that you do for clients?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, so we are a delegation company. So we offer a lot of different ways to help people do better with delegation. So we have an ebook, which is on the link that will share at the end of this thing is free. And it's a workbook, and it helps you kind of work through these kinds of questions. We have an ecourse that is based on those concepts from the ebook, it's called the elevation quarter. And in that you're doing a lot of self discovery with a peer group of other entrepreneurial leaders that are trying to figure out delegation themselves. And then we have our core service, which is our system as a service. So we have a very specific way that we help people figure out what to delegate and how to delegate. And we provide a support service and structure to help systematically take those things off your plate.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, so your training and consulting as opposed to being admin work or being the people that execute what is being delegated?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, a lot of the things we help people with, you know, they're, they're tasks. But they're the way that we come at figuring out what those are, because a lot of the reasons that people don't delegate is they don't know what to delegate, they don't know where to start, right. And so we help you figure that out, we create a programmed approach to designing delegation that ties to your goals and priorities instead of just what do you need help with today? Like all that does is overwhelm the entrepreneur in my opinion.

Jennifer Uren
And I agree. So I know that, you know, well I delegated today by having Instacart do my grocery delivery.

Emily Morgan
Love it!

Jennifer Uren
'Cuz I was like, I just don't have time. For mompreneurs what are some, like, I think we always think the most obvious thing is I need to hire an assistant, but that might not be the right solution. So what are some ways that you know mompreneurs and business owners can delegate that aren't that obvious as "Hire an Assistant, what are some other things they can do?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, I mean, it's funny me my family teases me because I delegate everything. You know, obviously, you were talking about groceries. I have q housekeeper, landscaper. The, the team helps you with like a lot of the personal things like travel, gifting, things like that. Something interesting I did from a delegation standpoint, as a mom that might be useful. So my son is 14 now, he'll he'll be 15. And during COVID, he was really struggling with online school, he has ADHD. He is an extrovert. So he just, he really couldn't get himself organized. So I hired through my friend who owns a nanny company, I hired an online, an eLearning aide, is what I would call it. And so I delegated that part of my parenting because, like, I could have the exact same conversation with him, but he's just screaming at me, like, whereas with her, with her, it's like, you know, very calm conversation. So she was, um, you know, checking in on on his Google classroom every day to make sure he's turned things in, like, to me Google Classrooms just very overwhelming. So, you know, that's like a parenting thing that I delegated that really well.

Jennifer Uren
That is, that is really smart. I homeschool my eighth grader. And yes, there's a lot of "why do I have to learn this?!" And so it is nice when someone else is that buffer. So, so that is that is really smart. So, so really, it could be anything, it could be anything that you either find overwhelming, or don't have the skill set for, or just don't want to do that you could delegate out.

Emily Morgan
Yeah, and we have an exercise. And I can put this on the page on the web page. And we can run this with you guys complimentary, it's a 20 minute exercise, you can do it on Zoom. But it's called a freedom analysis. And what we do is interview you. And we start to segment how you're spending your time into four quadrants. And we always want to start with a positive, I want to spend my time doing these things capture that, then we go down to the bottom right side, and we talk about all the things you're doing that you hate doing, you're not good at, capture those, those things gotta go, like come up with a plan to get those off your plate, then we take the things that you're doing that you're okay at but it's not the best use of your time. So like for a lot of especially new business owners, it's invoicing, data entry, responding to social media requests, those kinds of things. And then we look at what you're doing on your top right corner. And those are things that you're typically really good at but they're not the best use of your time, and someone else could do. So just exercises like that - thinking exercises to systematically identify delegation.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, well, that's helpful, because what I heard you say is, you might like something, but that doesn't mean you should do it. And you might not like something, but you do need to do it as the business owner. And so when you can figure out what those things are, then you're not mucking it all up with the stuff in the middle that you could care less about.

Emily Morgan
And with the overwhelm of like, "Oh, I'm just so overwhelmed." Like, this is a systematic way to do it. So yes, we'll run them complimentary, there's no, you know, we just enjoy doing it. So if you want to schedule one of those with one of my team members, they'll run through an exercise with you.

Jennifer Uren
Great, we'll put a link to that, too. That's, that's fascinating, because I think that's often well, that's why we get other people to come in and help us - coach us - because, you know, they're, they're a different perspective. And I think that's probably a really good starting point for anybody because sometimes you don't realize what you're doing, or you don't realize that you don't like it, you just supposed to do it so who else is gonna do it? So that's really interesting. I'll, I will sign up for that.

Emily Morgan
And then if you if you want to do like a self study and do it yourself that same exercise is in the ebooks, so that's free to download that, too.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Well, I do want to ask you, though, about, about this, I hear mompreneurs all the time, say, in all the groups I'm in whether they're podcasters, whether they're writers, whether they're, you know, building consulting businesses, I just hear them say, "I need a VA". And nobody seems to know what that means, like, a) what do I really need somebody to do? or b) how do I find somebody who can come in and take responsibility and ownership of something as opposed to just waiting for a list of tasks to be handed to them? Because sometimes, sometimes I feel by the time I delegate a task, I could have done it myself and so what's the point of, of having somebody else? How do you? How do you figure out how to bring somebody in that's a good team member and will work with you as opposed to your're just paying them to...

Emily Morgan
Yeah, well, there's so many options for the ways that you can go about solving this problem. So if you're looking for very technical tasks, skill level delegation. Meaning you, Jenn, you're sending a list of these 20 things that you need help with, go with an inexpensive, like traditional virtual assistant. They, they're task level, you're driving the delegation, you're figuring out what they're doing and you're, they're getting it done, you can do that very inexpensively. Where we, on the other side of that spectrum is a full time in office assistant, right? So they're there 24/7, that's what they're doing is working with you. Where we fall is in the middle. Because we work with clients anywhere from an hour a day, all the way up to full time. But we are the ones driving the delegation. So we're the ones tell me what you have going on this week? What are your goals for the quarter, prompting you to delegate, helping hold you accountable in weekly planning and accountability calls, designing a delegation strategy and deploying our system for systematically pulling those things off your plate? So it's much more like a consultative approach to delegation than just task execution.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. Okay. Well, that makes a lot of sense. And then, and then do you help them find the person to do what needs to be done? Or do you tell them "you go find someone to do this"? How does the delegation...

Emily Morgan
we provide the the team that consists in a task level relationship, you have to figure out what you're giving them? All right, yes, in a relationship with a firm like ours, you're telling us what you're trying to do. And we're gonna put a plan together and get those things off your plate in a systematic way.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, so your your focus is on that growth and elevating, leveling up as and we'll figure out how to do it the most effective way as opposed to me trying to figure out what I need to get there on my own.

Emily Morgan
Yeah, and I think there's a time and a place for all I think, another difference from a traditional sort of VA to a service offering like ours, which is more of a system is we've already figured out how we take over your calendar, we've already figured out how to delegate your inbox. So all those things that you would own responsibility for, like teaching someone to do it or coming up with a plan, you know, these already done for you in a service like ours.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Okay. Well, that's good to know. Is there a difference between delegating and outsourcing? Or are they just sort of different words for the same thing?

Emily Morgan
Um, I think outsourcing is using a resource outside of your organization. So to me, like outsourcing is fractional workforce. So like, in my business, we have a fractional CFO, we have a fractional marketing agency, we have a fractional HR agency. So like I would consider that outsourced. And that's more expert level support. To me, delegating is the act of actually elevating your time by either getting rid of something, automating it or handing it off to someone else.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Okay. So so you could delegate by, you know, I suppose outsourcing it to a landscaping company is so some of it is probably semantic, as opposed to all that, but you hear these words interchangeably, sometimes. And they don't always mean the same things. And sometimes they do.

Emily Morgan
Yeah, well, I think fractional is a really big word. So fractional service providers, like that's how I've grown my business is, you know, I don't have all these people on payroll, I use fractional services.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And that's a really effective way to leverage somebody else's expertise. And without breaking the bank!

Emily Morgan
And their system, because you've got, you know, shared minds working on the same problem. Whereas if I were to just hire a CFO, I'm, I'm tied to whatever system they've used in the past, whereas working with a CFO company, they're working with a bunch of other clients. These are best practices, just a different level of experience I think.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. So I'm a very task oriented person. And so it's very easy for me to think in terms of task, but I saw on I think it was on your Facebook page, it said that you recommend thinking in terms of strategy when it comes to delegation. So can you tell us more what that looks like? And how those things are really different?

Emily Morgan
Yeah, so task level is you're driving it, you're figuring out okay, I don't want to do X, Y, and Z anymore. And I'm going to get this off my plate. Strategy is, these are my goals of that goal I saw on your podcast, you're talking about 80/20. Same thing applies. So you're trying to get let's say you're trying to increase your listener base 25% This quarter, and that's one of your goals. So the way that conversation would go with a delegation company would be okay, well, what Jenn do you need to do to grow your podcast audience 25% And I would bet is 20% of the overall thing that needs to happen, you would need to. And so our job is what are the other 80%? And let's put some systems to delegate that so you can get that goal done.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, okay. Well, that makes sense. Because a lot of times that 20% that I know I need to do doesn't happen because of all the things that I'm doing that probably somebody else should be doing. So yeah, well, let's go back in time a little bit. You were a mompreneur working from home way before it was cool.

Emily Morgan
Yeah!

Jennifer Uren
And we've talked about the the key motivator being present with your son. But as you as you worked to integrate, you know, home and family life with business, what was the biggest challenge you faced doing that?

Emily Morgan
Great question. Um, so yeah, I'm home. This is my home office. And..

Jennifer Uren
Your interior design skills are great.

Emily Morgan
Thank you. Um, now I'm distracted.

Jennifer Uren
Challenges, what was your challenge?

Emily Morgan
My challenge, so okay, I was a single mom, um, since my business was four years old. And so when my business was in its early days, I would put my son to bed, I would stay up. And I would work until like, three in the morning, because I was like, so excited on all the things I was doing. And, and I still wanted to hang out with him. And I was working my job at the time. So for me, the whole context has been about boundaries of my time. So five o'clock, I'm done. Like I am offline, I don't check my email. I don't take you know, rarely will I take a phone call in the evenings, that sort of thing. Same with weekends, because I needed to be able to have some structure, because otherwise, I mean, he's literally stand here right next to me staring at me right now while we're having this conversation. So, doors and boundary.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, okay. And when you have, you know, when you have a business built around this idea of delegating, the irony is at the beginning, like you said, you were doing it all yourself. So you have to make sure that you lead by example, and delegate well. So, um, you know, how did you how did you begin to integrate that in as a practice yourself?

Emily Morgan
Um, it's, you know, it's the cobblers shoe story, right? I am not the cobbler I guarantee, like I, I do practice what I preach. Am I like 100% perfect all the time? No, not at all. I'm always learning and trying to get better. But I think the very first thing that I let go of, because I was terrible at it, I told you earlier, I was an English major was the accounting piece. So that was the very first thing to go. Um, and then as I got more entrepreneurial, and more self aware, and, and sort of have my own thought leadership with delegation, that's when I was really able to kind of take it to the next level, but I've always invested in bringing others into my team. And every time we do that we grow. So it's been about systematically doing that on repeat over and over again.

Jennifer Uren
So systematically doing that, do you have a trigger that says it's time to add somebody? Do you have reviews to figure this - how do you do this for your, your own company?

Emily Morgan
So we are right around 45 employees right now. So it's, um, you know, there's a lot of bodies there to manage. So I can really only speak on the leadership side. And like, that sort of thing 'cuz I'm not really involved in staffing on the associate side, but we create phantom seats on our accountability chart, as we start to notice more and more pain, or we start to sort of identify key people that are getting overwhelmed. So we start to kind of bucket what they're doing. And what role can we hire. So for example, we have a client concierge, who's wearing two hats right now. She's also our recruiter. She loves the recruiting. And we need both happening really well. So we're going to hire a concierge, but sort of mash it up with supporting our service team. So we're making one full time hire instead of you know, hiring fraction

Jennifer Uren
Part times or something. Yeah.

Emily Morgan
So that's our strategy.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Well, that's, that's interesting. I never thought like I thought in terms of, I'd love to have somebody do X, Y, or Z, but I've never thought to like build out an org chart with empty spots to fill in.

Emily Morgan
Plus, I think it shows the team, you know, new opportunities on horizon, that sort of thing like visually, which can be exciting also.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Knowing that something's going to grow and move forward is always energizing.

Emily Morgan
Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
So so for the mompreneur listening who is feeling overwhelmed?

Emily Morgan
I'm sure they all are.

Jennifer Uren
They all are, right! Yes! But who has not yet started to delegate? Is there one simple first thing that she should delegate or think about passing off?

Emily Morgan
Um, I have two answers that first, you know, I, I each that, you always want to know what you want to spend your time on. Right? If you can be clear on that one thing, the rest becomes easy, because then you're going to see, well, that's not it. So that needs to come. Now, when you have that sorted out, and you do an exercise, like the one I just ran through, look always for repeatables, so things you're doing more than once, because if we can identify what those are, we can create a process and then give it to someone else. So that's tip one. The second piece is always start small to build confidence. So, you know, work through, like some very basic personal tasks that, you know, just to build your own confidence with delegation.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, that's good advice. Now, I heard you say you're on the leadership side, not on the associate side. So are there any core responsibilities that the business owner should always make sure stays on their plate?

Emily Morgan
Yes, vision. So vision for the company is in my seat. Strategic partnerships, like, you know, working with different right fit groups, and getting to know people and doing collaborations is in my seat currently. And right now, I also sit in the content seat. So like I mentioned, I wrote the book, etc, like I'm staying in that zone, because I want to position as a thought leader on delegation, so I keep that in my box to get it.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. So things that really are the face of the company, so to speak, stay on the plate of the owner, but the mechanics, the execution, the service, a lot of that could be delegated to other people.

Emily Morgan
Yes. And we run on entrepreneurs operating system, which is known as EOS. And on our accountability chart, we have the visionary, which is me and we have the integrator, the integrator is like the COO, they're the ones that take the vision, and sort of bring it into the company and start executing operationally.

Jennifer Uren
Okay.

Emily Morgan
You need those two roles,

Jennifer Uren
Because those, yes, together, they will make it work. One without the other is hard to do.

Emily Morgan
And I've found one little tip, as I've grown myself, is, I've found that as I freed myself up, my integrator did not free himself up as quickly. And so what happened is, we start to have like, all this vision, and then the execution is delayed because he's too busy.

Jennifer Uren
So there's a bottleneck. Yeah.

Emily Morgan
So anyway, I think that those two if you can leverage them with the same bandwidth, like, yeah, get more done.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Well, that's excellent. Well, this has been a really good conversation. Very interesting and thought provoking. So thank you. As we wrap things up, this is my favorite question. Because I'm a gadget girl, I love any gadget, system, or tool that is going to make life easier. So what is your favorite time saving gadget, system, or tool?

Emily Morgan
Um, I mean, just off the top of my head, I use time blocking. So I don't know that that's a gadget, but it is a tool and a system. So that, you know, my, my energy is managed in a certain way. So my calendar has very specific rules around what my days look like. So time blocking, to me has been, number one, the way that I stay very efficient and effective.

Jennifer Uren
That great. Good. Thank you. Well, Emily, how can people connect with you? And then why don't you tell us a little bit about the course that that you're offering as well?

Emily Morgan
Sure. So our website is DelegateSolutions.com, and we have set up a special page for your listeners, DelegateSolutions.com/ThisMomKnows. And that's where all the key points will be that we covered today. Our e course link is on that page. This Mom Knows. And basically what it is, is the e book in real life. So we take cohorts of typically five to 10 entrepreneurial leaders that come for an hour and a half, six sessions over 90 days. And it's a really deep dive into everything we've learned about delegation and how to become better at it, how to elevate your time. So they're really like meaningful, vulnerable conversations that we have in there. There's exercises and homework, we have a office hours where you can come and ask questions, but it's just sort of like a deep dive into you know getting a doctorate and delegation if you will

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Well excellent Well Emily thank you so much for sharing today and I will put all these links in the show notes and I'm I know people are gonna find this very valuable.

Emily Morgan
Thank you. It's great to be here

 

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