Delegation, a key to riches

staff.jpgOne of the great things about making a living online is the fact that you can do so much your self, there’s no need for expensive offices, payroll departments or boring board meetings. However the fact that you can run so much of your business yourself doesn’t mean that you actually should, if you want to your business to really grow then delegation is key.

Scott did a great post about seeking help and the various skills you need to run a successful site and the fact that you’ll need some help along the way. At times we all need a bit of help but if you want to be making serious money you also need to learn how to delegate, even the jobs you’re good at.

I could quite easily browse the web and find cool gadgets to write about, in a morning I could easily find 10 new products and write 10 posts. So for working about 3 days a week I could take a wage of over $150K, which sounds like a pretty nice amount for a part-time job. But it has a very serious flaw, I’d be trading hours for money.

One of the reasons I left the 9-5 rate race was because I hated my earnings being restricted by the number of hours I could work (I also wasn’t a big fan of making my bosses rich at the expense of my time) so there’s no way I’m going to get into that rut with my own business.

Paying people to do a job that you enjoy doing yourself can be very difficult, you’ll often want to jump in and show them how you’d do it or even take over (I used to do this a lot back in my 9-5 coding days) but if you hire talented people you need to sit back and let them get on with it, a good rule to follow is always hire people that are more talented at the required job than you are, which for me with writing isn’t very difficult.

I’ve got to thank Richard for reminding me of this with his comment on this post about me spending time debugging a site:

This is a good example of working IN the business and not ON the business.

At times you do need to get your hands dirty but it’s often best to pay others to do it whilst you get on with the real job of making money.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. I’m definitely guilty of this. I just recently broke down and had a professional design a logo for my blog, since I’m notoriously bad at anything graphical.

    Finding partners for other aspects of a business has always been tough for me. I don’t seem to attract the sort of people who actually want to *do* anything. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • I like the logo Jay, very nice! Seeing as my skillset is somewhat limited! I often look to delegate or pay others, works for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thanks! I’m quite happy with the logo. They probably got tired of me asking for edits, but I took their “unlimited edits” offer seriously.

    • I dont think you are alone on finding people who want to *do* something. Most people I contact expect to put their feet up and reap the rewards. LOL.

      • If you browse most webmaster forums you’ll see hundreds of examples of people wanting money for nothing, unfortunate really.

  2. I am terrible at delegating. I am a control freak. However, if my business grew so big that I physically didn’t have time to do everything I would pass things on.

    • The sooner you start delegating the sooner your business will grow to the stage that you have to delegate ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I’d firmly agree, waiting until you have often is late in the day to be delegating, I worked harder last year until I reached the conclusion that I needed to sort a few things out, sell some things and organise better, quite often when you do everything yourself you’ll find that doesn’t equate to a good income for the hours your spending and once you re-organise you can soon be making more for working less.

      • Hmmm…maybe I’ll have to look at doing this then. I too am one of those that has to do everything myself, but any way to reach my goals quicker is good.

  3. ‘Tis true! :/

  4. I completely agree with this article! It is all too easy to forget the potential for delegation is just as relevant online as it is offline!

    Over at my main site, I delegate many of the moderating roles. Similarly software coding is outsourced.

    The online world is remarkably similar to the offline one in so many respects!

    – Martin Reed

  5. Al,

    Can you give a few examples of the kind of things you delegate? Or better yet the kinds of things that you think a beginning Webmaster should delegate?

    I know that I have too many things to do and not enough time, but I can’t decide what are the things I need to keep around, and which are the ones best left for someone else

    Anways, enjoyed the article. +1 Digg +1 Stumble


    • When I first started out I delegated zilch and I’ve still got some very dodgy looking sites in my portfolio to prove it ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’d start off by delegating what you’re not good at, for me this was design. Then offload those time consuming tedious jobs like link building and directory submissions. If your site needs fresh content on a regular basis get some writers on board.

      As your income builds up offload what takes the most time or provides the least enjoyment. That way you’ll free up time to either have fun or make more money (which is also fun ๐Ÿ™‚ )

      • Site design and link building. Those are definitely two things I would be interested in delegating. They both seem to me to be things where I am not leveraging my top skills (i.e. writing content and networking with bloggers)

        However since I already have a design which will hold me over for a while, perhaps I will give some thought to some link building I need to do and try to delegate it out

  6. Hi Al,

    I plan to hire someone to help build links for my site on part time basic. Can you share whatโ€™s the performance metrics that you use to determine their rates? Thanks.

    • Good question iry, performance metrics for link building is very difficult. I generally base it on the time spent rather than the links gained but to do that you must have a very trusting relationship with the worker. Directory submissions on the other hand is really easy, as they should provide you with a full list of where the link has been submitted.

  7. My biggest problem with outsourcing is letting someone else work on the innards of my “baby” – not the right attitude I know…

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