Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for routine.

-David Ogilvy

Let’s face it, there is no way small Internet marketing agencies can take on huge clients and expect to fulfill the tasks on their own. With the demand for Content Marketing efforts on the rise, agencies need to have a solid team of focused people to carry out a wide variety of services. These services can be anything from high volume content creation, blogger outreach, content placement, link building, and reporting.

I’m the type of person who likes to hoard their tasks, and I tend to have a hard time delegating to the outside world. However, when one person is working on a large, high-demand project it can really add up; that’s when bringing on contractors, looping in new employees, interns, and colleagues can be really helpful. However, when you are a type of person (like me) who finds it hard to delegate, this can be a bit of a challenge.  Fortunately, there is a solution to entrusting these outside folks to deliver high quality results. And since I like you, I am going to share these little treasures.

Excuses, Excuses…

First, let’s tackle the issues at hand: the classic excuses that we’ve all used, heard, and shook our heads at. I’ll be sharing how we can avoid letting these useless excuses from overwhelming your inbox.

“I’m Sick”

Okay, everyone gets sick from time to time so I can’t be too harsh on this excuse. Having more than one team member involved in one project is the best way to avoid relying on a sole individual to take on the entire weight of something.

For example, you assign a contractor, team member, your Mom, anyone an order of 100 pieces of content to place and give them a deadline of two weeks. That team member is working super hard for that first week, and then *BAM!* They have a case of the measles. Before you know it they end up hospitalized the day before the deadline with 25 more links to build and you’re left thinking..

“What on earth am I going to do?”

If you had involved another team member or made it known that your vendor had other people working on it from the get-go, panic would not even be a figment in your mind. Instead, you would loop the additional members involved into the mix and since they are a super smart, responsible, and good looking they could jump right in and wrap up the project all while still meeting that same deadline.

Bottom line: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, unless you want to end up having no eggs.

“I Lost It”

Everyone has lost something at one point in their lifetime. But when it comes to managing a blogger community/publisher network/link building project/whatever, the excuse of, “I misplaced that order form” or “I can’t find the article you sent” is not going to fly.

The key here is a little something called organization. So let’s use it.

Tips to staying organized:

  • Google Docs
  • Excel Docs
  • Weekly Phone Calls/Meetings/Chats/etc.
  • Calendar Reminders
  • Sticky Notes Everywhere
  • Really whatever works for you

Bottom line: You can never be too organized or (I hate to say it) too “micromanagey”, at least for those who can’t manage themselves.

“I Didn’t Understand the Assignment”

When managing a group of contractors or workers, the first thing you want to do after assigning a huge project is talk about it. Let’s avoid the entire excuse of confusion all together by:

  • Sitting down and chatting about all the specifics. This includes:
    • Creating a clear proposal
    • Due dates
    • Scope of the project
    • Restrictions
    • Suggestions
    • Reporting Process
    • Scheduling a Phone Conversation
      • Sometimes you’ll work with people in different parts of the world. This is definitely a time where you want to have a call upon sending a new project. Don’t hang up that phone until everyone is in total agreement with each and every spec of the assignment.

Bottom Line: Communicate. Don’t put off a conversation that needs to happen. Be clear. Be helpful. Be awesome.

“I Lost Track of Time”

This is so incredibly easy to do. Especially when you have about 503 projects going at the same time. Been there, done that. So, now let’s avoid letting it happen again.

  • Reminders
    • I am obsessed with reminders. Whether its work related or personal, reminders are your friend.
    • iPhone 4S users– give Siri a shout and have her remind you. This is the ultimate reminder for us lazy people.
    • Set up events with specific dates and times in your calendars- Google calendar, phone calendar, day time, whatever you use. Make it happen.
    • Allot time for each project
      • If you are working with several different clients you should assign time slots for each. If you are not a person who efficiently handle multiple things at once, work on “Client A” from 10am-12pm and “Client B” from 1pm- 3pm. You get the gist.
    • Plan your days ahead of time
      • The day is nearing to a close. Don’t pack up yet! Plan the next day before it even happens. Make that master to-do list for the following day. You’ll arrive at work the next day with a mission to accomplish and you’ll feel way better driving home too, I promise.
    • Set up goals
      • Daily, weekly, and monthly goals are essential.
      • Always be real with your goals. Don’t agree to work on something that is way too far from your reach.
    • Meet goals
      • At the end of the day, week or month check in with yourself to see if you met all those goals.
    • Live happily ever after
      • And you will when you plan your time perfectly.

Bottom Line: Plan your time, especially when you know you tend to procrastinate, take on too much work, or spend more time than usual on certain tasks.

“I have Too Much on My Plate”

Since we’re friends now I think I need to tell you something…you are not Superman. You are only human after all, and when you accept too much work that is outside your realm of capability, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Everyone wants to please and meet the requests of bosses, clients, colleagues, etc. but I’m pretty sure that your boss, client or colleague would appreciate a forewarning of “Hey, I’m not sure that I can make this new deadline”, rather than be surprised when the deadline is missed.

Bottom Line: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Be real with your limits.

“I Was Abducted by Aliens”

If someone pulls this classic nonsense excuse, I think it’s time to say “Adios”.

What Have we Learned Today, Class?

When delegating work to others you need to be upfront and clear with your expectations. After all, you are relying heavily upon these people to perform well and provide quality work consistently and on time. By putting up with any form of excuse from the beginning you’re only allowing this type of behavior to turn into a regular habit.

Excuses can be used by anyone and for anything: Homework, work, chores, etc. but by applying a few simple techniques you will be able to avoid putting anything off because an excuse won’t even cross your mind.

Bottom line: Excuses are for sissies…so don’t use them.