Choose someone with proven passion. Find someone who’s passionate about what they will be doing for you. Do they care about the work? Do they post tips on LinkedIn? Do they have a blog? If someone is truly passionate about what they are doing, there should be little breadcrumbs on the internet that provide evidence. If not, they’re just in it for the money, and they might be lazy and lack talent.
As part of my series about the “How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dayana Mayfield, a freelance SaaS copywriter who works with the world’s top SaaS companies and a publicity coach for service providers who want to stand out online and grow their personal brands.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I was one of those obnoxious Millennials who graduated college in 2009 and had to move back in with their parents. Neither of my parents went to college, and I didn’t really understand the definition of a “career.” I had no idea that my writing skills could translate into an income. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for money, and I didn’t have very high self-esteem or self-worth. In my early twenties, I wasn’t confident enough to go out into the world and figure out how to earn for my talents.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
When I did decide to start my copywriting business at the age of 27, I was a stay-at-home mom. My husband was going back to graduate school to get a PhD in engineering, which meant that I was about to pivot from not making any money to being our family’s sole breadwinner. I was excited for the challenge, because I wanted to be an example for my young daughter that it is possible to build a business you love and get paid for your unique gifts.
I was extremely driven to make my freelance business a success and to earn six figures in income, not just because I became the sole provider for my family, but because I have a passion for doing business. I discovered that I’m great at selling, which is something most freelancers struggle with. One of the hardest things I had to do was save up for maternity leave for my second child only one year into going full time in my business, but I managed to bank up four months of savings and take a leave.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
When I first started out, I spent more time on gig sites like Upwork than I should have. I got my first client through word of mouth, and my second client through cold email. However, I didn’t have a system for using these methods, so I abandoned them. It’s pretty silly to build your business on someone else’s platform. That’s not really a business at all.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
As a copywriter, what makes my business stand out is the quality of my copywriting. I have a tagline I use which clients love and other copywriters say they are jealous of. One of these is “I’m a marketer in a copywriter’s t-shirt.” This is my way of saying you’re going to also get a strategist when you hire me.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
You’re burning out long before you admit to yourself that you’re burning out. I think we’ve all experienced this. We sort of know we’re exhausted, but we just keep pushing. For most of us, our businesses aren’t brain surgery. No one is going to die if something gets done on Monday morning instead of Friday afternoon. We’re incredibly driven as business owners, but we need to have perspective on what really matters. Does this project you’re pushing hard to finish really have a deadline, or are you just being hard on yourself? Would you complete it faster if you hit the pause button and started fresh another day?
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m so grateful to my best friend Sydney Campos, who is a spiritual healer and the author of The Empath Experience. When I told her that I was starting my copywriting business, she hooked me up to a writer that she used to contract work out to when she worked at a marketing agency in New York. This writer, Heather Mueller, told me something that sticks with me to this day. She said, a lot of people think that you learn all of the ins and outs of owning a business and then that brings confidence, but actually you need to choose to be confident first, and then you’ll be able figure everything else out.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
As a freelance writer, I’ve seen what happens first hand when business owners or marketing executives are not skilled delegators. There’s constant pivoting and switching directions. Nothing gets implemented, let alone measured and reiterated on. I work with my own virtual assistants and graphic designers who I use to help me grow my personal brand. I’ve been guilty of these same delegation issues with them. It’s a learning experience. Continuing to improve your delegation abilities is critical because you really cannot do it alone. Whether you’re a business owner or an executive, every goal you set for yourself requires that you remove other responsibilities from your plate in other to achieve it. If you don’t delegate, you stagnate.
Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Everyone likes to say that delegating is hard because people are fiercely independent and can’t accept that they need help. I don’t think that’s it at all. That’s a juvenile way of looking at this issue. The real challenge with delegation is simply that it takes time. In the short run, it’s actually faster to do things ourselves than to explain them to someone else, so we’re tempted to just keep going that way.
In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
We need to allocate the upfront investment of time to train someone in order to save time for months or years to come. Some of this requires a mindset shift. We need to accept that by adding a few hours to our schedule this week to train an assistant, we’re actually giving ourselves time in the future.
Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Start by delegating work that matters. Especially in marketing, we fall victim to shiny object syndrome. We want to try new channels, content formats, and tactics. When delegating, you’ll get ROI from your assistant or employee if you begin by delegating something that already works for you. For example, when I first hired my virtual assistant, I had her create Instagram graphics for me, but this led nowhere because I wasn’t getting clients from Instagram. Instead, I quickly pivoted to having her do prospecting outreach for me, as I was already acquiring clients via cold email.
2. Make evergreen training materials. When creating training videos or guides, you shouldn’t use the names of your employees or assistants. For example, in a Loom video, don’t say “Hey Stacy” at the beginning. This way, the time you invest in creating training documentation can be used for new hires as you scale your team, or when someone moves on.
3. Choose someone with proven passion. Find someone who’s passionate about what they will be doing for you. Do they care about the work? Do they post tips on LinkedIn? Do they have a blog? If someone is truly passionate about what they are doing, there should be little breadcrumbs on the internet that provide evidence. If not, they’re just in it for the money, and they might be lazy and lack talent.
4. Improve your delegation systems over time. A lot of business owners and executives procrastinate delegating they have stage fright without realizing it. You don’t need to get the process perfect from the beginning. Just start with a system for getting help, and ask your new assistant or employee to help you improve the process as you go along.
5. Use a robust task management software. It can be tempting to rely on a simple task management software like Trello or Asana because you’re accustomed to it, but you’ll get far better results from something that’s fully featured, like Clickup or Notion. Both of these options include docs and spreadsheets alongside their project management features to consolidate your team’s workflows.
One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft quoted cliche “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?
When entrepreneurs and executives believe this saying, they sell themselves short. Every famous business person you look up to is not stuck in the weeds of satisfying customers. Jeff Bezos isn’t optimizing Amazon’s website to increase sales. Sara Blakely isn’t designing all of Spanx’s new products by herself. If you need to force yourself to get more comfortable with delegating, just remember to focus on your big vision. You’ll soon realize you can’t possibly do it alone.
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want more people, particularly women, to have a far greater sense of self-worth. When you truly love and care for yourself, you allow yourself to shine and reach for the stars. Although women have come a long way in the last few generations, there is still an enormous gender gap in positions of power. By increasing their self-worth, women can not only gain the confidence to enter positions of power, but change the way that things are done to incorporate a better work-life balance.
How can our readers further follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!