Recently, an acquaintance shared some difficulties he was having with some magic work he's been doing. One of the observations I made based on what he'd shared is that he's relying to much on spirits or magical entities to do the work for him. While working with a magical entity can be quite useful, there are limitations to its effectiveness and much like anything else, too much reliance on an entity can ultimately be a crutch to your magical practice, especially if you consider that the entities you work with have their own agendas and interests, unless its one you've created (and that has its own limitations). The truth is your average spirit doesn't want you bothering it all the time with requests. The spirits help those who help themselves.
In my work with various spirits, I always create a very specific relationship, and one aspect of that relationship is that I typically ask the spirit to do something for me that I couldn't do on my own. I don't ask it to do anything I couldn't do mundanely or magically, because doing so is a waste of the entity's talents, and is also laziness on the part of the magician. For example, if I'm looking for a place to live and decide to employ magical means to get the place, I probably won't call on an entity, because both magically and mundanely I have the necessary skills to get into a living situation that I want to be in. I know my own skills are sufficient for that task. On the other hand, I'll create an entity to help me become aware of opportunities I might otherwise ignore or miss out on, because the entity will have a perspective I don't have that can be useful for discovering opportunities. I'm employing the entity to use the skills that it has, in a manner which draws on its strength, while filling in a gap that I might not otherwise be able to address. It's better to employ an entity for a purpose that allows you to leverage its strengths for something you can't do on your own, then to waste its skills on something you can do.
Another way that I like to work with spirits involves getting the advice or knowledge on a given subject, either by asking them to point me toward the best resources, or if possible, do a direct download of information. The majority of times its a combination of the two. The reason this works so well is because the entity is providing you with something you don't have already and may not have the best skill at finding. An entity is happy to do this because it ultimately still involves you the magician doing the work. Sure the entity points you to information, but you actually have to follow up and learn it and then do something with it.
There's a theme here: Its better for you to attend to the detail work of manifesting desired possibilities into reality. Let the spirit handle the things you can't easily do or do at all. That's where the specialty of the spirit comes into play, and where it will be most useful to you. Anything you can do, plan on doing it yourself either magically, mundanely, or better yet both ways. Speaking of which: Take a multi-pronged approach and work with the spirit, but also add in your own magical work and mundane actions. It's better to implement multiple approaches to achieve your desired result, and better to take action, instead of just relying on an entity. In fact just relying on entity is the lazy magician's surest way to fail.