Over the last week, the responses to my annual reader survey have been piling in. It makes me smile to read the responses to “what are you most proud of in your business?” It’s also been interesting to see what your biggest challenges are in your business. A common reply is that it’s just really hard to do it all by yourself. This doesn’t surprise me at all; it’s something I’ve personally experienced and seen many, many others struggle with too. And while I’d say there’s no silver bullet to instantly solve this, there are some things we each need to recognize and take action upon.
The reality is you simply can’t do it all…and grow.
There’s a reason the saying goes, “jack of all trades and master of none.” It’s impossible to do it all. So where do you start?
Identify the Essential
Step 1: Identify what truly must be done.
Essentialism would define this as the ability to “distinguish the vital few from the trivial many.” Everything is not essential.
What are you doing today that’s not vital to the growth of your business? What could you eliminate that wouldn’t have a significant impact on your business? For me, I’ve chosen to focus on only one social media platform – Facebook. I know there are businesses seeing great results on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and more…but I choose not to spend the time on them. It’s tempting; the fear of missing out is real for all of us. But I know I can’t do it all.
What are the things in your business that are essential?
Eliminate the things that aren’t.
Identify your Superpowers
Step 2: Identify the things that only you can do.
You have unique talents and abilities that are necessary for your business, and those are things that you simply can’t offload. Nobody else can write my blogs posts for me. Nobody else can develop the strategy I’m going to use to grow my business….although others can help me execute upon it! Nobody else can work 1:1 with my clients or create new BizFarmer training programs.
Somebody else can publish my posts, manage much of my social media, and take care of my bookkeeping (thank goodness).
Write down the essential things that only you can do.
Now it’s time to delegate the rest of it.
Understand the Cost
“But I can’t afford it,” you might say. Believe me, I understand that when you’re in start-up mode, cash is tight and you think you have to do it all yourself. But even so I will ask you…
What’s your time worth?
After leaving Microsoft to take this leap into the world of entrepreneurship, we developed a new, lean, household budget. But to the surprise of many, we kept our housecleaner. Why? Because what I can create in the three hours she’s here each week far outweighs the nominal cost of her service.
Not to mention that it provides an income opportunity for this sweet lady and her family…and when one’s been blessed, you should bless others. But that’s a post for another day.
Do the math.
Perhaps you’re considering expanding your team so you can grow your business. Or maybe you’re thinking of adding a service that will offload some of your work. Where’s your break-even point?
- If you add a new employee at $10/hour for 20 hours per week…with those additional 20 hours you just created, how many additional contracts do you have to secure, hours do you have to bill, or products do you have to sell, to generate a positive return on your investment? (Hint: anything over $200 and you’re golden…) Is that really out of reach?
- Perhaps you’re thinking of adding a premium social media service like MeetEdgar (to manage your Facebook posts). At $50/month it seems outrageous when you can post on your own, for free. But if it frees up five hours per month for an employee who’s making just $10/hour, it’s totally worth it.
Where to Find Help
If you’re ready to take the leap (or at least a baby step) to unloading some of the work that you shouldn’t be doing yourself, you might wonder where to start looking for good help. Following are some places you might consider:
- Upwork – lets you find freelancers with a variety of skills.
- Virtual Staff Finder – provides Filipino-based virtual assistants that support a variety of tasks.
- EA Help – offers U.S. based virtual assistants.
- Fiverr – a freelance marketplace where you can get a variety of jobs done for just $5.
- Bench – lets you outsource your bookkeeping.
I have yet to use any of these services myself (yet), but I’ve heard good things about them from people who have, and I plan to try them as my business continues to grow. But for now, I’ve had great success adding local people to my virtual team. Look around! You also can probably find someone who has extra time and is skilled in the area you need. Be sure to check out the local college, too; don’t discount the younger generation. I have worked with two super-smart, motivated, and conscientious college students with whom I’ve been very pleased.
To growing the business you want to have…
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