To Level Up, You'll Need to Take a Step Back
Here's why it's more important to work on your business, versus working in your business.
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Starting out as a small business owner, you wear multiple hats and spend your free time doing tasks that can easily be deliciated to an hourly employee, contractor or virtual assistant. The problem is you're not making enough money to afford the assistance, so you work longer hours, go to bed later, work on the weekends, sacrifice family time and down time to make sure the tasks are complete to keep the business running.
This has been a problem for me in the past, and it will cause you to burn out no matter how much you deny it. Outside of lack of capital, it's probably the No. 1 reason why small business owners quit right before they break through with their business. Once you start the burnout spiral, you'll start to forget about the reason why you started the company and your mind will focus on all the reasons why it's not worth it anymore and why you should quit.
When you dreamed about starting a company, you had a dream and a vision of what the future was going to look like for not only yourself but everyone around you. For me, my dream was financial independence. I hated having a job and, even worse, having a boss telling me what I could and couldn't do. I would sit at my desk at my job dreaming of living on the beach somewhere warm, driving a Lamborghini, waking up whenever I wanted to and never being squeezed financially.
I wanted the independence to do what I wanted, when I wanted and buy whatever I wanted. But in order to do this, you need to free yourself of the day-to-day responsibilities of your business.
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out.
Fast forward to now with your day-to-day responsibilities of running your business sucking you into working more and draining your energy that could be used to focus on other aspects of your business to grow it. You'll ultimately have to let go in order to get to the next level — letting go of "working in" your business instead of "working on" your business, as they say. So how do you do that? Sounds easy enough.
Let me explain. By not hiring and delegating simple tasks, you're sabotaging your business from growing because you want to control everything. It might be hard to hear, but let me give you an example.
I could easily spend the time outside of selling hours creating invoices, social media posts, recruiting ads, managing accounting software, onboarding new agents and other mind-numbing, time-consuming tasks — or I can free my time up to make sure my clients get great service, new customer leads get distributed, follow-up on existing deals, interview and train new agents, and make sure closings go smoothly. You can see how spending the money to pay someone to handle my day-to-day tasks frees me up to make more money, provide great service and improve client satisfaction.
The next mindset shift is after you delegated your day-to-day tasks involves three things. First, train the person or multiple people on the task and provide them with a checklist of the items that are needed to satisfy the completion of the task. This is a control mechanism used to make sure the task gets completed to your satisfaction.
The second thing is the hardest, which is understanding that mistakes will be made. People are going to make mistakes. Things are going to be missed. This is where the "letting go of control" becomes the tough, because inside your head, you say to yourself, "Why am I paying this person money to screw up the task when I can easily do the task myself and save myself the time, headache and problems?"
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. It's probably because you don't have your systems, training and checklists created for the person to follow. People aren't mind readers — I've learned that the hard way. Your mindset has to be that your role is overseeing progress towards a goal rather than micro managing tasks.
The third and last thing is understanding that your way of doing things is not always the best way. Just because it works for you and you've been doing it for years without a problem, doesn't mean there isn't a faster, more quality solution of completing the task. You have to be open minded to the fact you hired the person to complete a task with a goal of completing it correctly. You didn't hire the person with a goal to copy you. It's unrealistic.
Overall, many small business owners will continue to have to wear many hats and complete many time-consuming tasks until the business generates enough cashflow to provide them with the opportunity to hire an employee, contractor or virtual assistant to delegate those tasks to. This should be your goal so you can use the time freed-up to work on leveling up your business and make more sales.