I’m not going to lie: March was a tough month. Between business trips and certain health issues that were slowing me down, my to-do list was growing hour by hour, and I was in no condition to tackle them.
It’s safe to say that we’ve all been there. None of us are immune to the complicating factor known as “reality”. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much we want to do everything, life just doesn’t allow it. And if you think this doesn’t apply to you, watch out! You are in for a surprise sooner or later.
If you’re new to your business, you may still be suffering from a condition that most business owners have at one time or another (me included!). The idea that you must—and to have to-doing everything. We have all been there. That it comes from a place of control (no one else can do it like me), or a convenient location (I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it) being a solopreneur is one of the toughest jobs there is.
Most of the clients I work with start out with these beliefs, or similar ones. They try to wear a hundred different hats and truly believe they are making the best choice by doing so. And maybe it works for a while. Or at least it works quite well. But eventually, something is going to happen that will upset the whole system, and if you don’t already have help in place, your business will suffer.
On the other hand, some of my clients are not new to business and they have staff in place. When life happens, they often learn a different lesson: it’s not enough to have bodies in seats. The people you hire in your business should be highly skilled, capable, independent and critical thinkers, and able to act on your behalf when you cannot. Otherwise, you might as well not have a team at all.
With today’s job market and low unemployment, what I’m talking about may be easier said than done. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though! Here are five tips drawn from my decades of first-hand experience as well as the experiences of hundreds of business owners I’ve worked with.
Decide what you want to delegate
Pro Tip: You can delegate more than you think. The first exercise I often ask people to do is to sit down and think long and hard about what you absolutely need to do in regards to your business and what someone else might do (assuming it’s yours). is the right person, with the right skills)
● Do you need help with administrative tasks such as preparing a meeting agenda, managing your inbox, managing your calendar, or filing documents?
● Do you need help with travel arrangements, such as booking flights and hotels, making reservations, or setting up itineraries?
● Do you need help with personal tasks, such as making sure you eat?
● Can you outsource certain business operations and processes, for example by standardizing customer onboarding, engagement letters and contracts?
● Do you want someone who can relieve you of a whole part of your activity? Some examples include outsourced marketing, outsourced CFO services, etc.
Ultimately, you can delegate whatever you want. It can be helpful to keep a running list of everything you do daily for about a week. Then consider which of these tasks you could give away. You might be surprised at how much work you do that doesn’t best match your skills and expertise.
Consider your budget and logistics
This is going to be highly personalized to your business, but one thing I’ve seen time and time again is that business owners have a limiting belief that they just can’t afford help (or help). quality). But what they don’t realize until later is that hiring the right person is an investment that will pay dividends once your new hire is onboarded and working to their full potential.
When determining a realistic budget for this role, you’ll also need to think about things like:
- Whether the person will be full-time or part-time
- Whether he will be an employee of the Independent Contractor (as defined by federal law)
- What types of systems will you need in place (payroll, workers compensation insurance, etc.)
- Whether you will need to provide benefits and how you will administer them
Before you start hyperventilating here, remember that there are many professionals who can help you. From joining a subscription service like Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer for boilerplate documents to a business coach, to hiring a full-service consulting firm to hold your hand along the way, you no need to go alone even while you’re trying to build your business so you don’t have to go it alone!
Concretely, once you have determined the type of work you want to hire for, you will need to think about how much you can afford to pay. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. It’s also true, in my experience, that the better the quality of help you have, the higher your true return on investment will be.
Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes job that frees up more of your time, or someone with the expertise to provide billable hours for your business, you should be looking for help that brings tangible value to your business. .
Hire expertise you can trust
This is perhaps the most important advice I can give. If you’re serious about looking for a helper (part-time, full-time, or contract) who can lighten your load, it’s essential that you hire someone you can put behind the wheel and relax.
This can manifest in different ways, depending on the type of help you need:
- It can be a very experienced personal assistant who you only need to give instructions to once and then things are done
- It could be an outside company with a great reputation that you can trust to turn over a certain part of your business with very little guidance needed.
- This may mean hiring someone without a lot of experience but who can be trained in your way of doing things, with the personality to act like an owner and take on the responsibility you give them.
The common thread is hiring people with the right attitude: not just the ability to do things, but the desire to do things the way your business needs them every time, whether you’re there or not.
It’s not something I can tell you exactly how to do. Most of us have a “know when I see it” type experience with this type of hiring. Here are some common clues:
- Someone who brings you ideas and suggestions
- Someone who asks questions to gain insight before doing a task
- Someone who follows up to keep you posted on the task or provide you with updates, as opposed to the person you never hear from unless you push them
- Most importantly, someone who will sometimes push back and make you rethink your thoughts on a particular issue. Having someone to help you shape ideas could be the right thing for your business. I’ve learned from experience that some of the best ideas don’t come from me, but rather from the people I surround myself with.
While you may not know these things about someone before hiring them, you can always ask for references and see what someone who knows the person thinks of them on these points – not just he showed up on time or was fun to be there at the office.
No matter what kind of help you decide to find, or how you go about it, I guarantee there will come a time when you need it! You can prepare by thinking about the process ahead of time so there will be “another you” when you need it most.