“Everything that you have done in your life up to this point has gotten you to where you are. If that’s not working for you, then you need to do something different.”
Those are the words that my business coach offered me during a session as I was moaning about how it seemed that everything was just so much work. I was a business owner that had several assistants, several contractors and multiple contracts, and I was finding it difficult to deal with the financial end of things, the organizational end of things, the sales end of things, the marketing end of things, the website building end of things, the CRM end of things, the new business end of things, the …well, you get the idea. I was overwhelmed. I was at the point where I was complaining about having to follow up with people and timelines. Something was wrong and I was SO DOG-GONED SURE that it wasn’t me. The stars were not aligned. The circumstances just weren’t working in my favor. There was an assassin specially assigned to my projects, and I didn’t have enough money to be able to pay someone to find out who he or she was.
Luckily, I had a coach. Yeah, you know, those people that we pay to calm us down, help us figure out strategy, help us make more money, who help us look in the mirror to see how we are and how that affects our bottom line. What I learned during this process was that I was a control freak. OUCH! Bad words! I wanted to have my hands on everything. I wanted to be a part of it all. After all, I was the CEO, right?
In my mind, I had titled it being organized. But, really, it all boiled down to fear. I was afraid to get help. Yes, I had assistants and contractors. I was in process. But I was afraid to get help. If this story sounds familiar to you, I’d like to outline four reasons why you might have been afraid to get help.
Reason #1: You didn’t think you could afford it.
I’m not going to argue with you. You are probably right. You probably can’t afford to have someone else sort your emails because that would mean more time to focus on the important things, like making calls. You probably can’t afford to have someone else archive or file your documents because then you’d be able to find things more quickly. You probably can’t afford to set up a system or use software to streamline your process because then they would just want to charge you over and over again every month. That would be just a money drain. OK, enough with the sarcasm, let’s talk about solutions!
The truth is that many small business owners get caught up in the smaller responsibilities and are never able to focus in on the piece of their business that actually gets the business: the relationship side. Take a break and read Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week. It really hits this on the head. The statement “I can’t afford it” should be changed to a question, “How can I afford this?” or even “How can I afford not to?”
Reason #2: You didn’t know someone could help with this.
Email is a big time drain and I didn’t know or think for a long time that I could have someone “filter” my email for me, nor that I would want to have someone do that. It was personal. Having someone else read my email was like giving them a key to my house. I didn’t know them well enough to do that. Well, I had to get past that because otherwise I was just going to continue to be bogged down. I limited my email that came to my phone to two specific accounts, one that was just for personal and family email and one that my assistant forwarded pertinent emails that needed a quick response. That was just the email portion of things. But, it is a great exercise for every business owner to take a few hours to sit and write down everything that they do. Then, simply and honestly, make a mark by the activities that someone else can do. And then find someone to do it for you!
Reason #3: Not doing it made you feel less busy and that was scary.
Here’s the question. Are you working on your business or busy-ness? What are the benchmarks that allow you to know that you are meeting your goals? Sometimes you have a tiring day but the end-of-day results show that there was no progress. But, its scary to feel like you aren’t doing enough. The thing is, you don’t have to do it. It just has to get done. Get help!
Reason #4: No one can do it the way that you can.
You are so right! But, then you can’t do it in the way that they can either. And who says your way is better? Look at the results. What is it that you want to accomplish? I can probably spend all day crafting neat proposals. But, why would I want to when Quote Roller already does 85% of the work for me? Get help!
What are you busy doing that you can get help with? What other reasons can you think of for being afraid of getting help?