When you’re a one-woman band it’s tempting to try and do everything yourself. Run a home, see to the children, do the marketing, social media, book-keeping, legal stuff – oh, yes and actually do the thing you get paid for, too.
Then you find that you’re so busy DOING that you don’t have time for strategy, planning or any of those other vital business-growth activities and as a result, your business stagnates (phew, what a stink!).
But I Can Multi-task!
Yeah, yeah, so can I!
We’re brought up being told that women are great at juggling and that we can make it all work if we just learn to multi-task properly but do you know what?
I don’t WANT to multi-task in business.
I don’t WANT to do it all myself and stretch my already-stretched time even thinner – and so I DON’T!
And neither should you, if you’re serious about growing your business.
If you REALLY want to grow your business, you need to bring in some help.
I don’t mean employ staff necessarily, unless that’s already part of your plan. I’m talking bringing in a bit of help here and there, in the areas you’re struggling. Some people call it outsourcing. Whatever you want to call it, it’s really hard to grow your business without it.
Just because you COULD do everything yourself, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Look at where you are spending your time. Look at those jobs you HATE. Look at the jobs that take up hours of your time because they’re just not your specialist subject. And look at the jobs that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the pile and never get done.
Personally, I’m rubbish at keeping my accounts in order so I don’t even bother trying. I have an amazing accountant (who loves her job) who takes all my records and turns them into a set of accounts and then talks me through it all and explains what it all means.
My Little Team
I have a lovely lady who helps me with customer service and makes sure everyone is up to date with payments.
I have a fab designer who creates my little TGMB ladies because I couldn’t do that in a month of Sundays.
I have a lady who helps me with social media and I also employ my little sister as my business manager and Girl Friday.
All apart from my sister work for themselves. All of them are part time. None of them costs me a fortune but ALL of them free up my time and ensure that otherwise neglected jobs get done.
I remember when I first started out in business, though. Money was tight and although I didn’t have enough hours in the day and was falling behind on my admin, I simply couldn’t afford to get help. Or, at least that’s what I thought.
It wasn’t until I realised that according to the laws of Physics it was impossible for me to do everything on my growing list even if I worked without sleep for the next 2 weeks. And THAT wasn’t going to happen. I looked at what was being neglected because either I didn’t have time or I really couldn’t face doing it.
The BIGGIE was credit control.
People who owed me money. I had put it off and put it off and in the meantime I was struggling to make ends meet and yet there were hundreds of pounds of my money out there in unpaid bills.
That was the moment I realised something HAD to give. I called a lady I’d had recommended to me – a virtual assistant and asked her to help, not really knowing what to expect.
And I was really pleasantly surprised. She said she could spend an hour chasing up these people who owed me money and it would cost me £25. So I said yes, please!
In the space of that hour she called all those clients who owed me money, some of them for months.
She was polite and friendly but firm. She didn’t have any of that emotional baggage I had about pestering clients (eek they might not hire me again). She just got on and called them. Within half an hour she had collected payments for £786 and had confirmed dates for another £2500, with notes in her diary to keep chasing them up.
I did the maths.
And then I booked her for a couple of hours each month to keep on top of the credit control. She also updated my cashflow spreadsheet (another job that never used to get done), sorted out my email folders and drafted some standard emails to send out when people owed me money.
Over the next year or two I added on more hours, as I needed them with this lovely VA. I learned that the more I outsourced, the more time I had to do what I was good at AND nothing fell by the wayside.
I’ve never looked back.
And I’d never dream of taking those jobs back now.
These days I think like a business owner and business owners know that if they want to grow their business they can’t do everything themselves – it doesn’t make business sense
So, my challenge to you is for YOU to see where you are spending your time. Which jobs take forever because you’re not very good at them? Which jobs are getting neglected? Which jobs do you HATE to do?
And where would your time be better spent? What could YOU be doing that would really add value in your business? Where do you get the best return on your time? What are YOU best at?
If you do this, you’ll soon see where the issues and bottlenecks and neglected tasks lie. And if you want to grow your business, my advice is to find someone who’ll get them done for you, give them a trial (it doesn’t have to be forever) and see what difference it makes to your life. You can get on with what you love doing and because of that your business will grow.
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.