Too often I get calls from business owners sending out an S.O.S. because they're too busy to enjoy life and good health. In the quest for freedom owning your own business sounds like an excellent solution, but only if you plan for the future and see the long term vision.
Some solopreneurs are very happy being solo-practitioners. Independent coaches, massage therapists and hair stylists, are a few good examples of the solo practitioner model. They will take on only the number of clients necessary to pay the bills and when they're ready to retire, they simply close shop. If you already have financial security and just want to do your job, this is a fine model.
Others want to sell their practice someday, solopreneurs can do that too! Intellectual property, client lists, websites, and more create value for your company that most definitely comes with a price tag. Some don't care about selling, but want to create wealth. You are much less likely to create wealth if you are doing it all alone and outsourcing is one piece of the model for growth. I've covered many resources in my previous blogs about joint ventures, advisory boards, and virtual assistants, to name a few. But identifying resources is only one piece of the puzzle. Getting over your resistance to delegating is a whole different topic! Here are the most common delegation myths that I hear, do you have another to add?
Myth: I can't afford to hire anyone.
Fact: Yes, you can find a way. In addition to the formula in Solving Your Growing Pains, you can look at other creative ways to afford help. I have clients whose parents and sibs help and I have many, many clients who see wonderful results with college interns. Interview your interns like you would an employee. Communicate with them well, listen to what they have to say, and you may see these eager, educated, trendsetters make a change to your business.
Myth: I don't have the time to train anyone.
Fact: If you don't make the time you will be a slave to your business forever. My clients have their new assistants, project managers, VA's, interns, etcetera; create training pages for their tasks as they learn the job. This saves a ton of time when you have turnover. You can also set aside tasks to use as training projects. Schedule in the time and respect your schedule and long term goals.
Myth: No one else can do it right.
Fact: That's your fault and no one else's. If you have strong hiring skills, good instincts, the ability to communicate, and patience, then you can find the person to do the job right. Always implement a thirty to sixty-day trial period and if the person isn't working out, move on to the next until you get it right. Resist the temptation to hang on to someone who is not doing the job well because you've put time into them; this will only cost you more money, time and aggravation. If you find that no one is doing the job well, I would suggest you hire a coach to help you find and train the right person.
Also, remember that your way is not the only way. I have a client who would not hire anyone to help pack and ship her products because she had a system and no one else could do it as quickly as she could. She also believed she couldn't afford the help. She was spending the wee-hours in her basement doing this arduous work and, as a result, was exhausted by day. She had a nice surprise when she hired a part- time person and empowered her to run this department. The devoted part-timer developed best-practices that expedited the shipping process, hired a new delivery service, and saved a lot of money in the end.
Myth: It will cost me more money in the long run.
Fact: I have seen business owner's put money out to pay for a freelancer's time and have to have the work done over again. In fact, this is not uncommon. But if you place a value on your time and look at the long term picture, more often than not, you will still save money. Once you build the right team and get these tasks off your plate you are free to grow your business and your bank account.
Last updated: Mar 30, 2010
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka