Starting a business is an incredibly steep learning curve. There is so much to learn, do, and experience. It's a challenge to find the balance of not going too extreme with risk or too far the opposite way, taking too much time to figure every little detail out.
Entrepreneurship clearly takes courage.
Over time, though, you need to develop confidence. Confidence allows you to get clear on what needs to happen next, and then to immediately take action on that and get the ball rolling.
You don't need to have it all figured out. In fact, you only need to know what you're going to do and begin conceptualizing what "success" looks like. You then begin moving that idea forward and expect that, with feedback, the idea will change. Rather than avoiding feedback, you embrace it, knowing that your initial idea was what got the project moving and in a direction, but the destination will be different based on real-world feedback and iteration. You don't fear this process but have grown to love it. You've learned over time how to engage this process and have thus developed confidence in your ability to act on new ideas and morph them into finished products.
With that backdrop, I'm going to walk you through 4 key lessons I've learned as a young entrepreneur. These are lessons I could have learned sooner, and would have been more successful had I done so. They are lessons I'm still learning. And they are also lessons I see many young entrepreneurs (or would-be-entrepreneurs) avoiding.
These lessons are:
- Hire before you feel ready
- "Who-up" as many hours as you possibly can
- Hiring people expands your value and creates more value in the world
- Get mentoring on hiring, and all aspects of business, continually
1. Hire Before You Feel Ready
Nicole Wipp is a leadership and team-building expert who has helped many entrepreneurs build the right teams. I myself have hired Nicole before to help me build my team.
One of the things Nicole taught me was that I needed to hire my next employee before it was urgent. When you're growing as an entrepreneur, usually everyone on your small team is over-worked and has too much responsibility. This is fine for a little while but unsustainable and sub-optimal.
When you have big goals and are growing, you need to know what people you will need to execute on your vision. The sooner you can off-load responsibility from current team members and build new roles to take on the tasks associated with current projects or plans, the better.
In the next 12 months, I'll be launching two major books. As part of that, one of my assistants has been handling my schedule, which includes scheduling literally hundreds of podcasts and other interviews over the next 12 months. This in itself is proving to be a full-time job.
I talked to Nicole about this situation and she told me I needed to hire someone immediately. I told Nicole I didn't think it was urgent until January or February of 2020 (three months from this writing) because that's when we're really going to ramp this up.
"If you're going to need them in two or three months, then right now is the time you need to hire them. They need to be trained and prepared. You don't want to hire anyone when it is urgent. In such conditions, the training is usually bad. It starts the relationship rough. Plus, it puts you and your whole team under stress and tension. You need to hire before it is urgent and before you feel ready."
Hiring people is like any other skill, it takes courage in the beginning and confidence over time. The more you do it, and especially with coaching and guidance, the better you'll get it at it.
New entrepreneurs need to learn to hire before they feel the need. Before things get urgent and out of control.
2. "Who-Up" As Many Hours As Possible
Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach has a concept he calls, "Who Not How." It's the idea that when most entrepreneurs have a big goal in mind, they immediately begin asking themselves, "How can I do this?"
This is the wrong question, and leads to a lot of procrastination, guilt, and lack of results.
Instead of asking "How?" your immediate response should become, "Who is the best person to do this for me?"
Billionaires are who-thinkers.
Dan teaches his entrepreneurs to "Who-Up" as many hours as they possibly can. A good place to start is this:
- List all of the activities you are currently doing
- How many of those tasks could you hire someone to take care of?
- If you freed up those hours, what would you do instead?
- I also find that it's good to who-up the hours of your team members so their roles can be more focused
One of the members of Strategic Coach heard this concept and immediately stopped doing certain meetings he was doing. This one thing saved him over 1,000 hours per year.
3. Hiring Other People To Help You Is Great For Everyone
In the book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, author Rabbi Daniel Lapin explains the idea of knowing the value of your own work.
If you can provide value in the market place such that you can earn $200 per hour, and if your wife wants you to mow the lawn, your best option is to hire someone for $20 per hour to mow the lawn and to spend that hour creating value in your own unique way.
The outcome of this approach is three-fold:
- Rather than spending that hour doing something you could hire someone for $20, you earned $200, and thus made the person happy who you provided your unique value to
- In hiring the person to mow your lawn, you made them happy because you gave them employment
- You also made your wife happy because the lawn got mowed
Not only did you make three people happy outside of yourself, but you also walked away with $180 during that hour.
That's a "Who" approach to thinking. It's something most kids aren't taught in school. But it's an essential skill as an entrepreneur and someone who wants to create the most value in the workplace. It's also a different way of looking at money. Hiring people is not a problem, but an incredible blessing. Not only do you get more hours to do your own unique work, but you also give someone else the privilege of serving you with their service.
Business is moral, as is making money. It's all about value creation and service.
4. Get Mentoring As Soon (and as much) As Possible
Anyone who has done anything exceptionally well got lots of mentoring, coaching, and training along the way. Business is no different. Reading books and articles is one way of learning. But getting one-on-one coaching is essential.
As an entrepreneur, the sooner you begin investing in your own education and experience, the faster you will grow. Investment leads to commitment. Investment also shatters any subconscious blocks you have, because investment often involves some form of risk and is thus courageous.
Invest in your future self. Invest at the level you want to be at, not at the level you're at now, when it comes to your education and relationships.