One of the lesser known traps of entrepreneurship is that you might end up being yet another employee for your business, and do things that you shouldn’t be doing without even realizing. This can happen when you’re scared to delegate because you want to do it all by yourself. It’s when you keep investing hours and hours weekly in administrative tasks, finance, emails, social media and more, when this can be automated or done in less time by putting systems in place. Michael Gerber spells it out best in his book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It. His core message is discussing how to work ‘on’ your business (i.e. strategy, planning, etc) versus ‘in’ it (i.e. day-to-day admin, etc)
The worst thing is that you miss out on many opportunities for growth. And, after all, your job is to keep your customers happy, improve your business model, skyrocket your brand, network, start new projects, and think big. And all that can happen if you stop working ‘in’ the business, and start working ‘on’ it.
Here are some ways to make it happen:
1. Analyze your strengths and focus on them
Before you set clear goals for your business, you need to know what you’re best at, and what takes you way more time than necessary and can be outsourced.
Think about why you were interested in this field in the first place, what helped you take the first steps and build something out of nothing, what else you need to work on to get further.
Be honest with yourself. Gather your past successes, what others have told you you’re good at, your interests and passion, and skills and knowledge base. Examine all this and come to some important conclusions, such as which aspect of the business needs more of your focus, and what can be done better by an expert (which means hiring your first freelancer).
2. Delegate and automate.
Not an easy part, but a necessary step on the way to growth.
Write down everything you do during the day connected to the business. Include all the small tasks you don’t even think about, every single email you write, anything that takes you 10 minutes of brainstorming before you can take a decision or contact someone.
Now see which of these don’t need to be executed by you. If you’re ruthless, you can get back hours of your day and use them for more productive and creative work instead of tedious daily tasks.
Payments, scheduling posts, sharing them on social media, analytics, making appointments, and more can be automated using the right tools.
As for handling your finances, writing content for your website, reaching out to influencers, marketing, product distribution, and administration – all these can be delegated to someone you hire virtually. Start with one freelancer, preferably a virtual assistant, and assign him anything you want to stop doing yourself. You’ll need to train him for some time, but it’s a great return on your investments as you’re freeing tens of hours of your time weekly in the near future.
3. Create passive income
That’s the dream in online business, but many don’t achieve it since they’re disciplined to endure the hard work long before you see any results.
Passive income, however, is what can let you make money while you sleep and always make sure you reach your monthly budget even if there’s a lot going on in your life, you’re traveling, or can’t seem to find new clients for your current project.
How do you start earning it, though?
The simplest way is by creating a product, something evergreen that people are willing to pay for, and making money from on a regular basis.
Do your research first, see what people are genuinely interested in learning more about, see how your competitors did it and think of a way to make it better or offer it in a more convenient way. Then, start promoting like crazy, build a name for yourself, distribute it wherever your potential customers are, and make profit.
That product can be an eBook, an audiobook or a course (these are quite lucrative now as people want to know the ‘how-to’ of anything these days and want the information to be distilled and easy to understand and implemented).
If you want to take things to the next level, get into the software space by creating a tool, a service or an app. The initial investment in terms of time and money here is bigger, but it’s also where the big money is. So you might give this a try too.
4. Have systems and procedures
In order to never make the same mistake twice (which might cost you thousands of dollars, or weeks worth of work), you need to track everything, eliminate what doesn’t work, and do more of what works.
That’s the main principle behind working smarter instead of harder.
It saves you a ton of time and worries, and makes sure you’re always on the grow and heading in the right direction.
So that’s how you can start working on the business today. Any other ideas? Leave them in the comment section below.