The old saying “jack/jill of all trades and the master of none” is common when referring to someone doing many things and not mastering any. This busyness is typically what new entrepreneurs are: the doer of all things in their business.
Checking emails and voicemails, creating and testing new products or services, developing content, conducting research, marketing, managing social media accounts and staying within budget is among the many tasks that entrepreneurs take on.
Starting out, we feel exhilarated entering a new season in life as an entrepreneur. The prospect of building a profitable business is especially exciting. There are many moving parts as we grow our business. We find ourselves with a list that never seems to end. Completing one task only to add a few more to the list.
For new entrepreneurs, business owners and start-ups alike, the long list of tasks that continues to grow daily can be overwhelming.
Of course, we can do these things ourselves – we are entrepreneurs! However, the excitement of being a new entrepreneur can dwindle having to perform the all the items on our to-do list. This feeling may be relatable if you find yourself carrying such a heavy load for an extended period. Being the “go to” for all things in your business saps your energy and focus quicker than a high-powered vacuum.
After about two years of the entrepreneurial grind, that’s where I found myself: tired, drained, and unenthused. Stuck in a twilight zone of tasks that had to be completed to be able to progress to the next thing. I carried the load for years before feeling the burnout.
Entering the waters of entrepreneurship brings uncertainty. The reality is, it can take months to years to see the fruit of your labor, make a sale or to gain traction in the business. Because of this, time should be allocated to tasks and tasks must be associated with a dollar amount.
We need a plan.
We need a strategy.
Before realizing that I needed a better plan, I was a task hoarder. Not because I wanted to do everything but for two primary reasons: I didn’t think I could afford quality help and I was afraid to relinquish tasks. I was hesitant to trust that the job would get done right and on time.
How do overcome this? Prioritize activities in a way that positions us to be successful entrepreneurs; not overwhelmed and overworked entrepreneurs. We want to be productive in a way that enables us to provide high-quality products and services, focus on customers and generate revenue. Not just be busy every day.
This prioritization and assessment of our daily tasks determine what we should keep and what we should delegate.
For example, administrative tasks can be delegated if they aren’t your high paying skill or the core revenue driver of the business. These are tasks that can fall into the $15 per hour to $20 per hour range (specific variables determine actual costs). If the desire is to make more than $15 per hour to $20 per hour in your business and you’re not an admin, delegating these tasks will free your time to focus on your core competencies and high paying skills.
Delegating can be difficult. One of the most significant challenges entrepreneurs face is relinquishing control.
Entrepreneurs must get comfortable delegating, or they can become a task hoarder.
Can your business run without you? If you answered “NO,” then delegating must be incorporated in the way you run your business. Performing tasks outside of your core area of expertise not only wastes time, but it hinders you from performing activities that contribute to business growth.
To ease the anxiety of delegating, you just have to make a decision and determine what role you want to play in your business. Being willing to let go of certain tasks is part of the process. Likewise, having a reputable team of subject matter experts and support resources positions your business for success.
Delegating helps you keep a clear mind.
Entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates. I had a lot on my plate for a long time. I was biting off more than I needed to chew. The result was that I was always full. I was a task glutton.
Having a clear mind to make decisions that are in line with the goals of the business are critical to success.
Trying to do every task and manage every moving part in your process is counterproductive. Spreading yourself too thin can bring about stress, overwhelm and burnout. You are ineffective in this state.
Not only must entrepreneurs grow the business, but they must also build a team that supports the direction of the business. Sometimes assembling a team isn’t top of mind.
Delegating helps you focus on the reason you became an entrepreneur.
The ability to delegate impacts profitability and scalability. Entrepreneurs must adopt the practice of delegating as a mode of operating and outsource tasks outside of their core expertise.
My business was growing yet I was sinking faster than a ship with a hole in it. I was reluctant to delegate. Fear was hurting the business tremendously. I was losing sleep trying to do and be all things. I was becoming a zombie. I was irritable. I wasn’t present to those that I cared for and cared for me. Over time, I became worn down.
What did I do?
I finally hired help. Tasks that took time away from what I do best was given to experts. As a result, I produced more. I became more focused. The overwhelm subsided. Things turned around quickly.
Delegating preserved my sanity, gave me peace of mind and contributed to my business success.
We can take a tip from Andrew Carnegie and “work smarter, not harder” and from Nike “Just do it.”