As an entrepreneur one of the biggest struggles I have faced is learning how to get out of my own way.
What I mean by that is learning how to let go and delegate to others.
It’s a common issue that plagues a lot of small business owners and Type A personalities. But it’s not limited to those types either. It’s for anyone in a position of leadership who might be trying to have their hands in too many things or trying to do it all themselves.
It has to do with control and the desire to retain it.
In the early days of a business or organization you’re often forced to wear many hats but there comes a point when you need to pass those hats on to someone else or else you’ll bottle neck the future of your success.
This is where that old saying rings true…
“Do only what you can do and have someone else do the rest.”
It sounds like common sense and it is for some but for many others it’s what limits them. I’ve seen it many times. And while I don’t have the solution perfected in my own leadership, I’ve become much better at it and I know it’s an area that I need to constantly improve upon.
So what can you do to help get out of your own way? Here are 3 tips…
1. Think Scale. If you are a consultant or someone doing service work, you are billing for time. Time is finite and there is only so much of it in a day. At some point you’ll run out of time (and billable hours) unless you plan for scale and the ability to compound your knowledge and share it in some other way (i.e. products, intellectual property, bringing on others who can impart your knowledge, etc.). If you don’t plan for it, it will sneak up on you and you’ll find yourself in a corner.
2. Bring On the Right People. Hire if you can but if you can’t afford to hire someone full time, use freelancers and assemble a team of skilled individuals that you can tap based on your needs when you have them. The world of business is virtual these days and you don’t necessarily need a massive staff or the overhead in order to make it work. You just need to be smart and strategic with your time and your resources. For me, I have a dynamic team of very skilled freelancers that I have developed a great working relationship with over time. This affords me the ability to work with people who are massively talented in specific areas based on the needs of the project at hand. It helps to keep me nimble as well. Speed is important in today’s fast paced and quick changing environment.
3. Focus on Your Net Gain. Think about it this way… if you bill at $75 per hour and can pay someone else $25 an hour to do a task with your direction and do it effectively, then do it. Your net gain is what matters. Having someone else do it might require some of your time to educate at first but then your time can be spent elsewhere on bigger things. You don’t have to be the one doing everything. You can’t. Well, you can’t if you want things to expand and grow.
Getting Out of Your Own Way is one of the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my 10+ years of running my own firm. I hope this advice is helpful to you as well.