Do you feel like you are chasing your tail too often? A bit of running in circles is normal for any business owner, but if you feel positively swamped most of the time, ask yourself these four questions:
Do you leave gaps in your schedule?
A certain amount of structure/“time blocking” is necessary when running and growing a business, but if too much of your time is “blocked”, you are blocking opportunities. Ensure there are TWO 2 hour gaps in your calendar each week to fill with a last minute opportunity or task.
Do you check email first thing in the morning?
Your brain is at it's freshest in the morning. Mornings are when our best ideas come to us and when we are best prepared to strategize and execute. Don't waste your fresh brain on email. Check a few things off the marketing or creating to do list before your brain is distracted with potential problems.
Email is not instant-messaging. It’s mail. Since I first began experimenting with and implementing delegation (led by this book by Tim Ferriss), less and less of my time is sucked by non-urgent email and phone requests. Set an email auto-response that tells people you check email at 10am and 2pm daily. That's it. You'll respond within 24 hours, but not first thing in the morning. They'll respect it, or, they'll take a hike, which frees up your time for more of the kind of clients YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO WORK WITH!
Are you a micro-manager?
It can be difficult to allow someone other than yourself to deal with your hard-earned, precious clients, but you have to get over it. If you haven’t done this already, it’s time to find the right person to do the things you don’t need to be doing and TRUST them to do their job.
The delegation mindset begins with realizing there are people on earth who want to do the stuff you aren’t good at, don’t want to become good at and dislike doing. Your ideal delegatees are waiting for you on LinkedIn and freelance sites like fiverr.com and upwork.com.
It’s not just about hiring someone at $10 per hour to do stuff you don’t want to do because your time is worth $40 per hour. It’s about freeing up time to do what you love to do and excel at, make the world a better place and fulfill you.
Delegation tip: My assistant(s) know that if they run into a problem, they have 2 choices:
1. Fix it if it will cost less than $50. Don't bring the problem to me. Just make it go away.
2. Bring me three possible solutions to the problem. Don't just bring me the problem.
How are you giving back to your community?
You want your community to support your business, yes? Of course you do! Well, guess what?
You gotta give to get.
I'm not talking about giving the wealthy families in your community suck up gifts so they'll become clients. I'm talking about helping those in your community and our world who truly need it!
Trust me, if you focus 20% your time on helping others, the other 80% will be more productive and satisfying.
Caution: if you don't go about this whole giving back thing properly, you'll feel like you're chasing your tail more than ever. Here's what I've learned:
A) Support max 2 causes at a time, and aim to support them for many years.
Supporting a charity is a lot like building your unique brand: people need to know specifically what you do and you need to have a specific vision in mind so that every time someone asks you to donate to another charity, you can say, "The 2 charities I support are ______ and ______. I would love to help your charity, too, but I find my time and money are more effective when I focus on two charities at a time."
B) Twice each year, put YOUR ALL into promoting a big fundraising event.
Using MailChimp or your preferred contact management system, ask every friend, family member, client and prospect to join you in supporting the cause by not only inviting them to donate but by inviting them to JOIN YOUR TEAM. I like to do this by creating an energetic (usually silly) video explaining the cause and inviting people to join me at the fun event. I put that video in the email and on all my social media pages.
Hint: include a costume theme, like one-piece snowsuits!
C) Take TONS of photos at each charity event.
This is NOT so that you can use them to pump your own tires. These photos will be the keys to multiplying awareness of the cause you are supporting year after year. Social Media rules the world nowadays, and it's all about photos. For example, in 2016 I signed up for a 100km road bike ride for Branch Out Neurological Foundation. I asked a hundred people to join my team but because I'm not a road biker and none of my friends were, they were all like, "I didn't know you were into road biking!" and I was like, "I'm not but you should totally do this with me!" and they were like, "You're nuts!". Needless to say, I was a one woman team for last year's #branchybiketour. However, I got tons of great photos throughout the bike ride and everyone saw how much fun it was. In 2017 and 2018, my bike team had EIGHT members!! Our team raised $15,000 for #neuroscience research! All because I bought a pair of padded bike shorts, pedaled 100km by myself while posing for a bunch of great photos. That's $15,000 that wouldn't have been put towards paying tuition for neuroscientists studying Parkinson's, MS, Lyme disease and hundreds of other neurological disorders! (Find out more about Branch Out Foundation here.)
Moral of the story: Intentional investments of your time and money will pay you returns in the form of
time to live