Business Owners: If You Want Something Done Right…
The distinction between working 'on' instead of 'in' your business is well-known.
Here's the basic idea:
You want to work on your business as much as possible. This means strategizing how to enter a new market, planning how you're going to raise capital, or brainstorming how to increase the efficiency of your in-house team.
Conversely, working in the business means managing all the day-to-day tasks like tweaking advertising campaigns, writing content for the company blog and keeping tabs on your supply chain.
Working on your business builds your business. Working in the business just keeps it alive.
I've know about this idea for a long time, but I was listening to a podcast today (with Dan Pena) and I saw the lesson in a whole new light.
Working 'In' The Business = Entrepreneur Death
When you're strategizing how to bring more customers to your business by launching the company blog, you're acting as an entrepreneur. Even as you write the first few posts, discovering how to write efficiently and maximize SEO, you're acting as an entrepreneur.
But, as soon as the 'job' is figured out you stop being an entrepreneur. Doing a pre-determined task makes you an employee of your own company. You're just filling the position (job) that's there for you. It makes no difference that you were the one who created the job in the first place!
If You Want Something Done Right...
Then you'd better not do it yourself! Why? Because doing pre-defined tasks is wrong.
It's easy to relax into a proven system and get comfortable with routine because it works 'well enough', pays the bills and is fun and easy. But that's not going to help you grow as an entrepreneur. In fact, you're no longer an entrepreneur when you work in your own pre-defined role.
Should you just try to outsource everything right away? Not necessarily, but you should be planning for it since your first day doing it yourself.
If you can't hire someone to do the job within the next 7 days when is a better time? 2 months, 6 months, a year later?
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can't be satisfied working a job, even a self-created job, for this long a time. You need to be more dynamic.
"But, it's too expensive to hire someone to do this job."
In that case, your job as the entrepreneur isn't finished here. You're still learning and building and hopefully finding ways to create a valuable enough position so that you can pay someone else to do it.
Otherwise, you're just working your own job that pays less than a normal wage!
Only Do 'In' Work When It's 'On' Work
You will need to do some of the day-to-day work at your company, but try to keep it to only times when it builds your business instead of just sustaining it.
The founder may be the first person take on a specific day-to-day task so that he or she can build an 'action plan' for someone else t0 take over.
For example, I'll create an Amazon shipping order to get a box of products safely from China to America. If I'm smart I'll also take notes of every step in the process and give them to someone else to do next time. If I add in a little 1-1 training I'll never need to do that job again!
If I don't build a 'how-to' document and find someone else then I'm delegating the job to myself. It's now my job and little jobs like this will fill up my day.
You've got to create the job but then you've got to fire and replace yourself as soon as you can.
A Personal Experience Working 'In' My Company...
I open my Amazon dashboard every day to check inventory, adjust PPC campaign bids by 10 cents and look over my payments.
It takes time but it's fun and easy. I get to see how much revenue the business brought in and I get to do things I've already mastered.
But I repent! After listing to that podcast I've seen the light. I'm now reaching out to old freelancers who I hope will soon be ordering inventory, talking with factories, and managing advertising campaigns. It will be a lot of up-front teaching but imagine the long-term benefits.
Here's the sad truth. I should have been thinking about hiring help as soon as I logged into my Amazon account on day 1. With that foresight I would certainly not be doing this work now! This is a major lesson for next time.
Once I hire help I'll have more time to focus on the things that matter. Work will be more 'on' my business than in it.
I'll also have more time for non-business activities, like going to the movies or spending time with family and friends.
That's a real bonus. 🙂