Guest post by Meghan Maydel
I talk to A LOT of business owners day in and day out, from all different levels of financial success. Some are bringing on $5k (or less) a month. Some are bringing in $50k+ in gross revenue a month. While there are waaaaay more similarities amongst these business owners than there are differences, there is one big transition that comes along with an increasing gross revenue that I’ve noticed a lot of business owners—especially those used to doing #allthethings on their own—have trouble making successfully.
What’s the big transition?
Going from bootstrapping (doing all the things to save all the money) to delegating and outsourcing effectively.
Say whaaaaat? Wtf does that mean, Meghan? That’s totally not me.
Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: You’ve FINALLY figured how to generate sales and have started hitting those revenue goals you used to dream of. We’re talking $80k+. And it’s aweeeeesome when you’re watching your numbers grow. BUT. You’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to keep track of all the little shit. Managing a few subcontractors (like VAs). Making sure clients are happy. You’re essentially the catch all at the end of the day which is leading to at times feeling overwhelmed, like you’re drowning, and wondering how the hell you’re gonna grow beyond this if this is what this level in your business looks like. YOU personally cannot handle anymore.
Finding yourself nodding your head furiously in agreement? Great! Stick with me.
There’s a book called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (if you haven’t read it yet—order it—NOW) which talks about the different zones we all have and operate inside of. You’ve probably heard “zone of genius” about a zillion times by now. This is where it comes from. The goal is to get you to operate solely from your zone of genius. By doing so you’ll eliminate the potential for burn out, be able to grow your business to any height you want, and do it all without feeling like you’re struggling to make it all come together.
You might find this hard to believe but your zone of genius (and I’d bet my life on it) isn’t marketing AND designing AND operations AND selling AND client relationships AND whatever else needs to be handled in your business.
This is where you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Your zone of genius is one thing. Whatever your business is built around.
For example; if you’re a designer, your zone of genius is likely best suited to a creative director role. If you’re a shop owner, your zone of genius is likely in curating the items that are in the store and/or even building relationships with the people who come into your store.
Being the owner of the business doesn’t mean you need to be touching everything in the business.
It means you need to be touching the RIGHT things in your business.
At this point you’re likely delegating the shit you hate. You know, the little obnoxious admin-esque tasks that you’ve brought on a VA to handle. Now’s the time to take that one step further. The stuff you like to touch (or tell yourself you need to touch) that isn’t your zone of genius.
My bet is you feel like you need to be handling all the things in your business for one of two reasons (or both):
Potential reason one: you’re the only one who knows all the things and it’s your name on the business so #duh you have be in it all
Potential reason two: you’re under the impression you save money when you do it instead of hiring it out
These are the exact moments when bootstrapping turns into cutting corners.
How, you ask?
When you think you’re the only one who knows #allthethings and it’s your reputation on the line:
Hi ego, nice to see you. This is gonna hurt—but you’re not the only one who can do what you do. I don’t care what any other guru says to make you feel special. You have a zone of genius. Stick to it. Everything else, someone can and likely does do, better than you. This is also where systems come in handy. Systems literally allow someone else to do your job exactly the way you would do it—without having to be the micro-manager that no one can stand working with (really, no one likes a micro manager). All you have to do at that point is explain the standards and trust they will rise to the occasion. And they will. If they don’t? They aren’t the right fit, so cut ties and move on. It feels weird at first, but when you start experiencing more and more of the freedom not having to do #allthethings allows, you’ll never want to take the tasks back again.
You think that you doing it saves you money because you’re not hiring it out:
Time = money. You’re past the point of having to do everything yourself because there was NO money coming in. It’s time your leadership skills and position in your business upgraded along with your revenue. Your zone of genius doesn’t lie in all the things. So you shouldn’t be doing all the things. Now is the time to have those who’s zone of geniuses are the things that aren’t yours do them for you. They’ll get done better (for those of you with egos saying ‘no one does it better than me’…see above and check them at the door), faster, and with more impact than you who isn’t operating in your zone of genius and also has 50 other tasks to be managing or executing on top of it. Those who are better suited to those tasks create more impact which leads to more revenue. Which leads to their roles being paid for and more profit for you. And less stress. And less on your to-do list. And more time with your family or doing the things you want to be doing that don’t include sitting in front of a computer screen or working all day every day.
Now, I know there are going to be some of you who read through that and say “but Meghan! That’s a double edged sword! What if the numbers don’t make sense to delegate all those things I insist on not letting go of?” And to that my response is, if you always need to know the outcome before you start, business isn’t for you. At least a business beyond mid 6-figures isn’t for you. Business is an inherent risk. You know that by now. People who have been there before you can say “x will likely lead to y which will likely lead to z” based on their experience, but there is no guarantee. There is never a guarantee. There’s also no reward without risk.
A word to the wise: I don’t recommend this aggressive approach to those who are generating less than $80k in their business. You don’t have a proven system/business model in place yet. You’re working toward it, but until you get there getting EVERYTHING but your zone of genius off your plate isn’t sustainable. Becoming a pro at selling your services/goods is most important in this range so you can get the revenue to reinvest into your growth.
I want you to transition successfully. I want you to be the most badass business owner and leader you can be. Taking your business to levels you’ve only dreamed of is not easy and is not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to have hard conversations with yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, be willing to take risks, and know how to trust. Gary Vee and Marie Forleo didn’t get to their level of success because they insist on checking every little thing and handling everything themselves. They let go and handed pieces to the right people for the job. And holy shit, look at what they built because of it.
And it’s totally possible for you too. What are you going to start letting go of next in your business?