This is a transcript from episode 21 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on April 7, 2021
I talk a lot about owning your boss mode – your way! – not only because I’m happy to be the person who reminds you that this is your role and job, but also because it’s a really effing hard thing to do and show up as consistently.
And here’s the caveat: I don’t believe everything in your business should be automated and outsourced and delegated out your wazoo. A lot of what makes your business special is what YOU’RE bringing to the table.
So what’s a busy boss to do? Well, let’s talk about it.
BIGGER VS. BETTER
One of my all-time favorite business books is Paul Jarvis’ Company of One. With all noise everyone else makes about “more” and “bigger”, this book is the much-needed permission slip and reality check that there is such a thing as the pursuit of “abundance” and “better”.
You can grow towards “bigger” or you can grow towards “better” but you typically do have to choose just one area you’re going to focus on.
I see and hear it behind-the-scenes in businesses all the time: “this year, we’re going to increase revenue by 50% and hit 7 figures.”
OK, cool beans, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But it’s a rare instance when I hear a boss say: “I want the same revenue as last year but I want it to require 50% less effort.”
And there’s a huge difference between the pursuit of “bigger” versus “better”.
Because you CAN scale anything. Yes, even if you’re an artistic creative entrepreneur. Plenty of people do and have done it from best-sellers writers like Tom Clancy and James Patterson to artists like Michelangelo and Andy Warhol – you can outsource anything you create a system for.
But you do have to create a system for it – a “better” way of operating, if you will – and take those couple of steps back or away from being focused on “bigger”, which is actually how you make it a whole lot easier for you to hit those “bigger” goals as you grow because you’re adjusting to performing “better” as you grow.
As the boss, being mindful and making conscious decisions about what type of growth you’re pursuing is your job.
If you’re hitting those revenue goals, but your profit isn’t actually increasing and there’s always a sense of deadlines and chaos looming, that’s a surefire sign it’s time to adjust your sights on “better” growth rather than its “bigger”, more glamorous counterpart.
And this will almost always require you to take a step back and improve what we call “your systems”.
SYSTEMS FOR THE WIN
Creating a system will arguably be the most important thing you can do to keep your fingerprint, vision and control over your business as it grows.
It is also one of the most elusive terms we all hear because while we keep hearing about how important they are…
What-the-hey ARE systems, anyways?
I touched on this a little in our last episode when I was going over how my Pinterest traffic tanked so hard: it was because I didn’t create a system for what I knew worked really well for me and instead, I just outsourced it to experts who had their own way of doing things… which didn’t work so well for me.
If you have something that you know works – either for your bottom line, your values or your personal strengths – you owe it to your growth to turn this into a wash-rinse-repeat process.
And if you have something that you know DOESN’T work or is causing you a great deal of stress and anxiety, you ALSO owe it to your growth – and probably your blood pressure, too – to get a wash-rinse-repeat process in place for that, too.
That’s really all a system is: a way of operating or a series of steps that clarifies what has to be done and how it has to done, regardless of who is doing it.
The best part: you don’t necessarily have to do this alone!
I know a lot of bosses who intuitively do things that “works for them” but when they go to document them, they don’t know what to say because, like Nike, they “just do it!”
Cool beans, boss! Because knowing what to do – even if you can’t verbalize it – is 90% of the battle won.
Consider bringing in a systems expert who can help you create the workflows and the processes that will clone those innate superpowers you just don’t know how to explain.
I’ll admit that it’s a little meta to hire someone who can help make your next hire go super-smooth. However, it’s how you’ll be able to get your workload done your way – as if you did it yourself – and it’ll actually save you money in the long run when you don’t need to hire subject matter experts to design or strategize a process for you.
If someone leaves you – and they will! – your downtime as a result of this will be one less thing you have to worry about.
When hiccups happen – and they will! – you’re in a position to further improve your processes and in turn, build a better business.
Don’t know any systems experts? Email me or slip into my DMs on Instagram because I know a BUNCH of them who specialize in all kinds of different areas and I’d be happy to connect you.
And that’s the point, too: people ARE happy to help! You’ll find no lack of people who can and will step up to the plate for your benefit and growth… but as the leader, you have to set that step up as one they can succeed at.
You also have to set YOURSELF up to have the capacity to step up to what YOU succeed at. Because, Imma come straight out and say it:
You’re better off being amazing at being you than being mediocre at trying to be someone else.
You can’t be good – much less great! – at everything. Furthermore, learning curves are a real thing.
When I’m teaching bosses to get data-driven, I encourage them to focus on seeing their performance and identifying the trends, and we spend most of our time in Google Data Studio where we can hone in on data visualization and storytelling.
I also discourage bosses from getting caught in the minutiae of becoming a Google Analytics expert because I don’t believe that knowing how to segment traffic attribution and verifying your pixels is a skill bosses need. You’re way better off outsourcing this kind of work to someone who can get it all done like SNAP! than having you spend the next two weeks trying to figure out how to trouble-shoot each tiny issue… and I promise you, there will always be those tiny issues a pro can quickly deal with but it will take you hours and days you’ll never get back to get done.
Growth requires a shot-caller. If you’re the boss, get bossy and call the dang shots already!
And one of the most important shots for you to call is when to remove yourself from the “doing” by bringing in someone who can do that thing better and faster than you ever could.
Mostly because, well, you’re more invested and focused on calling those aforementioned shots.
WHO TO HIRE
So who are you going to hire? That’s going to depend on your needs, but here’s how I like to operate:
I believe every boss needs a little help and a virtual assistant – or what the cool kids call a VA – is usually a good starting point, even if it’s only for a few hours.
Delegating is a habit and like any new habit, it’s something you have to work at for a while before it becomes second nature.
If you’re struggling with finding things to delegate, start tracking your own time spent on tasks. Then, block an hour off on Friday afternoon – grab a cocktail or something to make it feel like a fun celebration – and go through how you spent your time. Check yourself and be honest about whether YOU need to be the one doing those things, or if you could put a system in place to delegate them.
Another thing I LOVE to do is hire an expert to help me develop a specific strategy.
I walked you through my experience with one of these in “Behind the scenes: Auditing my PINTEREST account and traffic strategy” for my Pinterest Audit. Not only did I get my account audited, but I received a lot of time-saving advice it would have been one hell of a learning curve to figure out for myself, and I got help putting those training wheels on the system I wanted to put in place.
As a general rule, I would recommend you steer clear of “pick my brain” sessions that don’t have an intended direction or purpose. But take advantage of the popularity of VIP Days or Strategy Sessions that will have a huge ROI on a day or half-day spent with someone who knows the field you need help in and can help you implement the system you can grow into like a pair of OshKosh B’goshs.
And where do you find all these gem-like resources? Ask around!
—> Ask your biz besties what they recommend, put a shout out on your social media, let your email list know you’re looking for help. The closer the recommendations are to your business, the better the fit will typically be because they “get” you and will usually send like-minded resources your way.
—> Another option is to search your own social media account for those hashtags or keywords. You may already have someone in your circle who specializes in what you need, and you can see who else they follow and work with to give you a sense of “right fit”.
—> If you can’t find recommendations? Head over to Upwork and put a job posting out. The more specific you can get about what you’re looking for, the better able you are to find a good fit to your needs.
Which brings us to everyone’s favorite part of each episode: what the hey are you supposed to do about all of this? Here are this week’s action items.
1) Know thy growth.
I know this is an episode about outsourcing and delegating, but I believe that the goals you set and the type of growth you’re pursuing is the first and foremost thing you need to plant your boss flag on.
Are you pursuing bigger results or are your working towards better ones?
Because knowing this makes it much simpler for you to determine who and what you need to get there… because you’ve established where “there” is.
—> Are you looking to cut down to a 4-day work week? Sounds like some operations help is in order.
—> Trying to increase website traffic without having to pay for ads? I know some great search experts who can help with that.
—> Ready to double your income (and all the support required to maintain those happy clients)? Hellooooo ad agency.
Being clear about and committed to the TYPE of growth you’re working towards takes care of a whole lot of other decisions for you, including what you need to outsource and delegate next.
2) Get your systems!
The key to getting things done – YOUR way! – is to set people up for success before you outsource or delegate to them.
The thought that they can “just figure out” will always cost you in the long term. Whether you spend the time to put the systems in place or you spend the time correcting, editing and fixing the tasks or workload you’re outsourcing, this WILL be a time investment no matter what… so you may as well suck it up, buttercup, and build that clarity into your business and daily operations at the jump and make sure things are being done you want them to be.
3) Do you. And only you.
It sounds egotistical for me to tell you to focus on you and the voodoo that you do, but it’s actually the opposite: ego is a problem when you insist on doing the brunt of the work yourself, when you take the “nobody can do it like I do” stance, when you convince yourself you’re indispensable (even for the inconsequential task).
Your role is to lead your business towards improvement and this also means ever-improving your leadership.
Make a point – better yet, schedule a regular date in your calendar – to review what you’re spending time on, which headaches could be streamlined, and what areas you could use some help with.
And then ask for it! Which is the bossiest thing you can do.
The issue with outsourcing and delegating isn’t so much finding talent – there’s a wealth of mega-talented people out there and I know because I get thanked on a weekly basis for a great referral hook-up! – but as the boss, you’re the one who sets the tone for that transaction.
You’re the one who determines the path you’re on, you’re the one who commits to the systems and processes that will build the path as you grow, and you’re the one who got yourself to where you are.
In case nobody has told you this recently: I’M PROUD OF YOU!
It takes a lot to make it as far as you have and you deserve a pat or two on the back… but you also deserve to not have it all fall on your shoulders and I encourage you to take a good, hard, bossy look at the load you’re telling yourself you have to carry.