Marketing Thought Leader: Lori Lyons
Needing Help. It’s a great – albeit scary – place to be!
“You know it’s time to get help when your lack of help is actually costing you money and clients.”
At some point in a growing business, we get to a place where we need help. We know we need help. We are borderline burned out (or… maybe not so borderline!)
When is the best time to add help? The simple answer is – about six months before you actually need it! Most of us wait too late to add someone to help us for a variety of reasons:
- You don’t think you can afford it.
- You don’t know how to delegate.
- No one can POSSIBLY do this as well as I can.
- You don’t want to lose control.
What do you need to consider when you KNOW it’s time to get help and what are the options? You know it’s time to get help when your lack of help is actually costing you money and clients. There are other reasons to start looking for help as well:
- You’re burned out.
- You are starting to resent your business because it’s taking over your life.
- The business has outgrown you.
- Customers are complaining – you are missing deadlines or not paying attention to the details.
- Clients are asking for different services than you provide.
- When you can’t afford not to.
I went through this about three years ago in my business and was… quite frankly… at a loss as to where to start. Then I received some really good advice: start simple and start tracking what I did on a regular – and non-regular – basis.
“I also had to rethink the idea that my clients were hiring ME, not someone else to do their work.”
Big ‘Aha’ Moment:
First, I began by keeping track of everything I did for a week. To this list, I then added monthly and quarterly tasks. From there, I took that list and divided it into three sections: tasks I enjoyed doing, tasks I was ambivalent about, and finally tasks I didn’t like doing at all. Once I had completed this list, I broke the tasks further into items only I could do and tasks that could be delegated.
Part of the process of dividing the list included being realistic with myself about what I could and couldn’t do. I also had to rethink the idea that my clients were hiring ME, not someone else to do their work. This was a big ‘aha’ moment for me. That my clients didn’t actually care who did the physical labor as long as it had my “marketing magic” touch on the project.
Another breakthrough for me, as silly as it sounds, was realizing that the work I should hire people for was the work I either didn’t enjoy doing or it was not what I was good at. Here’s the thing – just because I didn’t enjoy this part of the work doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be someone else’s passion to do. Lightbulb moment!
To Delegate And Despise:
For example – spreadsheets are not something I enjoy using nor do I enjoy creating them. But, they are an essential part of my business. My accountability partner – on the other hand – loves spreadsheets and is really good at creating them with all the bells and whistles. She can make those babies sing. While spreadsheets would be on my “to delegate and despise” list, she would add spreadsheets to her “keep and love to do” list.
“The beauty of today’s world is that we have so many options to choose from.”
Next, decide what of the tasks from any grouping would be an easy one to hand off. It doesn’t take a lot of explanation or training to do. These are typically repeatable items that may not take a lot of time individually, but grouped together can be a real timesaver for you. These would be easy to create a process for and to write down easily (or video) the training steps that can be used over and over.
Bring On Help:
Finally, once you’ve created the list and documented the process, decide what type of help you need. The beauty of today’s world is that we have so many options to choose from. The “gig economy” is alive and well for small business owners and makes it affordable to bring on help.
You Can Choose From:
- A freelance company that handles work on a per project basis is a good way to “get your feet wet” and start to test your processes. Using a company such as Upwork or Fivver can be an intro to starting to delegate tasks, see what’s working, and usually it’s on a very limited basis. You are given many options of freelancers to choose from and you have recourse if you need to change freelancers or if a project is different that you intended.
- A Virtual Assistant that can help with any number of tasks from social media creation to managing your calendar, to returning emails, to your bookkeeping. A VA can be an individual, or you can hire a company to take over this work. A VA can be in your local area or can be overseas – depending on where in the world you live.
“A VA can be in your local area or can be overseas – depending on where in the world you live.”
- An independent contractor or freelancer is another type of “hire” that can work either exclusively for you and your company or can work with other people. (Side note here – in the US be careful of the laws governing what makes a freelancer/independent contractor verses an employee. Typically someone that works for you exclusively is an employee.)
- A straight employee. One that you hire and pay any applicable company and individual taxes for. You set the work hours, the expectations, and the job description for the employee.
These decisions should be made with advice from a business attorney or CPA with regard to the hows, why, and when. In all instances, make sure the relationship is spelled out in an agreement and that your freelancer or employee signs a “non-disclosure agreement” to protect and safeguard the information and assets of your business.
It is a big and important decision for an owner but it is also an exciting decision. By taking your time and taking the correct steps, is just one of the ways your business will grow and flourish.
About the Author:
Lori is America’s Midlife Marketing Maven helping GenXBoomers take the frustration and mystery out of marketing their businesses. She owns a digital marketing agency, Igniting Your Business and specializes in website design, branding and marketing strategy. She loves teaching Encore Entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses so they can concentrate on following THEIR passions and THEIR clients. Lori thinks there is nothing better than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they “get it” and then they take it and make money, easily and simply and without the stress they had before.
Lori will be launching her podcast, The Encore Entrepreneur Podcast this summer where she will be interviewing entrepreneurs and talking about how they market their businesses and the tools and techniques they use. She lives in Atlanta with her husband of almost 30 years and helps her 22 year old entrepreneur son with his marketing. She is a sports fanatic and loves her Atlanta Braves baseball!