Most solo entrepreneurs have at least some piece of the “why” they are in business that includes having more freedom to be where they want when they want. While each business owner will have a different version of what that looks like, there are some general guidelines that apply to everyone.
1. Build for where you are going from the start.
Often people want to wait until they can afford systems and people to support them in their business. The truth is, you likely won’t make the money to afford it if you approach your business with this attitude. Start to create the systems and structures now that you know you’ll need when the clients come in. This assures that you’ll be ready for them, and that his highly attractive. I began paying an assistant before I ever paid myself. This may seem crazy, but it worked.
2. Know your Intuitive Genius (and what is not).
I was shocked to recognize all of the roles I needed to play in my business when I first started. No one is good at everything required to run a business. Hopefully you are good at a few of them though, or are willing to learn. That said, when you are clear about what you are great at, what you do with greatest ease, that which you can get paid the most for, it is much easier to release and ‘outsource’ or simplify the things that you are not. Formatting newsletters completely drains my energy. If I could be out meeting a new client, while someone who is great at the techie stuff is formatting my newsletter, wouldn’t that be a great use of my time and money? YES.
3. Use technology whenever possible.
There are many no cost services that are available to help you run your business, and many that cost significant money each month. Get the technology you need to make things happen. Each month I pay for Infusionsoft (just transitioned from 1ShoppingCart), Instant Teleseminar, Fax.com, and several others. But when I need to put something on autopilot because my mom comes to town, I have the systems to do it with ease. Do not try to keep track of all of your contacts on your laptop, please! Having a system for communicating will pay off! (We also use Central Desktop to communicate among our ‘team’ of 2!)
4. Be clear about, value and attract great people.
You absolutely want to be careful about who you bring into your business. That said, you must bring people into your business to grow and create freedom for yourself. Be clear about the type of person you need and what you need them to do. DO NOT look for someone like you – you want them to enjoy the things you don’t enjoy, right? This could be a whole course, (in fact, I took one!), but please value the unique gifts your VA or OBM brings to your business, and you will attract people with the perfect gifts to give. I attracted a couple of “wrong” fits before I got the “right” one.
5. Take full responsibility.
When you bring help into your business, you want to take the attitude that you are 100% responsible for all that happens in your business. That doesn’t mean that you don’t ask for what you need. And it certainly doesn’t mean you micromanage the work (again, a whole course could be taught about this). It does mean that if you attract someone who is not doing what you want, or has an attitude you don’t like, you recognize that YOU attracted that person, and something in who you are being or what you are doing has created that result. Ask yourself “why am I creating this experience?” and see how you answer. There is always something to learn. Then recognize that mistakes happen, congratulate yourself for being willing to fail, and start again.
6. Make time to plan the work.
You cannot systematize or outsource something you haven’t planned. I recently wrote an article about planning out your calendar and making time for all of the activities in your work, that you may want to review so you can schedule the time you need. I spent the first year in my business planning by the skin of my nose. (In truth, it still happens sometimes). But knowing what you need to do tomorrow and next week is the only way you can put systems in place to get it done!
7. Write it down so you can rinse and repeat.
Written systems allow you to easily communicate to others what needs to be done. This is obvious. What I see for myself and my clients – writing it down also helps you to remind yourself of exactly what you did so you don’t have to think it through time and time again. Checklists are your friends.
Now, go out and systematize, hire, and outsource! But don’t forget the most important part: Take advantage of what you’ve created! Schedule a vacation now to make all that work worthwhile in advance!