Being a solopreneur is lonely. You are the doer, mover, shaker, tech support, accounting, janitor, networker, sales, marketing, and CEO (Chief Everything Officer). Having been a Fortune 100 employee, owning a company with 5 employees, and a one man band, I can tell you there are pluses and minuses to all levels. Being in a two man band (literally) I can tell you a one man band is a ton more work!
I need help… we all need help, but we are all too often engaged in battle to plan more work and manage others. The one thing I have learned over the years is that you only can squeeze 100 working hours from a week if you are normal. Forty hours is you work for a corp? Give me a break! Seventy hours (7-10 hour days)… HAA! How about 7-14+ hour days a week? Sleep is over rated! Even if you can bill 50% of those hours, are you making 20, 35 or 50 hours of billing at your premium rate? Chances are no.
You need help.. and here are three ways you can maximize your time and your ability to maximize yourself and your business:
- Contractors – I know like DUH? There are certain levels that require excellence, and there are other tasks that you can expect less and pay less. If you are going turn your clients over to a writer or designer, you need to be assured that they match the expectations of quality, that they build your brand in your client's eyes. Then there are other tasks that you may be doing that can easily be handled by freelancers and VAs (virtual assistants). I use a VA in England to manage all of my email broadcasts, and another in Boston to manage my BlogTalk Radio show guests and other tasks. It took me a while to get use to letting go, but the results have been excellent, and it saves a ton of time that I can use to promote and grow my business. My favorites? HireMyMom.com and Elance.com – Future blog willl talk about these!
- Coaches – Heck I know everything (me at 25). Now I understand that there are a lot of more experienced people and some are younger than me. Just because you have been through the ringer, does not mean that you can fix the washing machine. I have listened to dozens of audio books that talk about how you can make money in your sleep. What they don't tell you is how! That's because they are hoping you will contact them to buy service and coaching. Luckily, you can find coaches who are more interested in your success, if you ask around and do your research. Step one… Realize you need a coach. Step Two… Interview a LOT of them and find one that you think aligns with your needs, goals and vision! Give it a try but with realistic expectations. I have a 3 to 1 ROI expectation, but I gave it three months and I am happy to report that I met all of my goals and have at least made my investment back, with a HUGE potential uptick in overall profits for the long run.
- Mentors – Find One and Be One. A mentor is someone who invests in you with the goal of helping you not make the mistakes they have, or just wanting to pay it forward to someone they know, like, and trust. I was lucky enough to find someone who saw my potential and was willing to invest a coffee every month or so to check in and offer sage advice and feedback. He has sold thousands (like over 100K) books, has walked the similar corporate path I have, and is now connected with lots of people who I can and should know. From the “Teacher Learns” school of thought… consider being a mentor to somebody. By helping someone, you can learn how to utilize your mentor better! Don't forget to pay for the coffee and say THANK YOU!
We all need help, but sometimes it's hard to part with our tasks and dollars, knowing we can do it for free and better. But you have to pick and choose your battles. Make the most of what you do best and get help that can help you do that better!
What stories about contractors, coaches, and mentors do you have to share, have they helped, have they failed you? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences?