Build the Business of Your Dreams
By Aaron Mahnke, on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
I’m at a crossroads with my freelance business. After over two years of plugging away and cranking the levers, I’m at the point where I can’t get enough done in my day. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a great problem to have. But it’s a problem nonetheless. Maybe you’re there as well, or have been there. You know how frustrating it can be when you need to turn around a logo design or a comp for a website, but all the little things you’ve been forced to do throughout the day have sapped away all your available time. Entering payments received. Resending invoices to late clients. Sending out information to prospective clients. Keeping your P & L up to date. There are all essential things, but I honestly feel like there are days where they prevent me from getting the most done that I’m capable of accomplishing.
Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of delegation. Taking actual tasks that I do on a regular basis and handing them to someone else. This is a crossroad that lots of businesses get to at some point. Even today, writer and marketing consultant Randy Murray posted a fantastic productivity tip: write a todo list for others. It’s a core idea, essential to success as a business. I know this. We all do. But man, it scares the ever loving crap out of me.
I feel like that dad who worked for years and years to get to the point that he could buy his dream car, a 1965 Corvette Stingray, black with the split rear window, chrome all over and lots of noise. It’s his baby, his toy, his hobby. And a couple years later, his son asks if he can use it to take his date to prom. GULP. Letting go of something so personal, so seemingly fragile, so precariously balanced on the edge of joy and pain – this is not something we’re wired to do innately. So the thought of handing over key area of my business (and let’s be honest – at this stage, I consider every area to be “key”, don’t you?) leaves me paralyzed with fear. And this is probably why most businesses fail or grow stagnant.
Sometimes we just need to jump. Close our eyes, lean forward, and think happy thoughts as we leap out in faith. “Act as if,” says a close friend of mine. Act as if it’s really happening. And those three words have left me losing sleep lately. Am I acting “as if” in my business life? Am I willing to let go of something – anything – to free up more of my time and energy for what really, truly matters?
And so today begins an experiment. The Delegation Experiment. My goal will be to discover the areas of my business that are ready for delegation, determine the process for doing so, and then put those pieces into play. Live and upfront in the public eye. I plan to post regularly on my progress – every mistake I make, every resource and hint I discover. All of it. And hopefully through this series of documentary-style posts, you’ll find the courage and the tools to do the same.
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