It’s time to file your quarterly taxes. Wait — but first, you need to figure out what’s going on with your broken printer. This really would’ve been easier if you had hired that virtual assistant you interviewed last week. They could’ve helped with everything. Now your customer service line is ringing, and you’re the only one who can answer it.
Does this scenario sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re probably wearing too many hats — taking on the role of the CEO, customer service agent, CFO and more. Here are some small business management tips and tricks on the finer details of managing it all — without losing your mind.
It’s All on Me… But Should It Be?
Before you even think about delegating some of your responsibilities, let’s take a second to talk about the do-too-much syndrome — a popular diagnosis for small business owners everywhere. Of course, everyone’s reasoning is different, but the problem usually starts when you first open your doors for business, and you’re the sole employee. What does that mean? Well, everything — yes, everything — that needs to get done will only happen if you do it.
Freelance burnout is a real problem when you’re a small business owner. Luckily, there are tons of strategies and systems you can implement to help you take off some of your hats and focus on what’s really important in your business. By learning how to delegate when necessary, you can thrive instead of just survive.
How to Delegate Your Work
If you feel like your business is moving too fast for you to keep up, it might be time for you to hire your first employee. In my experience, independent workers either embrace or run from this opportunity. Running a team takes a lot of work, and small business management tips are in high demand when it’s time to onboard.
First off, ask yourself: Can you afford to hire one or more employees? If the answer is yes, think about which tasks in your business could easily be handed off to someone else — and which ones could only be done by you (i.e., projects that need your creative eye or CEO decision-making skills).
There are so many people out there who have the skills to help you grow and succeed … but it’ll only happen if you let them. Seek out an employee with a diverse skill set so you can delegate any kind of task under the sun.
Don’t think you can afford to hire employees? Or, are you concerned you won’t have enough work to assign to a part- or full-time staff member? No problem. Maybe the best fix for you is a contractor. On a contract basis, you can hire someone to help with a task like bookkeeping, a significant undertaking for any business.
What other tasks could you assign to contractors? The possibilities are endless: website design and maintenance, advertising, inventory and even customer service. When “hiring” for a contract position, make sure the candidate has the necessary skill set and work history relevant to the precise task you want them to complete. You don’t need your contractors to be a jack-of-all trades; they just need to possess a certain type of expertise.
3. Online Tools
If you’re super hesitant to bring anyone else into your business, there’s another option. Take a look at online tools and subscriptions — you’d be surprised how many menial tasks can simply be automated. Want to record video trainings for your clients? There’s no need to hire a videographer to film and edit the recording. A tool like Loom will deliver professional-quality videos right from your computer.
Do you find it impossible to tame your calendar and book new appointments? An online scheduler like Acuity will allow current and potential clients to pencil themselves into your schedule without even contacting you. As long as you’ve outlined your availability, they’ll be able to choose from your open time slots.
Is social media taking up far too much of your time? Plan your content ahead of time and use a tool like Buffer or CoSchedule to post for you. By leveraging these types of tools, you can keep the posts flowing while you get to work on other tasks.
No Means No
If you’re tired of wearing too many hats, take some time to reevaluate your business model. Do you need to pull back a little? Are you doing too much? Saying yes to too many projects and assignments that you don’t actually want to do will eventually lead to burnout. You’re just adding hat after hat to an already overwhelmed head. The moral of the story: Don’t waste your time trying to balance everything.
The next time you’re faced with a client offer that doesn’t fit in with your business goals, or a request to do something in a timeline that clashes with your already established schedule, take some time to evaluate whether this new project will truly help your business grow. Doing so will help you make sure that you keep moving in the right direction.