There’s this whole status-quo in the business world about “self made”, but honestly what the heck does that even mean? For years I let myself secretly relish in the satisfaction of “doing it all myself” or “on my own” somehow thinking that meant I was guaranteed success, and the glamorous title of “self-made”.
Recently, my business had expanded beyond what I was capable of handling day to day, which had always been the dream; It was time to cross over from one-woman show to boss babe. I had always known someday I would build to the point of having a team, but I never realized what kind of growth and leveling up that was going to require.
While looking at the finances for my business I had a decision to make. I could either invest in a marketing campaign with a very legitimate company that had all sorts of connections, but a company I had no relationship with, or I could temporarily hire a friend who would probably benefit from making a couple extra dollars, work hard for the business, and be blessed by the opportunity to maintain being a stay at home single mom. Though less experienced and less connected, I decided to go with the latter and hire my friend.
For the first 30 days I regularly pep talked myself out of letting her go, and doing it all myself again. Constantly sitting at the kitchen table checking emails with my morning coffee, staring at my computer wondering if she was doing her job, was it going to work, was it going to help, was I throwing my whole budget down the drain.
We decided to take our client spreadsheet and highlight leads that she had communicated with (warm leads) in yellow and closed leads with green. By day 30 we had closed one new client. One, seriously?! That’s it, I definitely needed to pull the plug. I logged onto her business email account to see where I had gone wrong, only to find out she had sent hundreds of emails and made hundreds of calls just as she said. What was I missing, was it me, she was going above and beyond, extremely coachable, hard working and genuinely dedicated to the success of the business, how had we only closed one lead?
For everything that was telling me to put a tag on it and call time of death, there was this equal and opposite nagging thought in my mind. “You wanna be a boss, a CEO, a company? Then you better learn how to delegate and let go, and you better do it now.” Yikes.
“There is no such thing as a self-made man. We are made up of thousands of others. Every one who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” – George Adams
Sure enough, I decided to hold out, and one by one each yellow lead that was warm turned green. By day 30 we had only closed one client, but by day 45 we had closed 14 and then 25. I was overwhelmed and humbled as the clients and leads poured in. Each week cold leads turned warm and warm turned closed. It left me to ponder a new question. This time the question wasn’t what had we done wrong, but what had we, what had I, done right.
1. An assistant makes you responsible to someone else
First thing I realized was how much more I was showing up in my own business. It’s so easy to get lazy with maintaining a schedule when you only answer to you. Knowing that someone else was working towards the goal I had been working on alone for so long lit a fire in me unlike anything else. Knowing she would be working on emails, phone calls and spreadsheets right away each day Monday through Friday had me getting up earlier, being more intentional with my time and staying on task better.
2. An assistant gives you a farmer mentality
It also gave me a more clear vision on the future of my business. I had a tendency to have great ideas, and go overkill working on them. Then, if they wouldn’t stick, or weren’t successful in the first go around (much like the clients) I would try to pivot to something else for fear I was wasting my time. Hiring an assistant made me realize the time and patience it was going to take to build a business, and just because it doesn’t manifest right away doesn’t mean it’s not working, or that I’m wasting my time. Just as a plant or a crop goes through a process of being sown, giving it sunshine, water and time, a business requires the same amount of growing season before the harvest.
3. It made me learn how to delegate
I believe this is one of the hardest and most necessary skills to develop as a business owner. Though it’s the best thing for your business, it requires a level of blind trust and comes with unavoidable uncertainty. However, when you can learn how to delegate it will cut your tasks in half and allow you to dedicate more time and attention to the tasks only you can do while delegating tasks that you can have assistance with. When tasks are delegated properly, everything gets done at a faster rate and at a higher quality.
Overall, it improved every aspect of my business and myself. It improved me as a boss and a business owner, it improved the amount and quality of work that gets accomplished each day, and best of all, it gave me a renewed sense of vision for the future of my business.
Forget “self made”, you want to be a success, start with an assistant and watch how it not only transforms your business but yourself as well.