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”.
Recent growth in my business exceeded what I could manage on a daily basis. This was the goal of my life. While I was certain that I would one day have a team, I did not realize the extent of my growth and how difficult it would be.
When I was looking into the financial situation of my company, I made a decision. Either I would invest with a legitimate business that has many connections but I did not know the company, or I would hire my friend to temporarily work for the company. This way, I can make a few extra bucks, be able to help the family, and still remain a single mother. Despite being less knowledgeable and more connected, I chose to hire my friend.
The first thirty days were a struggle. I was constantly pep-talking myself to stop her from leaving and starting over. I found myself constantly staring at my computer, staring at it, and checking email with my morning cup, as I wondered if she was actually doing her job.
Our client spreadsheet was used to highlight warm leads (warm leads), and close leads with green. Day 30 was our last day. One New client One, seriously?! That’s it, I definitely needed to pull the plug. To see what had happened, I went to her email address to check. I was shocked to discover that she had made numerous calls and sent many emails just like she claimed. It was me that was missing. She went above and beyond to help the company succeed. How had she closed just one lead?
I was being told to call the time and put a label on it, but there was another nagging thought. “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. Our society is made up thousands of other people. 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
Yes, it was true. I held out and each warm yellow lead became green. We had already closed just one client by the end of day 30, but we were able to close 14 more clients on day 45. Then we closed another 25. As the leads and clients came in, I felt overwhelmed. Every week, cold leads became warm and then warm leads closed. That left me with a fresh question. This time the question wasn’t what had we done wrong, but what had we, what had I, done right.
1. Assistant makes you accountable to another person
It was then that I saw how important it was to show up at my own business. It’s so easy to get lazy with maintaining a schedule when you only answer to you. It lit up a flame in me that I didn’t know existed. Knowing someone was working to achieve the goal that I have been working so hard on ignited my passion. I was able to get up earlier and be more organized with my time, as she worked on spreadsheets, emails and phone calls every day from Monday through Friday.
2. You can have a farmer mindset with an assistant
This gave me more clarity on my future business goals. It was a natural tendency for me to be impulsive and have some great ideas. 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. A business needs the same time as any plant, or crop, to grow. It must be given sunlight, water, and enough time before it can harvest.
3. I learned how to delegate.
It is one the most difficult and necessary business skills you can learn. Though it’s the best thing for your business, it requires a level of blind trust and comes with unavoidable uncertainty. Learning how to delegate will allow you to focus more on the things you are capable of doing, and delegate tasks you have some help with. Tasks that are properly delegated will result in a quicker pace and better quality.
It made my life easier and it helped me in every way. As a boss, I was able to improve my work ethic, which in turn improved the quality and quantity of the work we do each day. Most importantly, it allowed me to see the possibilities for my future 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.