I love January/February. Thanks to the New Year, everything feels just a little bit fresher. Like it contains just a hint more opportunity. You know, that potential of so many good things waiting around the corner, when the real work of the year kicks off in earnest.
Okay, it’s possibly also because we’ve had a great break (you did get a break, yes?), had some fun and caught up on our sleep.
So, when I was talking to a friend and fellow business owner recently, I was surprised to hear she was not feeling terribly excited about her new year.
Now, her business is established. It’s been up, running and growing year on year for nearly 10 years. She has great clients, plenty of business and solid cash flow. She looks like the epitome of success. Or so it seemed – to those looking in from the outside.
The truth was that although she’d done very well over the years, she was stuck. Stuck and so very tired that she was contemplating just walking away from it all and joked about going to work at Woolworths on the check-outs.
Where she was, had led her to feel uninspired, not wanting to go on and looking for a way out. She couldn’t do another 10 years like this.
And she was right. She couldn’t do another 10 years like this. Something had to change.
Not Another 10 Years Like This…
She was stuck where so many small business owners get stuck – working in their businesses rather than on the business. She was doing it all – finding the business, winning the business, then doing the business. And then when all of that was done, she was doing all the backend of running the business – marketing, bookwork, legals, keeping up with the trends of her own industry and cleaning the toilets at the office – almost always after hours because she was so busy doing her daily do.
And although she’d had staff from time to time over the years, losing the most recent staff member felt like a bit of a last straw. After that, she hadn’t had the time or the inclination to replace them with yet another traveller-wannabe GenYer – who she’d train up, get up to speed only to have them leave after 6, 8 or 12 months. She thought it must just be her.
It’s Not Just You!
Now some of you reading this, will be having a bit of an epiphany as you read this – that it’s not just you! No, it’s not. I hear stories like this often enough – although many business owners don’t share when they’re in overwhelm. Everyone’s supposed to be ‘on’, up and doing ‘great’.
So how do you get past being stuck like this? Well, it takes a plan and a good dose of commitment to stay the course to un-stuckness.
Getting Past Overwhelm
1. Get Help
That might be in the form of a bookkeeper, admin assistant (a staffer or virtual), someone to answer the phones (staff or virtual receptionist), a cleaner – even if it’s just once a fortnight/month. Yes, it will cost some money, but it’s far, far less expensive than losing your business (and your sanity). Make a list of possible things you can outsource now and then look at their costs – you might be surprised at just how inexpensive some of this help can be. And whilst outsourcing might cost more on an hourly rate basis, you don’t have to pay for 40 hours if you don’t need it and you don’t pay super, holiday pay, sick leave, etc either. Plus when you outsource your admin in Australia, you’re likely to experience less frustration of things being lost in ‘translation’ or people being unavailable on your time zone.
2. Set Your Priorities
When you’re clear on what it is that you’re trying to achieve, you’re likely to be more focused. My friend had lost her goals along the way once she’d achieved the ones she’d set 3 or 4 years ago. Revisit yours now.
3. Set Three Key Tasks a Day – Including at least One that Falls into the ‘Working on my Business’ Bucket
Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint – it doesn’t end. So trying to get ‘everything’ done today is madness. Once you’ve delegated or outsourced some of the more basic tasks on your list (see point 1), set yourself 3 key tasks for the day. You’ll do more, but focus on nothing else until they’re done. Then you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something at the end of each day no matter what else happens.
4. Saying ‘No’ More Often
Now this one can be hard for us business owners. We want to be the people who say yes, especially when it comes to our customers. But there are customers and projects that you should say no to. If you’re already at capacity, it’s not a great fit or you just get that ‘feeling’ it’s going to be too hard – say no (nicely).
5. Schedule Blank Space into Your Calendar – Every Day
You can use that blank time to catch up on an urgent job that runs over, have a coffee and chat to a friend, meditate, whatever you need in that moment. Be a rebel and clear 30 mins twice a day. Just. For. You.
I ran through these with my friend and you could just see her start to hope she might get through her overwhelm. I’ll let you know how she goes.
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about how a Virtual Receptionist or admin assistant might work for your business, so you can take the real break you need to start 2017 refreshed and ready to go, we’d love to talk to you. You can call Roland on 1300 318 680 or drop us a note.