Entrepreneurs: Focus On What You’re Good At And Get Someone Else To Do The Rest

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Entrepreneurs like to think that to be proper business people they need to know about all aspects of their business, no matter how mundane. There’s a sense that you’re not a real entrepreneur unless you know everything to do with business topics as disparate as payroll and client retention.

But the truth is that entrepreneurs don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of any of these concepts. That’s why people form companies: to collect people together who have the skills to manage all aspects of the company’s operations, where each person has an area of expertise. A marketing expert probably knows very little about employee compensation, just as an HR exec probably doesn’t know a lot about SEO.

Elon Musk is widely celebrated as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation, but even he admits that he doesn’t do much of the “business stuff” in his enterprises. He is, by his own admission, not particularly good at it. Musk’s strategy is to gather people around him who do know how to run a company so that he can focus on the part of his operations where he excels: the engineering of cars and rockets.

So what should budding entrepreneurs do to make sure that they don’t get sidetracked by the stuff in their business that doesn’t matter? How can they stay focused on their core operations?

Hire Outside Help

Perhaps the main thing that entrepreneurs can do is to hire outside help for tasks that neither require nor reward personal effort. Top PEO companies, for instance, can help business leaders avoid the administrative overhead of managing staff. These agencies take over things like employee benefits and payroll, allowing senior management to focus on the real goals of the firm: expanding, making more money, and developing new products.

Get A Mentor

Sometimes it can be hard to know what to focus on with so many options. A mentor can help you cut through the noise and focus only on the activities that will help you move towards your goal. While it may seem like a good idea, for instance, to learn all you can about SEO, it’s usually a lot more productive to get somebody who already knows the subject to take over its management, while you think about your actual products. James Dyson, the inventor of cyclone vacuums, didn’t become a success because he knew the intricacies of digital marketing. He just developed a product people loved and got somebody else to do the marketing for him.

Stop Wasting Time On Pointless Tasks

Whenever you use your time, be clear about whether it’s you who should be doing it, or whether you’d get better value by passing the job over to someone else.

You might think that you’re doing the right thing by taking on a task yourself, but a moment’s reflection could reveal otherwise.

For instance, you might be on the phone to people trying to organize a meeting. But if you have a secretary, why isn’t the secretary doing this work? Likewise, if you are doing payroll yourself, why? External companies can perform all your payroll tasks at a low cost, freeing you up to do more.

The 1 Word That Changes Entrepreneurship

The difference between failure and success as a business owner can be minuscule.

Being an entrepreneur for 10 years I’ve had to learn a lot of hard lessons, but one concept has been clear-cut lately.

Systems beat sweat.

That doesn’t contradict hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, instead it signals that “smarter” refers to systems when it comes to efficiency.

The simple shift from “my” business to “the” business can be the difference between being profitable and a hobby.

A lot of entrepreneurs describe their business as their baby (as did I) which can be a huge mistake.

If you watch a lot of business shows on TV like The Profit, Shark Tank & Restaurant Startup the common theme you’ll see is a clear system in place. The term scale is thrown out like common lingo meaning to strategically plan for exponential growth.

For myself I didn’t embrace this theory early on because my reasons for owning a business had more to do with flexibility than money. If you fall more into the lifestyle entrepreneur category like me, scaling is still very important.

Most people who leave Corporate America do it because they want to be their own boss. What you don’t realize is you’re leaving a systemized company that has already figured out how to scale. Besides now figuring out how to make money, the challenge of creating a repeatable, predictable system falls on you.

Once you start looking at your idea (pre-business) as a business, not your business, it becomes less personal and more objective. Ever wonder why it’s easier to give advice to other business owners than to your own? It’s because it’s not yours!

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be invested and passionate about your business, but less attached and more determined to make it run without you.

Successful business owners almost seem a bit detached from their business and that’s actually healthy. They are more focused on strategy and automation than having their hands all over it. In fact, similar to most authors, once you start a business there’s a good chance it won’t be your last (regardless of the success of failure of one).

Serial entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. It’s being obsessed with ideas and figuring out how to monetize them. I can’t say I’ve figured it out, but it’s a ride I hope I never get tired of going on.

One word makes all the difference.

Why Kool Aid Determines Your Career Path

Your career situation lies on one question: do you drink the Kool Aid or not?

kool_aid_man_wavingThere are two groups of people at every company: those who drink the Kool and those who don’t.

Translation: you’re either “sold out” (all-in) or not.

There are exceptions; those who may not fully engage in the vision, but are satisfied enough to take the good with the bad. To me, that sounds like complacency, but to everyone their own.

In order to stay at a company for a long period of time you have to believe in the mission. Purpose is still a magnetic trait that companies have. If you don’t bleed for what a company stands for it’s not a matter of if, but when you exit.

For those who reject the Kool Aid, it’s revealed in the language they use.

Mainly “I” vs. “We.” Subtle, but very powerful.

“I” statements separate from the greater whole, while “we” statements identify with the organization.

It’s not as simple as making a language change…

The determining factor is how much you buy-in. That doesn’t mean you agree with every detail or decision made, but you’re willing to associate with the team more than your opinion.

Some say entrepreneurs escape Corporate America for freedom, but most do it for a dream.

Business comes down to two types of dreams: yours and others.

Owning a business supports yours and working for a company supports theirs.

Your job is to choose whose dream you’re on board with.

Millennials in particular live for making a greater impact. Job hopping is as much about identifying with a greater mission as it is about getting bored. Adding value is as much feeling valued as it is contributing to it.

In your current role, you will eventually have to make the same decision sooner or later: do you drink the Kool Aid or not?

It may not be as simple as “yes” and “no” when it becomes part of your financial livelihood, but the bigger question is how long can you deny it?

Life is too short to support a dream you’re not in agreement with. Social impact draws new followers daily because of alignment of personal and corporate values.

If a company has a high turnover rate it’s probably a Kool Aid issue.

So in your current position do you drink the Kool Aid or not?

The answer to that question shapes your career path.

Why Work Life Balance Is A Unicorn

unicorn

Work Life Balance is extinct.

Compartmentalization is so last year.

The concept used to be a Venn Diagram with the left circle representing your professional life, the right circle your personal life and the overlap the “balance.”

Now your life is just one big circle, a.k.a. Work Life Integration.

If you’re unhappy at work, you’re unhappy in life (and vice versa).

That doesn’t necessarily mean follow your passion (although nothing’s wrong with it). It means focus on your desired lifestyle and find a career to support it.

Job turnover isn’t just a Millennial thing. It’s reality moving forward.

Admit it. You’re most likely not going to work your current job for the rest of your lifetime (the benefits aren’t that great right?), so job-hopping becomes the norm.

Blame it on the following reasons: Boredom. Multi-Passionate. Uncertainty.

But the biggest reason: Life Stage.

If someone asks me how I feel about entrepreneurship now vs. when I started (almost 10 years ago) my response is: I’m married and have 2 kids.

It doesn’t mean I don’t love being my own boss anymore. It means my family is more important.

So using the lifestyle analogy, I’ll stick with being an entrepreneur as long as it supports me financially enough to control how much time I spend with my family.

Your career (and life too) goes through seasons of change.

Balance isn’t achieved by being proactive.

The tension between battling priorities in your life sharpens your choices.

Choose what’s most important to you based on the most valuable currency: time.

That’s no myth.

The Evolution Of Your Dream Job

dream-jobs

Everybody has dreams…but dreams change.

What you consider today as your dream job will most likely change in the next few years. It will happen for a number of reasons: experiences, life stages, interests, etc. I’ll discuss the real reason later.

Clients ask me, “What if the perfect job is out there, but I don’t know it exists?

Good question. My response: you don’t know, that’s why you need to keep looking and applying.

Maybe not the answer you want to hear, but if your dream job doesn’t exist yet, create it.

Think about it. Interviewing for a job is essentially selling yourself. Creating a job is selling your idea (basically entrepreneurship).

Easier said than done, but the average tenure at your current job is less than 2 years. That’s not too far off from the average tenure of your dream career either.

We change jobs like we flip through the channels on TV. I tell my clients, “I can help you find the one career that best suits you, but expect this process to start over a few years from now.”

My job as a career coach isn’t really to help you figure out what to do next, it’s to help you figure out yourself (so you can do the process over in the future).

To loyalists this might sound depressing, but it’s just a sign of the times. Just like you and I will have to maintain a side hustle just to survive, your lifestyle will dictate your decisions, not your dreams.

For example, when you’re in your early 20’s you’re willing to be a slave to your career. Fast forward to your mid 30’s with a family and kids and you start saying “no” more than “yes” when it comes to work. During that time span what you considered as your dream job changes at least twice!

When it comes to your dream job the better question to ask is: why?

Why do I want this dream job? What does it represent? What can it provide?

I used to think I wanted to be an entrepreneur (and I still do), but what I really wanted: flexibility and control.

That can be found as a business owner, but it can also be found working for a company. My priorities shifted when I got married, then again when I had kids. That’s why your dream job will evolve too.

It is said that we are afraid of change, yet we do it all the time. We change our clothes, we change our interests and we change our jobs.

Your dream job will change over time…because you will change first.