Sometimes you have to remove yourself from your business to protect your business. Here’s what I mean: For a lot of business owners, the idea of removing ourselves from our business sounds counterintuitive. We’ve worked so hard to build this business! We’re used to being in there every day! We’re used to nights and weekends! And the idea of stepping away from that and maybe even trusting other people to run our businesses can feel scary and uncomfortable.
Here we look at why it’s so dangerous to keep an iron grip on business, how you can start to remove yourself from non-CEO tasks, and how to protect your company’s #1 asset—you.
Avoid Burnout to Build Your Business
As a business owner, you’re on 24/7. There’s not necessarily a mental break for you if you are the only person running your business or if you hired some people but haven’t allowed yourself to step back. This can lead to burnout. You are the most important asset in your business as the business owner. If you burn out, it’s hard to come back.
If you’re so stuck in the weeds of your business and so essential to the day-to-day tasks then you don’t have the time, space, energy, or mental capacity to look beyond those day-to-day needs to see what else needs to get done.
It’s the difference between working in our businesses and working on our businesses. When we are solely responsible for the revenue in our businesses, it’s really hard to find that time to think strategy when you’re spending all day looking down trying to make the numbers work.
It’s also limiting you as a business owner in terms of how big you can grow your business and how much care you can give to the people who’ve already paid you when you’re spending all your time giving energy and focus to people who have not yet paid you. There’s only so much time left to give to the people who have paid you to coach them and for them to get the amazing results that they’ve paid you to get. Having that rest on your shoulders is too much. It’s a recipe for burnout, if not a recipe for disaster.
It’s a difference between being proactive in your business and being able to get outside of that reactive mode.
Two Areas to Remove Yourself
1. Marketing and Sales
Online business owners are so used to the idea that if we are not promoting, we’re not making sales. If we’re not doing a live launch, we’re not making sales. Live launching is a precarious business model made even more so because it depends on you. All of your business’s income depends on you to be live, to be at your best, to be available, to be able to focus on absolutely nothing but that live launch or that moment when you’re interacting with people who might potentially buy from you.
If you could choose between being in charge of live launching or being the sole person in charge of making sales or your sales being made automatically, which one makes more sense? Doesn’t it just sound better to either have your sales being made automatically or you contributing to that somehow but not being the only person who is responsible for all of the revenue in your business?
So, the first part of this is, as you were growing your business, as you were thinking about taking yourself to that next level, you need to figure out how to get yourself out of that live launching or relying on just yourself for that live launching. You also need to make sure you are not the only person who can affect how revenue comes in. That can be spread out among team members or maybe among software. Maybe you can make sales through a video, emails, or direct messages.
Business owners tend to think nobody’s going to do this as well as I do, so I have to do it. Nobody’s going to understand as much as I do, so I have to do it. Nobody’s going to care as much as I do, so I have to do it. And the simple fact is that’s not necessarily the case.
As the CEO and owner of the business, you have the role of being the visionary—where you want the company to go, what you want your team to work toward, and what your ultimate goals are for the business. I know that if you’re instituting a vision, there’s not necessarily a task associated with that immediately.
You need to switch that mindset from a producer within your business to being that bigger role that’s setting the standard for the rest of your team and communicating in a way that they can follow your vision and execute on it.
Finding the Right Team
As I said, we tend to think that nobody’s going to do it as well as I do, so I have to be the person to do it. And I think we think that because a lot of us have kind of low-level PTSD from working at companies where we’ve seen people slack off.
But the good news is that you don’t have to have those people on your team. Or if you do get them, you can get rid of them. You decide who is on your team, and you have the ability to hire A-players. If you have people on your team who are excellent, who understand the task, who understand the importance of the task, who care about the task, who care about the company, who care about just doing good work in general, then it’s going to be so much easier to give tasks to them.
Imagine that there was someone who was just as competent as you are, maybe even more competent in some areas. Imagine if you could give it to them and they’d come back to you with questions but otherwise you could trust that they would do it well. Wouldn’t that be better than doing it all yourself?
Imagine that it’s possible to find someone who would do these things just as well as you do them, if not better. One of the things that really helped my business grow is to bring on those A-players and let them do the work that they do best to. Certainly, there’s an onboarding process and we all make sure that we were very clear about expectations, but I’m not going to stand in the way when someone starts working on a project. That’s what I hired them to do.
It’s freeing to know that you don’t have to be the one person who’s remembering all the details, thinking about all the things that we have to do, coming up with all the ideas. It doesn’t have to weigh on you solely for your business to run.
We didn’t start a business to be stuck at our desks. We wanted something bigger. A different view of life, a different experience of life. And it should be that your business runs so that you can step away from your desk. You should take a vacation and your business still makes sales, all the systems still run, customer service still gets responses, projects still move along, social is still posted.
I’m not saying that you have to be away from your business all the time. If you want to, certainly you can make that a goal. I do know business owners who are planning on elevating themselves out of the business that it will still run completely with their teams, and they’ll check in once a month. If that’s your goal—awesome. But if you still want to want to be a part of it—absolutely.
But being a part of your business and being a leader for your team and for your customers and clients doesn’t mean that you need to be a part of everything. You don’t have to be in and on top of all the projects, that you have to be responsible for all the revenue. In fact, I would argue that you will be a much better, more effective leader if you’re not in all that. You are the main asset in your business, and you have to protect yourself.
If you’re starting to get into that feeling of everybody wants a piece of me, then there’s a problem. Not everyone can have a piece of you and there needs to be times when nobody gets a piece of you. You have to protect yourself because nobody else will. And these two areas where you need to start focusing on how you can protect yourself (and you don’t have to completely remove yourself but begin the process of stepping back) are sales in your business and also operations in your business.
Look at all the tasks on your to-do list and pick the ones that you feel least attached to. Consider if a CEO of a business would actually be doing this task. If someone else could do it, great. Find that operations manager or social media person.
One of the other ways to find tasks that you can just immediately determine don’t belong on a CEO’s to-do list is anything that has an “if this, then that” scenario. So, if this happens, then I do this. And maybe this is something that you haven’t written down or thought of, but it’s probably happening relatively often in areas of your business where, say, if someone writes into customer service and asks this, then this happens. Or if someone asks this on an ad, then I post this or whatever it is. Providing steps for someone to follow means you can delegate that task. If you don’t have standard operating procedures for various things that you are consistently doing on a day-to-day basis, write those and then hire someone to follow those procedures.
Hiring the Right People
What are some of tasks that fill you with the least joy doing? Customer service is probably going to be the first for most business owners. Responding to customer service or responding to comments on posts or on ads or social media is one of the biggest energy drains for any business owner because we take it very personally. With the positive ones, we feel great but that lasts for about five minutes. The negative ones can knock us out for hours and we don’t have that kind of time.
If it’s anything that you don’t like to do it in your business, how can you find someone to help you with that? And if it’s something that drains your energy and takes up more time than it should, takes up more brain space than it should, that’s also something that you need to look to offload as soon as possible.
You don’t need to hire a full team immediately. You don’t need to hire a full team to get yourself to a place where you’re not constantly working on your business. Like with anything else in our business, we do everything step-by-step. But the most important thing is to start taking that step and understanding that the goal is to take yourself out of certain parts of your business, maybe not permanently, maybe not 100% of the time, but give yourself the ability to be out of it so that you can enjoy the rest of your life.
You should be going on vacations. You should be taking afternoons off because you feel like it and you want to go see a movie. We built our businesses to help our clients and customers, but we also built our businesses to give ourselves and our families a better life as well. And it’s not a better life to be sitting in front of your computer for 16 hours. It’s a better life to be able to step away and interact with the people that we love or just doing something for you that feels fun.
In this episode of the Energize Your Online Business podcast, hosts Nicki Krawczyk and Kate Sitarz discuss the importance of offloading non-CEO tasks to protect your company’s #1 asset—you.
How have you successfully offloaded non-CEO tasks to others? Any tips for other entrepreneurs to avoid burnout? Let us know in the comments below!