Which business tasks are worth doing myself?
I get asked this question a lot.
When most of us start out we are true solopreneurs - we are doing everything in our businesses ourselves.
We often start out creating a business around things that we are interested in or really good at. We don't take into account all of the other things that go into running a business, and we end up doing those things ourselves as well.
We may not be particularly good at these tasks and we may not particularly enjoy them.
You might start to ask yourself, "Is this a good use of my time?"
The answer to that might be yes, but the answer to that might be no. So let's dig a little bit deeper.
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Which business tasks align with my goals?
So which tasks in your business should you be doing yourself?
The first thing to consider is, "What are my business goals?"
Where do you want to be in a month? Three to six months? A year? You should be focusing the majority of your time on tasks that move those goals forward.
If you're spending a lot of time on things that are not helping to make your goals a reality, you might be focusing on the wrong things. Or at least you might need some automation or some help so that you can spend more time on tasks that align with your goals.
Which tasks are worth my time?
I have a phrase that you may want to put on a sticky note and put it some place visible if you struggle with deciding which tasks to do yourself:
Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should be the one doing it.
I know this is really hard. I've struggled with this as well. There are a lot of things within my business and for my clients that I can do myself, but that doesn't mean I should always be the one doing them.
Just because you can do all of the things in your business doesn't mean it's the best use of your time to do so. If you are hoping to grow your business and achieve more of your goals, you probably shouldn't be doing all of those things yourself even if you can.
There's a few things to consider here.
The first is that you don't have to be good at everything in your business. You don't have to know the ins and outs of every piece of software and program. You don't have to learn coding or learn the minute details of a specific program if you don't want to.
Think about what you're actually interested in learning. What you're actually interested in becoming good at. What is the best use of your time?
You can hire someone to set up a website or set up a particular piece of software and you only have to learn how to maintain it and what you need to do with it on a day-to-day basis. And that is perfectly fine, if not encouraged!
One thing that I love to hear from my clients, because it's a sign that they're really examining what is and isn't worth their time, is the phrase, "Well, I could do this myself, but I know you could do it faster."
This is a really good self-examination, because you are recognizing that it is is not worth the amount of time it would take for you to do that thing if it's going to take too much of your time. Think about how much more quickly that thing could be done or set up if someone else with more expertise did it. And think about what you could be doing instead with that time.
For example, I know someone who had to take at least two full weeks off from her business in order to completely set up a new CRM software herself. Now, this means she got it set up exactly the way she wanted it. She understands how the program works now, so she can make changes and updates herself in the future. But she had to fully step away from the rest of her business for two entire weeks.
Think about your own business. Would you be able to step away for several days to set up something yourself? Would that be the best use of your time? Or would it be more beneficial to hand that task off to someone else?
These are the types of things that you should be considering when you're thinking about what tasks you want to do personally.
Try this exercise to prioritize your tasks
I have a little exercise that I invite you to do that might make this process a little bit easier.
I invite you to take out a piece of paper, a spreadsheet, a Google doc, the notes app on your phone - whatever makes the most sense for you - and follow along.
Divide the document into three columns or three lists.
1. In the first column, write down all of the revenue generating activities in your business. These are things that directly make money. Now, there are a lot of revenue adjacent activities - activities that support those money-making things and things that are necessary to make money, but don't directly make money themselves. Do not include those on this list. We're going to talk about those later.
2. In the second column, I would like you to write down everything that is part of your zone of genius - your areas of expertise. These are probably the things that you started your business to do in the first place, because no one can do them the way you can. Write all of those things down that you are particularly good at.
3. In the third column or list, write down all of the things that you really enjoy doing. These don't have to be money-making. They don't have to be within your areas of expertise. Just things you genuinely like doing in your business, big or small.
Now, let's compare these three lists. There are probably a lot of commonalities across the three lists. And that's a good thing, because that means those are almost definitely things that you want to continue doing yourself.
Columns one and two are probably mostly things that need to be done by you, because they require your specific expertise. The money-making things might be things that you need to do personally, but some of them might now. For example, if you have digital products or something that is more of a self-guided service and doesn't need your specific input to happen, those tasks could be handed off or automated.
Now, it's this third column, the things that you enjoy doing, that I would suggest you watch out for, because those are the things where it's easy to say, "Ah, I can just do this myself."
You might be spending more time there than you need to, and that's taking time away from other parts of your business. Keep an eye on that because, again, you want to be spending most of your time on the money-making activities, the things only you can do, and the things that are moving you forward towards your goals. If there are things that you enjoy doing but they're not actively making money and not actively moving your business forward, you may want to consider not doing those yourself.
You will notice there are a lot of tasks in your business that probably didn't make it onto any of these three lists - that's on purpose. There are a lot of administrative tasks, marketing, sales - all those sorts of things that are part of the infrastructure of your business - that are not things that require you personally.
There are probably things that you could automate. There are things that you could hand off to other people. There are things that do not require your direct attention all the time. There are tasks you may not need to be doing at all. A lot of these activities do not directly make money, so they are maybe not the best place to focus your time and attention if you're looking to grow your business.
I hope that this has helped you narrow down your focus to the tasks that are really worth your time in your business as the CEO. If you have any questions about where you should be focusing your time and attention, please let me know down in the comments or feel free to reach out.