Why don’t we get off the treadmill? Because we’re asking the wrong question.
When we do things, we are usually asking the obvious – “How do I do this?” It seems like a perfectly logical thing to ask. It’s the wrong question, but we’re too busy “doing things” to ask the right one.
Instead of asking “How do I do this?”, we should always be asking ourselves “How do I do this for the last time?”
My fancy term for it is “Distributive Management” – as the work comes at me, I find ways to deflect it to others who are more capable and will enjoy it more.
Think of holding a small mirror and having someone shine a laser pointer at you. Your job is to deflect or “distribute” the beam to someone else. You should walk through every day in your business with a mental mirror, distributing everything that doesn’t belong on your plate.
I use a simple tool called “Process Mapping” that we created quite a few years ago that is very effective at helping people do things for the last time and as a result, getting them off the treadmill.
We map the processes the business owner does, then assign dollar values to each step, showing them that (usually) 90%+ of what they are doing is well below their pay grade – I mean monumentally below. Most of us are doing $14-$25/hr work when we should be doing $100-$400/hr work.
The next step is to come up with a priority list for getting each thing off your plate that is below your pay grade. Don’t worry about paying for it. Just replace the $20/hr work with $200/hr work, and you’ll pay for that work and increase your profits by $180/hr. That brings us to the second question you should be asking every time:
Is this the highest and best use of my time? If not, figure out how to do it for the last time and go do what will make you more money.
Successful business owners figure out how to do this. Unsuccessful ones create a list of 15 reasons why it can’t be done. Here’s part of that list:
1) I can’t afford it (you’re losing $180/hr doing the $20/hr work and you can’t afford it? You can’t afford not to!)
2) Nobody can do it as good as me. (Get over yourself – there are thousands of people who are better than you at EVERYTHING you do. Find one.)
3) My customers only want to talk to me. (Really? Who taught them that rule? Stop saying “Me” to them, and start saying “We” – We will help you, not me.)
4) It takes too long to train them. (If it takes ten times as long the first time, you start making extra money and time on the 11th occurrence.)
5) I’ve tried employees and they suck eggs. (You don’t want them and you’re sabotaging the process by making sure you either get the wrong people or sabotaging the good ones. – You haven’t gotten over #2 yet).
6) I hate managing people. (Then hire someone else to manage them who would love it.)
7-15) I have nine other excuses… I mean reasons. (If you want to figure it out, you will. If you don’t, you will keep adding to this list.)
Virtual Assistant’s can be had for 2-4 hours a week to get started. The risk simply isn’t there, only the excuses.
I call this a trapeze moment – the only way to get to the next trapeze is to let go of the one you have a death grip on. There are many trapeze moments in business, but figuring out how to do something for the last time is a big one. And if it involves hiring someone else, even a temp or a Virtual Assistant, I find that to be the biggest trapeze moment in most business owner’s lives.
Those who figure out how to do things for the last time and adopt an ongoing commitment to the highest and best use of their time receive both time and money back from their business. Those who find themselves using excuses on the list above will at best receive money back, but will be on the treadmill the rest of their lives.
No biggy – it’s just your freedom and your life that are at stake.
Chuck Blakeman, Author of the #1 Rated Business Book of the Year, Making Money is Killing Your Business