I’m a small business owner and I also have a full-time radio job. I am fortunate that my radio gig is a morning show and so I am out early enough to still have a good chunk of the day to kick things into gear. BUT….the most productive hours are the morning hours – AND I AM AT WORK AND NOT IN MY OWN STUDIO!!!! Then I get to the studio (my second job) after I have lunch with my kids (who are due back at school in just a few weeks – but who is counting?) Now I have to catch up on doing VO’s, editing, Podcasts, general biz admin and…oh yeah…marketing, following up sales leads, answering emails and much much more. Sometimes, my workload actually takes up all of that time and the next thing I know I am rushing home to make dinner and perform my Dadministrative duties – then it is time for bed so I can be up early for the show. All by myself. But darnnit, I am not an island.
An island is all by itself, with only the resources it has or whatever washes up on shore. That won’t work forever if you want to grow. There is only so much room and whatnot! I looked into all of the below possibilities”
Find someone to help! A part time employee who works maybe 10-20 hours per week at minimum wage could be a huge help to get the busy work done. Retirees and students are perfect candidates. Yes, it is not ideal and there are risks. Plus, you have to jump into the “employee” realm! If you are a sole proprietorship, that may be tough…and I get that.
Invest in some kind of CRM software to help with the data being thrown at you all day. After the learning curve, it is like having an employee there that never sleeps.
If sales or marketing is lacking – try for an intern or a commission only contractor who can work remotely and do thy bidding for a piece of the action. I am exploring this option currently and I am seeing a positive trend just in my time management. Again, you have to vet this person because you are giving them some power representing you and your company. Starting with friends and family is a good idea, just have an agreement in writing.
Virtual Assistant – I have zero experience with this option. I know VA’s are not cheap, but I also know that when you find the right one for you, he or she will be a game-changer. I have heard from friends and colleagues who swear by their Virtual Assistant. They can cover so much for you and free you up for the important work.
None of these are an easy fix and require an investment of time and money, but the ROI’s are pretty positive.
The important takeaway from this Blathering, is that you need help. Figure out which kind of helper will make a difference and do it. If you need to take a loan or sell a kidney, maybe you should – it will pay off in the end. (I do not endorse the sale of any human organs, the above comment was used to illustrate a point)
If you’ve read a few of my Blatherings, you know that my life revolves around movie quotes. The one above makes my point succinctly. Plus – Burt Young and Keith Gordon – two fantastically under celebrated actors.
I’ve learned that you really need to CYA at all times regardless of how well you “think” you know who you are dealing with. This holds true for business and personal encounters. I might be slightly naive to believe in my heart that most people want to do the right thing. I think it breaks down when it comes to the part where they must take action, and if it is at all an inconvenience.
If you’ve ever had to barter services for mutual benefit, you know how easy it is for one or even both parties in the transaction to devalue the services being bartered – especially when any out of pocket expenses are involved.
Let’s say you have a service that a friend of yours needs. That friend has the ability to really get your services out to his or her network. Do those values match? You really need to figure that out, otherwise you might be on the losing end of the bargain. If you would normally charge $2,000.00 for your service, you had better be sure that your pal gives you equal or greater value. Sure, if your service is no out of pocket and you want to do your ‘bro’ a favor, that’s totally cool and totally your call – “The Dude Abides”.
If you enter into any kind of barter arrangement – WRITE IT UP! Make sure both parties have the deal in writing. It is all too easy for someone to say they misunderstood and not deliver the quid pro quo. I have had this happen to me and it is really unfortunate – especially if you like the person who suddenly ghosts you when you’re looking for your part of the barter.
I’m a forgiving and understanding person, so I get it. Sometimes you can be excited about a barter situation because it will really benefit you and you’re not entirely worried about the end game when you have to pony up your end of the deal. Protip: don’t promise something you cannot deliver – and get it in writing. I’ve moved on from my disappointments so I’m good with it all, but I won’t make that mistake again!