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!
You’ve heard the statement: “It’s business, not personal.” Mostly when it comes to mob-hits or something like that, right? Well, sometimes the line between business and personal is not just blurred, it is INVISIBLE! One of the hardest situations to navigate is when you are rejected at a professional level – by someone you know personally. I have a huge character flaw which causes me to take almost everything personally. Yes, I’m owning that and yes, I am classifying it as a character flaw. I really admire anyone who can let criticism roll off their back like kool-aid off a duck’s briefcase. Botched similes aside, I have recently had to deal with feeling slighted and disrespected professionally, but I am POSITIVE that it is not a personal slight – but it sure does feel like it. Example: someone I know had an appointment with me, but then had a “scheduling issue”, but ended up on social media with my competition. Did he not think I would see it? He was just doing his thing and probably doesn’t know he has disrespected me. To his credit, it is not something someone in his position would really know off the bat. BUT – I still feel the way I do and it is really difficult to shake it off. I want to confront him about it – but that would be petty and unprofessional. I have to just LET IT GO.
Have you ever experienced something like this before? I am really pulling from deep within myself to capture my positivity and counteract these dark feelings. I have to convince myself that this is business and not personal. As a small business owner, if someone doesn’t choose my service, it is really hard to wonder if they passed me up because I didn’t measure up. Sadly, that’s how I think – and I am trying to break that habit. If you have ever felt that way – let’s break that habit together.
Owning a small business based on some form of creativity makes it automatically a personal process to some extent. But not taking things personally means you must separate yourself from the business – in some way. I am working towards that end goal. I remind myself that I have a lot to offer my clients and that others are more interested in their own agenda to really consider my personal feelings. So – it really isn’t personal – it is just business. There – I got through it.
Being thoughtful – truly thoughtful, is a real artform that so very many people just don’t understand. Being thoughtful isn’t just remembering a birthday or wedding anniversary. Being thoughtful is bringing someone a pink carnation on their birthday because they once told you about how much they love pink carnations. Thoughtfulness, in my opinion, is going that extra step to really get through the N.O.I.S.E.
N.O.I.S.E. is anything that qualifies as the following descriptives: (Needless – Ostentatious – Insensitive – Senseless – Expletives). Nasty comments, people who are just promoting a Ray Ban Sunglasses Sale or their skincare products, folks who have nothing to offer to the conversation in a meaningful way. You know those people. So, how do you get through them on the Friend-Books and Twissler tweets? Just make a personal connection to the person you are trying to engage with. Instead of “Happy Birthday”, I like to post something more personal. “Happy Birthday, Tom – hope you get that rash cleared up soon!” Well, maybe not THAT personal, but you get the idea.
In the workplace, it is also taking an extra step to break out from the pack and take the lead. I have encountered many people throughout my career who were not very good at their jobs, but they went over and above to be courteous and respectful – even NICE! Those are the people who, despite their professional shortcomings, held onto their positions and even advanced in the company – because their attitudes allowed people to take an interest in their professional education. As a manager, I am far more likely to take extra time with the person who just can’t get it right but is always smiling, as opposed to the joker who does the absolute minimum and talks smack about the guy in shipping with the lazy eye.
Be authentic. Be thoughtful. Be positive. Be the ball.
Today I learned about the Impostor Syndrome. I could easily identify with it because I have been afflicted with it for years. Simply stated, the Impostor Syndrome is when you fear that others will discover that you are really a fraud and don’t deserve your success. You’ve been “faking your way to fame and fortune” this entire time and someone is bound to discover that you are not that talented, you don’t know enough to be where you are and that you are a total fake – a fraud. This is a real psychological condition that has been and is still being studied. I’ve always had this complex – but it intensified when I started working in radio full-time. I think it can be a blessing of sorts.
I would (and still do ) get all awkward when someone refers to me as a “celebrity” because I’m on the radio. I am always quick to scoff at that idea. Although it is not entirely untrue, it is a gross overstatement for certain. There are other personalities that are celebrities in this town. I am only a celebrity when compared to others who are not in some form of the public eye. I have friends in the business who are actual celebrities – well, at least in Rochester, NY or the surrounding areas. The funny thing is that I know some celebs who act like they are superstars and some superstars who are the most down to earth people on the planet.
I think having some variation of the Impostor Syndrome makes us humble and real. I think it has to be a superficial syndrome, though. I have a real problem with my own Impostor Syndrome making me feel unworthy of anything and having a low self-esteem…which I am working on. But having an outward version of this could be helpful in making you more approachable and humble – essentially making you a better leader. You know?
For me, I have to beat my own version of the Impostor Syndrome – which is the “Holy Crap I suck” Syndrome. But, I am working on that. I have made tons of mistakes in the past and I am not going to beat myself up over them. At the same time I want to always remain humble and approachable. When my success reaches the inevitable heights that I expect they will and people come up to me on the streets asking me how I became so freaking awesome, I want to be able to remain humble. 🙂